February 9, 2016

Soapstone, let me count the ways

I thought I’d write a few blog posts featuring bits of info from my book {HABITAT: The Field Guide to Decorating} with a photo peek or two of featured projects to share some usable tips/facts and hopefully
entice anyone who doesn’t yet have it to snap it up! 😉 😉   So this is the first post – based on a section of the book that outlines various
countertop materials-  & we’ll see how it goes…


It’s no secret that I looooove soapstone. We had it in our last kitchen and it was incredibly practical.


{our old kitchen… our locally-quarried soapstone}


I didn’t use any in our new kitchen because it’s got so much more compact of a layout, that I wanted to keep my counters, floors and cabinets in roughly
the same color (white) for less contrast so that it would feel more spacious/ open… but I miss it!!  Soapstone has such a warm, smooth feel
to it because of the talc content.  We used a beeswax oil on ours to keep it free of fingerprints/ oil marks, which brought it to a deep black.

{Un-oiled soapstone in our clients’ kitchen featured in my book
These are some of THE MOST beautiful counters I’ve ever seen in person…  they’re a chalky grey with a slight greenish undertone.  Soapstone
undertones range from blue to green to pure gray.  We paired this soapstone with gray perimeter cabinetry and an ivory-colored island.  Wooden
accents add warmth and a bit of earthiness to an otherwise cool palette.}

Soapstone is nonporous, doesn’t burn and doesn’t require a chemical sealer…  And it naturally resists bacteria which is kind of amazing.


It’s a softer stone, and we were pretty rough on ours, so I noticed slight chipping on some of the edges, in particular around the sink where I’d bang
big pots & pans into it while I was cleaning them.  Most scratches were easy to remove with a little bit of the beeswax oil and as you probably
know, seeing a little bit of wear and tear on a countertop is actually beautiful to me, so I never minded the gradual imperfections that come about
with soapstone.  (I prefer it to something like a never-changing granite.)  But it’s definitely for those who have a similar mindset.  (For
clients who like the look of soapstone but aren’t ready for it, we’ll often do a honed black granite which has a similar look but totally different
physical feel.)

A couple of months ago, Alberene Soapstone, a Virginia-based quarry who also sells slabs
online – where my soapstone counters came from- sent us a beautiful c/o package filled with soapstone products I’d never known existed.  I’d known
about soapstone as a building material choice but had never seen it used  to make drinkware.  Now we use their liquor chilling stones all the time when I want ice but don’t want watered-down drinks.  We keep them in the freezer and they’re
always ready for use.

{I feel like an actual adult using these now as opposed to the colored plastic cubes I may have used in regular desperate attempts to keep wine
cool on a hot day 😉  😉 }


The shot glasses sadly haven’t gotten much use yet (I’m so not as fun when I
have a new baby!!) but one day… I think they’d be great as little chilled mousse glasses too… just pop them into the freezer first.


We love the “Thomas Jefferson Tea Cups” because they keep drinks hot and feel
good in the hand.  They’re primitive yet modern and fit right in our new/ almost-finished kitchen.


If I ever have another house (hee hee hee… I know I should be done, but really?!!) I’ll be needing some soapstone again.  Or maybe I need it here
in a bathroom??

{one last pic of the soapstone in our old kitchen… you can spy a teensy bit of the chipping on the right section/ counter edge where it looks a little
whitish to give you an idea of how it looks. Pretty sure it got whacked with something from the fridge which is just next to it.}

Anyway, I’m off for the day I’ll be back soon to share details on our Florida project!!! (below) (My first post on it, written 3 years ago, is here.)  We took a recent trip to visit my cousin and drywall is IN and I’m making final architectural selections on things
like fireplaces, stair railings, etc…  and now it’s time to design the interiors!!!  Woohooo I thought this day would never come!!!


**Excerpted photos from my book taken
by Helen Norman & all the others (not so pretty iphone ones!!) by me


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