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How to design with book-matched marble
This designer-approved trick doubles any surface's appeal...
Luke Arthur Wells
written on: 12-06-2019 09:00am
Whether real stone or a faux alternative, marble surfaces have long been a popular choice for bathroom and kitchen walls. However, when looking at covering an expanse as large as a wall, getting a seamless piece is largely going to be out of the question, for both, the availability of supersized slabs and installing it in a property.
Of course, when designing with a strongly patterned piece of stone, the points where the slabs meet will clearly highlight the change in pattern, giving you a more disjointed look. By breaking these pieces down into smaller tiles, you can have far more control on the effect and make it a purposeful part of the design, but with larger slabs, where there are just two or three joins on show, this can look a little clumsy and awkward.
The go-to solution? Book-matching. As each piece of natural stone is unique, this is where two slabs are cut from the same piece of stone, so that they have identical, or near identical patterning. They are then placed side by side with one flipped around, like a book, but so that their patterns match at the join.
The result is that the lines of the marble veining don't completely change between slabs, but create a mirror image so that the lines of the pattern don't end at the join – think, the effect created by butterfly wings – for a more seamless effect.
However, the effect isn't just a problem-solver – it creates a real focal point. I liken a line of symmetry in a design to the punctum of a photograph. The eye is drawn to it as it notices it as a visual anomaly. This places an importance, then, on where this line is placed and positioned within a space. The symmetrical nature of the slabs generally means that you use it in a space where it perfectly centres on part of your design 'scene'. Placing a bathtub, for example, in the centre of book-matched slabs, will create a stunning focal point.
It's become a look that works so well that its even used with the marble effect alternatives to great effect. With more control over its appearance, this can be used in more flexible creative instances. Take a look at this veneer clad kitchen from Martin Moore, for example.
Luke is an interior designer, stylist and blogger at www.lukearthurwells.com. He’s a believer in understated interiors that don’t have to shout to be heard, and he’s currently practicing what he preaches renovating a Victorian terrace in Essex, where he lives with his partner and two pampered pups. When it comes to his design style, he loves new and interesting building materials, a carefully chosen white paint and he also has a weakness for coffee table books and a fresh bunch of eucalyptus.