You would be hard-pressed to find a more compatible, and successful, business-minded duo than Stone Carving Unlimited’s president, Zack Kousa, and his long-time national sales manager and director of marketing, Tom Robinson. Kousa and Robinson have been in the hand-carved natural stone business long enough to correct all the misconceptions about this highly competitive field.
Most companies in the stone business claim to own their own quarries. They all also claim to own their own factories and that everything they purvey is handcarved. It is nearly impossible to juggle all of those aspects of the fine stone cutting field. Impossible for everyone except Stone Carving Unlimited, which has its own stone factory and produces true hand-carved stone. Stone Carving Unlimited is able to juggle all of these different facets of the business because a family member manages their showroom, factory and quarries. The company’s quarries and factory are located in Turkey, one of the world’s main centers for limestone and marble.
Focus is the watchword that describes what makes Stone Carving Unlimited, with its roster of national and international private custom-home projects, a leader in custom-designed, hand-carved architectural limestone and marble.
“We are the kind of operation,” explains Kousa, “that is from quarry to factory, from exporter to importer to wholesaler. We are all those things.”
Stone Carving Unlimited is often included early on in the architectural planning of a new private residence. The builder or the architect will share the blueprint plans with the firm, and it will coordinate how many balustrades, door and window moldings, fireplace mantels and columns to carve.
What distinguishes Stone Carving Unlimited’s limestone supply is how palpably denser and harder its stone is versus the domestically mined competition, whose stone tends to be chalky and porous.
“Our limestone, which we mostly offer in various shades of cream and beige, will polish like marble,” says Kousa.
Stone Carving Unlimited prides itself on catering to any customer’s whim. It has the ability, if desired, to reproduce an antique look or rusticity on a new piece of stone by staining, tumbling and generally beating it up.
“A lot of our customers want their fireplaces to resemble a French farmhouse antique, but they don’t want to pay for that level of antique,” says Kousa. “So we are happy to make the fireplace look like it’s been part of the house for 300 years, while absolutely guaranteeing it is new.”
If there is a certain architectural design job that Stone Carving Unlimited is known for tackling with skill and panache, it is a curved staircase. The serpentine staircase highlights two of Stone Carving Unlimited’s best attributes: The detail of its carving, and its ability to fabricate an individual stone carving to fit precisely in whatever part of the house for which it is designed.
Where Stone Carving Unlimited further distances itself from its competitors is in how uniformly handcrafted all of its products are.
“The sign of our hand-carving, versus others’ power-tool work, is how much deeper and sharper the detail is on the stone,” adds Robinson. “You can get really intricate, three-dimensional ribbons and bows or a rose so real you want to smell it—you could get none of those things with a machine.”
You sense Stone Carving Unlimited’s pride when it acknowledges how cutting-edge its 17th-century hand-carving technology is, while it derides any company that produces “cast” stone.
“Cast stone is really just fake stone, a totally inferior product,” says Kousa. “Ours, is quite simply, the real thing. And if you want genuine hand-carved stone, you will come to us.”
To his point, this statement could be considered Stone Carving Unlimited’s credo: While machine-carved stone is a craft, hand-carved stone is an art.
Andrew Marton is an arts and culture writer based in Fort Worth, Texas