What Donating Custom Stone Veneer Taught Our Company About Habitat for Humanity

What Donating Custom Stone Veneer Taught Our Company About Habitat for Humanity

Stone Fireplace Stone Fireplaces Stone Veneer

At North Star Stone, we recently donated some of our fine custom stone veneer products to the Lake County chapter of Habitat for Humanity.  And although many readers have heard of this fine organization, some may be unaware of how exactly Habitat for Humanity operates in an effort to provide affordable and safe housing.  North Star Stone’s new partnership with Habitat has opened our eyes regarding the scope and impact of their efforts not only in the Chicagoland area, but around the world.  Now we’d like to share some of the information that we’ve learned along the way.

Habitat for Humanity’s History & Mission

Habitat for Humanity International is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization that was started in 1976 by co-founders Millard and Linda Fuller.  Based in Americus, GA, the group’s mission is built upon the principle that every person deserves a decent place to live.  Since its inception, Habitat’s philosophy has been to engage in “partnership housing”, a concept focused on using teams of skilled volunteers working together in an effort to provide reliable and affordable shelter for families.  Habitat projects also include renovations, repairs and improvements to existing properties within a community.

Homes built by Habitat for Humanity’s thousands of volunteers and paid employees are done so without a profit motive.  In addition, the organization partners with mortgage lenders to obtain zero-interest loans for those they assist.  Habitat also operates The Fund for Humanity, which receives money from their ReStores, online merchandise sales, mortgage payments and cash donations to continuously finance more homes for those in need.  Today, houses built by the caring hands of Habitat volunteers provide shelter for nearly 10 million family members in 70 countries and 1400 communities worldwide.

How does a Habitat Home Get Built Using Stone Veneer?

There are several different factors that all come together to produce just one Habitat home.  For prospective new homeowners, there’s a non-discriminatory application process whereby the selection criteria varies from community to community.  It involves these steps:

  • The applicant must show a specific level of financial need.
  • An applicant must have a willingness to partner with Habitat.  This means devoting hundreds of hours of their own time to building their new home, while further participating in construction efforts on other Habitat projects in their area.
  • The ability to repay an affordable mortgage is a must. 
  • Applicants are screened and chosen based upon the above criteria by a local Habitat selection committee.

Volunteers partnering with Habitat include builders, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, roofers, bricklayers, carpet installers, and more.  These individuals not only donate their valuable services locally, but sometimes travel to other communities where Habitat operates.  For example, when a natural disaster strikes teams from Habitat for Humanity oftentimes can be found in the impacted area helping the locals rebuild.  Habitat offices are currently located within all 50 states and in every Canadian province.  ReStores also exist in numerous U.S. cities and towns which, as aforementioned, serve to raise money for future home building and remodeling projects. 

Many construction and building suppliers also donate their goods to Habitat, much like North Star Stone began doing recently.   Tools, building materials, cleaning supplies, equipment, machinery, and even trucks are needed to fuel Habitat’s daily efforts.  Companies or individuals also contribute appliances, furniture and housewares to support Habitat endeavors.  Planning for building projects within a given locality is done under the watchful eye of paid Habitat coordinators.   At this point the organization is entering the final year of its Habitat for Humanity Strategic Plan 2014-2018 with its motto of: “a world where everyone has a decent place to live”.

How Our Stone Veneer is Beautifying Habitat Homes

Starting in November of 2017, North Star Stone proudly began donating some of our high-quality manufactured stone veneer products to the Habitat branch in Lake County, IL.  These faux stone products are typically used as decorative enhancements by residential and commercial property owners for applications from fireplaces to home exteriors.  We recognize that Habitat not only believes in everyone living in an affordable, safe and decent home, but further that they strive to build houses that are attractive, energy-efficient and accessible.  Our manufactured stone siding solutions work well to serve Habitat’s structural objectives.

North Star Stone has so far donated over 1400 square feet of custom stone veneer that’s being used to beautify the exteriors and interiors of several Habitat-built properties around Chicago.  We’ve learned that since 1989 Habitat for Humanity Lake County has provided over 200 families with affordable and reliable housing outcomes.  North Star Stone will continue to partner with Habitat by providing our manufactured stone veneer products to support those efforts.  Get a free estimate or learn more about our custom stone veneer products here. 

Custom Coloring Stone

Stone Fireplaces Stone Interior Stone Veneer
Mountain Stack Stone Veneer 005

Custom Colored Mountain Stack Stone Veneer

If you want a custom blend of stone color to create the stunning focal point of your home, whether it is the front of the home or the fireplace, we can help.

For the last nine years North Star Stone of Libertyville, IL have been custom blending and coloring our manufactured stone and supplying stone and providing installation in the Chicago market. We have just recently started shipping our hand crafted stone due many requests for custom colored stones.

