Design Trends

Material World

Designers embrace centuries-old materials with innovative combinations and applications.

BY August 1, 2022
Faith Fix, of Freestyle Interiors
Faith Fix, of Freestyle Interiors, likes to surround fireplaces with warm-toned wood and stone for stunning feature walls. (Courtesy Freestyle Interiors and Gulfshore Homes/Spacecrafting Photography )

The best trends often pull from the past. Such is the case with designers’ current propensity for mixing wood and marble, materials as old as time. The combination is not new—we’ve long seen white Calacatta paired with oak. But lately, designers have been drawing on lesser-used varieties and combining the materials in unexpected ways. You may see pine walls with gold-veined Calacatta Oro accent panels; masculine, black Nero Marquina countertops with rough-hewn beams and drawer fronts; or even wood-grain marble, with patterns that resemble trees’ growth rings, paired with the real thing. The blend is perfect for Gulfside coastal luxury design, with wood providing the natural, rustic appeal and marble bringing the sleek, high-gloss style.

In a recent modern farmhouse project on Marco Island, Maria Caruso, of Interiors by Home Essentials, designed a kitchen with a black marble waterfall island, surrounded by cerused oak cabinets with a modern, thin reveal and matte black hardware. In other spaces throughout the home, the designer plays with slabs of white and black marble against the same grainy wood for a timeless, inviting look. “I like cerused wood a lot. You’re on vacation in Italy or France, and you see it in the most beautiful homes that are hundreds of years old, and it’s still beautiful today,” she says. “And I love marble, white marble. It’s found in design dating back hundreds of years.”

In Naples, Jeffrey Fisher recently used dark-veined marble for a range hood that juxtaposes the kitchen’s bleached oak cabinets and plays off the painted black trim and island. He’s also topped a walnut vanity with integrated marble (and alabaster Kelly Wearstler sconces subtly mirroring the stone); employed silvery-gold onyx to cover a backsplash, range and adjacent wet bar surrounded by cerused cabinetry; and lightened up a walnut and black-glass modernist kitchen with bookmatched Carrara around the island’s base. 

Faith Fix, of Freestyle Interiors, likes to incorporate different colors of marble into her designs. “We’re seeing a movement toward earth tones and starting to see some autumn colors, like rust tones, emerald and lime greens,” Faith says. In a Miromar Lakes home, Faith poised a gleaming slab of Azul Imperial quartzite with sandy-colored veins that mimic those found in marble as a focal point above the fireplace, framed by panels of warm walnut. In the main living areas, she’s seen the materials go from mantle adornments to feature walls; and in bathrooms, they stretch from countertops to hourglass-shaped vanities made with stacked slices of marble. She’s also intrigued by the innovative applications in furniture design. She’s currently working with a company in Texas on custom furnishings that mix wood, stone and iron for a textured, timeless appeal.

Fort Myers designer Dwayne Bergmann’s latest furniture and home decor line with Italian marble masons Kreoo presents a study in gorgeous wood-and-marble remixing. His heirloom-worthy, midcentury modern-inspired designs flip the script on the materials’ common applications. There’s a wood-topped table with marble legs, an asymmetrical entry table with a stacked marble base and tabletop pieces, like candle holders and napkin rings that utilize what might have otherwise been scrap pieces of the materials. “Marble doesn’t have to be used as a surface or topper material. It can be a leg, a side component or the entire object,” Dwayne says. “It’s this idea of taking a product that’s been around forever and saying, ‘We want to do something really cool.’”


Judith Liegeois-designed bar
Designers are playing with how wood and marble are combined and where the materials are used. In a Judith Liegeois-designed bar, a backlit marble wall creates a stunning backdrop for the handsome built-ins. (Judith Liegeois Designs/Lori Hamilton)
Marble and wood kitchen
Naples’ Jeffrey Fisher has a knack for mixing the materials, pulling colors from the marble’s veining to inspire wood selection and using strong hardware and trim to pull the looks together. (Courtesy Jeffrey Fisher Home/Venjhamin Reyes)


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