Marble Chic
Karen Parr-Moody

Marble is a material that, while popular for the bath and kitchen, also works in every room in the house. It can go from classic to contemporary, depending on the application. And while it can be over-the-top — seen by some decorators as too "nouveau rich"  —  there is no mistaking its fundamental beauty. Because when done subtly — a hint of marble here, a dramatic slab there — there's nothing else like it.

To start with an everyday use of marble, there's this classic mortar and pestle (photo, right; $68.95; Booth B-210). Such an instrument, used in the kitchen for grinding spices and the like, has roots in antiquity that stretch back thousands of years. Today they are seen as elegant and classic pieces of kitchenware that also happen to be useful. The marble mortar and pestles are also great options as gifts due to their inherent beauty — they certainly make for lovely wedding tokens. A piece of marble used as a pastry board would be a nice matching piece for this mortar and pestle.

In my humble opinion, marble is best done in moderate quantities. If you have a room that requires just a hint of glam, then this table in the photo, left, is the ticket ($68; Booth B-1006). It is a vintage table painted grey with an inset of the beautiful white, Carrara marble. Cararra marble is the crème de la crème of marble, sought out for its clean, cool beauty. It can be seen in columns and sculptures  — in fact, readers of "The Agony and the Ecstasy" will remember that Michelangelo often journeyed to the Italian town of Carrara to acquire this white marble, as the marble of Rome was mediocre and showed noticeable veins. His sculptures David and The Pietà are made from Cararra marble.

A veined marble slab can be beautiful for a dining table, especially when whites and grays are the prime room colors; all that is needed is a few pops of color. The table in the photo, right, has a sturdy iron base, like those in the bistros of Paris ($295; Booth B-2012). Does it not make you want to sit down with a cappuccino and some madeleines and daydream of far-flung places? It does me. I could see this table bringing some vintage glamour to a country or cottage kitchen.
A small quantity of a luxe material gives a room some glamour without making it look overdone. These gorgeous, grey-veined lamps in the photo, left, provide the perfect usage of marble (each lamp $95; Booth B-106). If one looks closely, one can see beautiful rope-like carvings that encircle the lamps. At their bases, there are subtle leaf carvings, almost like those of a lotus. The trick to making these lamps sing is to get the right lampshades. I'm thinking a dark color would contrast with the white while bringing out the beautiful grey veining. So go for either a satiny gunmetal color or black. Or how about eggplant or turquoise silk drums? So many choices, and any would enhance the inherent beauty of these lamps.

I personally wouldn't want a house filled with tons of marble for the showy value alone. But at GasLamp, one can find so many tasteful marble items that there's no reason not to dabble with this material, which is simultaneously durable and chic, and will certainly never go out of style.


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