When Jeff and Tracy Davies set out to renovate their 200-year-old residence in Wells, VT, they wanted to update the home without conveying an ultra-modern appearance. The house, which had once served as a local hotel, features a very classical layout, and they sought a kitchen and dining space that would fit this image. Ultimately, the homeowners opened up the kitchen and dining area with high ceilings, abundant natural light and Unfading Green slate -- which was used as flooring as well as countertops throughout the space.

The house was purchased five years ago, and the homeowners gradually decided on a design for kitchen and dining area based on different styles they that had seen over time. The previous design for the area included low ceilings and a raised floor for the kitchen and dining area. The renovation opened the area with cathedral ceilings and large windows to allow sunlight to flow into the area.

One of the predominant elements used in the design is Unfading Green slate, quarried and supplied by Camara Slate Products of Fair Haven, VT. The slate was used for countertops throughout the kitchen and adjacent areas. A total of 60 square feet of slab material was specified for the counters, all measuring 1 1¿inches thick.

The centerpiece of the kitchen is a two-tiered center island featuring an undermounted sink. Slate was used for the counters on both levels of the island as well as the vertical facing between the two levels. It was also employed for the counters and backsplash on the opposite wall on either side of the stove. Adjacent to the kitchen, slate forms the countertop and backsplash for a bar area that includes a sink, wine refrigerator and rich cabinetry.

The floor of the kitchen and dining area also features Unfading Green slate. The stone here was selected in an ashlar pattern with tiles ranging from 6 x 6 to 12 x 12 inches, in 3-inch multiples.

Throughout the design, the slate is complemented by natural wood, including the cabinetry and furnishings as well as pine flooring that outlines the slate pattern. "The pine makes both [the wood and the slate] stand out," said Jeff Davies.

The entire project took a total of six months to complete. Due to the nature of the project, everything had to be carefully measured before work could begin. "Since we were working on such an old place, nothing was level or square," Davies said. "We tried to keep as much of the original as we could."

The floor was a particularly challenging obstacle in completing the project. In order to meet the design goals, they had to completely reconstruct the subfloor and all floor joists.

The countertops were installed with 100% silicone and green caulking as needed, and Davies pointed out that the color of the caulking blended seamlessly with the natural stone.

With the kitchen and dining area now complete, the homeowners are looking to renovate in other areas of the home in a similar style, including the continued use of natural slate.