North Shore Chicago Agents | The Oertel Group

Nicole Oertel

North Shore Chicago Agents | The Oertel Group

As North Shore Chicago Agents, The Oertel Group is always collaborating with small local businesses to provide our clients with the best buying or selling experience!


Natural stone. We see it everywhere and it's truly amazing! Do you ever wonder where those quartzite countertops or marble floors actually come from? No, we don’t mean the store! Like where that huge stone island countertop was actually formed? Well to be honest, until recently I hadn't put a ton of thought into it either. I just knew what I liked and what I didn’t like. That was until the first time I stepped foot into Calia Stone Boutique. Not only do these ladies know their slabs of stone, the trending finishes, and exactly where it all came from, but they are also an amazing group of businesswomen! They are true entrepreneurial professionals and downright awesome to be around. It was hard for me to leave the warehouse on my first visit but I knew I’d be back. I also knew that these like-minded ladies were a local business that I just had to share with all of you! Let me introduce you to the founder and owner of Calia Sonte Boutique, Kristin Schloemer, through a series of questions and answers below!

In a few sentences please tell us how and when you started your business?

"I started this adventure with a vision of changing how you may source the best part of your home. Bringing this established industry to a modern more transparent level has really elevated the process of stone selection. With a broader outlook on how to truly help and source quality and materials for every design, Calia takes this old-school selection process to a fun, exciting, and memorable experience. We want our homeowners to be happy enough to brag about their “one of a kind” piece, one that is timeless and can be shown off for decades!"

Have you visited any areas where natural stones such as quartzite and marble come from? If so, where? 

"We currently are jet-setting to Italy for our first CALIA ADVENTURE!! Stay tuned for photos and what I can imagine will be a lifetime of stories!! Next year we are hoping to bring some of our clients with us as a thank you."

Tell us everything! How, what, where is this fabulous stone and finish produced?

"The majority of all quartzites make the trip from Brazil. Brazil seems to have durability, is unique, and is full of dramatic colors. The best part with Leathered Quartzite is how unbelievably durable this finish is!! You can beat it up for the next 100 years and the longevity and unreal forgiveness of the material makes it a great option for a busy family. Plus the upside is that it has no fingerprints!! Almost everything we stock comes in a leathered finish that we bring in from the factories at production allowing for no additional costs to the end-user!!" Side Note: At the moment, Leathered Quartzite is Nicole Oertel's personal favorite!!!

When listing your home.. how should you improve your kitchen countertops for a faster selling process?

"In the kitchen, most people like to keep it neutral and soft, and there are tons of natural options for this. Quartzites are the best because they are extremely durable, very neutral in color tones and they are just as affordable as a manmade surface, but they are natural depth! A quartzite finish is seen in the industry as a luxury, but it checks all the boxes for making a home look beautiful!"

What are some of the most popular types of stone for kitchen islands?

"Quartzites and Marbles! Truly, we believe anything can be a perfect fit as long as we can help you know what to expect on performance from all materials. We are about 50/50 on what selections clients do. From finishes to thicknesses to actual material differences, every home has a different style and a different demand. Countertops make a big impact, but they can actually be a simple and easy renovation project."

Ok, what about the master bathroom? Any recommendations on a few of the best stones to use there?

"Marble, with marble, followed by more marble! This is the room where Marble always has its moment! A high polished full slab shower with matching flooring is the most serene, iconic, and elegant feeling one could hope for in their life!"

What are the top trending styles for 2022?

"We are starting to see that Maximalism is back! In our ever-changing world, people are starting to indulge in their home versus just stepping out to their favorite restaurant. Now their kitchen is their favorite restaurant which makes homes and designs being pushed to the limit for maximizing space and color!"

Ready to put some of Calia's Natural Stone in your new home?


By working with John & Nicole at The Oertel Group, we will guide you through an affordable budget, keep the lines of communication open, and be there to consult with you every step of the way!


John's experienced background in construction allows us to assist our clients in the same manner that a general contractor would, but by using our approved list of vendors we can help you save money on your project!!


Our goal is to make sure that you fall in love with something that works for you during your buying or selling process!

Work With Us

Follow Us On Instagram