By embracing imperfections you embrace character
Updated: Mar 29
Let me preface this by saying that lifestyle plays a substantial role in the way you should design and select materials for you, or your clients, home. With that being said, I will ask you to imagine pictures you’ve seen of centuries old European homes. Now picture the kitchens and bathrooms in those homes, do you see beautiful stone countertops and wood flooring? I'd wager that there is about a 99% chance that there is either one or both that are original to those spaces.
Somehow, we’ve gotten it into our heads that everything we own should be perpetually shiny, new and absent of flaws when in actuality those flaws, or perceived imperfections, add character and interest. I've seen it time and again, someone shows me an image of a kitchen or a bathroom that they absolutely love, depicting natural stone but when it comes time to approve the material, they feel like it has too much range or movement and they want more uniformity. I then break out the image they first showed me, and fell in love with, and point out all the range and movement depicted. When the stone or wood sample is put in front of them there is a tendency to hyper focus on every little perceived flaw rather than thinking about it on the whole, understanding and accepting that each one of those characteristics is what lends to the overall beauty of a natural material. It is our job as designers to both qualify and educate our clients on the materials we are incorporating into the design of their home to ensure they have an understanding of their materials will live. While there are some fairly good porcelain or quartz stone look-a-likes they still lack the character found in natural stone. You can generally spot the look-a-likes as there are often repeats in the pattern (or face) and the movement may have been minimized if perceived to be undesirable.
Yes, the porcelain and quartz versions are lower maintenance, and don't often require sealing, however if you pay close attention to the care and maintenance you'll see that you should still use a stone cleaner on quartz countertops, avoid putting anything hot directly on it, avoid cutting on it, do not use bleach or harsh chemicals to clean it, and you should not use abrasive cleaners or sponges, just to name a few. Part of our interior design services include a care and maintenance packet for the finishes we select for your home.
No matter the material signs of everyday life are quite likely to show up on any surface you put in your home. I'm not saying you shouldn't still make every effort to take care of your materials but just understand life happens and much like humans we shouldn't expect the finishes in our homes to be perfect and free of flaws. If you can accept those perceived flaws, and that natural materials will have inherent imperfections, as well signs of everyday life, nothing can match the beauty, depth and character of natural stone or wood.