Creative Collaborations

Celebrating  A Thirteen Year Relationship

By: Dawn Carroll, Stone Specialist, CUMAR Marble and Granite


(L-R) Dawn Carroll and Rosemary Porto at The 2007 Builders Association of Greater Boston. Winners of Silver PRISM Award for Best Kitchen Remodel Unlimited.

(L-R) Dawn Carroll and Rosemary Porto at The 2007 Builders Association of Greater Boston. Winners of Silver PRISM Award for Best Kitchen Remodel Unlimited.

Pure fascination. That’s typically the reaction people have when designer Rosemary Porto, of Poggenpohl Kitchens, unleashes her creativity. We are left in awe with the end result. However, her designs and unparalleled talent is only part of the entire process.  The other half of her success is due to her uncanny ability to assemble the perfect team for each job. How do I know this? For many years, I have found myself on her winning team.

For those New England fans out there, you can think of Rosemary as the Coach Belichick of the design field. As Belichick has said, “On a team, it’s not the strength of the individual players, but it is the strength of the unit and how they all function together.”

Cumar Marble and Granite Table- ASID AWARDS Honoring Over My Shoulder Foundation Designing the Next Generation Mentoring Award

Cumar Marble and Granite Table- ASID AWARDS Honoring Over My Shoulder Foundation Designing the Next Generation Mentoring Award

Over the past 13 years of working together, Rosemary has led me to many “Design Super Bowls.” Together, we have won prestigious awards. The Subzero,  Best of the Best Kitchen Design, which showcases top talent, featured two amazing projects that I was lucky to be a part of, along with Hacin + Associates. I have also been very fortunate to have had the opportunity, through Rosemary, to work with some of the finest architects and builders, in some of the most well-known addresses on the East coast. Not only had the experience working with these individuals been wonderful, but I can also now call most of them by dear friends.

Editorial feature project in September 2016 Design New England issue. (Photo courtesy of: Greg Premru)

Editorial feature project in September 2016 Design New England issue. (Photo courtesy of: Greg Premru)

Rosemary is also a big believer in the power of mentoring. She has been a huge supporter of one of my passion project,  the Over My Shoulder Foundation and our Design Mentoring Mission. Rosemary embodies the words of our co-founder, Patti Austin, when she says “we are all increasingly interdependent on each other, rather than independent individuals.” She invests in her friends, their dreams, and gives her time as she graciously hosted a dazzling mentoring event in collaboration with designer and friend, Leslie Fine.

 Collaboration between Poggenpohl Kitchens and Cumar Marble and Granite.

Collaboration between Poggenpohl Kitchens and Cumar Marble and Granite.


As Rosemary consistently reminds us, it’s all about the team and I couldn’t agree more. Therefore, I would like to give recognition to my colleagues at Cumar Marble and Granite, who are the true “Rock Stars” of this collaboration.

My super star boss Ivo Cubi, owner and patriarch of Cumar, travels around the world to hand pick the gems of the earth to bring back to Cumar. After the designers make their selections, our engineering team examines each slab spending hours creating a layout where the elegant stone patterns and designs come to life,

Team from L-R: Bob Earnst at FBN Construction, Rosemary Porto, our client Bonnie Berman, Dawn Carroll.

Team from L-R: Bob Earnst at FBN Construction, Rosemary Porto, our client Bonnie Berman, Dawn Carroll.

weaving the perfect story. Then the fabrication shop talks ownership of this creation, slicing and polishing each rare stone, sculpting the shapes needed for each individual project. Once it’s complete, the installation artists secure the stone in its final home, where it becomes the epicenter for a family, hosting many family gatherings.


As I celebrate with Rosemary thirteen years of friendship, mentoring, design, and collaboration, it is with great pride that I share the news of an exquisite editorial piece that is in the current Design New England’s Fall issue. A stunning team design- a Super Bowl win for us.

Poggenpohl and Cumar Marble and Granite display at Clarke Distribution Boston Showroom. Cumar and Poggenpohl's second collaboration for this prestigious company, Dawn Carroll and Rosemary Porto celebrate with designer Eric Roseff and Real Estate professional, Colin Sullivan.

