There’s nothing like making a statement in your kitchen, bathroom, or laundry than with a quality stone benchtop. A recent visit to Sandman Stone’s showroom revealed there is a seemingly endless choice options available too.
A statement stone bench can be the hero piece of any kitchen. Whether its reconstituted (engineered stone) or granite or marble, Geelong’s Sandman Stone are the experts when it comes to fabrication and installation. Owners, Sandra and Manuel Oliveira (pictured) are supported by a team who pride themselves on the quality of their workmanship.
And if you’re wondering about the name? SANDra + MANuel = SANDMAN Stone.
Let’s look at some popular choices in stone benchtops.
So what’s new at Sandman Stone?
Sandman Stone is the Geelong supplier of Lithostone, an engineered stone surface.
“It’s cost effective and has a sophisticated palette of 28 colours varying in textured from soft mineral flecks, to unique veining which compliments any design application,” explains Manuel.
The newest range was designed to be non-intrusive and create a safer work environment for stone fabricators. V Surfaces by Lithostone has low Silica content and is the first of its kind in Australia. The slabs have been lab and CSIRO tested. It’s manufactured in the same way as other stone using the same tools and machinery.
The simple Waterfall island benchtop (where the piece of stone runs vertically from the top of the benchtop to the floor on one or both sides of the benchtop) is still a popular look. Its popularity stems from being an affordable and practical design which allows the island to be used as a breakfast bar.
However, according to Manuel, we are seeing an increase in detail in the base of the island bench, making it more of a statement piece than just a practical meal preparation area.
“Most clients choose a 40mm edge for their stone benchtop. But we are loving the 20mm Shadowline benchtop minimalist trend,” says Manuel.
Shadowline means a shadow or gap is left between the top of the door and under edge of the benchtop. Often this is highlighted with a timber strip between the door and bench overhang, offering a layered cabinetry feature.
Kitchen island benches also seem to be getting bigger, making them ideal for entertaining, additional storage and functional food prep areas.
“We’re even seeing the introduction of the ‘double island’, ideal for family and friends to gather around.”
We’re starting to see some cool colours in kitchen cabinetry and a trend towards sophisticated darker colours, if only as an ‘accent colour’.
“When it comes to stone benchtops, strong patterns in the vein are becoming very popular, think Caesarstone Calacutta Nuvo, Statuario Maximus or Empira White for next level style or a subtle grey such as Georgian Bluffs or Noble Grey.”
The team at Sandman Stone are quite honest when it comes to dark, shiny stone benchtops.
“Whilst dark benchtops, such as the new Caesarstone Dark Collection are big winners in the looks department, dark stone is harder to maintain.“
This year splashbacks are also getting the attention they deserve and can be the main attraction or accentuate other prominent features.
Extending the benchtop material to the splashback can also add a streamlined look to your kitchen. Or, splash out on a feature splashback with a contrasting stone. However, There are building regulations which need to be met if using reconstituted stone splashbacks behind cook tops. The requirements are for gas cooktop: min 200mm distance from the front of the splashback to the back of the back burner and for an electrical min 50mm distance from the front to the splashback to the back of the plate.
Looking after stone
If looked after properly, a stone benchtop is exceptionally durable. Suppliers issue individual instructions on how to care for their stone.
Caesarstone® is heat resistant, however like all stone materials; Caesarstone® can be damaged by sudden and rapid surface temperature changes. A good rule of thumb is that if your hand cannot tolerate the level of heat for more than a few seconds then the heat source is too high. DO NOT PUT HOT COOKWARE DIRECTLY ON THE CAESARSTONE SURFACE. Therefore it’s always recommend placing hot pots, oven trays and fry pans directly from the oven or hot plate onto a wooden chopping board or heat trivet. Sandman Stone also recommend that electric fry pans and slow cookers are also used on a wooden chopping board.
Sandman Stone Geelong
All stone slabs are cut on site at their North Geelong factory using a fully integrated computer aided design and manufacturing process. Installers take their time to ensure quality installs to meet your standards. Great customer service and quick turn over time, from fabrication to installation, no job is too big or too small.
Showroom: 7 Hepner Place, North Geelong tel: 5278 4000 Click here to visit the Sandman Stone Website.