How to Care for a Marble Fireplace

How to Care for a Marble Fireplace

Marble may be one of the most recognizable natural stones available and the fact that it has been used as a building material for thousands of years attests to its durability and beauty. Marble fireplaces can be found in homes built hundreds of years ago but they have made a comeback in recent years. Although marble is durable, it is very porous and much softer than granite or other types of stone. It is prone to staining unless it is maintained properly. These tips will help you keep your marble fireplace clean and looking as stunning as it did the day it was installed.

Oil-Based Stains

If you have noticed dark stains on your marble fireplace, you may be seeing the results of an oil-based stain. This could be grease, tar, cooking oil, milk or cosmetics, some of which may be the result of burning the fireplace and others due to spills from people near the fireplace. Oil-based stones need to be cleaned quickly to avoid staining. Use a soft, liquid cleaner and bleach, household detergent, ammonia, mineral spirits or acetone to pull oil-based stains from your marble. You can also create a poultice of baking soda and water or purchase a commercial poultice material that may be mixed with mineral spirits.

Organic Materials

Your fireplace can be stained by organic materials as well. Coffee, tea or food spilled on the fireplace or the use of tobacco near the marble can lead to staining. The color of the stain may depend on what type of substance caused it. Food like tomato based sauces or wine may leave a pink-colored stain while coffee, tobacco or tea will leave a stain that with brown coloring. Create a solution of 12 percent hydrogen peroxide, water and a small amount of ammonia to remove the stain. The hydrogen peroxide should be the same strength as that used in hair dye.

Water Stains

If someone leaves a glass sitting on your fireplace or spills water across the surface of the granite, it can leave a stain. The stain will look very similar to a water stain on wooden furniture. You can remove the spots with a dry 0000 steel wool pad. Be careful not to scrub too hard to avoid scratching the surface of the marble.

Markers and Ink

If your child decided to decorate your mantle using felt-tip markers, Biro pens or other types of ink, your marble may still be salvageable. If your fireplace is of light marble, use bleach or hydrogen peroxide in small quantities to prevent stripping the color. If your marble is dark, you can use acetone or lacquer thinner to remove the ink.

Paint Drips

No matter how careful you try to be when you paint, you inevitably drip paint from the brush or roller. If you neglected to see the paint in time to wipe it up while it is wet, you can still remove it from your marble fireplace. You may be able to simple scrape the dried paint with a blade or a small amount of acetone. If the spill is fairly large, you will need to use commercial paint stripper with lye or caustic soda. Never use acid or flames to remove the paint from marble. You may want to seek the help of a professional if the paint spill is significant, especially if it is oil-based paint as this may cause an additional stain even when the paint itself is removed.

Soot and Fire Residue

Burning a fireplace causes soot and other fire residue to be dispersed throughout the room. Black or gray streaks could mean your marble has soot stains. These can easily be cleaned using mild soap and warm water on a regular basis. If you had an incident with your fireplace that has led to burns in your marble, you will need to seek the assistance of a professional who may use special smoke and burn removers to bring your fireplace back to its original beauty.

Rust or Other Metal Stains

Decorative fire tools look beautiful sitting next to the fireplace, but they can lead to staining. Metal can lead to rust from iron, copper or stainless steel. Nails and screws near the fireplace can also lead to rust stains. Iron and rust appear to be orange or brown while copper and bronze have a green or muddy brown tint. To remove metal stains, create a poultice using a liquid cleaner mixed with a white absorbent material to form a paste. Copper stains can be removed using a poultice of commercial poultice powder mixed with ammonia while iron or rust can be removed using a poultice made from diatomaceous earth and rust remover. It may take several treatments to completely remove the stain although a deep stain may require a professional to remove it.

Mold and Mildew

If the room where your fireplace is located is damp, like in a basement, you may notice powdery brown or green substances on the surface. This can be mold, mildew or fungi. You can create a solution of ½ cup ammonia, bleach or hydrogen peroxide in a gallon of water to remove the stains. Never mix ammonia and bleach as it can create a lethal toxic gas. Choose only one of the three options for your solution.

Regular Cleaning

You can keep your marble fireplace looking beautiful with some simple tips. Always use a soft microfiber cloth to remove dust and dirt. Only use warm, not hot, water and lightly rub any stains with the cloth, increasing pressure if the stain is difficult. Rinse the cloth often to prevent streaking. If possible, use distilled water as impurities can lead to staining as well. Once it is clean, dry with a soft cloth as air-drying can lead to streaks or water spots. Do not use white vinegar or limescale removers. These products contain acids that may damage the surface. Baking soda should be used carefully as it is abrasive and could damage the finish. Marble wax can be added to bring out more of the shine as well.

Using a Poultice

Your poultice should be the consistency of peanut butter or toothpaste. Dampen the stained area with warm water and spread the poultice over the stain. You will want it to be about a half-inch thick and overlap somewhat over the sides. Cover the poultice with a plastic bag or plastic wrap and seal with tape. Let it dry for between 24 and 48 hours. You can lift a corner of the bag and wipe a small spot to see if the stain is still there after 24 hours. If it is, replace the small amount of poultice and cover it again, waiting another 24 hours. Once you feel the stain is gone, remove the poultice and clean the area with warm water. Dry with a soft cloth. If the stain is still visible, repeat the process as it may take several attempts to get stubborn stains out.