We start by deciding the amount of color intensity we want in a project. Some designers might refer to a lot of color of intensity as “Drama”.

We quantify these measures as:

1) Very Intense Color with all of the stones having color added to them.
2) High Intensity Color will have about 70% color and 30% neutral or no color.
3) Medium Intensity has a blend of 50% colored stones and 50% no colored stones.
4) Low Intensity is about 30% colored stones and typically softer and less colors to blend with the remaining balance of the 70% non colored stones and
5) Very Low Intensity is almost all no colored stone with hints of a few light colors gently misted on the stones to provide some variation.

The colors are hand applied to mold before the concrete is added to the mold. By blending two – three different colors in a mold we create beautiful shading. The intensity will also vary as the color is applied and then brushed in. We have had customers and even young children help with some of the coloring and if you would like to help color your stone just let us know.  It is our attention to detail and artistic nature that creates these beautiful and life like colors that will exactly what you want.

If you find a color of stone that you like in a picture that you want to replicate, send us the picture and we will let you know if we can match your request. Our fireplace pictures are all custom creations based on our customer suggestions. No two fireplaces will ever look alike, but the desired color and warmth that you desire will be just what you wanted. Maybe you want earth tone colors but no burgundy or maybe no gold tones, just let us know. Maybe you have a dark hardwood floor and you want the ebony colored picked up a slightly; no problem.

At North Star Stone we customize every batch just for you and will install the stone locally or ship it to you using our best freight rates.

Stone Veneer for Fireplaces & Color Choices

Stone Fireplaces Stone Interior Stone Veneer

Stone Veneers are Perfect for Fireplace Refinishing:

Are you looking to reface your brick fireplace with stone veneer for your fireplace, or possibly create a stone interior wall and unsure of the color of stone that would work best for your project? Maybe you love the earth tone colors, but don’t want to have any rust in your newly remodeled stone veneer  fireplace. North Star Stone, Inc., custom colors every batch of your stone order for your fireplace or interior wall project. We will help you select the perfect colors for your dream stone fireplace

Stone Veneer for Fireplace sample boards

North Star Stone, Inc. Showroom Stone Veneer Sample Boards

How to Select the Right Stone Veneer for your Fireplace? 

There is a very creative process that we provide when coloring your stone veneer.  We ask you about the color of the room, the flooring, paint choices, lighting and your likes and dislikes for color. We will also discuss the color tones and intensity of color you want for your new faux stone project. This information is turned into a color formula to be blended in your choice of stone styles.  We have interior designers, couples and even families add a helping hand when we start coloring the stone. You can also help color your own manufactured stone so you can say you helped make your newly refinished stone fireplace.

Stone Veneer for fireplaces, coloring process

Cathy Murray, Interior Designer, hand painting stone veneer for her customer’s wine cellar

How to select the “best” stone veneer for my fireplace?

In addition to customizing the color of your soon to be remodeled fireplace, you can select from our many different stone veneer styles. Our man made stone selection includes cobble stone, ledge stone, field stone, river rock and our custom blends of stone like our Mountain Stack Ledge Stone, Wisconsin Prairie Ledge Stone and our Traditional Dry Stack Ledge stone.

stone veneer for fireplace

Mom and Daughter coloring stone veneer for their new stone fireplace








If you love stone walls, stone fireplaces and looking for fireplace design ideas including custom coloring your stone veneer for your home, contact North Star Stone, Inc at 847-996-6850.  

Stone Veneer sample board.

Stone Veneer sample color board, many colors and intensity are available with North Star Stone

North Star Stone,Inc. of Libertyville, IL Receives Houzz’s 2013 ‘Best Of Houzz’ Award

