What began as a small family stone enterprise in the 80s is now going on 40 years of service and multiple locations in Houston and Dallas. As they celebrate 10 years in their studio in the Houston Design Center, we talked to them to see how Thorntree Natural Stone has evolved from roof tiles to a full range of stone products for your home.
Thorntree Slate and Marble was started in 1980 when Stuart Rae and his dad, Clive, set up shop shortly after they arrived in Texas from South Africa. Their first shop was a small office and adjoining warehouse on West 34th Street. From there, they primarily sold slate roof tiles to a small but forward-thinking group of custom home builders. The father and son team then went on to call on architects (from the big book known back then as the Houston Yellow Pages), showing Thorntree’s first line of natural slate flooring in five colors, imported from South Africa.
Eventually, in the early ’90s, they opened a small showroom in Highland Village, near the Galleria, which introduced Thorntree’s name and unique slate products into the retail Houston market. This showroom space was managed by Stuart’s mom, Berry Rae, who was instrumental in the early success of Thorntree, spending 15 years working tirelessly building the design and builder clientele that would be key in the company’s early and growing success. Since the early days as a natural stone company, Thorntree has evolved into a multi-faceted, multi-dimensional entity, supplying some of the most highly celebrated commercial and residential projects throughout the nation with refined glass, custom cut stone, and the world’s finest porcelain.
Thorntree carries a selection of imported natural stone, porcelain, glass, and ceramic from the best quarries and factories around the world—they curate materials that are interesting and rare. They handle both commercial and residential projects in Houston, and across the country. Whether it be stone flooring, countertops, or stone for your patio or pool, Thorntree has a vast array of fine natural stone products that has been expertly created according to their stringent quality specifications.
With a collective of nearly 40 years of experience, Thorntree offers expertise and warm customer service that will make you feel at home. They strive to make the Studio a comfortable space to collaborate with your designer or builder or to just stop in and grab a freshly baked cookie and a cup of coffee while you make your selection.
They strive to make the Studio a comfortable space to collaborate with your designer or builder or to just stop in and grab a freshly baked cookie and a cup of coffee while you make your selection.
Their favorite product in the showroom right now? Their selection of fine porcelain! Ever-evolving, the newest porcelain products have the look of natural stone without the maintenance of it. They now carry larger sizes of porcelain, including slab countertops for a hassle-free kitchen or bathroom.
Thorntree Natural Stone is more than just slate. Their product offering is ever-expanding as they find new and interesting items. They are happy to help, no matter the size of the project—their goal is for you to have an enjoyable experience and confidence in knowing your product will endure all that life has to throw at it. Come by their showroom as they celebrate their 10th year at the Houston Design Center!