With Joshua O’Connor (Stone Creations)

josh0001cNatural stone has been a beautiful and natural aspect of architecture since building began and today it is one of them most sought after materials for home and landscaping. We asked Joshua O’Connor, owner of Stone Creations, about the popularity of using natural stone to enhance residential and commercial projects in this modern age.

How long have you personally been working with stone?

From a young age I’ve worked with stone, labouring for my dad, Steve who was a bricklayer and specialised in laying Hinuera stone. I then started doing stone masonry at the age of 18, learning the craft in New Zealand and in Europe.

When did you start Stone Creations and where are you based?

I started Stone Creations Ltd in 1997. We are based in Ramarama [southern Auckland] but work all over New Zealand, since in a lot of regions of New Zealand there aren’t many stonemasons or stone companies of our size which can take on the projects we can.

What is it about stone that people admire so much?

Firstly, the look; you can really see the effort that’s been put into it. With stone being hand cut and selected, every section of the work is unique. The durability of stone also provides a strong sense of permanence which has timeless appeal.

Where and how do people use stone in today’s market?

Stone is used in a multitude of ways. It could be on an exterior or an interior wall of a house (or commercial building), as steps, walls and, in particular, entrance ways; for pillars/columns, paving, hearths and special features such as an outdoor fireplace or barbecue. The options are many and varied and the look achieved will depend on the chosen stone, the cut and the laying.

What types of stone does Stone Creations offer?

We use all types of stones, including local stone such as basalt and limestone and we bring up schist from the South Island.

Do customers use stone when renovating or upgrading a home or is it only for new properties?

Yes, people often like to add personal features to an existing home when renovating. Adding stone pillars at the front entrance or installing a fireplace with stone around it are popular as well as using stone work in landscaping.

Do customers ask you for ideas on how to incorporate stone or are such features usually part of an architect’s/building company’s plan or design?

Yes, clients do come to me for advice and I can show them various options for stones and styles of laying. Sometimes, stone features are included in a presented plan.

Where does your stone come from?

Most stone we use is from New Zealand, but we are also able to use imported veneer stone us well us imported limestone and sandstone paving.

How long lasting is stone?

If you choose the right stone, and construction is right, it’s there forever.

How much does it cost?

Stone masonry type of stonework is generally more expensive than most options because of the time it takes to process the stone and fit into place. However, if you are after a more rustic style of stone wall, and the stone is sourced locally, it could be quite close in price to say, a block wall.

Does your team include other trained stonemasons?

Yes, we have a team of trained stonemasons.

Do you assist residential and commercial clients?

Yes, we do both, we have done various large commercial jobs including rebuilding a large section of the Tamaki Drive seawall.

Does stone add value to a property?

Absolutely, it does. It certainly makes a property stand out from the crowd.