May-June 2013 | SOLID AS A ROCK

Renee Stephens



Renee Stephens and Ann Heavner are thrilled with their new living spaces after working with Custom Tile & Marble

Written By: Jonathan Westman | Photographer: Grant L. Gursky

Salisbury homeowners Todd and Renee Stephens have known for some time that Custom Tile & Marble would play a major role in their extensive kitchen-remodeling project. 

“We worked with them on our master bathroom renovation, and as soon as that was finished, we knew we wanted to use them when we remodeled our kitchen — especially with some of the special features that we wanted,” Renee said. “I knew that they had the experience, and I trusted them to accomplish exactly what we wanted to do.”

As work began in the spring of 2012, Todd designed the centerpiece of the new kitchen space, a spacious island finished superbly with a substantial piece of granite that resembles a baby grand piano. Affectionately named the “piano bar” by family and friends, the area is used often for dining and entertaining and regularly serves as a gathering place regardless of what is happening elsewhere inside or outside of the home.

“We needed a large island to accommodate traffic flow and allow for enough bar stools to be placed around it,” Renee said. “We didn’t want it squared off like a rectangle, so the curving was essential.”

Templates for the island and other countertops were created at Custom Tile & Marble’s Parsonsburg facility, allowing Todd and Renee to get a true feel for the size and shape of the design prior to installation. 

“Being able to go on-site, see examples of slabs and to actually see the finished templates of our design was so important to us,” Renee said. “That really put our minds at ease that we were making the decision for the space and that there would not be any surprises.”

Homeowners with granite countertops know of the product’s striking pattern options, but they are also keenly aware that if multiple pieces are needed to complete one area, the risk of unsightly seams could negatively affect the appearance of the entire space. This potential definitely existed on the Stephens’ job due to the shear size of the island.
“I knew this would be a challenge, and I was definitely concerned that a seam would be evident because this pattern has 
a lot of movement in the design,” Renee said. “But they did a fantastic job. I am so impressed because I cannot even see a seam — and I know where it is.” 

As challenging as the task of cutting the slab with pinpoint precision proved, physically moving the massive countertop 
to the Stephens’ residence posed an equally demanding test of experience — one they passed with flying colors.
Owner Tom Wade and his son, Jeff, have always regarded the satisfaction of their clients as one of the company’s top priorities. 

“Our goal, day in and day out, is to provide excellent design, installation and service, while providing our employees with an environment in which they can thrive creatively,” said Tom, who opened the Parsonsburg-based business in 1984. 
Custom Tile & Marble offers an array of flooring, countertop and decorative-tile options that include carpet, laminate, hardwood, ceramic, porcelain and glass tiles, natural stone, granite, marble and quartz. Their showroom provides customers with the opportunity to see and feel these selections, which provides many benefits, including peace of mind.   

When longtime Northern Virginia residents Jeff and Ann Heavner decided to relocate to the Eastern Shore, they chose Robert Messick Builders to construct their new home in the Salisbury community of Steeplechase. In doing so, the builder provided the names of two granite-and-tile companies for the couple’s consideration, though the Heavners would meet only one.

“After I met Debbie [Wendland] and the staff at Custom Tile & Marble, I didn’t even need to explore the second option,” said Ann, owner of The Dressing Room (formerly Nancy N.) in Salisbury. “Because we were only able to spend a few hours on the weekends with them, they went above and beyond to make our experience as smooth as possible.”

The Heavners’ new kitchen includes a versatile granite countertop, an island and tile flooring that accommodates the couple’s decorating trends throughout the open floor plan. Their daughter’s upstairs bathroom was outfitted with a black-and-white-colored tile pattern and an attractive and durable countertop. Meanwhile, the company’s design and installation talents really shine in the master bathroom — an area that came with specific requirements.

“I knew specifically what I wanted in my shower,” Ann said. “I wanted an arch, glass and a wide, doorless opening, but I 
didn’t want water to splash out. Debbie took this information and narrowed everything down to three choices, which was wonderful.”

Perhaps the most electrifying example of Custom Tile & Marble’s quality craftsmanship came last fall, when the Heavner home took a direct hit from a lightning strike during a series of strong storms that moved aggressively across the Shore. 

“It sounded like an explosion, and it was very scary,” Ann recalled. “The lightning caused eight holes in our walls, blew 
out 12 electrical outlets, knocked out our air conditioning unit and all of our electronics, but there was not one bit of damage to any aspect of the tile flooring in our entire home.”


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