Stone World

Re-creating a Georgian-style design with marble and onyx

October 1, 2004


Set in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, IL, a private Georgian-style residence was recently renovated with the intent of keeping its traditional appearance. Several natural stones were selected as primary materials in seven of the home's bath designs, creating a sophisticated and classy environment.

“We tried to maintain an historic overview to make the house look as if something was left there and not just put in,” said designer Sue Gunther of Sue Gunther Design in Columbus, IN. “We wanted the design to look original to the house.”

In the master bath, the floor consists of White Carrara marble in octagonal-shaped pieces, which are accented by dots of Absolute Black. The expansive mosaic floor design is bordered by larger pieces of Carrara marble. Additionally, the same white marble was used in a larger format for the tub deck and chair rail.

With a large window by the tub and French doors leading outside to a veranda, the space exudes an open and airy feel. Further enhancing the design of the room is a large vanity -- complete with two sinks -- which features a countertop fabricated from Grigio Carnico marble.

The mosaic floor design was duplicated in three additional bathrooms, which also includes a similar materials palette as the master bath. In the shower, the upper portions of the walls consist of 4- x 4-inch tiles of tumbled Bardiglio marble that are set on a diagonal. This is complemented by 3- x 6-inch White Carrara marble subway tiles on the bottom half. The two sections are separated by a chair rail of White Carrara marble.

“We knew from the beginning that we wanted to use stone,” said Gunther. “We wanted to stay with that classic look, since the house is so classic.”

Downstairs in the powder room, vibrant shades of green and red onyx were chosen as a contrast to the white marble used in the upstairs bathrooms. The floor in this area is comprised of 12- x 12-inch tiles of green onyx, with red onyx inlays used as accent pieces. Adding to the dramatic look of the room is a vessel sink also made from green onyx. “We chose the onyx because we liked the formality and elegance of it,” said the designer.

All of the stone used throughout the seven bathrooms was supplied and installed by Granite & Marble Resources of Chicago. According to Gary Briggs, co-owner of the company, installing the stonework was a standard job that didn't create any complications.

“We have good qualified people,” he said. “There were two men on the job, and it went on for approximately four to six weeks.” The stone was installed with grout from Tec Specialty Products, Inc.

“My client was very instrumental in keeping an eye on the installation,” said Gunther, adding that she herself would check in once a week. According to the designer, the homeowners, who have a family of three, really didn't have maintenance concerns about the marble. “Carrara marble has been used for years and years throughout Italy and has held up,” said Gunther. In total, the entire renovation of the home was completed in about one year.

End box

Private Residence
Highland Park, IL
Designer: Sue Gunther Design, Columbus, IN
Stone Supplier / Installer: Granite & Marble Resources, Chicago, IL
Stone Installation Products Manufacturer: Tec Specialty Products, Inc., Palatine, IL