Poggenpohl and Cumar Marble and Granite display at Clarke Distribution Boston Showroom. Cumar and Poggenpohl’s second collaboration for this prestigious company, Dawn Carroll and Rosemary Porto celebrate with designer Eric Roseff and Real Estate professional, Colin Sullivan.


Congratulations to the entire team and bravo to my Cumar team! Looking forward to thirteen more wonderful years creating masterpieces.

The Potter Estate Undergoes A Metamorphosis

Exciting things have been happening on the grounds of the Jackson-Walnut Park Schools in Newton! Through a month-long Show House event hosted by the Junior League of Boston, The Potter Estate undergoes a metamorphosis; while preserving the charm of this 1867 property, distinguished local design firms unite to re-design 36 areas – volunteering their time and resources toward this project.

The goal of this event has been to give local designers and landscapers the ability to showcase their creativity and innovation. At the core of this effort, the Junior League raises funds for its important mission of “promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.”

Our stone design specialist and founder of the mentoring organization, Over My Shoulder Foundation, attended the event. Dawn had this to say: “Working with the energetic design community in New England is exhilarating. Each room in the show house makes an impression that is hard to forget.  It’s an honor to work with the designers.”

We would like to congratulate the participating designers whom we also have had the pleasure to collaborate with over the years:

Gerald Pomeroy / Gerald Pomeroy Design Group

Frank D. Hodge / F.D. Hodge Interiors

Stephanie Rossi / Spazio Rosso, Inc.

Kate Maloney Albiani / Kate Maloney Interior Design

Diana Kiker and Janet Heyde / Sticks & Stones

Michael Carter / Carter Dayton Home, Carter and Company (Winner of The Junior League of Boston Designers’ Pineapple Award. This prize recognizes “accomplished interior designs who demonstrate utmost creativity and dedication to their art as well as to the mission of the Junior League of Boston.”)

Read more here!


In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, we would like to share an article we found by our stone designer, Dawn, which described her travels to the quarries in Ireland. On this holiday, we would like to thank Irish Natural Stone especially, for working with us to bring valuable Irish limestone into the hands of an even larger community.

By: Dawn Carroll

A few years ago I was talking with an old friend who asked if I missed my exciting life back in Los Angeles. He was inviting me to a fancy Tinsel Town event, and was confused when I declined, explaining that I was going to a stone show. Silent for just a minute, he replied, “I didn’t know they were touring.” I shook my head and laughed aloud. “No, not a Stone’s show! Stone. As in marble and granite!” Silently, we both wondered if I had committed career suicide. After all, what the heck was I doing cutting and fabricating natural stone instead of putting together a world tour for the Rolling Stones? Once upon a time, I was a player in the music management business. But that was then, and this is now. I have since become one of the few women working in the world of stone fabrication … a top-notch rock chick! Like the music business, the rock business can also be colorful, dramatic, shocking and challenging!

The 13th century Church of St. John the Baptist, built by Goban Saor for St. Colman at Kilmacduagh, Gort.

In a few short years, I have completed several thousand projects with granite and marble. The stone business, espe­cially when I began working, was a funky place for a little Irish girl, and the ques­tion haunted me: Had I found my career in the stone industry or had it found me? And the truth was that there is no easy explanation as to how I ended up in this business. I left a cushy corporate position in a beautiful, air-conditioned Hollywood office, and now I was lugging chunks of rock around the streets of Boston; rain, sun, sleet or snow … and loving it! You have to love this industry because it exposes raw nerves and creates some of the highest tension I have ever en­countered. I often joke that the building industry elicits more drama than all of Hollywood. Dealing with a product that is millions of years old, and has had more cosmetic surgery than Michael Jackson, proves that you are hardly ever in complete control. Products of Mother Nature can be most temperamental; almost as impractical as a family that has been living together in a crowded basement with ten kids, two dogs, eight cats and no sink for 11 months 12 days, 18 hours and 45 long hard seconds. As I said, you have to love this industry or you will die an early death!

One day an answer presented itself, and finally satisfied my need to know. The secret was revealed. It was out and it was true! Stone was in my blood, and in my hands was a piece of the earth belong­ing to my Irish ancestors. The bearer of such a glorious gift was a man named Bob Spencer who was introducing me to a stunning new stone from Ireland. Ask any designer, especially a stone designer, how exciting it is when new stone arrives. Simply stated: It rocks our world!

