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Xiamen ChongLian will attend the 2009 Xiamen Stone Fair. Our company has been attending the biggest stone fair in Asia since 2002.This year,
our booth number is B032.
Welcome to visit our booth between March, 6th-9th, 2009.
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Home > News
Bringing Home A Love of Stone
Interior designer Dixie Dursteler loves the material so much that colleagues and clients call her "Queen of Stone"

The kitchen features wall and counters of Multicolor Dorado Granite and floors of shellstone, with an arc of Multicolor Dorado Granite accents outlining the island.

When it came time to design her own Redmond, Washington, home, Dursteler proved her love. Her new, 3,500-square foot house has stone floors everywhere -- including outside -- except for two carpeted bedrooms. An added touch for the floors was hot water pipes underneath, a necessity in the Pacific Northwest climate, she says.
She has always loved stone, Dursteler explains, ?because I love natural materials.? She puts that passion into practice with clients from her Bellevue, Washington, interior design firm, The Insiders. For her own home, she knew stone would be a featured material. She made a point of choosing warm colors to avoid the stereotype of ?cold? stone.

The dramatic centerpiece of her home is the "Tree of Life" kitchen. It features multicolor Dorado granite, single flat edge on the counter and full bullnose 1-1/2" edge on the island.

A Home in Rojo Alicante and Rossa Verona

Nearby, on the Seattle waterfront, another house kept Western hopping with custom stone work.

A case in point is the bathroom featuring tumbled Rossa Verona tumbled floor tiles and wainscoting reaching up to a tile border. The designers also wanted a matching ?tumbled? look for the slab countertops of Rojo Alicante marble.

Western distressed the new material to look old by first sandblasting it and then further distressing along the double flat edge. Between creating a new process and worrying about breakage, ?it was a challenge,? says Katharine Angell, who co-managed the project.

Another challenge was lining up the marble mosaic, which was premade in Italy, with the factory-made porcelain and marble mosaic border. Taking up where the designers? specifications stopped, Western came up with a mudset radius trim, to eliminate any gap. ?We had to think out these details well in advance,? says Angell.

The highly customized kitchen of Aspen granite (no longer available, says Angell) consisted mostly of slab work, but two carved corbels and a heavy cornice took some more creative planning. For the corbels, made in Italy, Western managers had to figure out how to support and attach them. The solution was a combination of thinset and wire.

Then there was the cornice over the kitchen hood, which was fabricated out of slab, lots of it. In fact, says Angell, it took about a dozen laminations of ?inch slab to create a ?sandwich? that could then be cut out in the shop. Other custom touches in the kitchen include the stone ?legs? around the stove, which were fluted and embellished with medallions. ?This was very high end custom work,? notes Angell.

Like the floors throughout the house, the kitchen?s floor is shellstone, with a signature touch: an arc of multicolor Dorado granite accents outlining the island. The triangular pieces were planed from the countertop.

The custom details don?t stop there. The stove area features not merely a backsplash, but walls of Aspen Granite Slab polished with 1-1/2" Ogee & Dupont edge.

The kitchen?s crowning touch is the ?Tree of Life? tile inlay over the range. The idea came to Dursteler, an avid gardener, during a sleepless night. She brought it to life by joining forces with a ceramicist cousin, and jointly carving the creation.

An accomplished artist herself, Dursteler was impressed with the artistry and skill of the masons installing her kitchen and other stone work. ?They really knew what they were doing,? she says. Their approach to creating the seams for the three-slab island was remarkable, she says, and the interesting pattern they created just with seams has since become a conversation piece noticed by all.

Field supervisor John Pyle from Western Tile & Marble of Bellevue, Washington, enjoyed the challenges of the job, including blending the island pieces with no lippage, and creating the attractive seams, plus handling the large, floor-to-ceiling slabs for the backsplash and counters. He hadn?t seen quite as much stone in a kitchen before, and was impressed by the ?rich look? of the material.

Project managers and masons had several more challenges in the powder room. The design was to create the illusion of a floating countertop, with a minimum of hardware showing. Another goal was to give the counter a rough, antique look. ?The owner wanted it to look like it was just taken out of the earth,? says Western Project Manager Kathy Mills. Western achieved this by combining a slab of St. Peters crosscut travertine with a double distressed 1-1/2" edge laminated to it.

Another custom touch was using the Mexican shellstone on the floor in a diamond pattern, sprinkled with a variety of metal shapes to create the illusion of fossils and various creatures.

Dursteler uses a lot of stone in her interior design work, including rock and stone in landscaping. She says that her home is spreading her passion for stone to friends and clients, several of whom have been inspired by her kitchen. ?People are amazed how good (stone) looks. I think I have made people more aware of how organic and easy to live with stone is.?

Western?s Pyle is encouraged that the healthy economy is bringing more people to appreciate beautiful and durable materials like stone and tile in their homes. Dennis Becker, Executive Vice Chairman of Local 1 Washington of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC), says that stone demand is definitely picking up. The union keeps up stone skills by sending apprentices to pre-job classes at the International Masonry Institute?s Northwest Training Center, and by packing off serious stone apprentices to IMI?s National Training Center in Maryland. The NTC?s intensive 12-week stone program, says Becker, ?gets contractors more productive workers from the start.?
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