MEET GAVIN,
STONE HUNTER & CURATOR

Finding the right reclaimed stone is an art, a skill—
one Gavin has been honing for 15+ years. He works one-on-one
with our clients to help them find just the right stone for their project.

Finding the right reclaimed stone is an art, a skill—one Gavin has been honing for 15+ years. He works one-on-one with our clients to help them find just the right stone for their project.

How did your interest in stone begin?

About 15 years ago, my family took down an old barn in New North Portland, Maine to move it to the coast. Once we moved the barn, what was left was the beautiful hand-cut foundation and landing stones. Seeing this made me curious about the potential of selling antique or reclaimed stone. That was the very beginning of my journey with stone.

Why are you so passionate about stone?

Stone is so fascinating. It’s been used as a building material since the beginning of time. Humans have been working with stone since they sought shelter, and started making tools. The history of man and stone is intertwined and so many ancient structures that are still with us today are made of stone. As a history buff and a former geography major, stone speaks to me. And it clearly speaks to others as well—people get really excited about beautiful stone, with a unique history.

Finding the right natural stone for your project has never been this easy.

What’s your philosophy on using stone in landscape and architecture design?

Stone can be an integral part of landscape and architecture design. While I am not a designer (and don’t pretend to be!) I do believe I have a decent eye, and see myself as an extension of the design team when working with our clients. I’m like a liaison between the stone and the landscape designer or architect I’m working with. I’m here to help make whatever vision they have come to life.

What’s it like to work with you?

While working with designers, I try to view the project through their unique lens. I consider, “What is the mood, feeling, and function of the finished product supposed to look like?” and, “What is the best product, material, and process to achieve that?” I’m told that I’m a good listener. And I always ask the big, upfront questions—the questions that help us find just the right stone.
Gavin Johnston discussing plans with a stone builder
Gavin Johnston with colleague at Solancis quarry in Portugal

Tell us about hunting for stone.

Finding old piles and yards full of stone that has been collected over many years by somebody who also cares is the best. In the beginning, I’d look for old quarries, farmers selling stone, an old mason looking to clean out his yard. As I started to meet architects and designers, while there was almost always an interest in reclaimed stone, for one reason or another, not every project was a good fit for it. These architects started asking me for other stones with different looks, colors, and textures. That led me to look for newly quarried stone and for stone beyond our borders. I remember negotiating with a Boston native who had a big pile of cobblestones. He had bought and sold stone (and plenty of other things) over the years and we started talking about the thrill of finding a score—an old pile of stone nobody wanted, a beautiful bunch of old building parts, a deal to haul away gorgeous, antique stone. Finding great stone material or a great deal is always more fun than selling it! I love the hunt.
Gavin Johnston
Porphyry cobblestone cubes 6 inch x 6 inch
Gavin Johnston on bridge in China

How did you end up traveling the world searching for stone?

I didn’t get into this business with the plan that I’d end up traveling the world in search of stone. I started with local reclaimed stone, which I brought to interested architects. But the local market didn’t always serve the need—architects often had specific stone in mind for their project, which led me to start searching all over the world for just the right stone! It’s so much fun to bring the hunt to all kinds of far-flung places, often with my wife Kim along for the ride. We get to explore places we’ve never been before—and she graciously tolerates many, many quarry visits!

Anything else you want us to know?

I think people who really love what they do, do it better. There is something elemental about stone, it makes the bones of all great buildings and landscapes. Having the opportunity to find just the right stone to create these spaces doesn’t feel like work for me, it’s fun!