Now, this industry has long been ruled by ego-maniacal Italians who adore calling themselves “The Masters.” And yet here it was, finally, my great Irish stone relief! Rock, of all things, offered a nostalgic glimpse of Ireland. Yes, it took a rock to make my history come alive, and it had arrived convenient­ly on my New England shoreline. I can only describe the sensations as euphoric when I was told that not only was this stone from Ireland, but that it came from my ancestor’s backyard! This information was revealed at a time when I needed it most. Long overdue was a quick, sharp jab at the Italian egos I had been working among. Sporting an ear-to-ear grin, I slid into The Master’s office and smiled the “undisputed leader smirk.” Holding out the century’s old object I blurted: “Class never goes out of style.” This magnificent Irish limestone forever altered a long-held but fraudulent per­ception, and finally separated fact from fiction: Italians were not the only Masters in the stone industry.

This beautiful Irish Grey Limestone, a fabulous stone for kitchen countertops, is utilized here in the showroom of Dalia Kitchen Design. The stone is not porus, and is well suited for a variety of uses. The showroom is located in the Boston Design Center, on Boston’s harbor front.

When I first learned about Irish limestone, it was when “honed” granite styles were peaking. Honing is when you take a perfectly polished stone and remove the shine. It perplexed me that people want­ed this matte finish. To us, in the early days of stone fabrication, honing a stone was analogous to ruining it, since you were basically scratching the heck out of it. I was bored to death with the trend, and the Irish limestone was the perfect alternative. Bob and I became fast friends.

The popularity of the stone was not only due to its fossil activity, but it was now easy to remind everyone that their kitchen and bathroom counters were millions of years old. This was a point I always made, but one that clients seemed to easily forget. The stone also satisfied the folks who did not like a high shine, but rather enjoyed a durable matte finish.

One day, Bob and his wife Gerry made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. Air Lingus was having a huge off-season promotion, and we were going to Ireland. We would visit their partners’ stone fabrication shop, and tour the quarries and learn more about this amazing stone. After many cans of Guiness, I awoke just in time to see the remains of a castle just outside Shannon along with, perhaps, a waving leprechaun! It was my first trip overseas and I was told that it was rare to land in Ireland during daylight. I will never forget opening my eyes and seeing the ancient ruin just outside my window, surrounded and framed by a million shades of green.

The next day the stone tour began. Stone was everywhere: walls, churches, manors, ruins and countless cottages. Nestled below the beautiful, sweeping paradise of emerald mountains is the sprawling compound that employs a team of experts overflowing with talent and imagination. Inside and around the com­plex you will find an endless supply of creativity and unforgettable uses of natural stone; interior as well as exterior applica­tions. It was easy to see how and why Bob and Gerry had fallen in love with this product and opened their business in the United States.

Pictured here is Gerry O’Donnell (President of INS) and Dawn Carroll, standing in front of the Cliffs of Mohr on a chilly morning. The seas were calm after a week of wind and rain.

For over a week, Francis McCormack and his gracious wife Mary hosted and chauffeured us Americans as we inhaled the gorgeous landscape and traveled the enchanting, prehistoric west coast coun­tryside. They assisted as I purchased my first pair of very unfashionable “Wellies” (knee-high, not thigh-high), army green boots designed to get you around in the muck, while not insulating you from it. Once several hundred feet into the earth you don’t care much about what you’re walking in, since you are so completely mesmerized by what you are seeing. All I could hear myself say was “what the*#&!#!” That deep in the earth there is a certain calm that leaves you breathless; it’s very dangerous and yet tranquil. If you close your eyes you could swear you hear a soft whisper emanating from the walls. The sheerness of the quarry is sensual and sleek, and discreetly you pray to God that you look that good when you are a mil­lion plus years old!

A trip like this can turn your life around and offer that one radiant moment where you can see not only who you are, but why you are and where you came from. For me, standing in the bowels of a stone quarry in the town where my ancestors once lived unleashed new creativity and a fresh perspective on my career. For the first time in my ten years in the stone industry, I heard the pounding surf, felt the sun, tasted the salt and sensed the 400 million years of pressure that was neces­sary to create this magnificent material of mystical Irish charm.

Francis McCormack’s Irish Natural Stone quarry in Ireland.


