The Obsession: Vermont Danby Marble
But first off, a little comic relief! Do you remember this post about 7 lessons in outdoor lighting? Well, as a part of it, we included a spotlight on our home. Honestly, the spotlight makes our house so inviting in the dark. What we didn’t realize until Day 3 of demo on our renovation, was that our spotlight now illuminated something besides our lovely home.
(Ta-DAAAA! The Port-o-let.)
After the stress of the moving and living in 1400sf with the kids, and summer, and all our furniture on top of us, I laughed so hard I was weeping. The Handsome Husband thought I’d lost my marbles!
One of the “timeless” elements I want to include in my “Remodeling a Remuddle” kitchen is marble countertops, etching be d***ed. After looking at a variety of white marbles, I decided I wanted to go with Danby.
Danby Marble is a beautiful, domestic white marble that is quarried only a couple of hours away in Vermont in the largest underground quarry in the world. Thanks to my location, I was lucky enough to get a tour of the historic quarry.
First off, my reasons for wanting marble (vs. something like Quartz or Neolith) in general:
- It’s natural. Even though there are some really good copies out there, no human has yet been able to copy the wondrous variety in veining and color of Nature.
- It’s a historic material, and this is a historical house (1790).
- It shows wear and tear. Anything too perfect in this crooked house would look weird.
- It’s naturally cool to the touch and an excellent surface for rolling pie dough (and my family knows I love to make pie!).
- It’s gorgeous.
Second, my reasons for wanting Vermont Danby marble in particular:
- It’s gorgeous.
- It’s actually harder & less porous than many other types of white marble, so stains have a harder time seeping in. For example, Vermont Danby’s absorption rate is .06%-0.08% vs. 0.13-0.18% for Calacatta or Carrara.
- It’s an American product, and a New England product, so purchasing it supports the local economy.
- It’s REALLY gorgeous. Really, the smudgy, subtle veining is hard to compare.
Heck, if it’s good enough for Martha, it’s totally good enough for me!
Vermont Danby Marble: An American Institution
Danby, VT is kinda close to nowhere. But I also live close to nowhere, so I’m actually fairly close to Danby.
All images not credited are my own.
Do I go back or proceed????
The Vermont Danby quarry is the largest underground marble quarry in the world and still uses the entrance first opened in 1903. From here, it twists a mile and a half deep into Dorset Mountain.
During the height of production, the quarries employed more than 4,000 men. Today, about 40 workers, many of whose families have worked the quarries for generations, supply the world’s needs, running the saws from 6:30 AM to 10 PM.
Peter Prvulovic, Director of Sales & Marketing, is my guide … but he’s a little camera shy!
I ask Peter his thoughts about the future of Danby Marble, with all the quartzes and other products on the market for families who want a low-maintenance surface. Everyone seems to want bullet-proof perfection.
“Marble is a tale to be told,” Peter replies. “All those old homes and bakeries in Europe — every etch, every scratch is a memory. Marble may not be for everyone, but we believe there is a market among those who know what to expect and who see their homes as a story in the making.”
And thanks to the variety of patterns of Danby marble, we’re able to offer a natural stone product at a variety of price points and colors, from entry level to high-end. There’s a Danby marble for every homeowner who wants it.”
Danby marble has helped build some of America’s most iconic buildings, including the Jefferson Memorial, the U.S. Supreme Court, the New York Public Library, and the United Nations.
The largest blocks can weigh up to 93 tons!!!
The wall behind me is about 18′ tall. The top layer will be quarried for Montclair Danby, the middle for Eureka, and the bottom for Imperial (see later in the post for details).
Me, gasping in disbelief. It’s pretty awesome to see these marble slabs flying over your head.
Most slabs are cut to either a .75″ (about 2 cm) or 1.25″ thickness (or about 3.2 cm, compared to the usual 3 cm for most other stone slabs). However, Vermont Quarries has the ability to cut slabs 2″ and thicker as well. Slabs can also be cut to 157″ in length (compared to typical slab lengths are usually around 126″).
The greater thicknesses and longer cuts can be particularly crucial for those show-stopping long islands where you don’t want to see a seam.
In the polishing machine.
Danby marble comes in honed (best to disguise etching), polished (I like this finish in a bathroom!), or a brushed finish.
A digital image is made of each slab.
Off and away!
The Varieties: The Many Faces of Danby
There are actually 10 varieties of Vermont Danby Marble, cut from different layers of the vein and from different areas of the mountain. Boggles the mind.
Because of high-end design magazines, if you’re familiar with Danby, you probably know of the highest $ variety — Imperial. But the other varieties all have their charm, and if you’re looking for a white marble at a lower price point, you might want to check out the some of the others listed below. You can be able to get a beautiful, domestic natural stone product with that white, luminous background you crave, for a very good price!
(And with the 10-25% tariff increases on foreign products in 2019, you may want to look for a domestic product out of more than just patriotic fervor 😉 )
Imperial: Many of the kitchen counters pictured in the intro of this post are Imperial Danby. Soft gray and gold veins with light to medium veining.
Eureka Calacatta: Eureka has darker gold and gray veins and is often compared to Calacatta Gold). Medium to heavy veining.. It’s also a stunning choice.
Olympian White: Olympian White Danby has gray diagonal veins with medium to heavy veining and a very white background.
Mountain White: Mountain White Danby has gray diagonal veins with medium to heavy veining and a very white background.
Royal Danby: Royal Danby has gray muted veins and is often compared to Statuary marble.
Montclair Danby: Montclair is available in both fleuri (cross-cut) or Striato (vein-cut) with greenish to gray veins typically running diagonally or horizontally as with the Striato. Medium to heavy veining often used for book matching in fleuri cut. A beautiful and cost effective choice for kitchen countertops!
I still need to choose our slab, and I need to do it in a hurry! I need something with a little bit of gold to go with the taupe cabinets, so I’m leaning toward Imperial. However, I’m not opposed to Montclair or Eureka if I can find the right slab.
And wherever you are in the country, you can find a list of Vermont Danby distributors here.
Other posts you may enjoy:
Cream & White Kitchens (Lots of marble in this one!)
And a pin to remember me by!
Do you have marble in your kitchen? I’d love to hear your experience. And no going near our Port-o-let! I know it looks heavenly, but our guys have dibs!
‘Til next time!