In order to give soapstone its luster you have to treat it with mineral oil. It is pretty amazing what a little oil can do!
It is still not the deep black that I envision when I dream of soapstone but it is still a gorgeous peice of stone and is going to look fantastic against the walnut hardwood.
After all of our fun with levelling cement, the soapstone hearth is finally in place. Unfortunately the fireplace doesn't look like much yet...
Rest assured - we are planning to build a new wood mantel similar to the one below that I spotted at Rouge Restaurant. Except we will be painting the mantel white with the top ledge in walnut and will be installing a cast iron gas fireplace insert.