Feature Employee: Stephanie O’Brien

Happy 2016 from everyone here at Cumar Marble & Granite! We are so excited to share more of our expertise with you this year, starting with a profile on another of our rock stars—Stephanie O’Brien. Thanks for kicking off 2016 in style with us!

 

Feature Employee: Stephanie

Stone Design Specialist Stephanie O'Brien of Cumar Marble and Granite.

 

 

Stone Specialist and Sales Associate Stephanie has been at Cumar Marble & Granite for three years, making her the rookie of our seasoned sales team. As a neophyte in the stone industry, Stephanie came to Cumar with a thirst for knowledge, keen to soak up the expertise of Ivo Cubi and all those who make Cumar the authority on stone in the New England area. Throughout her exciting journey, she sees each year, each project, and each day as a fresh learning experience—with her expanding expertise as proof.

 

 

 

 

Teamwork in the Creative Process

Outside of Cumar’s walls, I fill my time with music, movies, dance, travel, and relaxing with my wonderful family, including a niece and nephew that light up my world. My father’s unshakeable loyalty to the New England Patriots made me a diehard fan; football is my greatest passion, and I never miss a game! I follow other Boston sports just as enthusiastically, and I am always eager to learn more about the games. My adoration of sports stems from the fact that teamwork is paramount; there are never any guarantees, and when each second counts, only a full team effort leads to success.

It’s a lesson that I carry with me at Cumar, where team effort is equally important on each and every project we encounter. In a recent project, I worked closely with an interior designer who was building her own new home that incorporated natural stone in the design plan. From the first handshake, I knew this project would be both fun and fulfilling. The client’s design vision—from awe-inspiring slab walls in the shower to an eye-catching kitchen backsplash—was fresh and dynamic.

With this thoughtful plan in mind, our design, fabrication, and installation teams worked tirelessly to bring the designer’s stunning vision to life. Working with such a closely-involved client was an enormous pleasure, resulting in an unforgettable project that reflects the striking design and collaborative spirit instrumental in its creation.

Be on the lookout for more details and photos of this exceptional project as it develops!

 

Stephanie’s Favorite Stone: Cristallo

Favorite Stone - Cristallo

 

My favorite stone from our extensive collection is “Cristallo,” a quartzite material that can be used for kitchens, bathrooms, and fireplaces. What makes this stone so unique is that it is the only natural stone besides onyx that is translucent, which gives it a depth and richness second to none. As you can see in these photos, it almost has a spider-web quality to it. At the same time, the distinctive blend of opaque and translucent recalls the appearance of frozen water. It truly captures all the elements of natural quartz—eye-catching details that come together to create something of unmatched beauty.

Favorite Stone - Cristallo, detail

“Home for the Holidays” Launches at Neiman Marcus

The Cumar team in the Winter Palace room.

 

A glamorous reception last Wednesday night kicked-off the “Home for the Holidays” exhibit at Neiman Marcus’ fabulous Copley Place location.

“I never thought in a million years that our little gift gallery could be transformed into three amazing royal residences,” said Daniel Kramer, Vice President and General Manager of Neiman Marcus Boston, in his opening remarks. New England Home publisher Kathy Bush-Dutton spoke next, echoing Kramer’s sentiment and crediting the three designers and their teams.

Tony Fusco, co-producer of “Home for the Holidays,” announced the schedule for Boston Design Week 2015, which takes place March 19–29 in Boston. He then put the spotlight squarely on Cumar’s own Dawn Carroll, who took the microphone to emphasize the vital importance of mentorship in the world of design and in this exhibit especially.

Dawn Carroll talks about mentoring.

“There’s no school for stone design,” Carroll said. “That’s why mentorship is so important to Cumar, and that was part of the reason I founded the Over My Shoulder Foundation. In mentorship, we act as good stewards for our industry and our society.”

To produce “Home for the Holidays,” three Boston designers were invited to re-imagine famous royal palaces, and each were asked to allow a mentee to contribute significantly to the vision and project.

The Versailles room, designed by Paula Daher and mentee Virginia Seherr-Thoss, offers the classic gold trim in perfect balance with the decidedly modern furniture. The finishing touch? A pair of Christmas trees that sparkle with silver and gold ornaments.