If you need assistance getting stains out of your marble fireplace, contact us today. We can help guide you through the process and get your marble fireplace back to its beautiful condition. Call or fill out the easy online form today.

How To Plan A Outdoor Kitchen

How To Plan A Outdoor Kitchen

Have you ever watched a movie where you see a friendly party among family and/or friends, and they have an exceptionally nice back yard? I don’t mean that it’s just big, or well-manicured. I mean, on top of a pool and an excellent patio, they also have a full-on working kitchen out there, which can be used to prepare just about any meal for any sized crowd.

This seems like something made up for Hollywood, or at the very least, like something only the rich could afford. Believe it or not, the outdoor kitchen is increasing in popularity, especially in areas with at least half a year of mostly clement weather wherein they can be enjoyed.

Outdoor kitchens aren’t that costly to implement, in as much as any major addition to your home can be inexpensive. It all comes down to how much of this you can do yourself, and how much of it you need a contractor’s help with. You can save a lot of money just by doing your own planning, acquisitions and so on, and just leaving the construction and implementation of things to skilled contractors.

Today, we’re going to talk about the concerns regarding an outdoor kitchen – what to consider, how to handle certain hurdles, and how to stay on top of the seemingly daunting logistics of it all. It’s honestly not so bad as it may initially seem, once you know what you’re doing.

#1 – Location

This is, of course, going to be the biggest set of challenges in the whole bunch. You can’t change where your yard is, what’s around it, nor how big it is. The more land you have back there, the more freedom you have in your design and implementation of an outdoor kitchen. However, most people in the suburbs or urban areas, don’t really have vast, sprawling back yards nor much distance from their close by neighbors.

This closeness to neighbors is the first hurdle you’ll have to overcome.

  • Noise – Nobody likes a noisy neighbor. Loud parties, loud banging noises from cooking, barking dogs – all of these things can drive your neighbors crazy, and cultivate something of a pariah status for you in the neighborhood. This is why you’ll need a fence for one, most likely. Fences dampen and disperse noise fairly effectively. You’ll still be heard when someone goes outside, but they won’t hear you in the house, so no harm done as long as you don’t get too wild.
  • Light – Light can also annoy neighbors if it comes in through their windows when they’re trying to sleep. This all comes down to direction for your lights, and again, a fence goes a long way towards dampening this impingement on their peace.
  • Smoke and Smells – Cooking produces smells and smoke. While most people will rarely complain about the pleasant, nostalgia-bringing experience of smelling barbeque or other good food being cooked, anyone who’s lived in an older apartment building can vouch for one thing. Smelling everyone else’s cooking begins to feel awkward, and it does get ever so old. Implementing proper ventilation over the stove, grill and other cooking apparatus can help to channel these smells away, so they’re just a vague hint in the air for everyone else.

Of course, your neighbors aren’t the only concern when it comes to your location. You’re kind of stuck with the size and terrain of your back yard, and while terrain itself is something we’ll address in more detail shortly, size is a big issue for a lot of people.

You may think of your back yard as pretty big, but once you start populating it with more constructions, you quickly realize how deceptive large empty spaces can be. If you have an outdoor patio and/or pool, this becomes even more of an arduous challenge.

One of the smarter things to do in this case is to make use of that patio space if it’s a big enough patio. Converting one of the lateral ends to a slightly-enclosed and properly-equipped outdoor kitchen saves a lot of groundwork and makes optimal use of your space all around.

Of course, this means you have to consider foot traffic bringing food out, partygoers being able to come and go from the house without getting into the cooking line, and so on, so choose which part of the patio carefully. Remember, if you’re doing this atop existing cement or tile work, you will have to drill for water lines and drainage, as well as gas if you cook with gas.

Electric appliances outdoors can be something of an electrical safety hazard, of course.

#2 – Onto or Next to the House

This is more of a dubious question for a number of reasons. First and foremost, building onto the house means modification of your own home’s structure will be on the menu, which can be come costly, and definitely dangerous for you to do on your own.

On the other side of this, there’s the permanence of building onto the house. Whether or not this improves resale value isn’t as cut and dry as a lot of other home improvement projects, because while a lot of people love the idea, many others might actually not want another kitchen wasting space, especially if they’re not outdoorsy nor ones to entertain.

If this is your forever house, this resale value concern is less of an issue, but remember, never actually bank on your forever house being forever. Economies are unpredictable, life is unpredictable, and these culminate in there always being that off chance you may have to one day downsize or move.

The advantage of building onto the house is that you can provide sheltered access from inside, to the outdoor kitchen, where building next to or behind the house means if it’s raining, you’re going to get wet. In more wilderness areas, this also means a greater chance of running into possibly dangerous wild animals, which is at best unnerving, and at worst something leading to severe injuries and trauma.

#3 – Pros and Cons of Stand Alone Kitchens

We talked a little bit about this above, but we think it best to actually take the time to look at the pros and cons of building a stand alone kitchen, which is actually the more common choice, weather and animals notwithstanding.


