B.L. Featured in K.C. Star Article About Local Limestone
B.L. Rieke Custom Homes and its 2015 Eclectic Contemporary Custom Home were recently spotlighted in the Kansas City Star article about how ancient limestone makes a spectacular architectural addition to local building projects. One of B.L. Rieke's stone suppliers, Sturgis Rock Solid Solutions, also starred as a prominent local limestone supplier. Read the article excerpt below featuring interviews of both Bruce Rieke and T.J. Jackson of Sturgis:
Today, Kansas City also outsources limestone. It comes here from all over the United States and in colors ranging from several shades of white to reddish brown, with blues, yellows and oranges in between.
B.L. Rieke Homes, a custom builder in Lenexa, recently designed and built a “contemporary eclectic” home in Leawood with bluish white Indiana limestone veneer from Sturgis in nearly every room and all over the exterior, including on columns, around the backyard pool and as the walls of a firepit.
“Forever we were using rock from Oklahoma and Arkansas that have a lot of the golds and oranges and darker colors,” says owner Bruce Rieke. “But with these newer, more contemporary designs, they like this gray stone.”
According to Matt Lonesk, vice president of sales at Sturgis, Indiana limestone is known for being fine-grained and consistent because it’s quarried from deeper in the ground.
“So it’s had more time for everything to line up,” he says. “Masons find it superior to work with.”
It also withstands freeze-thaw cycles better than other varieties of limestone, he adds.
“A lot of times, softer limestones have grains that hold water in place and with expansion and contraction can, in some instances, cause the limestone to crack or break,” Lonesk said. “That’s when we come in with clients, to suggest which kind to use where and if you need a sealer and what kind. People think, ‘Oh it’s rocks, it’s hard. Just throw rock down.’ But there is a lot more to it than that.”
He and Jackson were sitting in the Sturgis showroom surrounded by several hand-chiseled limestone mantels, examples of what their artisans can create in their workshop. Just outside the doors is what they call the “bone yard,” an area where large limestone pieces of old buildings lie. They’ve all been replaced with replicas created at Sturgis.
“Most contractors coming in are working on custom homes with architects involved or they’re restoring old homes,” Jackson says, adding that there are no blueprints to replicate stones, so the fabricators work with contractors, architects and the reclaimed pieces.
“We try to figure out what this piece originally looked like and how do you put it in a wall so it doesn’t look new?” Lonesk says. “It takes chiseling and antiquing to get it to look like what the original builders wanted it to look like.”
Sturgis has also started making more and more limestone countertops, though it’s not quite a trend yet. It costs more than granite because the edges have to be hand-chiseled and the stone must be sealed regularly to prevent staining.
“The nice thing about limestone is if you power wash it, it will clean right up,” Lonesk said, pointing to the red brick exterior of the Sturgis building. The window sills and door surrounds on the 65-year-old building are Indiana limestone, something they didn’t realize until they turned a high-pressure hose onto them. “We used to take clients downtown to see examples of how limestone ages; now we can walk them out the front doors.”