Gracing some of the most revered architectural structures in the world, marble has written a legacy of elegance and sophistication into the history of design, but walk into many of the homes we represent today and one thing is clear: this look isn’t just living in a text book. Once used in large quantities to form floors, walls and bulky pieces of furniture, this stone—and more commonly the man-made variations that resemble it—is complementing contemporary homes in small doses.
Mitra Shahi, President of La Maison Interior Design and current curator of Partners Trust’s retail concept Openhouse, has watched this trend evolve in new Los Angeles homes. This is owed, in part, she says, to a resurgence of the clean Cape Cod style that seems to be on every homebuyer’s list, but it’s versatile enough to modernize almost any interior style.
So, how do you incorporate this timeless accent into contemporary interior design?
Subtle marble patterns can make stunning countertops or islands to complement the cleanliness of white cabinetry or the contrast of painted wood. At Santa Monica’s 238 19th Street, a nearly seamless white slab of stone complements blue-gray hues and blonde wide-plank wood flooring—the epitome of contemporary California interiors.
Mitra notes that, more often than not, these stones tend to be man-made imitations like Caesarstone, which can actually have its benefits. “A lot of pieces you see in kitchens these days look like marble but it’s not because marble absorbs anything,” she says. “It’s very porous, and if you drop a glass of wine it will stain but these man made pieces do not.”
The enduring popularity of traditional homes parallels an equally strong trend in simplicity. Modern is simple, according to Mitra, and marble fits right in. “It’s very clean, white, but also has some lines in it so it gives a bit of movement to the space,” she says.
While more Coastal Spanish than Cape Cod, the clean, white contemporary aesthetic of Santa Monica’s new-to-market 446 25th Street brings subtle movement into its kitchen by way of a marble-print backsplash.
Marble decor doesn’t have to be built in. If you’re looking for small contemporary updates to your current home, try introducing marble dinnerware or flatware. Offered abundantly on retail, from Neiman Marcus to Anthropologie, it won’t be difficult to deck out your next dinner party with marble accents. You’ll also find an amplitude of marble-clad lighting, like this Pillar Table Lamp from West Elm.
Nothing frames a peaceful meditative morning routine like bright, clean marble, especially when complemented by awe-inspiring views like the master shower in Malibu’s 1 Brown Latigo Street.
Desk Tops & Laptops
Incorporate marble into an office to bring elegance to an otherwise bright and productivity-inducing environment. Sit down every day at a gold-framed marble desk or, better yet, cover your laptop, keyboard and all, with a marble keyboard skin to take this touch of contemporary class with you to the office.
Design ebbs and flows with the years and seasons, but this single trend may outlive the new Los Angeles homes of today. “Marble is always going to stay in fashion,” Mitra says. “Whether it’s used in modern, contemporary or traditional ways, it will always be part of the home.”