  • Electrical Safety – If you’re smart, you will set up the electrical infrastructure with its own sub-box, thus if anything gets wet or damaged, it won’t wreak havoc on the entire house’s electrical stability. I’ve seen this be a problem where the electrical setup was too linear and too much demand was made on the main breaker box and main house power supply.
  • Easier Maintenance – This may seem counterintuitive, but easier maintenance does indeed come from a stand-alone kitchen. Since it’s self-contained, you have more material freedom (might we recommend some gorgeous granite, marble or travertine for your floors?). This reduces maintenance headaches where the addition was made and partnered to the house significantly.
  • More Space – Yes, space constraints are still an issue, but if you’re not attached to the house, you can use more square-like surface areas, which make for more room, which means a more overall optimized kitchen in the long run.
  • More Predictable Resale Value – Like we said, the resale value implications of an attached outdoor kitchen are uncertain, and vary wildly. However, you can predict, pretty well, the impact of an additional structure – something easily torn down if the next owner doesn’t like it, but is often more appreciated than an actual addition can be.


  • Weather – Like we said a moment ago, if it’s not attached, you have to run into the rain, and outside in the dark sometimes. While you generally wouldn’t plan to use this kitchen in the rain, rain shows up unannounced. This also means that if you live in a place with rough winters, you can’t as easily enclose and heat these outdoor areas.
  • Permits – In some areas, it’s harder to get a permit for an additional building than it is to add onto your existing property. If you really want a stand-alone outdoor kitchen, you may be facing a real, difficult journey to make the project legal.
  • Space – While you can optimize space better with a detached outdoor kitchen, you will need more net space in the back yard to do it, so it’s not illegally close to the main structure. This means that it can be hard to implement a well-done outdoor kitchen in a smaller back yard.
  • No Decks or Terraces – The terrain problem we touched on earlier is a bigger issue when it comes to detached outdoor kitchens. The terrace would have to be huge, and a deck just isn’t an option, so while you may have more freedom with materials, that’s not the case for construction practices, really.

#4 – Terraces and Decks

Naturally, you don’t have to limit yourself to just a kitchen on the ground in the back yard, and you may be forced to think outside the proverbial box if your topography is odd. Sloped back yards are common in more hilly or mountainous areas, meaning you may need a terrace or a stilted deck.

Both of these have their merits – the deck is more affordable, and provides an excellent, intimate environment that feels more like part of the house than something in the yard would. However, decks are a lot of maintenance, and if you don’t build them right, you will have maintenance nightmares for years to come.

Conversely, building a terrace is more solid, and has less maintenance, but will require more tenuous code permits, and will be costly due to the cement and earth work that’ll have to be done. It’s more permanent too, which, like building onto the house, is a dubious prospect, depending on whom you ask. Decks are easily demolished if a buyer actually hates it being there. Terraces not so much.

#5 – Testing Locations

So, whether you want to build onto your home, or build a freestanding location a little away from the house, you don’t want to begin work before seeing if the spot works during practical use. This is why, just as restaurants and events have rehearsal dinners, you should as well.

Set up indoor furniture outside to test comfortable dining, and set up a hot plate or at least a grill, and try preparing an actual full meal and serving it in the prospective locations. Note any flow problems, any potential problems for neighbors, etc.

#6 – Choosing a Contractor

If you’re satisfied that your location and layout are perfect for you, the next thing to do is to choose the right contractor to make your dream a reality. Unless you are yourself a skilled architect and carpenter, you don’t want to do this yourself, leave it in the hands of professionals.
Do your due diligence with your research. See what people are saying about the company in question, and look into their history. See if you can find some examples of their work, and see for yourself the quality you can expect from the contractor in question.

Flemington Granite

At Flemington Granite, we have decades of experience working with all kinds of stone – marble, granite, travertine, quartz, you name it. We recommend going with tasteful stone for your countertops in an outdoor kitchen. While you will have to work more to wash off water deposits, you know granite and marble can handle the weather, the heat and everything else while still looking great.

To learn more about outdoor kitchens, fill out our contact form today!

What to Consider When Planning Outdoor Patio Surfaces

What to Consider When Planning Outdoor Patio Surfaces

Outdoor living spaces are growing in popularity. Some surround pools, fireplaces or hot tubs while others are simply a place to relax, enjoy an evening with friends or enjoy the great outdoors. Designing an outdoor living space can be exciting, but there are a few tips you need to keep in mind when choosing a surface for your outdoor patio surfaces.

Determine the Use for Your Space

Before you begin planning what materials to use in your outdoor patio, you need to know what your space will predominantly be used for. You want to choose different outdoor patio surfaces for cooking areas than you will for seating areas. Some surface materials could add attractive visual elements for a sitting area that could be impractical next to your barbecue grill. You can also use a surface design to determine traffic flow.

Style of Your Home

Choose an outdoor patio surface that works well with both the exterior and interior style of your home. An old-world style home works best with blended textures and colors. If your home has a more rustic style, choose colors in Earth tones like gray, green and rust mixed with splashes of orange or gold. Keep your landscape in mind as well when choosing your patio surface so that the patio blends well with the landscape.

