I’ve been doing stone setting and designing now for over 32 years. One of my favorite stones to use in my stone masterpiece is soapstone. I call it the “Rich Man’s Stone.” It is quite elegant — it reminds me of money. It’s not that it is too expensive. It is more rarely seen, beautiful and exquisite.
In the United States, there are soapstone quarries on the East Coast, in Vermont, Virginia and Pennsylvania. More soapstone comes from Brazil. There are many kinds and colors of soapstone. Some colors are verde (green), aqua (bluish green-grey), grey and charcoal. Speckles and white veins are also appropriate on some kinds. You can soak soapstone with 511 Impregnator and have a natural look, or you may want a darker, wetter look — by applying many of coats mineral oil.
Soapstone can be ordered from the quarry in many sizes. Some blocks are carved into sinks and fireplace surrounds. The material is hard, but not too hard, like granite or quartz. Soapstone tools and sands easily. When done correctly, the finish is extraordinarily elegant and refined.
Most soapstone is for interior usage: countertops, sinks and carved fireplaces. I’ve been fortunate to have used soapstone for many interior and exterior projects over the years. I want to show you an exterior usage (very rare). This marriage of two stones is perfect. Soapstone were cut into an Ashlar Pattern and a Running Bond Pattern. Every tile was scrutinized as to where it would look the best. Every tile was set individually and leveled or planed. Then I sanded the surface with a palm sander and sealed everything with 511 Impregnator. Enjoy the pictures.
All of the stone work in these pictures was designed and installed by Jeff Sellen, a South Snohomish County-based industrial designer and sole owner of J.D. Sellen Tile Co. Sellen has been in business for over 32 years. You can learn more at jeffsellendesigns.com. Email him at [email protected] or call 425-444-5754