Set in Stone

Although glamour and luxury may not be most people's first thoughts of the stone industry, they are undeniably part of the one-of-a-kind Charles Luck Stone Center (CLSC), an almost-three-year-old design studio based on an 86-yr.-old quarry and family-run business. I had the opportunity to attend  the Richmond, Va.-founded company’s press event and learn about its plans to expand in the metro D.C. area in 2011 and metro NYC by 2012. Charles Luck aims to be a nationally respected brand by 2015.

Charles Luck President Anderson McNeill spoke at the event of the "fashion secret." He says that design is cyclical, which has been unrecognized by the stone industry until now.

Of course, stone holds a permanence and lasting value foreign to the fluctuating fashion world. "There is a need for designs that are relevant and current, but also timeless, classic," says Heidi Lasalata, director of brand marketing for Charles Luck, of the "balance between longevity and freshness."

With this in mind, Charles Luck forecasts an increase in design trends that hold lasting significance. Authenticity is a key trend now: stone tied to the history and culture of an area or individual, reclaimed stone, and products with a vintage look or background. "People want that sense of past to calm them through the chaos of today," explains director Lasalata of this design trend. Neutrals are also significant at the moment. While whiteness dominates, grey appears as well in monochromatic, streamlined settings. Charles Luck also anticipates eco-design and "new modern" surges, with an artisan trend following.

CLSC currently has an impressive portfolio, including three flagship studios, seven contractor yards, and two workshops, located in Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina. Their stylish display gardens and stoneyard workshops invite clients to take time to select the products they love. Past projects of the Center include public spaces like Washington and Lee University, University of Virginia's Rouss Hall, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Arlington National Cemetery; as well as the private Salamander Farm, Va., and Dogwood Estate, N.C.

— Lillian Civantos

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