A designer shows you how to work the natural wonder of stone into your home with dramatic effect
Who: Hisham Janabi of Stone-Tech
Where: Northmead, Sydney
In his own words: “The beauty of stone is that it never repeats; no-one has the same piece. It’s like an artwork that has its signature in nature. You can create your own unique collection.”
Like most art movements, stone has seen many twists and turns in its application; from the rounded red, green and cream benchtops of the ’80s and ’90s to the angular lines and neutral tones of the ’00s. Stone, such as granite, marble and travertine, can have many faces – from rustic beauty to sophisticated polish. It’s durable, it’s strong, and the possibility of its colours, veins and grains are endless. According to Hisham Janabi, who owns Stone-Tech in Sydney, it’s these characteristics that make stone a sure-fire way to bring enduring, natural beauty to your home.
360° approach. Janabi has studied stone from all angles. Originally from the Middle East, his first experience with stone was while working as an engineer in underground excavation. When he moved to Sydney 26 years ago, he began to see stone in a new light and took on a role as a designer for Stone-Tech, a stone importer, manufacturer and retailer. “I began to explore the finish side; how it looks, how it ages,” he says.
Janabi now owns the business and says whether you’re using stone for its aesthetics or its natural durability and texture, “the most important thing to remember is that stone is a living thing.”
Stone creates visual impact but don’t forget the tactile quality, Janabi says. “When you look at a piece of stone, what do you do? You touch it. You get energy from it,” he says. This material has an emotional quality that makes every piece unique and encourages people to react to it in a personal way. The real fun begins when you explore new places in the home in which to add stone, and discover new ways to use it. “I’ve never seen a stone colour I could classify as ugly, the only question is: ‘Does it work for you?’,” he says.
For creative ways stone can make a big impression in your home, follow Janabi’s tips below.
Try a Waterfall-Effect Benchtop
Stone is often too beautiful to be cut short and by expanding a benchtop to the floor, the intricate patterns can flow from top to bottom, “It’s like a waterfall,” Janabi says, “and whether seen close up or from a distance, it can create a striking focal point.”
In this Cecil Hills kitchen, the beautiful veins of marble stand out like a painting. A sealant has been added to reduce scratches and stains. “Remember, like any stone, marble is subject to defects. If you go to historical sites, you’ll see chips and cracks. That’s the beauty of this natural product,” Janabi says.
Use Stone in Unexpected Places
Stone isn’t often considered for hallways but can add a warm and welcoming feel to an entrance. “Just be careful with tone,” Janabi says, “my advice is to avoid darker shades if you don’t have enough light.”
Although stone can be expensive, it can add immense aesthetic value, Janabi says. An example of this appears in this Vaucluse stairway, where stunning travertine steps float “like blades coming from the wall.”
“Marble should be shown off,” Janabi says, “otherwise there’s no point in using it.” Opting for a larger surface area and using a technique such as mitering to provide the illusion of thickness means your ability to show off the veining is heightened.
In this Kellyville bathroom, a semi-recessed basin sits in a Calacatta marble benchtop. “The pattern looks like paint has spilled on top and naturally slipped down,” Janabi says. “The closer you look, the more you see.”
For more information on Hisham Janabi and examples of his work, visit Stone-Tech’s Houzz profile.