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Design Ideas: Alternatives to Basic Natural Stones

How do you make sure your natural stone design stands out that is not basic? Linda Abbott, Senior Architectural Design Consultant at StoneHardscapes, gives us some great tips on how to achieve that goal with your design project.

As people were spending more time at home due to the global pandemic, the demand for functional outdoor and interior spaces for residential applications has increased dramatically. People want to add curb appeal to their properties, create an oasis of tranquility, and resort-like backyards.

And the results can be seen in pool industry and in the construction industry, all of which have been booming. On the commercial side, the condo associations have been requesting renovations. They want functional outdoor spaces for fun and relaxation. And now, that people are able to step out of their homes, hotels are also looking to renovate and upgrade their interior and exterior areas.

There is a lot of competition in the design industry right now, and if everybody does the same basic Ivory travertine, Walnut travertine or Silver travertine, your designs won’t stand apart from your competitor’s. Let’s go through the different natural stone paver options that are available so you can go beyond the norm and win over the competitors while bidding on projects.

Alternatives to Ivory travertine:

Ivory travertine is a classic and timeless natural stone that’s been around for 20 years or more. It looks beautiful, however, there are paver alternatives to Ivory travertine that will make you stand out and be different as compared to your competitor.

Crema Bella marble

This is a great alternative to Ivory travertine. It is lighting color; it goes well in a lot of different design concepts. This was the natural stone used on the Seminole Hard Rock expansion project in Hollywood, FL. 16×24 Crema Bella marble was added on the rooftop in a staggered running bond. The designers on the project also used this on the entire pool deck area and coping and it turned out absolutely beautiful. Crema Bella marble when used in ashlar pattern, can create a resort-like feel in any backyard.

Diana Royal marble

The Diana Royal marble is another alternative to Ivory travertine. A lot of clients don’t necessarily want the pitting that is in a travertine, so these marbles are a great alternative and it’s very elegant looking. It also comes in a tumbled finish, as well as a leathered finish. The leathered finish has a little bit more texture to it, which is appealing to a lot of clients.

Capri Limestone

Another alternative to Ivory travertine is Capri limestone. This is a beautiful stone that is very light in color, which makes it versatile. It comes in a variety of sizes, thicknesses, and finishes, and it makes a beautiful outdoor space.

Ivory River Travertine

Ivory river is a travertine as well, but it’s a vein cut travertine. It’s also honed and filled, so it eliminates the holes that are there. It creates a very natural, organic environment.

Coral Stone

Coral stone is from the Dominican Republic. It runs in a variety of sizes, large format, it comes in flagging, also in different thicknesses and finishes. It’s great for interior space and exterior applications as well. You just need to make sure that you’re using the right type of finish for the space that the stone is going in.

Alternatives to Walnut travertine:

Next is the Walnut travertine. This is another basic travertine that has been used for many years. Linda actually has this stone in her own pool deck, and she likes it, but there are other alternatives to make your pool design stand out and be unique.

Corsica Marble

This is a great alternative to Walnut travertine. It’s not going to have the pitting that Walnut travertine has, and all marbles in general have a more cohesive and consistent look to them, so it overall looks very monotone and pretty. It can be used for driveways; also, on pool decks. Absolutely stunning! Corsica marble looks amazing, and it does pass the coefficient of friction testing, so great for both commercial and residential use.

Passeggiata Travertine

This is a vein cut travertine in beiges and browns, just like the Walnut travertine, but because it’s vein cut it creates a different feel on any pool deck. It just looks really nice and organic in contrast to natural surroundings. It is a cohesive and beautiful natural stone option, but not the basic walnut that everybody is used to seeing.

Alternatives to Silver travertine:

Silver travertine is super popular, very basic, it looks gorgeous, but there are other options as stunning out there.

Kefallinia Marble:

One of them is Kefallinia marble, which has the tones of grays, golden tones, and it also has some reds that run through it. You won’t have the pitting that the silver travertine has, and it doesn’t have the huge color range that you’ll find in some of the silvers available in the market.

Ice Marble:

Ice marble pavers is another option, it has gray and white tones running through it, it creates a very modern look, but it can also be used in a traditional design. This is a great alternative to the Silver travertine.

Aspen White Marble

Aspen White marble pavers is another opportunity for you to use something other than Silver travertine. This marble create a modern appeal that many clients today like, especially the younger clients.

Bianca Neve Marble

If you look at the Bianca Neve marble quarry picture below, you can see the blocks of stone, and how there’s different colors running through it. There is some rust coming through, so when they cut the stone blocks those colors come through and it creates a unique look to each paver. Bianca Neve marble pavers come in leathered, tumbled, and Xtreme grip finishes. All of these finishes are good for commercial as well as residential use. Bianca Neve passes the coefficient of friction testing. This is one of the most popular colors used for countertops, flooring, as well as exteriors.

Turkish Carrara Marble

Turkish Carrara has golden tones. You can see the colors really pop through the stone. It comes in Xtreme Grip finish, which is a sandblasted finish that creates the grip that clients like when they have children running around on the deck. If you have a commercial project that you’re working on, and it is vast, you can use different finishes to create texture on the deck. You can take a leathered finish stone say, 25×24, for example, and you can create bandings in the Xtreme Grip finish, in a 12×24, so create texture on the deck, yet you’re still using the same color, and it adds a cool design concept to the overall appearance of the deck.

Marina Gray Marble

This is a very popular paver color right now, in lieu of the Silver travertine. It has lot of tans, and if your house or your commercial project is tan, it also goes well with white. It is a very popular color right now due to its versatility. It’s available in leathered, tumbled, as well as the Xtreme Grip finish.

These are all great alternatives to the most common natural stone colors used out there, and they can help you develop your design concepts faster. StoneHardscapes natural stone products are all tested to pass slip coefficient of friction. They’re also tested for compression strength, so that we know they’re suitable for both driveways, residential pools, deck applications, and for commercial application depending on their thickness. They are also tested for freeze, so if you live in climates that have a freestyle environment, your stones will not blow up on your deck. We don’t want that!

Have questions? Need help with your design concept? Please leave your questions to Linda in the comments below.

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