Creative Uses of Natural Stone in a Home

Solid as a rock.

When interior designer Megan Dufresne got hired to do a full renovation of a 4,000-square-foot home in Sherman Oaks, she knew it was going to be a major undertaking. “It was an eclectic home that had had several previous owners, all of whom were creatives—a musician, an artist, etc. Every resident had put their own spin on it. The new owners wanted to preserve the character of the house but make it their own. They wanted something exceptional. So we tried to take the things they liked about it and then build on them.”

Megan and her clients, Desiree and Cleveland Brown, who is CEO of the global payment processing provider Payscout, agreed to key off of several existing design elements, with the couple offering specific instruction about continuity and color. “We really wanted the house to flow from room to room. It was important that the design be unique and colorful. The only thing we specified was no white,” says Desiree.

One of those existing elements was stone, which was used throughout landscaping on the half-acre lot. Here Megan and Desiree share how they worked together, riffing off their individual aesthetic sensibilities, to weave the stone indoors. The result? Stunning spaces that create a seamless flow between indoors and outdoors.

Blue Agate Bathroom

Megan: This was originally an all-beige bathroom except for the blue sinks. I saw them and said why are those here? They don’t belong; let’s get rid of them. But she said ‘I love those sinks! Let’s redo bathroom in blue!’ So I started thinking of ways to do something creative in blue. I thought of the agate and reached out to this Romanian company I’ve sourced from before.

The agate is backlit with LED strips placed under the slab, in the vanity and in the lip of edges. While the agate is upscale, we went basic with the floor. It is simply polished white porcelain, with one purpose: to reflect the blue.

Desiree: When we told Megan that we wanted to keep the blue sinks in my son’s bathroom, she presented us with the blue agate sample. The color is so vivid. We instantly loved it! Then we decided to do agate in the master bathroom—in part, to create the flow we wanted throughout the home.

With the backlit countertop and edge of the bathtub, it’s essentially an over-the-top nightlight for our 10-year-old son!

Agate “Red Cezanne” Bathroom

Desiree: My husband travels to Asia a lot and wanted some of the luxuries that you commonly see in Asian hotels, so that was our jumping-off point. From there, it spiraled out of control! We expanded the footprint of the existing bathroom. We installed a 6-foot operable skylight/window that becomes obscure at the flip of a light switch, a two-person Japanese soaking tub that fills from the ceiling, and a porcelain (looks like stone but more lightweight), flip-up LED-lit vanity.

The deep colors of brick, deep red, golden brown and rust orange with a touch of gold leaf (deemed “Red Cezanne” by the Romanian manufacturer), are mesmerizing. The room actually has a very calming vibe. Looking out the window you see lush tropical landscaping, and with the skylight window open, it feels bright and airy.

Megan: This is 100% the favorite bathroom I’ve ever done. I just had so much room to be creative. I designed a faux iron panel to go over the barn door that closes off the bathroom from the closet. On the backside, it is a full-length mirror. The bathtub, by Diamond Spa, has a brushed stainless finish. You get into it by climbing the stairs on the backside. When the water is flowing down from the ceiling, it is really dramatic.

Agate Accents

Megan: This two-tier chandelier hangs over the piano. I had it custom-made by a company in Portugal. It has natural agate stone on it. We incorporated a touch of agate into almost every room. In one room, that was as simple as having agate drink coasters that I got from Anthropologie. I bought their cheese board, too, and made a side table out of it.

Desiree: This chandelier is another way that Megan stayed true to our goal of continuity. The agate, displayed so elegantly throughout the home, looks timeless and classy.

Outdoor Stone

Megan: The home has a koi pond that runs from an outdoor dining area to an area where there is a sauna and a waterfall. There is a water fountain with a Balinese vibe and it is faced with Indonesian stacked stone. Just another stone element on the property that keeps it consistent as we go from the interior to the exterior.

Desiree: This was one of the beautiful features that was in place when we bought the property. It really inspired us in the remodeling process. Stone brings a custom quality to any environment. I feel like the creative uses of stone in our home truly sets it apart.

ABOVE: Desiree Brown and Megan Dufresne

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