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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Choosing a Marble Slab

Today I visited a marble fabricator in Brooklyn - Empire Cabinets and Marble. And I viewed a few slabs that might work. I'm loving the deep veining of Statuary Marble.

When you go to "choose your slab" from a fabricator's yard, it comes out at you in big raw blocks like this. Having had to choose slabs before for kitchens, I can tell you that it's not always easy to visualize how stone will look once you get it inside and onto, say, a countertop. For one thing you are standing outdoors in a huge yard of stone slabs in glaring natural light.

Choosing the marble was easier somehow than those other times. I don't know if it's that I've been through this a number of times or that it's easier to visualize how it will look on the sides and top of a bathtub than countertops. Or if it's the size - we're not buying a whole slab for our small needs, just a remnant (much less expensive). Anyhow, I found the one I want and put down the deposit.

And not a moment too soon.

The beveled field tiles for the wall are in at Tiles by Kia in Astoria. I have not used this vendor before, but I believe in giving business to small neighborhood distributors whenever possible, so I took a chance on them. I hope I don't come regret this decision - my bullnoses are already over a month late. So as a backup, I have started calling in samples from other tile lines online. You don't want to be trying to match whites from different lines in the 11th hour if you can avoid it. But I have to be ready in case that's where this is heading.

This is all part and parcel of renovating. You and the contractor lay out the timeline with as much detail as possible, then you both be prepared for s*** to happen. And you adjust and work around accordingly.

We are already having to work around the floor tile, which if you recall is being made by Heath Ceramics in California. When you order custom tile, it takes 6 to 10 weeks to come in. Henry is using some of the samples I purchased from Heath when I was picking colors to estimate the height of the floor and he will begin tiling the walls, leaving floor tile space the height of the samples.

So far, we are still on track with the timeline, crossing fingers. This order for the marble that will make up the tub surround and deck is just one more checkbox. But a big one! The tub will be the focal point of the bathroom, so this marble has to look just right.

I'm feeling good about it.

Reading background material on marble at Houzz, the article Carrara Vs. Calacatta helped me rule out Carrara.

With the light and dark grays of the floor tile and the dark subway tile that's going in the shower, I definitely want a pure white background and a very very strong grey vein on the tub. I was leaning toward Calacatta, which is the most expensive choice. Then I saw this White Statuario, and I knew that it was exactly the right marble for my bathtub surround and deck. The pure white background and dark grey veining are very dramatic!

The floor in this photo is a good example of statuary marble.


To my eye, too busy for a floor. But on a deep soaking tub that will be the focal point of a small mostly white bathroom, I think it will be perfect.

I was educated but not deterred by the very informative article on Houzz: Why Marble Might Be Wrong for Your Bathroom

We are not using the marble on a highly trafficked area. We are not using it in the shower, where the oils and other natural ingredients of shampoos and rinses might stain it. Ross and I are both neatniks, and I don't anticipate any spills that are not cleaned up right away. We will pay extra to the fabricator for sealing, both during fabrication and after installation, and thereafter I will keep it up myself. 

Statuary marble is classic and timeless and yet clean and modern. Which is exactly my design aesthetic for this bathroom. My wish is for visitors to enter this room and pause to wonder: Is it new or has it always been there?