Preparation is Key

It is critical that you prepare the area where your outdoor space will be, although this is a step that many homeowners neglect, leading to problems later. Be sure not to add to little base material and make sure it is adequately compacted. Failure to do so could lead to cracks, breaks or sunken areas. Consider drainage issues before you install your outdoor patio surface and try to incorporate water drainage options that reuse water runoff rather than sending it into a drain.

Quality Products

Price should not be the only determining factor in the products you choose for your outdoor patio surfaces. Lower cost products may not have as long of a life as higher priced products, so you need to factor in replacement costs as well. Consider climate and function as well. Tiles with low water absorption resist cracking during freezing temperatures. If you have a pool or hot tub, consider how slipper a surface will be when people are walking with wet feet.

Creating an outdoor patio can be fun and exciting, but you need to do significant planning and preparation to be sure your patio is appealing, durable and will provide a relaxing location for your friends and family. Learn more about patio surfaces by calling one of our friendly sales staff or completing the easy form online.

Pergola, Trellis or Arbor: How Can You Tell The Difference?

Pergola, Trellis or Arbor How Can You Tell The Difference

Garden structures such as arches, arbors and pergolas can often be confused. All three can provide additional shade and filtered light for your patio or garden and they can provide you with additional hanging space for lights or climbing plants. There are a few simple tips that can help you tell the three apart.

Trellises are for Training

Trellises are designed for training vines to climb in a certain direction. It can be nothing more than a vertical screen that guides plants to climb a wall, fence or other area in your yard. It isn’t difficult to make a trellis from scratch or you can purchase one at your local hardware or department store. They come in many different versions including wire, plastic and wood. The best place for trellises is in areas where you want to hide unattractive areas or to create a vine covered wall. Be sure to choose one that will stand up to the weight of your plants, winds and weather damage.

Arches and Arbors

An arch or an arbor is something you walk under or through. In fact, you can create an arch using a trellis that continues overhead. Arches are commonly used at the entrance to gardens or to transition from one section of an outdoor area to another. Arbors are used to cover a path, frame a view or provide a focal point. They often have trellises attached for climbing plants.

Pergolas Cover Patios

A pergola can be described as a really large arbor that covers a seating area or portion of your deck or patio. Pergolas are supported by posts at each corner and may be topped with open latticework or beams. They can be free-standing or placed next to your house to create a sitting area or focal point. Although the structure can provide some shade, it leaves your seating area open to rain and other elements. However, filtered shade gives your yard a more open feeling and can actually allow more sunlight into your house as opposed to a closed-roof structure.

If you are considering adding a trellis, pergola or arch to your patio or deck, contact us to learn what options you may have. You can contact one of our friendly customer service representatives by calling us or completing our easy query form online. We can help you decide what outdoor structure will work best for you and help you get started with your project.

How to Create an Outdoor Room in Your Backyard

How to Create an Outdoor Room in Your Backyard

The trend towards making outdoor spaces another part of the home’s living spaces continues to expand. Before, there was a trend of using sliding or french doors to give an easy transition from inside of your home to your patio or deck. The trend has increased even further now. Homeowners are creating entire rooms outdoors, including outdoor living rooms and kitchens. These terrific additions have more than patio chairs and grills. They now include features traditionally only found inside of homes, including love seats, couches, wet bars, rugs, refrigerators and more.

One reason an increasing number of homeowners are expanding their living spaces outdoors is that newly built homes are now being built smaller than they previously were. By tapping into the natural beauty available outside and adding additional living spaces to enjoy, homeowners are greatly increasing their enjoyment of their homes.

You can take advantage of this trend and create your own outdoor living space. Here are some ideas about how you can make your own outdoor room shine.

Make your room easy to access

No matter what type of outdoor room you want to create, you’ll want to figure out from where it can be accessed. Access points might include a path from the back door, a driveway or a side gate. You will want to make the room accessible so that you can easily get to it without disruption. Using natural stone pavers to make a path can make an attractive way to enter the room.

Decide the type of borders your outdoor room will have

One of the first decisions you will need to make is what kind of borders your outdoor room will have. Some people find that separating the space by using a garden makes a naturally beautiful way to divide the area. Decks or patios that have overhead arbors help to make an outdoor dining area defined. When you also add storage containers and built-in benches, you’ll have additional ways to define your space.

Pick your furnishings

Because outdoor rooms are exposed to the weather, you’ll want to select furnishings that are made out of weatherproof materials. Rattan, wicker, teak and bamboo are all great choices and have the added benefit of being easy to move around. Iron is another good choice, as it is durable and attractive.

Choose your lighting

Avoid using glass floor lamps to light your outdoor room. Instead, think about the space in which your room is located and incorporate some of those details into the lighting you choose. Pathway lighting is also important, and you might want to think about adding landscape lighting as well.

Design your kitchen

A great outdoor kitchen does not have to have all of the appliances as the kitchen in your house. Outdoor kitchens generally should have a more casual feel to them. They might include tile-topped bars, mini-refrigerators, sinks, grills or a pizza oven. In most cases, people serve appetizers and other easy foods in their outdoor kitchens. Using natural stone or concrete for your countertops is also smart, as they are weather-resistant and easy to clean.

