Mad About . . .

Mad About Marble

8th July 2013

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.


marble from


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.

white marble from

white marble from

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.

marble from AG_London_Kitchen_Renovation_01

marble from AG London Kitchen Renovation

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.

white marble from scandinaviawithlove

white marble splashback from scandinaviawithlove

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.


white marble from tumblr

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.

frederic berthier's apartment uses lots of white marble

the architect frederic berthier’s apartment uses lots of white marble

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.

from fredric berthier's apartment

from fredric berthier’s apartment

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.


photo by Adrian Briscoe for Original BTC who made the copper lights

And, finally, given the temperature outside, how about this for a finisher?





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  • Jill Cox 8th July 2013 at 11:51 am

    I couldn’t agree with you more Kate. When we moved into the house before this (40 years ago) which was a wreck, I had that same feeling about marble worktops. As we were doing up this wreck on a budget, I went to the local funeral tombstones place where they said we’ve had a few requests for bathroom tops but NOT KITCHENS..!! Anyway they came and measured it, cut it all to size (this was quite a big kitchen) and it was CHEAPER than formica!!! The people who bought our house loved it as well.. Now, of course the tombstone people have caught on to the fact!! Sob! I haven’t got it here!!

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 9th July 2013 at 11:07 am

      What a fantastic idea Jill! I agree with you – such a shame they’ve caught onto it. One day I will have some, perhaps just a tiny bit …

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