Intoxicating in its blend of comfort and style, Gerald Pomeroy and mentee Lauren Cozzi’s Balmoral room boasts green-and-white wall panels of British country scenes, tweedy wall-to-wall carpet, and a rustic lantern chandelier above the table.

In the Winter Palace, Eric Roseff and mentee Evie Hickey dazzle with deep blue walls, a mélange of richly-textured furniture—including green leather chairs and a lush blue sofa-in-the-round—as well as faux windows that face an array of mesmerizing portraits.

Cumar Marble and Granite provided magnificent pieces of stone art for each space, carved fireplaces, framed pieces of semi-precious stones—and something special in the Winter Palace: two gorgeous white natural quartzite columns, both back-lit for ambiance, resembling floor-to-ceiling icicles. Each piece is a stunning work of art.

“Home for the Holidays” can be visited in the home section of the Neiman Marcus store in Copley Place, Boston. The event will close in January 2015 with a mentoring gala sponsored by Cumar and the Over My Shoulder Foundation.

A SPECIAL RECOUNT OF A VISIT TO THE QUARRIES IN IRELAND

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. www.daliakitchendesign.com

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.

PATTERSON GROUP GIVES RAVE TESTIMONIAL ON CUMAR MARBLE AND GRANITE

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

CUMAR CELEBRATES “THANK YOUR MENTOR DAY” IN STYLE BY HOSTING A FINE RECEPTION WITH A SURPRISE FINALE

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!”

STONE FASHIONISTA: FLOATING ON AIR

This week, our fabulous stone find comes from Cumar’s master stone craftsmen! The incredible integrated sink was custom-created for a private residence in Palm Beach, FL, designed by Enda Donagher of the wonderful New York interior design and architecture firm, Martell-Donagher, LLC. This masterpiece of stonework used nine individual pieces of Translucent White Quartz from our Semi-Precious Stone Collection, part of the Linea Couture line. We collaborated with lighting designer Barbara Bouyea to light the stone from below and create the stunning cloud-like illusion.

Cumar – The Best Stone in the World

CUMAR CLIENT RUHL WALKER ARCHITECTS FEATURED IN BOSTON HOME MAGAZINE

Located in Boston, Ruhl Walker Architects has brought elegant, inventive design to its clients for over fifteen years. Receiving the Housing Design Award from the Boston Society of Architects/New York AIA in 2010, the company’s reputation for exceptional work continues to grow. Their work in a Boston Common home was recently highlighted in Boston Home Magazine!

In the stunning four-page spread, Ruhl Walker creates a beautifully cohesive interior design for a family recently expanding their home from two floors to four floors on Beacon Hill. In the kitchen, Walker designed a room-length island as the focal point and looked to Cumar to supply the highest quality stone for the countertop. Complementing the bright walls and streamlined look of the kitchen, the light stone countertop is the perfect fit, providing a functional work space that is also aesthetically pleasing!

Cumar – The Best Stone Countertops in the World

ENTER THE STONE FASHION WORLD OF LINEA COUTURE

With NYC Fashion Week in full swing, Cumar is thrilled to have its own line of high-end designs to share with the world! The new Linea Couture collection features an incredible array of stone hand-selected by Ivo and Carlotta Cubi for their exclusivity, uniqueness and impeccable quality.

Linea Couture includes several collections such as the Precious Stone Collection with slabs of Amethyst, Tiger Eye Gold, Tiger Eye Blue, Blue Agate and Pink Quartz and the Nature Collection featuring limestones and granites with animal print patterns including crocodile skin or zebra print as well as floral patterns. Our one-of-a-kind slabs of Portoro and Calcutta marble were chosen specifically because of their optimal veining and coloring, making Cumar one of the rare providers of such premium materials.

New colors and finishes will be constantly added to Linea Couture. Just as the fashion world continually evolves, Cumar’s Linea Couture will always stay up-to-date and ahead of the latest trends, meeting the demands of even the most selective design clientele!

Cumar – The Best Stone Countertops in the World