Think about comfort

You’ll want to make certain that you have a covered space so it is cooler during the summer instead of being directly under the sun. A fireplace or firepit is also a good feature to have when the weather turns cool.

Add some touches

Making your outdoor room comfortable and inviting will involve using some added touches that encourage people to linger. These might include candles, throws, coffee tables and anything else that makes your guests feel comfortable. You can also do things like installing a television or an outdoor bar.

Don’t be afraid to use bold colors or large items

You can be very creative with your color choices outdoors. For example, you might consider juxtaposing a brightly colored rug with a natural stone or concrete countertop or coffee table. Adding oversized planters or floor lamps can add additional ambiance when you create an outdoor room.

When you are ready to create an outdoor room, contact our professional designers at Flemington Granite. We can help you to transform your outdoor living space into a beautiful area in which you will be proud to entertain your family and friends.

Increase The Value Of Your Home With an Outdoor Kitchen!

Increase The Value Of Your Home With an Outdoor Kitchen

Kitchen renovations are a very popular way in which people can both beautify their homes while also increasing their homes’ values. Many people wonder if adding an outdoor kitchen will also result in an increase in value. According to real estate experts, adding one may add more to your home’s value than even an indoor kitchen renovation might.

If you renovate your kitchen inside of your house, you can expect a return on investment of up to 80 percent, a terrific return indeed. Adding a kitchen outdoors, however, may increase the value of your home from between 100 and 200 percent.

Here are some tips for getting the most out of your kitchen addition.

Make Certain You Have the Right Spaces

Besides picking the perfect space in your backyard in which to build your kitchen outside, you should make certain the kitchen itself will include spaces to dine and socialize, an area in which you can cook, a place to clean up, an area for food preparation and an area to store drinks. Each area should be large enough to allow you room to move so you won’t be too crowded while you work.

The Importance of a Roof

You should definitely add a roof structure over the top of your kitchen area. This will allow you to use it more months out of the year, including in weather that is inclement. This helps you by keeping the sun and rain from damaging your equipment and your furniture, and will have the added benefit of allowing you to continue your planned events without needing to reschedule, even if it rains.

Use Pavers

Using slabs of natural granite, travertine or slate to create a beautiful floor for your kitchen space can add functionality as well as a sense of luxuriousness. It will also be very strong and able to support your expensive equipment and furniture.

Decide on Whether to Have a Sink

You’ll want to decide whether or not to have an outdoor sink with running water. It is highly convenient to have one, but you’ll want to look at the cost of running plumbing lines to the area where you’ll have your kitchen installed. Generally, it’s less expensive the closer your kitchen will be to your home.

Weatherproof Everything

You’ll want to be sure and weatherproof your cooking equipment and other installed items. Choosing a high-quality grill made of stainless steel is a good idea, as it can withstand exposure to the elements while also being easily cleaned. Make certain your flooring is sealed as well.

Add Natural Stone Countertops and Durable Outdoor Cabinets

Natural stone countertops in outdoor kitchens can last for decades if properly sealed. They also can resist stains and the most vigorous of uses if you select the right type.

To learn more about how you can best use your backyard space and create a lovely kitchen, give us a call today, or fill in your information in our contact form.

Design Ideas To Transform Your Backyard

Design Ideas To Transform Your Backyard

Your backyard can be a terrific place to entertain your friends and family. There are many different design ideas that can help you create a beautiful and inviting outdoor space that will encourage hours of socializing and joy. Here are 25 ideas to help you get started.

Create a Gathering Place

The first step to transforming your backyard is creating an area that gives plenty of room for visitors to gather together. Simply choose your favorite spot in your backyard and place attractive seating around it for an inviting place to socialize.

Light Up Your Trees

Trees can be welcoming beacons of light with some creativity. You can use candles or Christmas lights to allow your trees to bring light to the darkness of night.

Use Patterns to Make Things Match

You can use a simple pattern in order to pull all of your decor together. For variety, choose similar designs and colors rather than identical ones for a nice thematic approach.

Use Patterns to Make Things Match

Use Outdoor Heaters to Keep People Warm

You can enjoy your backyard gathering space even in cooler weather by using outdoor heaters. They are easy to install and can encourage your guests to head outdoors even after temperatures fall.

Make a Backyard Game Space

One great backyard idea is to design a dedicated place where people can enjoy playing their favorite games. Whether you love chess, croquet or other games, you can make a space that will encourage your guests to join in on the fun.

Have an Outdoor Ice Chest to Keep your Drinks Cold

When it’s warm outside, have an outdoor ice chest on hand. This can help keep both your alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks cold and refreshing.

Mirrors to Expand Your Space

One way to make your backyard space look larger is with creatively using mirrors. You can use a large mirror or smaller ones in a style that matches your personality and preferences.

Use Water

A backyard pond or fountain can give your yard a beautiful ambiance. The sound of splashing water is calming for most people, and a fountain or pond can provide a great focal point as well.

