Stone World

Opening up a residence with travertine

April 11, 2004


Horseshoe Bay, TX, is a resort community that has numerous primary and vacation residences on Lake Lyndon B. Johnson. About a year and a half ago, a 3,800-square-foot “spec home” was completed with an open and spacious feel to it. This lake house features large windows, terraces and a pool as well as natural stone inside and out.

With a very neutral color theme, the floors feature Mexican travertine supplied by Alkusari Stone in Austin, TX. “There is a lot of taupe and gray in the stone itself, which gives a good variety of color,” said installer Darren Cameron of Baystone Tile in Horseshoe Bay, TX. “The color scheme dictated the stone we used. If the house had a darker look, we probably would have gone with a different kind of stone, but we wanted to really open up the space.”

Mexican travertine is a very practical stone for homes like this. “We've used thousands and thousands of feet of this stuff within the last few years,” said Cameron. “Its one of the best products - it's relatively easy to maintain, it has a good texture to it and it has a wonderful look.

“The texture [of the stone] is rough,” explained Cameron. “You're not going to slip on it if you mop the floor or something. You can finish it with either a penetrating sealer - which gives it the same look that it has right out of the box - or you can go with a lacquer finish, which really shines it up. On this particular project we used the penetrating sealer and just kept the natural look of it.”

The stone was set in a Versailles pattern, which looks random, although there is a method to its placement. This pattern is one of the only ones that appears random, therefore has a real nice effect to it, according to Cameron.

“We ran the Versailles pattern throughout the house and carried the same pattern out to the exterior,” he said. The stone continued outside to the pool area surrounding the perimeter of the pool, according to Cameron.

It took about three weeks to install the intricate pattern with two setters and four grouters. They used installation materials from Custom Building Products, including Red Gard to protect against fractures, white grout and acrylic mortar, according to Cameron. “We went through and [addressed] any of the fractures on the floor, and then we set [the stone] using latex mortar with a 3⁄4-inch notched trowel,” explained Cameron. “Basically we had to flood the whole thing out as we went because of the deviation of the tile. Then we used a standard antique white grout to go with it, a good neutralized cleaning and then a sealer.” To seal the stone, Aqua Mix Stone Enhancer, a penetrating sealer, was used.

The travertine was not only employed as the flooring, it was used in other areas of the house. “We used honed travertine for the bathroom countertops and showers,” said builder Terry Dauphine of Dauphine Homes in Horseshoe Bay, TX. “We also mixed in a little black granite in the showers with the honed travertine. We took 4- x 4-inch Absolute Black granite [also supplied by Alkusari] pieces as splashes in the shower. It created a pattern instead of just having 16- x 16-inch tiles. We cut little corners out of [the 16- x 16-inch tiles] and put the 4- x 4-inch tile in there, which threw in a little color.”

Construction began in late 2001 and ended just a year and a half ago. In that span of time, Dauphine has received some positive feedback from the project. “I sold another 1,000-square-foot job off of it,” explained Dauphine. “We didn't use the Versailles pattern for that project, but we used the 16- x 16-inch tiles of travertine.”

End box

Private Residence
Horseshoe Bay, TX

Builder: Dauphine Homes, Horseshoe Bay, TX
Stone Installer: Baystone Tile, Horseshoe Bay, TX
Stone Supplier: Alkusari Stone, Austin, TX
Installation Products: Custom Building Products, Seal Beach, CA; Aqua Mix, Santa Fe Springs, CA