Saturday, August 7, 2010

You Are My Soapstone, My Only Soapstone...

So today was quite the journey. Up at 730 (way too early for a Saturday), on the road by 815, headed to a little town called Perkasie, PA. The kids had their Pringles and their magazines and their game-playing devices to keep them occupied on the 2 hour+  drive toward Bucks County Soapstone, a swell place with some absolutely amazing stonework. We were already planning on purchasing our countertops and sink (among other things) from them, but wanted to see their work in person and also look at some slabs.
This is the outside wall of the showroom--incredible, isn't it?
Upon entering (30 minutes early---Shmoogle's Internet map service was waaay off) we were kindly greeted by Scott. We wandered about the showroom for a bit, taking in the different sinks, tiles, tabletops and counters; some were left in the more natural light grey state, while others were oiled to a rich dark almost-black. We were also interested to see these:
Soapstone and copper cookware--so pretty!

Apparently, because of the stone's thermal properties, food cooks evenly, stays warm longer, and the stone doesn't alter taste as metal can. I had heard you can thaw frozen meat pretty quickly on a soapstone counter, so I guess cooking with it isn't so surprising!

Check out this floor!

After a little while we were invited to join Scott in a tour of the workshop. Here we saw the amazing sand/water machine used to cut the slabs of soapstone into various shapes (templates are read from an attached computer). We also saw the room where they make the incredible block sinks. Water at high pressure hits a massive hunk of stone and turns it into this:
Block sink with bow front
Close-up of the inside--look, Ma, no sharp corners!
This looks like a dream to clean with those rounded corners. The stone feels so smooth and cool, it's very difficult to stop touching it!

C and I went over our wish list with Scott, while the kids played chess on an inlaid soapstone board built-in to a bar top. We discussed hand-worked Franklin edges, scoop front sinks, a small 2" backsplash, and windowsills for our two kitchen windows. It's a lot of beautiful stone. We also went over plans for the wrapper disposal hole in the snack station, and Scott even suggested a great idea for a cover, shaped like a cork (no yucky edges to trap gunk).
Backsplash with a furniture look
Finally, we were shown pictures of different slabs so Scott could get an idea of what we like. Of course we loved all of the ones with tons of movement and fabulous veining. Kind of like this piece in the showroom:
Wowza, right?
All the more amazing, when the time comes, the Bucks County crew will drive all the way out to our home with their incredible templating machine, and a week later, they will return ready to install our gorgeous soapstone. Here are some videos to show you more of the process if you're interested.

Thanks to Bucks County Soapstone for an informative, fun morning!

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