The process of customization typically begins with a designer or client coming to an MML showroom with magazine clippings or even a napkin drawing of their vision. That is the beginning. From there, we guide them all the way from their idea through production to completion.
For example, a client may come to me for advice and information on building a fireplace, a kitchen hood and backsplash or even a complete build-out that includes staircases, crown moldings and several stone and tile bathrooms, etc. I will then interpret their vision and help them select the best and most appropriate custom architectural products to fit the job. Knowing the performance and limitations of all of our architectural materials helps us to successfully select the right stone for the right project — and this helps designers avoid potential problems in the long run. This is most crucial when it comes to creating customized items. Below are several instances that I’ve encountered recently regarding our process of customization.
Fireplaces: The majority of our fireplaces are custom made or modified from one of our standards since dimensions depend on the size of the firebox. Also, if a client wants a specific style, for example a Regency fireplace, I can walk them through the elements that define the style and period and incorporate this feature set into the fireplace.
Today, we see cleaner and brighter stones trending in the market and our Latte, Riviera Beige and Danby White are ascending in usage. Fireplace design now features less joints and larger one-piece mantels, moldings and jambs. The way the stones are cut is also a factor in customization. I’ve helped create a customized book matched stone for the fireplace legs. What this means is the stone is cut and opened just like a book — each side mirrors the other. This creates an almost identical and complementary pattern on both sides of the firebox. Not all marbles and granite slabs are capable of this customization but two of our architectural products, Vintage and Latte, handle the request beautifully.
Architectural Stone Rugs: A contemporary Italian lighting fixture inspired one homeowner to create a stone “rug” in their dining room. The client wanted a free and open design with swirls, flourishes and a pattern to match the chandelier that would be suspended above the table. We collectively decided on using our Seville as the primary stone color and then included other custom architectural products such as glass and travertine tiles to complement this inspiration and make it a reality.
Finishes: I’ve recently worked with an architect and designer on a new home exterior that was designed in the Tudor style. The homeowner was very specific and wanted the structure to look and feel as if the home was taken directly from the English countryside. The MML stone called Pewter was chosen and we all decided that our French Quarter, a visually reclaimed and aged finish, would accomplish and enhance the homeowner’s vision. We then produced a custom-controlled sample on one of the window sills and it really hit the mark. The weathered appearance of the design really pleased the client.
These are just a few samples of the way MML handles customization. The truth is, if the designer or homeowner can dream-up a project, chances are we will figure out a way to bring it to fruition. The key, I believe, is in knowing the custom architectural products that specifically work for each endeavor.
Having the knowledge about each element and understanding which stones can be manufactured in larger slabs is a very good start.