Home Is Where The Hearth Is

Summer holidays are over, the days are starting to get slightly shorter and some are even considering putting on or turning up the heating!

If you are following our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts, you may have seen some of our team recently went to Glasgow and, whilst there, they visited a few of our hearth suppliers and stockists.  So with the seasons getting ready to change from Summer to Autumn, we decided it would be a wonderful time to show off our beautiful hearth range.

A Caithness Flagstone hearth can add so much to any home whether you are looking to add a bit of heritage and traditional or a stylish and contemporary design feature.  As with all of Norse Stone’s products, our hearth range is made using our bespoke design service but we do have some standard shapes including:

Norse Stone Square and Rectangle Caithness Flagstone Hearth

The Square and Rectangle are the most simple and traditional shapes available, these can be combined with inserts to be added inside the fireplace for a stove to be placed on top of. It can be perfectly complemented with a full mantle and surround to a simple but beautiful oak beam.

Norse Stone D Caithness Flagstone Hearth

A stylish alternative to the more traditional hearth shapes, the D hearth combines the practicality of the Rectangle and Square layouts with a modern twist. It can equally be complemented with a surround and mantle or a simple beam above the fire place.

Norse Stone Corner Teardrop Quadrant Caithness Flagstone Hearth

Not all hearths are placed in the centre of a room, a fire or stove placed in the corner can create a subtle but stunning feature. The standard Corner hearths are a more traditional design with clean straight lines leading to a focused front edge. Whereas the Quadrant and Teardrop hearths provide a contemporary corner hearth design with their rounded front edge.

Norse Stone Bespoke Caithness Flagstone Hearth

Although these are our standard shapes, anything is possible. Our bespoke service has given us challenges such as creating full circle hearths, double sided hearths, hearths with no right angles at all and hearths to be made to a specific template provided by the client, to name a few! However the shape of the hearth is not the only important decision to make.

In one of our previous blog posts, we explained our selection of surface finishes and what their recommended uses were. All of them are perfect for hearths and so here is our mini guide.

Norse Stone Caithness Flagstone Finishes Guide

Now you have all the information you need to design your ideal hearth! Check out our Hearths & Fireplaces page for more photo’s as well as our Hearth Brochure. So whether you are looking to add a feature to your home or become a new stockist, all that remains is to get in touch with the Norse Stone team!

Perfect Paving

Spring is finally upon us and that means it’s time to start planning those home improvements and design projects. For a lot of architects, urban designers and homeowners, that means looking outdoors and changing a drab, unused and uninviting space into a contemporary, relaxing environment perfect for spending those long summer evenings. One of the most popular ways of achieving this is using paving and that instantly starts the debate of which paving material is best to use. That’s where Norse Stone can help as our Caithness Flagstones and its natural properties are known worldwide and as such is considered one of the best paving materials. Don’t believe us? Have a look below and see why you should choose Caithness Flagstone for all your paving needs starting with our own Ugly Duckling story - The patio version!

(There once was an ugly patio with slabs all worn and brown....)

(There once was an ugly patio with slabs all worn and brown....)

As you can see from the before pictures, this outdoor space was in need of some TLC. The existing patio slabs were well used and passed their best with several cracked. Fast forward after some thoughtful planning and a lot of hard work and you have the finished result below.

(Say who’s an ugly patio? Not I! Not I!)

(Say who’s an ugly patio? Not I! Not I!)

Using a variety of sizes and shapes of Caithness Flagstone, and some gravel for contrasting colour and texture, the once unloved space is transformed into a modern outdoor retreat!

Of course, it’s not just small residential areas than can benefit from using this natural material, Norse Stone has collaborated on commercial paving projects as well. If you find yourself indulging in some retail therapy at the Glasgow Fort shopping centre, you only need to look down to find you are walking on our stunning  Riven paving. On your way to the Isle of Skye? Well, surrounding the Eilean Donan Castle holiday apartments, and overlooking views of the castle itself, is an eye-catching selection of crazy paving from our Banniskirk quarry.

Glasgow Fort shopping centre (left) and Eilean Donan Castle holiday apartments (right)

Glasgow Fort shopping centre (left) and Eilean Donan Castle holiday apartments (right)

No matter the size of project, our stone can adapt to suit the new environment but why should you chose Caithness Flagstone over other paving materials?

As early as the 18th century, the Caithness flagstone industry exported from the North Highlands of Scotland, where this iconic stone is quarried, to destinations all over the world including New York, USA and Sydney, Australia. Even the streets of Boston, which were commonly said to be paved with Gold, were in fact paved with Caithness flagstone. To this day the original stones are still lining the streets with many walls and buildings around Caithness showing off stone dating back 200 years. This combination of durability and strength comes from the stone naturally forming over 370 million years ago. Even in comparison with some of the most popular UK and imported paving materials, Caithness Flagstones combination of strength and durability shines through.

Caithness flagstone comparison

So when you decide it’s time for your outdoor space to receive a facelift and turn it into a beautiful outdoor extension of your home, workspace or commercial project, make sure Caithness Flagstone is at the top of your wish list.