Choose an Oversized Umbrella to Provide Shade

A giant umbrella can cover a large portion of your patio, providing a cooler environment in which to relax. Regular umbrellas don’t give you the protection you need from the sun.
Giant umbrellas also help to protect your outdoor furniture from fading.

Use Art to Add Beauty

You can add sculptures and other outdoor art to give your outdoor space a distinctive and beautiful look. Artwork can give your backyard a cultural feel while encouraging conversation.

String Lights for Elegance

You can use string lights to provide lighting at night. Since the bulbs are tiny, they are not very visible during the day. You can spread them out to give more light at night.

Add an Outdoor Swing

If you want a backyard oasis to which you can escape, try adding an outdoor swing. A nice swing can also add whimsy to your outdoor space.

Incorporate Large Rocks

Large rocks can add some additional oomph to your outdoor design. A great thing about large rocks is they require little to no maintenance.

Use Fire

Like water, an open flame adds ambiance to your outdoor space. You can add fire with torches, candles or a fire pit for friends to gather around.

Add Transitions with Archways

When your outdoor design includes several different areas, using archways can be a beautiful way to transition from one space to the next.

Add Birdhouses to Break Up Empty Wall Space

Birdhouses and feeders can break up the monotony of an empty wall space. By attracting birds, they can also bring more nature into your yard to enjoy.

Install Bluetooth Speakers

Adding tiny Bluetooth speakers can add a celebratory feel. You can play music that everyone enjoys for additional entertainment.

Pick a Smart Arrangement Your Outdoor Dining Table

When you are deciding where to place your outdoor dining or picnic table, try choosing an arrangement that faces the most attractive area of your yard. This can be a beautiful flower garden, a fountain or any other pretty view you might have.

Hang a Hammock

Like a swing, a hammock can add an area in which you can relax. They are especially terrific if you enjoy an occasional outdoor nap or for a nice place to read a book.

Add Citronella to Drive Off Bugs

Citronella torches and candles can help to keep pests away from your favorite space. The fire and light they give off also can help the area feel more intimate.

Add a Focus Spot

The best backyard designs include at least one item that acts as a focal point. This can be anything that best reflects your personality while drawing the eye.

Have a Cocktail Cart

When you plan to do a lot of outdoor entertaining, having a cocktail stand or cart available can help keep guests entertained. Carts are portable and easy to move around while a stand is a more permanent option at which guests can mix drinks.

Place a Seating Area Under a Tree

If you have a large shade tree, make use of it. Place a seating area underneath it and creatively arrange the furniture.

Block the Sun with Curtains and Drapes

For a special touch, you can use drapes and curtains to help block the sun. This can also help to make your space both unique and elegant.

Add Beauty With a Living Wall

Whether you use ivy, climbing flowers or other plants, living walls are very much in style.

To learn more about some great outdoor designs, call the professional design team at Flemington Granite. We’ll be happy to help give your yard a transformed and inspired look that you’ll love.

4 Ways Flemington Granite Can Revitalize Your Home

4 Ways Flemington Granite Can Revitalize Your Home (1)

Your home should feel like your personal sanctuary, rather than some dated space that leaves you feeling as drab as your surroundings. Many of us bought homes that had features, that while popular at the time, are now so old, they make our homes scream that they come from another time.

Rather than just settling for the tired carpet, linoleum flooring, dated backsplashes and discolored wooden decks, there are several home remodeling ideas that can be done to help make all of our homes classic and timeless.

Bathroom Remodeling


Nothing can bring out the beauty of your bathroom than choosing a lovely natural stone to give a sense of tranquility. Classic marble used on the floors and countertops can make the room shine beautifully. Granite can be used as well, coming in a variety of different colors, for a rich and inspiring appearance.

Travertine countertops and floors can provide that coolness that you want. No matter the design preferences you might have, choosing one of these natural stones as the base to work around can transform your bathroom.

To see how these different natural stones can work in your bathroom, make certain to look at our bathroom visualizer, which allows you to try different stones and colors to see what you like the best.

Livingroom Remodeling


Besides pulling out and replacing tired carpet, flooring and fixtures, nothing can transform a living room more than refacing your fireplace with natural stone. Doing so can make your fireplace into the focal point of the room, helping to draw your eyes to its beauty.

To see how different types of natural stones might look for your fireplace, you can use our stacked stone visualizer to get an idea.

Outdoor Living


Instead of replacing or varnishing the wood on your deck, try thinking about replacing it entirely with a beautiful natural-stone patio. Natural stone can be used to build a wonderful outdoor entertainment space that will blend in with the surrounding foliage.

You can build an outdoor kitchen out of natural stone for entertaining your guests. Adding touches such as beautiful fountains, columns, outdoor living patio furniture and other things can make your backyard a true place to which you can escape.

Modern Kitchen Remodeling


Either stone or engineered stone are great choices for your kitchen remodeling project. While granite is a beautiful and classic choice for floors, countertops and backsplashes, engineered stone is also terrific.

Manufactured from ground quartz that is combined with resin and pigment, engineered stone offers the same beauty as natural stone products but does not need to be resealed, is highly resistant to staining and comes in a wide range of colors.

