What On Earth? This Can’t Be A Stone Floor!

Dear Laurel, 

We’re in the process of building a new home in the mountains that’s not traditional, but not super contemporary either. The entrance is front to back and so it’s a very long hall. I’m looking for something drop-dead gorgeous but am at a loss.

We don’t want a rug and it should probably be a stone floor because it’s in the woods and it needs to be practical.

Gina Olive-Carrera



Hi Gina,

Oh man, I do have an idea and how lucky for me that I get a chance to write about this. I was just in Italy for a week and was lucky to be taken here.


antolini aerial shot

What is that you ask?

This is the headquarters for Antolini undoubtedly one of the largest suppliers of natural stone in the world. If God created it, they have it and then some. The collection is as vast as the imagination.

antolini stone yard slabs

Thick slabs are imported from all over the world.


We divided our 30 or so people into three groups. My group was the best :] and we had a fabulous guide, Sergio.

I can’t even begin to explain the vast selection of the usual as well as the exotic, rare and sem-precious.

Part-way into the tour, something caught my eye in the distance, so I went to investigate.

Is that an Oriental rug?

stone floor ideas

No, it’s stone! And if you are not familiar with how this is achieved, it’s called book matching. The slabs are cut thinly and are nearly identical and make these wonderful patterns.

Welcome to my new addiction. :]

I snapped the two pics of this granite below called Black Beauty.

black beauty stone 2

black beauty sample

white Beauty polished Slab

Here is a slab of Black Beauty.

black beauty granite stone floor

And here is the addictive part as you can see above and below. In case you are unfamiliar with this or don’t understand what you are seeing, this is four separate pieces cut from the same slab. Then, they are turned so that they make a mirror image pattern.

black beauty granite copy

This design also lends itself to a square motif.  If the slab is about four feet tall, then this treatment would be approximately an eight-foot square. But it could be smaller by using less of the slab.

If I were doing this for a client, I would take a straight-on photo of the slab and then play with where we would want them to make the cuts and in which direction. Some designs look good in a different configuration and some don’t. You’ll see more of that in a bit.

What’s really cool is that at Antolini, they have a special machine that can cut the marble only an 1/8″ thick. Then, the marble is mounted on glass. Essentially, it’s a marble veneer. It is very strong, lighter in weight and a lot less money.

Antolini features not only the usual stuff but also many exotic semi-precious stones and manufacturered stones like this one called Fire Jasper.


antolini fire jasper

This one’s pretty jazzy but I could see it in certain applications.

antolini fire jasper copy

This is also pretty as a square.

antolini black horse stone floor

I snapped this image of a marble called Black Horse


Above a slab of Black Horse

black horse runner stone floor

And here is my version of the black and white runner.  How posh this would be in a high-end store like Bergdorf Goodman, a boutique hotel, bar or a chic restaurant.


A granite called Breche Medusa. Normally, this would be way too much going on for my taste.

breche de vendome stone floor

But now, it feels like an Oriental rug. By the way, you could do this application on a wall, on a bar or even a ceiling.

marcmaison.com breche marble mantel french marble

A French mantel created from a Breche  marble via Marc Maison.


Brescia Violetta.

breccia violetta stone floor match book

It seems the more intricate, the better.


Violetta Crest Stone Floor

violetta crest 2

violetta crest match book stone floor

Can you stand it?

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 1.21.59 PM

Another busy granite

persian treasure granite stone floor

And another rug.

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 2.45.54 PM

Silver Onyx

silver onyx

Turns into an “Oushak!”


1255_Statuario (2)

Everyone’s fave Calacatta Gold

statuario white

A Rorshach Test? lol



This is called Verde Ubatuba. I wasn’t sure if I would like it.

verde ubatuba

But I do! It reminds me of a deep green over-dyed rug.

agate semi precious antolini

During our tour, Sergio took us into room after room and one room was narrow like a gallery and on the floor running the length, was a wide border of this. It’s blue agate that’s been back-lit with LED lighting. The effect is the most extraordinary thing. It’s like a blastocyst (remember that one?) floating in some languid Caribbean lagoon. But the colors— mesmerizing!  Then, I read that agate is considered to be quite healing. I believe it! It comes in several different varieties and colors.



From the Antolini Showroom, an arrestingly beautiful section of Malachite from a large slab.

So, where can you get this amazing stone in the USA?

Thank you for asking. ;]

As it happens, on the design and wine sponsors is a fantastic source in the Greater Boston Area called Cumar Marble and Granite. Two delightful associates graced our tour, Dawn Carroll and Stephanie O’Brien.

Cumar is owned by Italian-born Ivo Cubi whose family has been in the stone business for seven generations. The company handles everything from large commercial jobs to small residential jobs. From what I understand, Antolini is one of Cumar’s top suppliers. Good to know!

And now, please enjoy a few more images from the Italy trip.

