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Salt of the earth

Words by Dan Warden | Images by Kelly Paige

The product of heat and pressure over millions of years, natural stone has long been associated with the realisation of luxury homes and interiors.

If you cast your eye over the interiors and finishes of any luxury home, be it a Pinterest board, an Instagram story or the latest interior design magazines, what will likely stand out as a recurrent theme is a clear attention to detail in the curation of everything that combines to bring it to life. More often than not, the solutions that the interior designers and tradesmen have used to complete the space, be it a single room or an entire house, are rarely ‘off the shelf’. They are bespoke – carefully considered, meticulously designed and crafted to fit, in order to maximise on the available space and dovetail beautifully (or in deliberate contrast, depending on style!) with the wider interior scheme.

What you can’t usually see in such images, is the process that the property owners went through in order to bring their vision to life. Nor the experience they had with the brands, businesses and tradesmen that helped them to do so. At Duke Stone of Cornwall, theirs is an ethos that’s all about bringing customers’ visions to life with a high-quality experience. From discussing initial ideas with them, then drilling down to the fine details and eventually overseeing the installation, Duke Stone aims to ensure the entire experience is enjoyable for each and every client. And rightly so; if you’re investing in your home and improving it for the years to come, it should be an exciting process, not one that has you tearing your hair out at every turn.

Duke Stone of Cornwall provide clients with the opportunity to upgrade existing and new-build properties with bespoke kitchen worktops, bathrooms, flooring and more. And, as the name suggests, its speciality is stone. At the core of the business is quality of product and customer service. As skilled stonemasons who specialise in the design and manufacture of natural stone products, the team’s passion for the materials with which they work is evident. There is an immense pride not only in the quality of what they do, but in their ability to meet each customer’s individual requirements, however large or small.

From the offset of any new interior project, a key choice is the materials you’ll use. Whatever the options, be it wood, metal or stone, you have to ask yourself: what are the benefits? With stone, there is no short answer. Another point worthy of note, is the uniqueness that each piece of natural stone brings to your interior. Each and every stone is different, with its own quirks and imperfections, making each creation truly one of a kind. It’s strong and durable, with timeless appeal and natural beauty. Natural products such as the granite and quartzite are one of a kind, meaning that they are always completely unique to each customer. There are also a range of finishes available with natural stone, from high-gloss polish to more tactile, leathered finishes.

A wide range of materials is made use of. These include natural products such as granite, marble and quartzite, as well as man-made products such as quartz (a mixture of natural stone and resin) like that of Consentino, and sintered stone, including Dekton and Neolith – manufactured from natural stone, which is powdered and treated under extreme heat and pressure. The materials come in a huge range of colours, patterns and styles, too, and if a customer is unsure of what direction to go in, the team are happy to meet and show them around their workshops, giving them the chance to see plenty of samples as well as full slabs. An added appeal – at a time when sustainability and reducing our environmental footprint has never been more important – is that Duke Stone’s suppliers are beginning to adapt and introduce greener ways of producing stone. With innovation and advanced technology, factories are now able to use renewable energy, recycled water and even recycled materials to produce the products we rely on.

So, how might you go about incorporating stone into your home? Specifically in the kitchen, there are a number of ways in which you can use it. Worktops are the obvious example, and the Duke Stone team take us to a number of recent projects in which various stone products have been incorporated to provide an impressive level of functionality. One in particular – a kitchen incorporating Sensa Black Beauty – has recessed draining grooves routed into the section immediately adjacent to the sink. Others have been fused with steel pan rods, protecting the worktops from heat, while some have done away entirely with a traditional sink, replacing it with an integrated stone basin – hewn of the same material as the rest of the worktops and flowing seamlessly with them. Perhaps most impressive, is a recent project that saw a substantial, original water tank – made from Delabole Slate – into a stunning set of worktops for the property’s new kitchen. The tank in question was 200 years old, and was carefully removed and brought back to the workshop, where the team restored and repurposed the stone into beautiful kitchen worktops. This included a showstopper island, which was once the bottom of the water tank. The island top is 10cm thick, and showcases the pearlescent grain that runs through the slate.

Projects like this, whilst a rarity, are testament to the team’s expertise. The majority of their work is supply and installation, ranging from affordable quality worktops to high-end luxury homes and developments, but regardless of the project, Duke Stone thrive on quality of finishes down to the tiniest of details, and are always eager to take on ambitious creative briefs.

Ultimately, where Duke Stone excels, is in enabling clients to bring the beauty of Cornwall’s natural surroundings into their home and benefit from the kind of timeless durability that, in today’s world of fast-fashion and throwaway design, is becoming increasingly rare.


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