  • Caesarstone requires no sealing and can stand up to the most vigorous of uses.
  • Pental quartz lends the same beautiful appeal as natural stone and comes in a variety of different colors, textures and levels of shine.
  • Silestone is a terrific choice for walls, backsplashes and countertops because it is engineered to be bacteria-resistant.
  • Cambria is a beautiful choice, coming in a variety of different colors and offering all that natural stone has to offer. Cambria also is highly durable and is able to stand up to almost anything. To see what the different choices might look like, you can use our kitchen visualizer.

No matter the size of your home renovation project, our team of professional designers are ready and able to help you to make your dream a reality.

We invite you to stop by our show room today to see some of what we have to offer. You can also call to schedule your appointment or simply fill in your contact information in the provided form and we will get back with you shortly.

Need More Inspiration? Use Pinterest and Instagram For Ideas

Need More Inspiration? Use Pinterest and Instagram

The social media experience has truly changed the way that we find new inspiration. It’s easy to get caught up browsing Instagram and Pinterest for hours at a time, but these outlets are a great place to find new design ideas around the house.

Using a simple hashtag can return thousands of results relevant to your interests from professionals and amateur artists and stylists. With nothing more than a smart device, you can begin using social media to gather tips from people in all parts of the world.

How Use Pinterest for Design Inspiration:

Visit Flemington Granite’s profile on Pinterest.

• Use the Right Keywords The great thing about using Pinterest is that it’s guided by organization. You can easily create your own categorized boards to fill with ideas that you would like to incorporate into a future project. Search very specific keywords to find design and home improvement boards created by people with similar interests. There are some boards that allow other users to openly contribute and collaborate on a the same project.

• Take Advantage of Guided Search If you have never taken on a home renovation or you don’t really know where you would like to start, the guided search is going to help you tremendously. Begin by picking a search term that will generate some related categories that you can sift through. Tap on any results that grab your interest to start figuring out the right direction to move in. You might even find something completely new and unexpected just by taking the opportunity to see what is out there.

• Go Straight to the Source Smart companies understand the influence that social media marketing has on generating new business. Once you find some great inspiration ideas, you can check out the “pinners” that created the boards to find which companies you would like to follow.

How Use Instagram for Design Inspiration:

• Use the Right Hashtags
Social media is a two-way experience where everyone contributes to a large community, with images and videos being the driving force of Instagram. Not only can you get ideas from others, but searchers may find your contributions as their own source of inspiration. Anytime you upload a video tutorial or pictures of a successful design project, use the right hashtags to turn up in the searches. Feel free to include broader terms as well as very specific hashtags to reach the right audience.

• Take Advantage of Search Options
Get right into filtering relevant results by searching hashtags that break down images into categories. If you know what you’re looking for, don’t be afraid to get very specific with the searches. There is also the option to find certain artists, designers, or companies that relate to interior design and home renovations.

• Follow the Source
You might be surprised to see that businesses often put a considerable effort into maintaining a social media presence. Designers, contractors, artists, and manufacturers post as often as daily to help consumers stay up to date with the latest industry trends and techniques.

Even if you do not know where to begin planning a home renovation project, designers using social media can help you get in touch with your own style. Connect with our Instagram and Pinterest accounts to stay up to date with fresh, inspiring design ideas.

Natural Stone Can Make Any Pool A Treasure

Natural Stone Can Make Any Pool A Treasure

Any home with a swimming pool is provided with the luxury of relaxation in an outdoor setting. The area surrounding your pool should not only show off your personality, it should match the architectural style of your property. A superior deck should begin with the selection of a natural stone to provide years of exceptional durability as well as sophistication. With so many options to choose from, begin your search by learning a bit about a variety of natural stone types.


The blue and gray shades of bluestone can be installed in any of three different textures to match your design style. This material is versatile enough to feature a non-uniform texture, smooth honed finish, or a thermal uniform texture. It partners exceptionally in yards that are surrounded by natural greenery.

Coral Stone

If your taste desires true uniqueness, the features of coral stone are sure to exceed your design expectations. It consists of a mixture containing fossilized coral and shell, limestone, and sand to create a very distinct looking material. Not only is it beautiful, it does not absorb significant heat or weaken from exposure to sale or chemicals.


Earthy neutral tones of flagstone material feature a naturally family-friendly, non-slip surface. It looks great in an outdoor pool setting because the rich brown textures are rugged and durable.


When it comes to resisting the elements, the hardness of granite is capable of withstanding years of exposure. It’s a great investment in any outdoor design because granite looks elegant without being too fragile to enjoy.


Standing up against freezing, rain, and heat is one characteristic of limestone that makes it a very popular outdoor material. It is going to look bright and beautiful many years after installation, even if your local climate includes frequent and extreme weather changes.


An absorbent outdoor deck is ideal for safety, especially if you have small children running around. Travertine deck materials come in many neutral tones that stay cool to the touch and look luxurious alongside a fresh blue pool of water.


Light red or brown quartz creates the perfect companion color for use around any pool style. The even tones make it easy to match with other pieces of sandstone so that you do not end up with noticeably mismatched areas.


Deeper shades and unique colors of slate create a varied range of visual options. It’s a long-lasting deck option that suits more traditional spaces as well as a more natural or rustic setting. Builders recommend slate for large projects because it is durable, yet easy to customize and install.

