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Stone Buying in Verona

For me, Italy is the only place to buy stone. Carrara and Verona are the centre of the global stone industry with Carrara as the biggest stone container port in the world. The stone is cut, milled and dispatched from here and then distributed to the many factories and showrooms around Verona and the Veneto.

A special kind of stone allows a client to put a unique, personal stamp on their building so it pays to do your research and explore what’s out there. Buying at source from importers and dealers means we have access to an incredible variety and aren’t restricted by London’s limited supply.

The experience itself is really exciting. There’s nowhere else you can actually see this much diversity – it’s incredibly impressive, and really inspiring. It’s also a great opportunity to really engage with clients and share the experience of an important and expensive aspect of a project.

After pre-meetings with clients to agree what we’re looking for, I head out there in advance with the stone importer and armed with the brief.

Together, we catalogue everything that we might want to source. I trek around many stone yards exploring an array of possibilities and checking out which supplier has the best of each stone.

Then we get down to business. We take time to assess which importer we can get the best cost from and spend time photographing and logging every sample. It’s a three-person job – me choosing and looking at drawings for the project, someone else logging details and the importer as our guide. By the time the client arrives that evening, we have a good summary and have made a plan for the next day.

The next morning, we start with a recce with the clients and take them around a series of yards to talk through the different options. We spend time inspecting the different blocks and parts of it, pointing out the different effects and finishes and giving the client a clear perspective.

Lunch is a perfect opportunity to gather our thoughts before we make our final selection in the afternoon. The importer follows on and places things on reserve and order. Confirmation is sent back to the studio so they can check layouts and quantities.

That’s just the beginning. The stone is then shipped back to London and we role our sleeves up to get involved in the all important cutting process and working out which way the stones are cut and used.

This year, a large oak framed house meant that our theme was timber, so we needed a wide range of stones. From slices of petrified, prehistoric trees set in resin – in a sort of composite marble – through to a very beautiful travertine in deep rich colours.

We chose some beautiful deep red marble for a cinema and wine room, some amazing marble with a wave in it for a big kitchen island that will literally be formed from an entire slab of the stone and a large quantity of a beautiful and dramatic grey/brown marble for a master bathroom. We picked three very particular stones for the children’s bedrooms; one son particularly likes fossils and geology, so we found a grey/rust stone that had compressed amanitas and a range of different fossils, for another, an almost black leather effect, fossilised stone, and a delicately coloured, yet dramatic marble for the daughter’s bedroom. Throughout the guest rooms, we chose a very gentle, angulated travertine like marble as well as large format marble slabs for floors.

This was a hugely inspiring trip. For me, the highlights were some really beautiful travertines, a range of stunning intricate marbles that I’d never seen before and the Diaspro di Sicilia or ‘Vatican marble’– the rarest and most expensive of marbles in the world. Breathtaking.

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