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Soapstone slab layout process.

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It is time to cut our soapstone slabs. But how will these massive stone slabs conform perfectly to their designated places throughout our home? The process was far more fascinating and exciting than I expected. Due to the unique nature of our soapstone slabs I am thankful we were able to be so hands on in regards to choosing which slabs and which sections were used for each specific space in our home. Even though all of our slabs were quarried from the same quarry and at the same time, each slab has its own life, its own movement and flow, its own unique rhythm, and we wanted to find the right placement for each slab so that we could exhibit these unique features and let the soapstone truly shine!

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We purchased our stones back in April, and they have been carefully stored in a rather random warehouse ever since. We went to this warehouse last week, on an oppressively hot and humid “Fall” morning, to officially choose how to best use each piece of soapstone in our home. A fork lift with a hydraulic clamp attachment pulled our slabs out of their storage slots (much like books on a shelf, you can only see the edge of each stone slab and the edge is labeled with the project name), and placed them on large A-frames so that we could see these pieces in their full glory.

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Below: This piece sustained a minor surface scratch, easily buffed out and removed before installation.

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Like I said, the warehouse was a bit random. We tried to see if the old Chevy K-5 Blazer was for sale, sadly no.

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Now that all of the slabs were pulled out and on display, it was time to allocate which slabs were used for which spaces in our home. A few weeks ago the stone cutter came out to our house to make templates out of corrugated plastic. They cut and measured the pieces to perfectly fit atop the installed cabinets.

Below: See the white on top of the kitchen counters? Those are the corrugated plastic templates which were cut, glued, and measured at the house and then taken to the stone warehouse. They repeated this process on every future soapstone surface: kitchen counters and back splash, mudroom counter, mudroom bathroom sink and counter, bar counter, master bath counters, den fireplace hearth and surround, and the outdoor grill.

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Below: Here we are back at the warehouse on that sweltering September morning ready to use these templates to make the best use of the soapstone slabs. We chose which slabs should be used in each of the rooms and then which parts of each slab for each section of each room. We then taped the templates over the exact area of chosen stone, trying to capture and exhibit striations, movement patterns, and unique white and peach mineral deposits.

Due to the unique nature of each slab, being part of this process made us much more comfortable in regards to the allocation of the slabs and how they will look fully installed in our home. We wanted to make sure that all of the soapstone surfaces in each room were visually similar and flowed together seamlessly.  Two of the most visually important soapstone features, the full wall height back splash over the oven range and the den fireplace hearth and surround, took up most of our time. We changed our minds several times and got input from our contractor and the stone cutters. In the end we are beyond pleased with the slab layouts and we are excited to see the end result.

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Now that the perfectly measured templates are attached to the slabs the stone cutter will trace the templates onto the stone and cut the pieces out exactly as we laid them out in the warehouse. These cut slabs will then be transported to our house to find their new forever home.

Below: Birthday girl! Five years old and delightfully charming!

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Love and hugs,

Suzie

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