There is no doubt about it, the internet has made life easier for us in so many ways and purchasing product on line is one way but there are many things that the internet cannot bring to you that working one on one with a local company can. As we are all looking for companies who can deliver a professional job at fair prices, I thought I would share as Cumar Marble and Stone performed above and beyond! Cumar Marble and Granite can deliver!

I have worked with Cumar Marble and Stone on several projects over the past years and I recently had the pleasure of working with Dawn Carroll, the expert stone consultant, on a recent project, “The New England Living Show House” in Vermont. I was and still am impressed with Dawn’s knowledge and expertise.

For most projects I work on I go through Cumar’s warehouse and go through slabs and slabs of stone. I was looking for a particular stone that would read “classic beauty”, elegant and without a lot of movement. Dawn knew exactly what to show me showing me two stones and the second one was perfect! I chose a beautiful natural stone, Eremosal, a rare and exotic stone for the bathroom vanity top. It had all the qualities that I wanted and it is truly the most exotic and beautiful stone I have ever used and seen.















The staff is phenomenal. From staying late after closing time to show my clients and me stone slabs for projects, to the engineers hand delivering stone samples to me to delivering my finished pieces in a timely manner and ahead of schedule!

So, I will still purchase my office supplies online, but when it comes to delivering a product which needs the professional care of people who know what they are doing, and someone who will listen to my needs, I will head to Cumar Marble and Granite.

Thank you to the entire team at Cumar Marble and Granite for helping me with a successful project and doing a great job because you also make it easy for me!

Eileen Patterson
Patterson Group
Boston Design Center
1 Design Center Place | Suite 324
Boston, MA 02210


Mentoring is what keeps CUMAR Marble & Granite growing strong for eight generations so far; therefore it is no wonder that “Thank Your Mentor Day” was such a special occasion for them. Ivo and his team of talented employees worked together to shine light on this occasion by hosting a memorable reception in the showroom of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams of Boston’s Back Bay. Among the aforementioned CUMAR’s dedicated circle is Dawn Carroll, who founded the national mentoring initiative, the Over My Shoulder Foundation, with Grammy Award winner Patti Austin.

The evening was filled with giving and receiving, and sharing of mentoring stories under a humming halo. Longtime mentors and speakers for the evening were welcomed onto the stage by CUMAR’s general manager, Dave Connor. Magic 106.7 Candy O’Terry‘s “…you get what you give” speech and Newton attorney Rick Dyer‘s breakthrough stories, captured the night with their inspiring words. Other prominent leaders from the music, legal, and design business communities including Jon Butcher, Charlie Farren, and Robin Lane were also present to celebrate and raise awareness of the impact of mentoring.

Patti Austin, a newcomer to the design industry and a musical legend, capped the evening by giving a special $10,000 scholarship to her mentee, Santana Roberts, as a broad token of thanks to all her new and former mentors; in fact, it was a touching surprise moment to all the attendees. Santana Roberts continues to push for her dream of becoming a singer with the strong support of her struggling middle class family and over five years of instruction under the wing of Patti Austin.

In Santana’s own words:

“A couple weeks ago I was invited to “­­­­­­­­­­­Thank you Mentor Day” hosted at Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams in Boston, Massachusetts.  I was asked to thank and introduce my mentor, Patti Austin.  I was excited to reunite with her once again and to share some time together. On January 25, 2012 I attended this much-anticipated event.  I walked in the building and stood before ornate modern furniture, delicious hors d’oeuvres and a room full of people who shared similar interests in making a difference.  There were designers and musicians and mentors and mentees.  The Over My Shoulder Foundation’s goal is to promote mentoring cross-generationally.  Watching everybody mingle, I realized that age is but a number, and mingling is just another word for sharing.  Halfway through the event, mingling was paused and the attention was focused on the speakers.  I was given the opportunity to be one of them.  Listening to the amazing stories they told really inspired me.  Suppressing my stage fright, I delivered my story of being mentored by Patti Austin and how she has motivated me throughout the years.  I finished my speech by introducing her transitioning into her side of the story.  Standing beside her made everything that has happened to me actually feel real in that moment.  Suddenly, she presented me with $10,000 towards Berklee!  I stood there, motionless as I began to cry tears of pure joy and gratefulness.”