Get in touch with the Norse Stone team to order a sample and discuss your requirements.

Guide to Stone Finishes

With many domestic and commercial projects following the current trends and incorporating natural stone materials into their proposals, it can be difficult to tell what will be most well suited for each part of a design project. At Norse Stone, we are going to try to make that a bit easier for you!

You may have seen, heard or even experienced why we are so passionate about our local material, Caithness Flagstone, and know about its fantastic durability properties but did you know that not only can it be made to your dimensional requirements, but to your choice of surface and edge finish as well? In case you didn’t, we have put together a mini guide to the finishes available at Norse Stone and some of their most popular uses.

Riven Paving

Riven Paving

Weathered Riven Paving

Weathered Riven Paving

Brushed Riven Interior Flooring

Brushed Riven Interior Flooring

Antique Hearth

Antique Hearth

Matt Polished Worktop

Matt Polished Worktop

High Polish Coping

High Polish Coping

Let’s start with the most natural finish, Riven. A slightly rough textured surface, it isn’t machined at all and instead the unprocessed finish is determined from extraction. This finish is mainly used for exterior projects including paving, wall coping, cladding, window sills, slates, lintels steps and garden features but is also commonly used for hearths.

Weathered Riven has the same textural properties as standard Riven however instead of the well known dark grey Caithness flagstone you may be used to seeing, this stone comes in a variety of colours. Quarries, such as our Banniskirk site, have had stone left exposed to the elements for years causing the stone to oxidise and the colour to weather to create stunning brown/grey variations.

A Brushed Riven finish is machine brushed so that it has a slightly smoother surface than the stones natural texture but maintains the rustic appearance. Better suited to interior design projects, this finish lends itself well to flooring, hearths, fireplaces, steps and signage.

To achieve an Antique finish, the stone is machine smoothed and then brushed leaving just a slight texture behind. This finish is used predominantly for flooring, hearths, fireplaces, worktops and signage as well as memorials.

Matt Polished (also known as Honed) finish, is machine polished to a smooth surface texture and perfectly suited for interior use. Flooring, hearths, fireplaces and worktops are popular Matt Polished interior products alongside furniture, shower trays, window sills and tableware with some opting to use it in exterior design for memorials and signage. A further option with this finish is for the polished stone to be sealed and enhanced which gives the stone a darker, almost black, appearance. This is our most popular finish due to the stunning end result it gives across our product range.

The last, but by no means least, surface texture is the High Polished finish. Machine polished to a high sheen, it is then sealed and enhanced making it the perfect show stopping interior finish. Used throughout the home, it is most popular for hearths, fireplaces, worktops, tableware, window sills, wet wall, tiles and shower trays.

Now for our most popular edge finishes starting with the Flamed Edge. This effect is accomplished with a straight sawn edge which has been flamed using extreme heat to blister the cut surface giving the edge a natural Riven appearance to match a Riven finished top. The edging effect is used primarily for building finishing materials including rustic hearths, steps, window sills and benches.

Another alternative option is our Natural Edge finish. Natural fractures in the quarry are prone to sources of calcite and minerals and with these fractures leaving stone exposed to many years of water filtration, they combine to alter the stone providing an edge effect with variety of colours. 

Now that you know your Riven from your High Polished (and everything in between!), you can decide on the perfect finish for your Norse Stone product. If you do have any further questions on stone finishes, please get in touch with our team or request a sample and let us know which Caithness flagstone finish is your favourite!

Stone Trends 2018

Norse Stone Blog

Like flared trousers and avocado bathroom suites, trends come and go but one item that never goes out of fashion is natural stone.  From modern and contemporary buildings to rustic country cottages, there is always a place to use natural products; inside and out.  And with architects and designers more commonly putting emphasis on using sustainable and crafted materials, stone is an obvious choice of material to use.

When considering stone, most would think of paving, roof tiles or walls and whilst these are all excellent uses, with its striking appearance and durability, Caithness Stone can do so much more.

As a truly versatile material, our stone can be used throughout interior design to bring a sense of nature and the outdoors in to your home.  A robust and non-absorbent material, it is ideal for kitchen or bathroom worktops and flooring, especially with the use of underfloor heating.  Frame your fireplace with a bespoke Caithness Flagstone surround and hearth to make it a stunning focal point for all to enjoy.  Whereas subtle touches including tables with stone tops, coasters and placemats add some interesting textures without intruding too much on the overall interior design.

Outside spaces, too, can benefit from using natural stone in its design.  Formed and quarried in a place that can see all four seasons in one day, Caithness Flagstone is amongst the most durable available making it ideal for exterior use.  Commonly sought after as a building material, it is used to produce traditional roof tiles and can create striking textures when used as external cladding.  It has been shipped all over the world to be used as paving and can be cut to your design for memorial benches and standing stones. Whilst exterior designers continue to use natural stone in landscaping to create a rugged but relaxing space to reconnect with nature.

With these trends set to continue the only question is, how will you be using natural stone in your projects?