Marble; beautifully cool, beautifully stylish and a strong trend for 2013. Now, I will confess that I have long been a fan of white marble – particularly at the time of writing as the thermometer is nudging 30 degrees and I can think of nothing nicer than resting my forehead against a cool marble worktop.
The true white marble comes only from a small town in Tuscany called Carrara. There are other white marbles with dark veins running through which may pass themselves off as Carrara, but the true version comes from this town. There is both a Chinese and a Turkish version (the latter even calls itself Carrara marble) but they may have a slightly yellower tinge and if they’re not from Tuscany then they ain’t the real thing.
The marble mountains of Carrara are indeed an amazing site as they look like snow at first glance. And, in a parody of Dick Whittington’s London, the streets of Carrara really are paved with marble, which certainly feels, when you buy it in the UK, comparable to gold in price.
The place where we go on holiday in Italy is very close to Carrara and my children have spent many happy hours collecting small white pebbles and pieces of the marble that wash down from the quarries above to the beaches below.
In addition to the pavements, I have seen it used, almost carelessly it seems, as drinking troughs for animals, as staircases in buildings and on the way up to the post office. Driving to the beach takes us past the huge shipyards full of giant slabs of marble in huge cubes waiting to be cut and exported around the world. It’s said that Madonna has Carrara marble worktops in at least one of her kitchens.
Now, after that build up it will come as no surprise to discover that it’s pretty expensive stuff. And it’s marble, it stains. And, if you drop that glass of red wine it will shatter and stain. So it’s not for everyone.
However, you will need to weigh that against its timeless beauty: Michelangelo’s David was made from Carrara marble after all. If you’re a baker or pastry maker then you can’t beat a cool marble worktop. Of course, one option (which my mother once did) is to inset a slab of marble into a wooden worktop so you have a ready-made slab to work on.
There will be many who will try to put you off marble telling you that granite is tougher and more hardwearing, and, while they might be right, it’s your kitchen and you must follow your heart.
So here’s some inspiration for you. And do bear in mind, I’m not an expert so this is just some beautiful marble, I certainly can’t tell from a picture if it’s the genuine Carrara or not. You will have to discuss that with your contractor.
And, finally, given the temperature outside, how about this for a finisher?