Revolution In Stone Technology Creates New Interior Design Options

Sami Kelmendi, founder of Gurri Design + Remodel is tuned-in to the latest stone & technology trends in kitchen, bath and home decor. According to Kelmendi ‘the living kitchen is the new living room,’ and has evolved into the focal gathering place of the home where families cook, dine, and entertain. Kelmendi and stone are synonymous, having deep roots in the stone & tile industry, he shares design insights for natural stone and the latest technology in architectural surface materials. Kelmendi feels the new stone technology is giving designers unlimited design choices. Maintenance-free but still look and feel high-end, engineered and sintered stone options are in high demand for today’s living. For more stone & tile inspiration check-out Gurri Tile+Stone+Slab Installation.

Modern Minimalism In A NYC Hi-rise

Since taking care of grandkids became a high priority for this retired couple they wanted to reduce the daily maintenance of their kitchen. Gurri infused the kitchen with a modern minimalist design using Bilotta cabinetry and low maintenance, high-tech, all-white sintered stone, countertops from Dekton by Cosentino. The crisp white cabinetry and countertops frame a panoramic view, using the quintessential New York City skyline as a backdrop to expand the limited footprint. In most Manhattan apartments, you feel constrained and closed-in, here you get spoiled.

The minimalist pallet is embellished with a Bianco Carrara Mosaic backsplash that radiates the graceful charm of delicate orchid flowers. Realistic crystalline white Thassos flowers dance across a smooth background of polished grey. Artistic Tile’s brush-stroke nickel, texture, porcelain grey floor tile create a luminous suave space compelling as the sparkling Manhattan view for this high-rise, ‘L-shaped galley kitchen. High-end stainless steel appliances reflect the mono monochromatic theme.

Large Tiles For Small Spaces

For ages, the luxury of marble has been the featured design element in most bath and kitchen remodeling. In this compact New York City bathroom, The Gurri team implement the latest technology advances in ceramic product production (engineered stone) that re-captures the beauty of marble with large porcelain tiles. Low-maintenance Polished Kala White porcelain tiles from Pocelanosa were used for the shower walls and floor – stain-resistant and easy to clean.

The idea that only small-format tiles should be used in small bathrooms or kitchens is hopefully over. Kelmendi’s design uses bigger tiles since they produce few joints giving a more unified and spacious design while creating a unique design aesthetic. High gloss tiles for the walls and a thicker gauge tile, with a natural finish for the floors were used. Innovative Manufacturers like Porcelanosa, Cosentino, Neolith and Lapitec are the top known producers of these next-generation surface materials.

Move Over Marble Sintered Stone

Kelemendi especially likes using the Lapitec® Bianco Assoluto, a full body sintered stone from ABC Worldwide Stone which seamlessly incorporates the sink into this kitchen counter. The color was selected because of its level of saturation and capacity to enhance the very modern, minimalist kitchen design. Pure refinement, Bianco Assoluto is at the lightest end of the Lapitec® color palette and marries perfectly with darker color tones and lighter shades. The Satin finish is soft and delicate to the touch owing to its refined texture. Lapitec is, in fact, a completely natural material, free of resins and therefore resistant to heat. Its composition makes it stain-resistant, easy to clean and scratch-resistant, while the exclusive ‘Bio-Care’ technology makes Lapitec a self-cleaning and antibacterial material. “Move Over Granite and Marble – Sintered Stone’s Popularity Soars!” Kelemendi continues, “Think sintered stone—resilient, nonporous, and stain-resistant, ultra-compact surfaces make the perfect choice for family-friendly or high traffic projects.”

Kelmendi chose Neolith’s Calacatta Gold from HG Stones to highlight the Hans Krug Kitchen cabinetry. The Neolith stone design features an ivory background with distinctive gold veins amongst a light grey mesh, creating a sophisticated, high-drama look. An interpretation of natural marble with added durability, since the surface won’t be worn down by regular traffic, stain when exposed to dark liquids, or etch when exposed to acids or sharp knives, creates a high-end sophisticate look for this luxury kitchen.

Purists Still Love Marble

In this historic–NYC, 1910 brownstone remodel, Kelmendi maintains the architectural integrity while adding a nine-foot kitchen island. The Imperial Danby honed marble from ABC Worldwide Stone doubles the kitchen’s countertop and storage space. The island is an ideal gathering place for this ‘living kitchen.’ Creating a wow factor and a hub for cooking, dining, doing homework, entertaining or sharing the details of the day. Not just beautiful, but functional, the island camouflages two Bosch dishwashers, accented with a Franke filtered cold water dispenser and stainless-steel sink. This kitchen is equipped with 2-wall ovens, stovetop by Wolff and several refrigerators by Thermador. Gurri installed “Socially Sympathetic” rated appliances to ensure the reduction of noise levels so as not to interfere with social gatherings.

Kelmendi worked closely with the chef enthusiast homeowners to establish their desires for workflow, in the kitchen’s new design. The addition of marble countertops for the kitchen and pantry allowed several family members individual workspaces. A beverage center in the butler’s pantry takes traffic off the main kitchen area. A stainless steel bar-sink sits in a Pietra Del Cardoso stone countertop from ABC Worldwide Stone. Refrigerated beverage drawers, an ice maker, microwave, a coffee bar with espresso machine and additional pantry storage make this a favorite hangout for the home’s teenagers.

An Artistic Approach In A West Side Apartment

Artsy, empty-nesters with an eclectic art collection wanted a new more contemporary style for this Upper Westside, NYC 2-bedroom/ 2-bath apartment. Kelmendi added his stone expertise to interior designer Jeffery Rosen’s vision for this client. Built-in shelves highlight the Gurri custom designed, cut and crafted fireplace made of Paonazzo Grande Marble from ABC Stone. Pale blue walls highlight the homeowners’ art collection. Kelmendi continues to see architectural surface materials being requested beyond kitchens & baths, for interior decorative decor in hallways, foyers, flooring, living rooms, and fireplace surrounds.

The contemporary look for this Upper Westside apartment is carried through to the retro-modern compact, all-black galley-kitchen. High-gloss cabinetry is accented with ABC Stone’s Zahara St. Laurent black marble countertops with distinctive brown and white veins. Appliances are from top-of-the-line manufacturers, Sub-Zero-Wolff, Gaggenau, Miele and SA Baxter Architectural Hardware. Accentuated with Bianco Dolomite Onyx floors from Cancos Tile & Stone, used throughout the apartment. The dramatic, black kitchen creates a dramatic entry into a light-filled retro ’60s living space.


Tile and stone trends are constantly evolving. New technology and improved manufacturing methods ensure unlimited options–and influence how we design. “Due to the advancements in stone technology development, the world is experiencing a new style in the kitchen, bath and interior decor design,” Kelmendi continues. “At Gurri, where we blend traditional-old-world craftsmanship with state-of-the-art materials and the latest technology, we find it very exciting.”

Photography by Randl Bye.

For more architectural stone & tile inspiration to create that extraordinary WOW factor for your next interior décor project, check-out Gurri Tile+Stone+Slab Installation.

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