A church may be missing its altar
October 26, 2009 9:46 AM   Subscribe

I have a big slab of marble, and I'm trying to figure out what to do with it.

A friend gave me this when she moved across the country and her husband refused to take it. Now my husband has banished it from his sight. I used it for a coffee table top for years. To him, it's very ugly - I disagree. Admittedly, it's very heavy. Should I take it into the cellar where it will stay forever, give it away, sell it? And no, don't suggest using it as my husband's tombstone - yes, that sounds like two birds, one stone, but .....
posted by tizzie to Home & Garden (21 answers total)
It would make a lovely worktop to make pastry on. Or maybe as a feature in a bathroom somehow?
posted by Solomon at 9:49 AM on October 26, 2009

Looks like a gorgeous piece of marble; I'd try to sell it. Not sure if you'd get a decent price for it, but it doesn't deserve banishment, and if your husband doesn't like it, you can't have it made into a countertop for a small area (which is what I'd do).
posted by xingcat at 9:56 AM on October 26, 2009

Maybe some sort of outdoor table or bench? Do you have a garden or patio area?
posted by orme at 10:07 AM on October 26, 2009

It would make a durable outdoor table, or maybe 2 durable outdoor tables, after you
cut it in half.
posted by the Real Dan at 10:07 AM on October 26, 2009

It's ugly because it's surrounded by colors that don't do anything for it. Almost no stone is ugly once it's in the right setting. I'd start by getting paint chips and finding something that sets off the stone. I'm guessing some much darker, more saturated colors will make it totally shine. Get it outside in natural light. It really will be obvious when you're on the right track. Once you're both seeing it in a positive light, and thinking about what makes it look nice, you'll be in a more creative frame of mind. Put it out where you see it every day and live with it for a while. Something will come to you. :)

Marble isn't cheap, and getting it for free kinda releases you from using it in the usual formal spots. Assuming you own your house, the sky's the limit. Got a garden? That could be a nice top for a bench or a nice slab around which to plant things. Or in the kitchen as a counter or back splash. Or with a sink in it somewhere. It'd be great in front of, or above, a fireplace. Don't ignore its non-visual characteristics. Marble feels nice. If you live somewhere hot, it'd make a great bench in a shady spot. It'd make an eff-ing awesome desk.

Again, I'd start with trying to figure out what makes the stone look good rather than trying to figure out what the most functional use for it is. Think on it for a good long while. No drilling holes in it until you know what you want to do!
posted by paanta at 10:13 AM on October 26, 2009 [2 favorites]

I think part of the problem here are those cliche, neo-classical columns. Solid wood blocks stained the right color would probably help.
posted by sbutler at 10:21 AM on October 26, 2009

my subletter's girlfriend did some organizing when I was away at college and threw my furniture out. Included was my beloved kitchen counter. So I agree with Solomon that it would make a lovely table to pasty upon.

Any chance this table was in New York 5 years ago?
posted by rakish_yet_centered at 10:56 AM on October 26, 2009

obviously, I meant pastry, I think
posted by rakish_yet_centered at 10:57 AM on October 26, 2009

Response by poster: No, rakish - it's been in Kentucky for ages!

Sorry, ignore the set-up on the columns, the room colors, etc. That picture is way out of date.

The person who gave it to me intended to use it as a pastry counter, so that is a great idea, but I'm not that much of a baker.

Garden table is more of a possibility if I keep it, but I hate to have it sit out in the elements. Am I being overprotective? I might be.

I'm terrible at selling things - I have no idea what it's worth, or where to advertise it. I'm more likely to give it away to someone who would cherish it, but who would that be?
posted by tizzie at 11:06 AM on October 26, 2009

Do you have a grill area? It could be a prep/resting zone. It's nice when you're grilling multiple things to have a place where things can sit before and after and a place to sit your beer and accessories.
posted by Askr at 11:11 AM on October 26, 2009

Just for comparison and to get your ideas flowing: here's an amazingly designed marble table with similar colour tones. You don't have to swing quite that modern, but those pedestals aren't helping matters.