Stone Exteriors Stone Fireplaces

Home Improvement Site surveys 11 Million Monthly Users To

 Reveal Top-Rated Chicagoland Professional Stone Contractor 

  Libertyville, IL  —  January 24, 2013 – North Star Stone, Inc., a stone veneer manufacturer and installer of fireplaces and interior as well as exterior siding, out of Libertyville, Illinois, has been awarded “Best Of Houzz” 2013 by Houzz, the leading online platform for residential remodeling and design.  The stone fireplace and interior and exterior stone contractor was chosen by the more than 11 million monthly users that comprise the Houzz community. The Chicago area stone veneer manufacturer was awarded the Houzz “Best Of Houzz” award for 2013 for Customer Satisfaction and Design; winners are based on homeowner members who rated their experience working with remodeling professionals in 12 categories ranging from architects and interior designers and architects and other residential remodeling contractors. The  community of 11 million monthly users, also known as “Houzzers,” who saved more than 124 million professional images of home interiors and exteriors to their personal ideabooks via the Houzz site, as well as Houzz’s mobile apps for iPhone, Android, and iPad voted for North Star Stone to receive the award. “Houzz provides homeowners with an in-depth, 360-degree view of building, remodeling and design professionals through images of their work, reviews and an opportunity to interact with them directly in the Houzz community,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of community. “We’re delighted to recognizeNorth Star Stone, Inc.among our “Best Of” professionals for exceptional customer service as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes.” North Star Stone customers are able to leave a detailed rating and review on the North Star Stone Houzz Pro Page, as well as ask questions directly to the contractor, view pictures of previous work and learn more about the stone fireplace design work the company does. “We’re so grateful to our customers who have left us amazing reviews and been such a big part of our success.  Our stone fireplaces, as well as the interior and exterior siding we do are a source of pride for us.  Thank you to all of our customers- we will always strive to meet and exceed your expectations!” said North Star Stone founder Alan Andrews. North Star Stone also recently completed a contest seeking out the Ugliest Fireplace in Chicago to offer the winner a complete fireplace remodel.   About North Star Stone North Star Stone, Inc., founded in 2004 offers custom stone fireplaces, exterior stone work and interior stone design for homes throughout Chicago and the Northwest Suburbs. North Star Stone custom manufacturers stone veneer to transform old and outdated fireplaces, update home exteriors and add new style to interior structures like wine cellars, interior walls and stone columns. Find out more about the custom stonework that North Star Stone offers at http://www.northstarstone.biz. About Houzz Houzz (www.houzz.com) is a leading online platform for home remodeling, providing inspiration, information, ‘advice and support for homeowners and home improvement professionals through its website and mobile applications. Houzz features the largest residential design database in the world, articles written by design experts, product recommendations, a vibrant community powered by social tools, and information on more than 1.5 million remodeling and design professionals worldwide who can help turn ideas into reality. @houzz_inc

Chicago’s Ugliest Fireplace Contest Meeting With The Family

Stone Fireplaces

Chicago’s Ugliest Fireplace Contest Meeting With The Family

This past weekend, we had the chance to meet with the winners of the Chicago’s Ugliest Fireplace Contest. Boy were they awesome. Marla, Rob and family were so nice and the fireplace was even uglier in person. :) (Just teasing!) But we are super excited to see the end result!

stone veneer

Chicago’s Ugliest Fireplace Contest Winner

Marla and Rob put an addition on their home and have the fireplace in the new addition. Rob has done all the work himself and done a great job! The fireplace is framed out, electrical installed and also a really neat “hidden” speaker at the foot of the fireplace. We sat down to discuss the stone options and then took some measurements and went through how the stone veneer is installed on the fireplace. We also went through how the fireplace can be prepped for the veneer installation. Rob is going to be putting up Durock cement board before we get started and they’re also going to get some neat shelving/seating units framed out on the sides of the fireplace, and a flat screen tv bracket mount before we install the veneer. This room is a full on multi-purpose room that is going to be set for all the members of the family!

fireplace veneer 1

The VanDurme’s and Alan Andrews from North Star Stone

They have 4 kids, so decided a basketball hoop would be fun for a little while for the kids! We decided though that the basketball hoop would have to go (sorry kids- it just doesn’t match with the stone!).

fireplace veneer makeover 2

Alan showing the VanDurmes the different types of stone veneer they can choose from.

So the basketball hoop is coming down, the Durock cement board is going up and then comes the stone veneer! Before we install the veneer, Marla, Rob and family are coming to our showroom and factory to help color some of the stone that will be used on their fireplace. Stay tuned for pics and video! It’s going to be fun!


Chicago’s Ugliest Fireplace Contest Winner

Corner Brick Fireplace Gets New Look with Stone Veneer

Brick Fireplace Renewal Stone Fireplaces Stone Interior

Corner Brick Fireplace Gets New Look with Stone Veneer

Is Your Corner Brick Fireplace Dated? Want to change it?

fireplace veneer

Time to give your home a fireplace make over? Call North Star Stone at 847-996-6850 or check our web site at http://www.northstarstone.biz

Stone Fireplace Transformation in just one day:

Our customer selected our blend of our popular Wisconsin Prairie Blend. It is a blend of our two ledge stones and field stone and the color was selected and hand made just for this order. A skim coat of mortar is applied directly to the brick and the stone is installed piece by piece to get the finished look. We can assist you and your fireplace project from design to stone selection and installation. Your fireplace can be brick, drywall, or just about any other material and we can help create a new fireplace focal point.

fireplace veneer

The new stone fireplace in on day http://northstarstone.biz for more information email us with questions at info@northstarstone.biz


North Star Stone, Inc
1921 Industrial Dr.
Libertyville, IL 60048