Natural stone is an ancient material – people have used it to build their homes for many centuries. Over all those years master craftsmen have discovered how to maximize natural stone’s full potential for strength, beauty and utility. Today, stone veneer products and techniques are never been more efficient and lasting – to contemporary architecture’s benefit.

In the US mid-century modernists such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Richard Neutra demonstrated that dynamically linear house designs are well complemented by natural stone veneer. Within modern architecture, several profiles for natural stone, including ashlar, urban ledge stone (a long sleek and flat profile), ledge stone and stacked stone, lend themselves to both interior and exterior treatments. Here are few ways to create impact using classic natural stone profiles in your modern or contemporary style home:

Use a linear ashlar stone profile

K2 Stone Pacific Ashlar Veneer installed in a coursed pattern

K2 Stone Pacific Ashlar Veneer installed in a coursed 2″ and 4″ pattern.

Ashlar cut stone is derived from textured natural materials such as limestone and tends to have minimal joinery. It can be stacked in random or uniform patterns and has great texture, but is cut smoothly on the top and bottom. This creates a strong linear dynamic that adds a distinct modernist touch to low slung bungalows or ranch style homes. Ashlar cut natural stone is especially striking when juxtaposed with rich woods on the exterior of a contemporary home, around entryways or as an accent facade feature.

Use stone veneer to highlight unique design elements with texture

Black Pearl Ledge Stone Veneer on a modern home design.

Black Pearl Ledge Stone Veneer on a modern home design.

There’s nothing like texture to entice the eye and hold interest. Natural stone veneer can exploit this concept easily – profiles , patterns and the types of cuts used all create “lines” for the eye to follow. These can then be used to highlight a certain architectural or landscaping feature, or to draw the eye from one feature to the next. This technique is often used to great effect in both exterior or interior entry ways where attention can be called to a beautiful front door or portal treatment. It can also be used in conjunction with picture or heritage-style windows.

Use clean cut dimensional stone capping products to accentuate lines

Cut Top Ocean Pearl Slate Capping on a modern design

Cut Top Ocean Pearl Slate Capping carries lines throughout the design.

Dimensional stone is natural stone or rock that has been selected and finished to specific sizes or shapes. It can be used in different styles and profiles to cap a fencepost, or anchor wall coping or other stone features, adding punctuation and accentuating lines. In modern designs, these capping stones are usually spare and unembellished, relying on the natural beauty of the stone for authority.

Use dimensional slate tile as a ground cover

Ocean Pearl Slate Tile on an exterior patio

Ocean Pearl Slate Tile on an exterior patio.

Slate tiles can make a stable and good-looking ground cover in an outdoor garden or patio area, or on pathways to and around your modern-style home. More stable underfoot and less fussy than mulch or pebbles, and much less time consuming to care for than grass, natural slate creates a stylized woodland feel that can be amplified by planting creeping violet or moss between the stones.

Create an interior stone feature wall

Natural Ledge Stone Veneer on an interior feature wall.

Natural Ledge Stone Veneer on an interior feature wall.

Building an interior feature wall is one of the most popular applications for ashlar cut, ledge or stacked natural stone. This can take the shape of a fireplace surround, a floor to ceiling accent wall in a hallway or entrance area, or even a spa-inspired detail for a bathroom or sauna. Not a lot of material is needed to make a big aesthetic impact – it’s the profile used that will determine the degree of rusticity (btw you’ll be aiming for next to none in a modern home).

Natural stone building materials can add beauty, sophistication and value to any home design. Authentic, straight from the earth and crafted using centuries of technique and knowledge, stone veneer products can also make a statement that is instantly recognizable as undeniably modern.