Limestone contributes to Mediterranean-style design

March 1, 2005
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Limestone was the predominant feature for the focal points of a private residence in Oklahoma City, OK. The home was built in a Mediterranean style, with limestone employed for a staircase in the entry as well as a floor-to-ceiling fireplace in the living room.

“The design goal for the interior of the house was to create an Old World feel -- almost like a castle -- so that everything in the interior looked like it was 1,000 years old,” said Dean Young, president of Young Brothers Inc., the installer for the project. “We had a pretty good idea of what we wanted to use. From experiences on other projects, we knew what worked.”

Beauvallon limestone was chosen for the stair treads of a stone staircase in the entry of the 4,200-square-foot home, creating a timeless and elegant appearance. The material has a thickness of 2 cm, and is complemented by a 4- x 12-inch decorative travertine border which serves as the riser.

“A lot of decisions were made as the job progressed,” said Young. “We made a lot of changes along the way. One thing in particular was the staircase in the front entry. Originally, it was designed to be a square room. There would be a few steps to a platform, then a 90-degree turn. We decided to add a curve so that the staircase could be a spiral. This called for a major design change from the framing to the stonework.”

Furthermore, the stairs were initially designed to be 2-cm-thick limestone slabs with a 4-cm-thick bullnose edge with standard limestone risers, explained Young. “During the process of making the selections, we liked a 3 3⁄4-inch etched travertine border for the riser,” he said. “The original design called for a 5 1⁄2-inch riser, we added a 3⁄4- x 5⁄8-inch piece of limestone with a cove mold ground into it. We added to the top and bottom to make up the difference.”

Constructing the limestone fireplace also posed a bit of a challenge for the installation team, according to Young. “The fireplace was designed well after construction had begun,” he said. “We wanted a look of a very heavy old stone fireplace. It was not designed to use heavy stone.”

As a result, the entire fireplace was built of 2, 3 and 5 cm Beaumaniere limestone slabs. “Since we were using slab material, a lot had to be mitered and assembled and ground into pieces,” said Young. “None of the seams were visible.”

All of the pieces were mitered and assembled in the fabrication shop in order to achieve the appearance of solid block limestone, according to Southwest Tile & Marble, the fabricator and stone supplier for the project. In particular, the legs presented a challenge because the curve had to be mitered by hand and precisely fit together to achieve an invisible mitered joint throughout the curve. Two decorative relief 6- x 6-inch tiles were inlaid as accent pieces, and the 3⁄8-inch relief centered above the lower mantle was hand cut. The limestone pieces for the fireplace were anchored with stainless steel strap anchors.

Complementing materials

In addition to limestone, several other stones were implemented in the design of the residence, further contributing to the Old World atmosphere. “We spent a lot of time on the selection process,” said Young, adding that 16- x 24-inch crosscut Walnut Pavio Antico Italian travertine with a distressed edge was used as flooring throughout the first floor of the residence. “It fit the design perfectly in color and style.” In total, approximately 3,000 square feet of this material was used.

To complement the travertine floor in the kitchen, another variety of Italian travertine -- Classico Antique -- was used as 6- x 6-inch tiles set on a diagonal for the backsplash and under the stove hood. These tiles were accented by 1- x 1-inch metal dots. The decorative design behind the range and the rest of the exposed backsplash was outlined with 1⁄2- x 6-inch decorative metal liner pieces.

Further complementing the kitchen space are the countertops and center island, which were fabricated from Santa Fe granite. The pieces were given a double-thick hand-chiseled edge for a touch of Old World style. Additionally, a granite farm sink was installed.

The use of 16- x 24-inch crosscut Walnut Pavio Antico travertine floor tiles continues into the powder room, where it features a staggered joint. To elaborate on the design, 6- x 12-inch multi-colored etched travertine border pieces were installed to match the multi-colored border used for the wainscot and backsplash.

The wainscot and backsplash consist of 4- x 4-inch Dore Royal tumbled marble tiles, which were placed on a diagonal with 3⁄4- x 4-inch Dore Royal tumbled bar liner pieces forming the baseboard trim. Completing the look of the wainscot and backsplash, 3⁄4- x 4-inch Dore Royal tumbled bar liner pieces were used in conjunction with a 2 1⁄4 - x 12-inch multi-colored etched travertine liner pieces and 2 3⁄8- x 12-inch Dore Royal tumbled cornice molding pieces.

In the master bath, 4- x 4-inch tumbled Dore Royal marble tiles clad the front of the tub as well as forming the windowsill and encasing the entire glass block window. Complementing the marble is ceramic tile molding with a stone look.

A variety of material was combined to create the luxurious, villa-style guest bath. The front of the tub features honed 6- x 6-inch Italian travertine tiles, which were inlaid on the diagonal and accented by 5⁄8-inch Lagos Azul polished dots. Further personifying the Old World ambiance is an etched travertine border of 6- x 12-inch pieces around the tub, capped with a Cedar 2- x 12-inch rail molding. The border and rail molding also expand to the vanity.

For the floor in the guest bath, the homeowners desired 12- x 12-inch decorative etched travertine pieces that complemented the tub and vanity surrounds, but they also wanted to use the same 16- x 24-inch honed crosscut travertine employed throughout the first floor of the home. The difference in size between the two tiles made it impossible to insert as is into the 16- x 24-inch staggered joint pattern, according to Southwest Tile & Marble. To overcome this challenge, 12- x 12-inch squares were cut in the 16- x 24-inch tiles so the decorative pieces could be randomly inlaid into the 16- x 24-inch travertine tile, said the company.

Overall, it took about six months for the installation of the stonework to be completed, according to Young. The size of the crew varied from two to six workers, depending on the job. Adhesives from Mapei were used throughout the installation.

End box

Private Residence
Oklahoma City, OK

Stone Supplier / Fabricator: Southwest Tile & Marble, Oklahoma City, OK
Stone Installer: Young Brothers Inc., Oklahoma City, OK
Installation Products: Mapei, Deerfield Beach, FL

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