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Crafting a Stone Countertop with Mario

Martha Stewart Living Television

When Martha's brother George Christiansen and sister-in-law Rita decided to renovate their kitchen, they wanted to install stone countertops because of their natural beauty and durability. 

They went to the Fordham Marble Factory showroom in Stamford, Connecticut, to choose a suitable type of stone. George and Rita initially considered limestone and white marble, both of which they decided stain too easily, as well as slate, which was too dark and monotone for their kitchen. They ultimately settled on gray-green-veined 'Verde Candisa' granite with a polished finish -- a nonporous, rich-looking material that is virtually stainproof. Granite is one of the most durable surfaces for countertops, and some varieties, like the Christiansens' stone, have wide, sweeping veins similar to marble; others have a consistently speckled surface. The finish can be polished or honed -- the latter technique creates a smooth but more matte, eggshell-like surface.

The Christiansens' large slab of stone was quarried in Brazil, and brought to Fordham Marble's fabrication facility and warehouse in New York City. Founded in 1905 by Italian master stone crafter Salvatore Salvo, Fordham Marble is now owned and run by his descendant Mario Salvo. Mario recommends that buyers always approve raw slabs of stone before they are cut to fit a space. Although Fordham Marble keeps large slabs of stone on the premises to give customers a clear vision of what their options will look like, each slab of stone has inherent natural variations that contribute to its unique beauty. If there is a discoloration or patternless spot, chances are the stone can be cut so that the imperfection is located in an inconspicuous part of the countertop.

Once a customer approves a stone, Fordham Marble creates a template and cuts the stone to the correct dimensions with a computerized milling machine whose cutting wheel is made out of diamonds. The machine sprays water as it cuts, which keeps the stone cool, prevents chipping, and minimizes dust. After the stone has been cut, the surface polished or honed, and the edges finished, it is ready to be transported and installed.

Resources
Learn more about Fordham Marble.