The natural stone products that Thorntree purveys were formed in nature millions of years ago. While we haven’t been around nearly that long, founder Stuart Rae is no newcomer – he has accumulated over 40 years of stone knowledge. In the beginning, Stuart and his dad, Clive, set up shop in 1980, shortly after the Rae family arrived in Texas from South Africa (listen to Stuart’s accent). 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. Father and son then went on to calling 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.