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Use Stone to Build Homes with Personality

by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for The House Designers®

Why settle for one-dimensional design when you can build a home that pops both inside and out? The extra color and texture afforded by naturally inspired stone accents are beautiful additions to just about any house regardless of its style, and there are so many varieties available that you won’t be lost looking for that perfect complement. Even a small amount of stone detailing goes a long way, so imagine the possibilities and get ready to break out the mortar and trowel!

Eldorado Stone Cypress Ridge

A central fireplace with Cypress Ridge® stone veneer in Orchard® color is a beautiful rustic feature in this formal country-style home.

The Fireplace

The most familiar area to dress up with stone is the fireplace, where this material has been favored for its noncombustible quality for many centuries. The rich and rustic character of a natural stone look is well known, but there are also a number of sleek options that offer the same innate charm in a package suitable for contemporary designs. With or without the further definition of pilasters and a mantel, a stone fireplace makes a statement and provides a bit of permanent personality that is so often lacking in a new home. It takes a step beyond its role as a natural focal point to become part of the interior design itself.

That said, it’s important to ensure that the fireplace sets the right tone and is in balance with other permanent features, like walls and windows. It wouldn’t be wise to install dark stone in a dark room, but it could be a nice contrasting complement in an open floor plan with plenty of light. Opt for a gentle neutral palette for a traditional look and for a modern vibe, consider the extremes in either direction. More important than color, though, is the shape of the stones and how they can be laid; crisp lines are neat and perfect for a contemporary feel, while less defined edges with more shape, curve, and visible mortar evoke a more old-fashioned, homey atmosphere. Keep these basic guidelines in mind when you build or buy the actual fireplace, too—you wouldn’t want it to clash with its surroundings.

Eldorado Stone Coastal Reef

This modern open floor plan uses CoastalReef® in Sanibel color around doorways and overhead to define the kitchen and living spaces. It also has the texture of coral for an extra touch of organic interest.

Interior Accents

Perhaps you don’t have a fireplace to work with or just want to make use of stone elsewhere. In any case, thinking outside of the box will surely make the home that much more unique and memorable. Consider highlighting key areas or creating interest where there is absolutely none to amp up interior design. While you might select a different sort of stone than you would for a fireplace, the same style rules still apply.

Doorways lend themselves well to a stone surround; they’re shaped like tall, narrow fireplaces and automatically draw the eye, too. Windows are a bit trickier and you don’t often see them surrounded with stone on the interior side unless they are part of a larger accent wall, where they are the accent on the extra sturdy surface to brighten it up. Interior accent walls are also a totally viable option, and they make fantastic backgrounds against which to display family photos and artwork. And then of course there are column elements, which stand apart on their own and are fairly easy to enhance without having to carefully balance them with the rest of the interior.

The most important thing to keep in mind when you plan for an interior with stone details is that they will put weight on the design and risk creating spaces that close in. That’s why contemporary architecture, with its flowing floor plans and huge emphasis on windows, is so well suited to stone, and why it isn’t seen as often in other types of new construction. Consider how much natural light there is to balance with each of the products you like before making a commitment. On the other hand, if your goal is an extremely rustic design that looks much older than it really is, you don’t need to worry about your window-to-stone ratio nearly as much.

Eldorado Stone Cut Course Stone

Cut Coarse Stone® looks like natural limestone and is a great textural accent on this Mediterranean design.

Exterior Highlights

There isn’t a house around that can’t be improved with some stone siding. Whether it’s just a touch to cover up an exposed concrete foundation or enough to envelop the entire façade, stone is perhaps the best way to tie a home to its surroundings and make it really fit into the environment. That generally cohesive appearance is definitely appreciated, but mixed materials with a range of tones and textures also make each individual house more aesthetically pleasing on its own.

Stone that looks native to the area is your best bet for a timeless and harmonious exterior, as is tasteful application that focuses on the shapes of the home. Filling in the space under individual gables is a popular choice, but any distinct outline afforded by the architecture works. Maybe a blocky portion of a modern home, the bay window area of a farm house, or even just the garage? Take a look at the elevations and see what shapes you have to work with.

To give the homes you build beauty and personality beyond the norm, explore the multitude of stone veneer options available from Eldorado Stone! You’ll find all sorts of profiles and colors, ranging from those that appear carefully quarried to those that seem shaped by nature, so you’re sure to find the right complement for the design you have in mind. Be sure to use their Visualizer to digitally test different styles and feel confident in your decision!