Tired Of Granite? Try This Dramatic Natural Stone
Dark, dramatic and refreshingly different, soapstone is trending for good reason. It stands up to heat and stains, but develops a gradual patina like marble. Plus, it looks beautiful in both kitchens and bathrooms, as either a striking countertop or statement sink. If you find yourself tempted to go over to the dark side, check out our roundup of inspiration shots from the H&H archives and designer portfolios. You’ll find that soapstone has a way of stealing the show.
Soapstone is an attractive choice for warming up modern and industrial spaces. In this kitchen, stylist Nicola Marc used soapstone counters and plenty of rustic wood to temper an array of stainless steel appliances.
In the Scandi-style kitchen of retailers and young parents John Baker and Juli Daoust-Baker, soapstone counters provide a welcome hit of contrast against the light wood cabinetry. The nonporous material is also resistant to bacteria build-up, making it perfect for this busy family space.
Emerald-tinged slabs make a particularly show-stopping addition to this sunny kitchen by Rafe Churchill Architects. As a naturally-quarried product, soapstone comes in a limited color palette, but homeowners can find gorgeous variations of grey, black, deep green and grey-blue.
Soapstone gets darker with use and time, so this kitchen’s homeowners can look forward to a rich, lived-in look in the years to come. (Suppliers will pass along information about treating soapstone with oil or wax to maintain its color and disguise wear.)
Soapstone is a natural pick for a kitchen backsplash, since most slabs boast attention-grabbing veining. In this New York State home, interiors stylist Amy Beth Cupp mounted a deep grey and white piece of soapstone, effectively drawing the eye to the kitchen’s showpiece Lacanche range.
This super luxurious soapstone basin was dreamt up by the designers at Jersey Ice Cream Co., and stands out from the pack of stainless steel and enamel kitchen sinks. Since it’s made of a natural stone, it promises to retain heat nicely, keeping dishwater warm for longer.
In this kitchen designed by Summer Thornton, a mid-toned grey soapstone counter with subtle white veining is a nice middle ground between the dark shelf and crisp white wall tile — demonstrating the ability of the material to bridge light and dark design elements in a space.
Bathrooms are also ideal spaces to play with the on-trend stone. We’re smitten with the long counter and curb backsplash in this fresh bathroom by Texas-based designer Martha O’Hara. The slab’s moody color, interesting texture and visual weight help anchor the otherwise airy room.
If you have traditional cabinetry, take your cue from homeowners Jen Fariello and Chris Conklin’s charming, circa-1890 kitchen. Here, a classic soapstone counter pairs beautifully with their classic cabinets, thanks to its complementary white veins and subtle, low-gloss finish.
This contemporary kitchen — with its clean-lined shelving, squared-off sink and single-handle faucet — features a countertop and curb backsplash made of honed Alberene soapstone, a pleasantly textured variety with a soft grey hue.
Prefer a country aesthetic? The stable kitchen at Martha Stewart’s farm in Bedford, New York, proves soapstone works just as well in a rustic setting. Combined with well-loved copper pots, charming beadboard walls and barn-style lighting, the soapstone worktops look picture-perfect.
If expanses of dark stone seem intimidating, follow designer Nina Farmer’s lead, who reinvigorated this Boston kitchen with a judicious mix of materials. A perimeter of black soapstone plays nicely with the windows’ black mullions, while a lighter stone worktop on the island keeps the kitchen feeling bright and airy.
Topping just the kitchen island with a thick, striking piece of soapstone is another low-commitment, but high-impact option. This light-filled kitchen from Greensville Soapstone proves again how perfectly the material pairs with black-framed windows and doors.
A petite washbasin adds a powerful hit of graphic black to this serene powder room — and reaffirms the scene-stealing power of soapstone.