Interior Design: Onyx and Granite and Marble…. Oh My!

Print This Post Print This Post

catherinemonroe110BY CATHERINE MONROE

If you are renovating your kitchen or bathroom, one of the most important choices that you have to make is picking out tile and stone. Lucky for Valley residents, there are plenty of local stone yards with some of the most beautiful slabs in the world. The choices are endless and the options are abundant.

Pick out stone slabs

Pick out stone slabs in person.

However, not all stone is created equal and it is important to know the nature of the stone you are picking and to PICK IT OUT IN PERSON! It is not enough to say you want white marble and let your contractor figure out the rest. You must get in your car and head to the north valley and find your slab yourself.

My personal favorite yard is Herrera Marble. They have fabricators on staff and are very knowledgeable and the yard is filled with the finest stone in the valley. Once you pick your slab, you can also tell your contractor which part of the slab you want where. For instance, if your particular piece of green granite has a slight splash of purple, which is pretty and unexpected, make sure it is near the sink so you can enjoy it – ’cause let’s face it, we spend most of our lives at the sink!


White marble is very beautiful, but when you decide on it for your home, you must be aware of its imperfections.

The most common marbles are Carrera and Calcutta. Carrerra is pure white with no veining. It is very porous, as all marble is and it will stain from red wine, lemon, and tomato sauce. Carrera has “veins,” which are grey streaks that run in all directions. It is also porous. If you are a person that is going to let every little stain drive you nuts, stay away from white marble.

Please remember that white marble has been used for hundreds of years in Europe and people there appreciate each imperfection and consider it “patina” which is depth and richness that is achieved over time with much wear and tear. So, if you go with marble, make the choice to embrace the inevitable imperfections.

If, you simply cannot bare the thought of Hawaiian Punch stains on your island, granite is the best option. It is very hard and will not show anything. Granite, however, has a more speckled nature. Not quite as fluid and graceful as marble. Another choice you have is slate. Slate looks really clean and nice, but it has the tendency tochip. It is good for areas that are not used as frequently, like perhaps the
desktop of the kitchen.

Onyx is very beautiful. It is very deep and comes in many soft colors. However,
onyx is way too soft for a kitchen. It can crack very easily. I recommend onyx for
a powder room vanity top or a bathroom that does not get “hard use”. Also, a lot
of onyx can look a little gaudy. It is a very expensive and “flashy” stone, so I like
to use it in small areas that can stand a little sparkle.


Caesarstone is a composite stone which is man made and very durable.

Another nice stone is limestone. Like marble, it is porous and will soak up stains, but the stains will dry out and seep into the stone, so your staining is not permanent with limestone. However limestone, sandstone and Jerusalem stone are all too soft for a kitchen counter. There is an option called “Caesar Stone” which is a composite stone. That means, it is man made and very strong and durable. Caesarstone makes a color that looks like limestone and also one that looks like concrete. For a modern house, these are great options.

Of course, once you select your stone, then you have to decide how to finish it. Your fabricator can either polish it or hone it. You also need to pick how you want the edge to look and how thick you want it to be.


The bottom line when choosing a stone, think about the space and how much use it will get. Also, make sure you do your research and get out there and see your options. You will be amazed at what beauty is found inside the quarries from China to Italy and how they are all stacked in rows in our backyard!

Catherine Monroe is an interior designer who has worked for several high end residential design firms including Ralph Lauren, Robert A.M. Stern and Michael Smith. She was born and raised in New York and received her degree from Parsons School of Design. Previously, a Studio City resident, she is currently living in Brentwood, CA, where she runs her own company.  For product information included in her articles and interior design consultation, contact her directly at

Share this:
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Digg Linkedin Stumbleupon Email

About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

More in Home & Garden, Interiors, Lifestyle, News, Shop, Stories
First Hand: My Daily Find — Kindness of Strangers

BY ALAN MARC LEVY Friday afternoon, while watching highlights of the Tour De France, I felt inspired. So inspired that...