STONE IN RESIDENCE: Natural Stone Forms a Signature Penthouse

March 13, 2006
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California Giallo granite was chosen to add elegance to the living room of this penthouse within the Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, PA. According to the architect, the stone was chosen to create areas of interest, such as the countertops, and to serve as artwork in the home.


Marble and granite served as artwork for a penthouse suite in Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, PA

For the renovation of a 3,500-square-foot penthouse suite in Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, PA, Matt Koenig of JK Roller Architects in collaboration with Gary Ruff of Gary Ruff Interiors of Moorestown, NJ, incorporated the use of marble and granite as interior finishes, and the use of stone created a distinctive living space.

Slabs of California Giallo granite were selected for the bar top, countertop and backsplash of the built-in bar area of the residence.
“The goal was to take an apartment that had six bedrooms and five and a half bathrooms and create large open spaces, reducing the unit to three bedrooms and three and a half baths,” said Koenig. “The apartment was beautiful to begin with, but it was very outdated, and the living spaces were kind of confusing. We wanted to flip them so that the private rooms were in the back of the unit, and the living areas were the rooms facing the nice views of the Philly skyline.”

The design entailed moving the master bedroom suite to the western side of the unit, and the living room to the eastern side. “The new layout successfully connects the living spaces with the spectacular views on both sides of the building,” stated the design team.

The bathroom floor of the residence features 12- x 12-inch tiles of Black Galaxy granite, and a 1_-inch-thick slab of the same granite was used for the vanity top.
After the unit was gutted and rebuilt, the architects began consulting with their client about materials that would be used. “The owner wanted to use a stone he had never seen before,” said Koenig. “We looked in a lot of places to find a very unusual stone.”

California Giallo granite - from Valley Marble and Granite of Huntington Valley, PA - was ultimately selected for the large backsplashes in the living room and family room, as well as for most of the windowsills and countertops, and the backsplash for the built-in bar area. Koenig describes the granite as tiger fur, having black and orange stripes with tan specks. “We wanted to create areas of interest,” said the architect. “There aren't a lot of art features in the living room; the stone is the artwork of the unit.”

In the kitchen of the Rittenhouse Square home, the countertops were fabricated from 1_-inch-thick slabs of Black Galaxy granite, and the floor is comprised of Graniti Fiandre 2- x 2-inch and 2- x 16-inch tiles.
Granite was also chosen to decorate the master bathroom, as the Jacuzzi tub is clad in 12- x 12-inch pieces of Black Galaxy. A 1_-inch-thick slab of the stone was used for the vanity, which features two sinks.

Additionally, the architects carried Black Galaxy into the kitchen, where they also used 1_-inch-thick slabs for the countertops and center island.

Koenig believes that people equate granite and marble materials with sophistication. “Whether used in a slab form for a kitchen countertop or as a tile on a lobby or bathroom floor, the materials add a sense of richness to any project,” he said. “The owner definitely loves the place. He was heavily involved with the selection of materials. He even went with us to the warehouses to choose the stone, and he is extremely happy with the color choices.”

Rittenhouse Square

Philadelphia, PA

Designer: JK Roller Architects, LLC, Philadelphia, PA

Stone Supplier: Valley Marble and Granite, Huntington Valley, PA

Stone Installer: Miller Robinson Construction, Huntington Valley, PA

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