Our designers are excited to help you find the perfect deck material to surround your pool. We feature many different natural stone options in our showroom to match your style with a unique texture and color. Reach out through the contact form so that we can give you a personal tour of our facility.

Home Improvement Money Saving Tips

Home Improvement Money Saving Tips

Saving money is always a necessity when it comes to planning a remodel and improving parts of the home. The financial commitment is often more than the original budget so it always helps to find ways to save money whenever possible.

Check out our budgeting tips for reducing expenses and ensuring that you can complete your projects without disruption.

  • Prioritize Needs over Wants

Divide your list of renovation goals into changes that you want and improvements that you cannot live without. If your entire goal is to make certain household features more functional or to replace kitchen appliances that do not work, put the necessities at the top of the list. It might be possible to hold off on parts of the project that are not needed to achieve your basic renovation goals.

  • Handle the Demolition Yourself

Knocking down walls and removing old materials is a part of the cost that a professional will charge in a home improvement project. As long as you feel confident and understand how to properly tear out areas that will be replaced, why not handle it yourself? Take note to avoid any live wires, plumbing, and load-bearing walls that could put you in danger or cause the repairs to become an additional expense.

  • Leave the Kitchen Sink

It’s expensive to relocate plumbing so it might be smarter for your budget to simple plan the project around existing hookups. This is also true of electrical wiring that would have to be installed or removed by a licensed electrician. Only do what is necessary to keep from sacrificing a considerable part of the budget to move one sink.

  • Start with the Small Projects First

Before you jump into an entire home renovation, begin with something easy and inexpensive. Once you complete a front porch addition or replacing an entryway door, it will be easier to understand the process of buying new materials, paying for labor, and going through construction. Prior experience will help tremendously when it’s time to negotiate larger projects with contractors.

  • Budget for the Unexpected

No matter how prepared you are to take on a project of any size, there is a good chance that you will hit a snag at some point. Set aside a separate budget specifically to cushion these unforeseen expenses so that you never become stressed with the unexpected.

  • Get an Estimate from a Professional

The average homeowner is not able to complete a renovation without going over their set budget. It’s always smart to have a professional contractor provide a more realistic estimate based on the labor, materials, and details of the project. In the long run this is going to help save up an adequate amount before you ever decide to get started.

We are happy to come out to your home and provide an estimate on your project so that you can plan ahead. Call us to set up an appointment that is suitable with your schedule.

Remodeling Your Outdoor Living Space Doesn’t Have to Be Hard, Read These Four Tips

Remodeling Your Outdoor Living Space Doesn’t Have to Be Hard, Read These Four Tips

Too often, people limit their living space at home to the rooms inside when it is possible to create a fun, relaxing outdoor living space perfect for entertaining or just enjoying nature. If you think it is too difficult to create the perfect outdoor living space, just follow these four tips and you’ll have the perfect outdoor paradise for friends and family to enjoy.

Start With a Plan

Just like with any remodeling project, it is important to start with a plan. Look over your outdoor area to see where the best location for a living space would be. Do you want the ability to soak up the sun’s rays or are you seeking a nice, shady spot to enjoy some peace and solitude? Once you know what you want, put your plan on paper. Be sure to take accurate measurements and layout your options on paper as best as you can. This will help keep the entire project running smoothly.

Outdoor Fireplace

An outdoor fireplace is an excellent addition to any outdoor living space. There are many different options available today for outdoor fireplaces, including large, bold natural stone fireplaces all the way down to small, wrought iron fire pits. Add a few garden benches, some chairs with soft cushions and lighting for a cozy, romantic outdoor space where friends and family will enjoy gathering.

Outdoor KitchenOutdoor Kitchen

A living space outdoors would not be complete without an outdoor kitchen. You can make the kitchen as elaborate or as simple as you choose. Your outdoor kitchen can consist of a simple barbecue grill with surfaces on each side for preparation or it can include refrigerators, sinks with running water and even traditional stove elements so that you can cook an entire meal outside if you choose. Surround the area with natural stone for a rustic look.

Stone Décor, Garden Space and Lighting

Natural Stone balustradeThere is no question that stone décor adds an elegant yet rustic look to any outdoor living space. Use levels of natural stone in a garden area, planting vines or other flowers that can hang over the stones. Custom stone pergolas are a unique addition to any garden space or outdoor living area or consider adding a fountain so that you and your guests always enjoy the soothing sounds of trickling water. A stone table is also a welcome edition in an outdoor living space. If you have the space, consider adding a stunning balustrade to create a focal point outside your home. Of course, it is also important to have the right type and amount of lighting in your backyard sanctuary. There are many options for outdoor lighting, including solar panels or fixtures that will keep your outdoor living area illuminated properly.

It is time to move outside the four walls of your house and begin enjoying the great outdoors. An outdoor living space allows you to entertain guests surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature. Flemington Granite is here to help you with all your outdoor living needs. Visit us today! Call or fill out their contact form. One of their helpful, friendly staff members will contact you as soon as possible and get you started on creating that perfect backyard paradise.