Marble Window Sills: An Architectural Detail Often Overlooked

Even the smallest and oldest of the houses on Anna Maria Island feature certain design and architectural elements that are not only functional, but beautiful. It’s easy to take them for granted (and some people might even take them for granite), but the gray and white marble sills that form the bottom of so many island windows are just such a solid, visually pleasing detail.

It makes a lot of sense to put marble at the base of an island window … especially those of the traditional jalousie design, which are often left open even when showers come through. The angled panes of the opened jalousie window catch and deflect most of the rain away from the sill. But if some of the rain gets through, a marble sill is preferable to wood. The water won’t penetrate, and can be easily wiped away. Damp wood leads to many problems in the Florida climate, including rot, mildew and even termites.

Marble window sill As I’ve visited more and more friends at their homes in Florida, I’ve continued to be surprised by how many of these houses feature marble window trim. I’m not sure which surprise me the most … the humble old houses, or those of brand new construction, that feature marble sills. It seems even the modern luxury building industry has recognized the benefits of the marble that was used in simpler times.

In researching of what kind of marble the window sills of Anna Maria Island are made, I often came across the word “Carrara”, which is a well-known, fine white marble from Tuscany, Italy. Many of the world’s most famous sculptures have been carved from Carrara. The Romans started mining this marble in the second century, B.C. In addition to being pure white it can have veins of blue gray.

I also found reference to marble window sills called “Nuevo Carrara” but could not find more information about the origin. If anyone in the construction business knows more about where Nuevo Carrara originates, please write in with that information. It was interesting to see that, of the nine major notable sources of marble listed by Wikipedia, three are in the United States: Georgia, Tennessee and Colorado.

The word “marble” comes from the Ancient Greek word for shining stone. The rock is formed through metamorphosis of carbonate rock, meaning limestone or dolomite. The veins are layers of impurities that were originally strata of the carbonate rock.

There is nothing so simple and beautiful as looking out an island window to shining water. When the marble sill also shines, the feeling is that of a vanishing boundary between inside and out, between living space and water. That’s what living in Anna Maria Island, Florida is all about!

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