With immense satisfaction and purpose for this event, CUMAR eagerly await their upcoming spring event on Designing the Next Generation with the message of  ” helping those who need a helping hand”. “We created the MIDDIE awards to recognize design professionals who share their time, expertise and wisdom with upcoming generations of designers. It is through a personal commitment and focus on others that the magic occurs”, said Connor, “We are putting forth the challenge and call for nominations for the 2012 MIDDIES today!”


Searching for the most exquisite, one-of-a-kind marble or granite? You don’t have to travel far thanks to Cumar’s extensive stone inventory. Our president Ivo Cubi’s family legacy and reputation in the stone world means Cumar has access to the world’s rarest, sought-after marble, granite, limestone and other stone materials for your kitchen, bath or home accent project.

With the experience of eight generations in the stone business, Cumar not only provides a wide selection of marble, granite and fine stone but our quality craftsmanship has made us the Northeast’s go-to stone source. Contact us today to find out what a team with a passion for stonework can create for you!

Cumar – The Best Stone Countertops in the World


At Cumar, we rarely take on restoration work, preferring to focus our efforts on the impeccable stone selection and fabrication that have garnered us a superior international reputation for marble, granite and stone sourcing. However, a remarkable opportunity came in the form of a perfectly preserved 400 million year old water lily fossil encased in stone; while in storage, the beautiful stone broke, seemingly beyond repair. Known throughout the stone world as the authority in stonework, Cumar president Ivo Cubi was immediately called to advise on the situation.

Both he and Cumar stone designer Dawn Carroll immediately took interest in the incredible piece and could not pass up the unique chance to save this natural work of art. After weeks of meticulous cleaning, the actual rebuilding began. The talented craftsmen at Cumar carefully set out to rebuild the spine of the lily first. With the precision of surgeons, they completed the project down to the most minute detail.

Talk of the Town: Carlotta Cubi Interviews Design New England Editor And Publisher

Cumar Inc.’s Controller Carlotta Cubi sits down with Design New England Editor Gail Ravgiala and Publisher Steve Twombly to reflect on the interior design world of 2010 and discuss the design outlook for 2011.

Carlotta Cubi: First of all, congratulations on Design New England’s four year anniversary!

Gail Ravgiala: Thank you! The November celebration at the W Hotel honoring the milestone was the perfect way to mark the occasion. Everyone who attended raved about the performance from Grammy-winner Patti Austin and her protégé Lianna Gutierrez. Combined with the unveiling of the MIDDIES award, it was the event of the year.

Carlotta Cubi: We, here at Cumar, were so honored to be able to design the Mentors In Design (MIDDIES) award for the program recently started at Design New England. For those who aren’t as familiar with the MIDDIES, what is your main goal of this awards program?

Steve Twombly: Design New England wants to recognize the generosity of spirit shown by established members of the design community. From construction sites to showrooms, from design offices to work rooms, we find there is a sharing not only of knowledge but also of the intangible insights that only the seasoned player can impart to the rookie. Veterans in the design world are incredible assets to promote and encourage future designers.

Carlotta Cubi: How do you see the world of interior design moving forward in the future?

Gail Ravgiala: Home design has changed with our lifestyles. Today, there is a casual flair, an accessible component, to our homes. From wide-open living spaces to captivating landscaping, design has progressed from formal trends of the past to a more inviting, relaxed style.

Carlotta Cubi: Going into Design New England’s fifth year of publication, what are some of your goals for the magazine and the design community?

Steve Twombly: We really want to reaffirm our commitment to educating our readers with both the magazine as well as our home design seminar series. Our recent series, “Real Solutions for the Home,” focused on topics from kitchen and bath design to going green.

Carlotta Cubi: And you know we always love people spreading the word about kitchen and bath design! From the MIDDIES to our recent work with Planeta Basque on the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, it’s been a great year for Cumar, and we are excited to see growing interest from homeowners who are looking to add glamorous, exotic marble and granite stone to their homes.

Gail Ravgiala: Kitchen and bath design are certainly two popular topics readers are always interested in. We are continually focused on finding the best, eye-catching examples to inspire readers and show just how impressive the impact a beautiful kitchen or bathroom can be.

Carlotta Cubi: Thank you for taking the time to talk with me, and we look forward to another great year from Design New England!

CumarThe Best Stone in the World