by Angela Jackson | photos by Sarah Shields

In the design and construction industry, building strong partnerships is the cornerstone of a successful business. Stone Artisans and MBK Design have developed a trusted working relationship over more than a decade that is the perfect juxtaposition of their talents, dedication, and shared values and expectations.

Both Cory Kroger, CEO and President of Stone Artisans, and Michele Koken of MBK Design have developed careers inspired by their childhoods.

Kroger’s roots go back to a small town in Southern Indiana where his upbringing established a deep love for the outdoors and woodworking, an appreciation for family heirlooms, and a firm grasp of the value of hard work. From building cabinetry and furniture, to designing and selling cabinets, to eventually running Stone Artisans, Kroger has stayed true to the ideals of his youth.

Meanwhile, Koken grew up in Maysville, Kentucky, inspired by gorgeous local architecture, her antique collector father, and artist grandfather. These influences clearly show in her passion and love for design and creating beautiful interiors.

Although their backgrounds differ in many ways, their values are strikingly similar, and they have proved to be an asset to each other’s businesses. Since Michele opened her own design business over thirteen years ago, she has chosen to team up with Stone Artisans for her countertop needs.

“Stone Artisans has the most current countertop materials available to source for my client projects,” says Koken. “I recently worked with their team for the 2019 BAGI Home-A-Rama. I knew I wanted to use porcelain slabs for the kitchen to showcase this product in the Indy market. Stone Artisans is one of the few skilled fabricators of this material in the Indianapolis area. The installation went beautifully, and the kitchen was a showstopper.”

According to Kroger, Michele has a unique way of making a house a home. “She has a sixth sense when it comes to color and textures. She also gets the big picture and is wonderful at making it all come together,” says Kroger. “We have built this relationship on trust and friendship. It’s always a joy to work on an MBK designed project.”

When asked what makes this such a great partnership, Koken says “I love working with Stone Artisans. Their work is executed with excellence and their attention to detail is so important for all of my design projects.”

Koken emphasizes that she knows she can rely on and collaborate with Cory and the team at Stone Artisans. “They have proven their ability for reliability and given consistent quality workmanship, something that is important for me to have with all of my vendor relationships. Expectations are always set from the start with detailed meetings and great communication,” she says.

When you are looking to remodel your home or build a new one, having vendors you can trust to collaborate and see your project through is key. Learn more about Stone Artisans and the natural stone products they can provide for your next project, including granite, marble, soapstone, quartzite, and quartz, by visiting their website at