The last day was spent in Verona but I was already starting to feel, not-so-great, so I left early with a few other tired travelers.

verona blue shutters

Juliet tunnel of love verona italy

On the way to “Juliet’s Balcony” is the tunnel of love. Maybe 20 feet deep, covered just like this all over!


Andreas from Sartori Vineyard reminded us to “look up” when in Verona.

Angiolini Maule vineyard veneto italy

The rest of the photos are from the Veneto breathtakingly beautiful vineyard of Angiolini Maule.

baby grapes veneto vineyard

Baby grapes.

Angiolini Maule vineyard italy

Angiolini Maule vineyard at sunset



28 Responses

  1. Wow, what absolutely beautiful photos! I think I’ll get a glass of wine and just get drunk looking at these, they already make me swoon with happiness.

    Which is why I hate to ask a boring, off-topic question, but I’ve been tasked with finding a Benjamin Moore paint that’s a “calm, sophisticated peach.” Oh boy! Any advice on that, or have you done a post previously that I can re-read? Thanks ever so much!

  2. Just. Beautiful. And amazing. Thank you for such a beautiful and interesting Sunday evening read!

    1. Hi Eleanor, This was a happy discovery. I was so intrigued by the images I saw. I created the floors in pic monkey and it amazed me each time. (it’s so easy, you just duplicate the image and turn it around and then flip it for the opposite side)

  3. Laurel, Your blog is so delightful and beautiful every time I read it but I have to especially thank you for these stone images. I gasped at each one. One day….silver onyx will be in my home or maybe bresscia violetta …or violetta crest… Or…my dreams are enriched for sure.

  4. We recently saw a fabulous array of stone from around the world located in St. Paul’s Cathedral in Minnesota. They had a gorgeous hallway lined with matchbooked deep green marble. It was somehow stunning and subtle at the same time. If you are ever in town, I recommend taking a guided tour, it’s a history lesson regarding the building and design process, rather than a religion lesson. We were so impressed by the materials, designs and details that went into the church, especially considering its age!

    1. Hi Morgan,

      Sounds exquisite! I’ve always been impressed with the gothic cathedrals built during the Renaissance. Lots and lots of scaffolding, I guess. But the relatively modern ones here are spectacular too!

  5. Amazing stone specimens, true wonders of nature. Not sure I care for man’s manipulation of them though. To me it takes away from their beauty, but that’s just me. Love your photos of Italy, hope to get there one day. I look forward to your posts, very inspiring, interesting and entertaining.

    1. Hi Bonnie,

      Do you mean the book matching? That’s not manipulating the stone at all! It’s simply taking four cuts from the same slab and laying them so that they make a symmetrical pattern. That’s what’s so cool. It looks like a man-made pattern, but it’s not.

      1. Yes, I was referring to the book matching of the stones. Maybe manipulating is the wrong word to use but I was referring to man’s juxtaposing the stones to create a pattern not found in nature. Had this symmetry been found in nature I’d be blown away. Still, I can see how those looking for the dramatic statement would love this concept.

  6. What is the price per square foot for this material and is it available in the US? I have visited Rome twice and the marble floors are exquisite!

    1. Hi Dena,

      Antolini is a wholesaler. So, most places that sell stone probably buy from them. As for price. That varies widely, depending on the stone, thickness, etc.

  7. I especially love your photos of Verona and surrounding countryside. What beautiful buildings, balconies and shutters. As for the countryside, you captured that beautiful quality of light I remember from my days in Italy. I’m so happy that you got to see and experience Italy. Makes me dream of travel again. Hope you are recovering from your cold or flu. It’s no fun getting sick when you’re overseas, I’ve been there! In the end though, it’s always worth it, as your posts so clearly show. Thanks for sharing your travels with us!

    1. Hi Maggie,

      Thanks so much! This thing is taking its time leaving, but I think we forget that some colds really do take two weeks before we should do anything strenuous like I tried to do yesterday. It’s okay, I slept it off.

  8. I loved when you wrote “A Rorshach Test? lol”, that is exactly what I was thinking while looking at these granites! haha

    They are not for me, but I can see them in a home that is going for pure drama. Thanks for another great post. 🙂

  9. As always, I enjoyed your latest post, Laurel! I am a home stager, and review new real estate listings daily. Wouldn’t you know that TODAY this one pops up that offers a LOT of matchbooking!?! http://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sale/101-northwood-drive,-easton-ct_rb/?fromHomePage=true&shouldFireSellPageImplicitClaimGA=false&fromHomePageTab=buy
    The timing was too perfect not to share with you. I must say, a little can go a long way because I’m starting to see faces in some of these patterns. Wonder what THAT says about me? Have a great day, Julia

    1. Julia, wow – what a great way to get an idea of how the stones Laurel showed would look in a residential setting. Thank you for sharing!

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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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