Thank you to all my sweet blogger friends and followers for such warm anniversary wishes! We had a great evening and hope to have another 25 wonderful years together!! My ever so cute design assistant Micah interviewed and wrote the majority of this blog!! With building the new studio I really appreciated the help! Thanks Micah!!
There are so many different marbles and granites available now with so many options of finishes that I wanted to share some knowledge from the team at Olympus Marble. Owner Angelo Bissias grew up in Athens and moved to the US in the late 80's with the intention of going to school. Plans, of course, are subject to change, and within a few years he followed in the family trade and opened Olympus Marble. Through lots of hard work, fabulous customer service, and an extensive knowledge of the stone business, his company has flourished over the last 20 years.
It’s amazing to see the growth in technology that most industries have experienced over the last couple decades, and the stone industry is no exception. It’s hard to believe that at one time, workers in this state-of-the-art facility did everything by hand! Thanks to the advancements in modern technology, Angelo says their machinery promotes “faster turnarounds, consistent quality, and dimensional precision”.
Olympus has opened a wonderful showroom which displays the many types of stones that they carry and creative ideas on how to install the designs their own home.
Do these cabinets look familiar? Segreto was so honored to do the cabinet finishes in their beautiful showroom!
This custom sink is gorgeous!! They used pieces from the same slab to create beautiful, seamless shelves and mounted them to this great tile background from Walker-Zanger. The two companies often work hand-in-hand with each other, and we can definitely see why!
What are the biggest trends in marble? In addition to white marbles (which have maintained their popularity for some time now), the experts at Olympus Marble would add grays, cool tones, limestones, stone with lots of movement, and anything contemporary to their list.
Although the long time trend was a sleek, polished finished, new technology has made textured treatments immensely popular. The color is great, but I wish my camera could’ve captured how truly beautiful the dimension and texture are in this leathered slab!!
Another huge craze is quartzite. Although they look very similar to oh-so-beautiful marble, they actually have superior characteristics more similar to granite. Quartzites are much harder than marble, and they do not react to acids. A counter top with a little more durability and zero risk of losing its finish from an orange juice spill… sounds pretty good to me!
Here are two different views from the same slab of quartzite – a piece of art in itself! The colors and movement are just incredible throughout!!
This Portoro Gold is one of the most expensive marbles in the world... Retailing at right around $200 per square foot, it’s no wonder we don’t see it more often! Although veining in marbles typically runs horizontally, these pieces are more unique with it running vertically.
Now that you've seen around the office a little bit, I'll show you some of my favorite parts of their state-of-the-art fabrication shop.
How impressive is their facility? Complete with several machines (don't worry... I'll walk you through some of them!), their own water recycling system, and those huge fans!! The shop never heats up above the 70s all year-round, making this a really comfortable work place even in the peak of the Houston summer heat! Many of the workers have really grown with the company, starting out working part-time in high school or college moving into a full-time career.
The first piece of equipment they introduced me to is the Titan 1600, a CNC machine that uses a computer program to create seamless cuts and polishes. What used to take workers about eight hours to do by hand now takes exactly one hour and twenty-one minutes.. Talk about efficiency! Many small shops can do custom works by hand, but it is obviously much more difficult, time-consuming, and leaves some room for human error.
The computer allows the programmer to test different cuts, shapes, and sizes. Before the slab -which is actually held down by magnets!- is cut, a lazer emits lines to show the craftsman exactly where the machine will be making the cut-outs. The result? Mathematically flawless edges and custom-fit for their customer's sink of choice!
This Water Jet Saw was actually the very first in Texas for natural stone! The machine takes photos from a bird’s eye view and loads them onto a computer screen. From there, the worker can manipulate the slab several ways until they have selected the best cut and veining. Combining cutting techniques of a saw for the straight edges and water jet for the curves, they are able to yield mathematically flawless edges. Much like the Titan 1600, this piece of equipment shaves hours off of production time.
Here are some of the works in progress. So many different varieties can be produced from the exact same machine.
Taking a walk outside! With so many options, I truly believe that any homeowner could come here and find a slab that looks just stunning in their house!! The hard part is choosing!!
Here is their collection of Iranian Travertine. Because some stone is imported from the Middle East or other parts of the world where there is political unrest, Olympus has to view each shipment as the only one they may ever receive.
To make things even easier, Olympus goes against what many retailers do and actually does not require their customers to purchase the entire slab of marble! They do keep a PO number on record of which slab a customer purchased (picture on the right), so that the remainder can be easily located if a customer wants to use more of it in the future.
Thank you Angelo, Raffe and the entire staff at Olympus Marble and Granite for giving us such a wonderful tour! They are located in Houston at 2141 Bingle Road. 713-827-8700.
Thank you so much to Michele of the Hello Lovely blog for reviewing the book!! Her title is perfect for her lovely images, creative writing style and wonderful on line shop!! Thanks also to the blog Design Chic I have loved and followed this mother, daughter blog design team and was honored that they did such a complimentary review of the book! Also a big thanks to Heather of the Satisfying Spaces blog, who won the book on the Art by Karena blog give-a-way, and is posting about it. she did a great spread as well on the McAlpine Tankersley Houston showcase home--amazing! Please go visit these three wonderful blogs -- they are all a treat for me!! Have a great week! I know things are getting busy with summer here!! xo Leslie