Of course, stone veneer looks right at home on exteriors, where it’s used for everything from chimney surrounds, columns and porch steps to window casings and outdoor kitchens and fire pits. High-end Los Angeles-based custom builder
BEFORE. Fireplace surrounds are one of the most common uses for stone veneer. As these photos show, it can dramatically change the look of a space. Photo courtesy of Russ Hemmis.
and designer Janna Levenstein uses stone veneer on exteriors and interiors because it allows her to get the look of stone without extensive foundation work.
“I build structural walls all the time and slap stone on everything,” she says. That includes an exterior wall of her own house, which she veneered with a lustrous grey travertine marble and wrapped inside the garage.
A Focal Point for Any Room While fireplace surrounds are the most common interior use of stone veneer, the material also provides a great look for an accent wall in a living room, family room, dining room or kitchen.
“You have a difficult time getting texture into most rooms,” says Oklahoma City-based interior designer Karen Black-Sigler. “Stone veneer is a wonderful way to do that. Artwork looks great hanging on natural stone when it’s properly lit.”
A certified kitchen designer, Black-Sigler uses stone and brick veneer extensively in kitchens. It can be used to frame a ventilation hood for a stunning centerpiece to the room. Brick veneer, when it’s properly sealed, makes a terrific backsplash that’s easy to clean. She has a brick veneer on the walls of her own kitchen and found several advantages over the real thing. Because it’s so much thinner, she got more usable space out of her kitchen, and a tile setter could set the material instead of having to call in a more expensive mason.
She has also used brick veneer to cover barrel ceilings. “You’ll see them most in a wine room or wine cellar,” she notes. “We’ve also done barrel ceilings in entryways and powder rooms.”
AFTER. Fireplace surround with stone veneer. Photo courtesy of Russ Hemmis.
Limitless Options Chicago-based interior designer Ruth Mortensen from Susan Fredman & Associates says there’s literally no end to the possible applications for stone veneer.
“This is lightweight material,” she says. “You could do hallways, kitchens, family rooms—there are interesting applications everywhere. You could do a wall in a stairwell or put two stone pillars around a refrigerator; you could have some fun in a kitchen.”
Mortensen used it recently to redo a family room that had a fireplace clad in tile and mirrors, which she replaced with slate veneer. She also used it for the opposite wall, which has built-in niches for the stereo and plasma TV. It would have been impossible with full-sized stone.
“The whole thing is on a concrete slab,” she says. “Stone would be too heavy. Who knows what weight [the slab] would bear? The veneer looks very cool.”