Or look at this Room and Board Parsons table example with the white marble top. Amazing!

You could certainly get a frame made for it, or turn it into a low bench, or even a console table close to your kitchen for baking.
posted by barnone at 11:13 AM on October 26, 2009

Sorry, didn't preview. Marble is totally fine outside -- that is why it's a good candidate for headstones, btw :-) There are some protective finishes you can use to help it be more impervious -- others can chime in here. A garden table would be awesome!
posted by barnone at 11:15 AM on October 26, 2009

you could cut it into pieces and make it into baking stones for bread/pizza, then give them out to friends. it would be kind of a shame to cut it apart though. I say you should work really hard on making it into an attractive coffee table. or get a new husband. I mean, really, who doesn't want a huge slab of marble?
posted by Think_Long at 11:16 AM on October 26, 2009 [2 favorites]

I have a piece of marble too, in my garage. Not as nice at this, but I got it really cheap and figured someday I would find a use for it. My piece isn't flat, it bows a little so I can't use it for a pastry counter.

Another person I know took a piece of marble to a place that makes cemetery headstones and they cut it up for the top of a dresser. It looks cool that way. It can also be stepping stones in a garden, and marble is cool as a windowsill.
posted by chocolatetiara at 12:08 PM on October 26, 2009

Is fudge a pastry? I'd have to vote for a kitchen cart (even if you had to get it cut down a bit to fit. Oh, a lengthwise split would make it about the right width for a nice buffet or side table.
posted by midwestguy at 1:24 PM on October 26, 2009

I wouldn't use it as a bench. My experience with marble is that it has a tendency to break along the veins when pressure is applied. Marble is soft -about a 3 on the MOHS scale (the same as a human fingernail)
posted by Acacia at 2:12 PM on October 26, 2009

Response by poster: Wow, that's interesting, Acacia - who knew!

Thanks, everyone. That Parson's Table picture has got me thinking, barnone.

And Think_Long - I cannot trade this husband in on a new model. Sadly, I threw away the receipt.
posted by tizzie at 2:23 PM on October 26, 2009

If you do decided to use it as some kind of food prep surface, you'll need to get it coated, acid (like lemon juice) will dissolve it. I actually had a question on a quiz once about why people didn't have marble counter tops...
posted by piper4 at 5:01 PM on October 26, 2009

We have lots of marble in Greece... lots. In fact, as I'm sitting here in my kitchen, the whole area behind my stove, sink and counter area where you are likely to find tile? Marble. I've had marble countertops in two houses, and while I dearly love them for their beauty, they offer some special challenges, like piper4 mentioned, plus... put a hot glass/ceramic/etc. item down on a cold marble surface, and hear the loud CRACK! as the glass breaks. Many a (hot but empty) vase, coffee pot and tea cup has met its end on my marble counters in winter! :)

But it would make a grand (inspiring, even!) work table surface for just about any kind of activity you do... great outside as a potting and work table if you do gardening, great as an office desk, sewing table, crafts work space, or display table if you have that kind of room. I'd go scavenging for a proper wrought iron base along the lines of this, or this (very important it be strong, stable and wide enough! That marble is super heavy, as you note, and you don't want any accidents!).
posted by taz at 10:16 PM on October 26, 2009

What about making it into some sort of waterfall indoors or out. You see them all over the place nowadays. I'm sure if you look into it on the net or in some furnishing places, you might get an idea or two. All you would need is a water pump, some tubing and a base to collect the water. It would look great in the right place. A nice conversation piece. Maybe hubby could help. ;-)
posted by Taurid at 11:56 PM on October 26, 2009

Response by poster: Wow, taz, those wrought iron bases are impressive.

Thanks again, everyone, for the ideas! I'm going to move it for now - on its current base - into a spot in the garden, while I look for a better permanent base.
posted by tizzie at 5:36 AM on October 27, 2009

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