Month: May 2014

Product of the Week: Hexagon Tiles

This week’s featured product is so common that you might see it every day without noticing it, but you probably should: hexagon tile has been around for a century now and it’s not going anywhere any time soon.  It’s seen many stylistic changes over the years, but the shape and the basics have remained steadfast.  At the turn of the 1900s, the preferred color was white, though it’s unclear if that was due to lack of availability of other colors or just because of the sterile appearance of white tiles.  However, as time progressed, around the middle of the century pastels surged in popularity. It’s been proven throughout history that repetitive patterns win people over when it comes to tile, and the hexagonal tile is no exception- it has a crisp, clean look with an organic feel: three-dimensional variations of it are found in naturally-occurring crystals and honeycombs.

Like all the best tiles, it’s an extremely versatile look.  Here it is in a 1970s mod style home.

Click to check out the rest of this amazing mod apartment!

As the elegant looks from the early 1900s make a triumphant comeback, the hex is returning to its original habitat.  This beautiful black and white bathroom has a distinctly vintage feel:

Try the same look but with the colors of a few decades later. Click here to see how black and white hex tiles couple so wonderfully with sea-green glass subway tiles- regrettably, Flickr does not have sharing enabled for this photo.

If you want to bring this look up to date, try the stainless steel variety. Even though the pattern has a sleek new outfit, it still maintains its classic appeal.

Here’s a unique application:  the clashing patterns of wood and hexagons in this bathroom really work together well, perhaps drawing on that naturally-occurring feel.

Hexes don’t always have to be straightforward 1”x1” or 2”x2” solid colors. Our Casella series consists of 5.5”x 9” clusters of hexagon honeycomb patterns in a dazzling array of colors and finishes.
The Casella Tempesta is available through the Home Depot. Click the photo for more information.

The Casella Tempesta is available through the Home Depot. Click the photo for more information.

These come in several more colors and finishes, but this is a personal favorite:

The Casella Anello is available through the Home Depot. Click the photo for more information.

The Casella Anello is available through the Home Depot. Click the photo for more information.

The hexagons are much smaller in the Casella tiles, and as a result the overall effect is a highly engaging geometric intrigue.  The gold and silver glazes are highly reflective, adding that outrageous dazzle to any space where it’s installed.

For proving itself to be timeless AND versatile, our Hexagon tiles are our product(s) of the week.  Great for looks from just about any decade (including decades yet to come- the Casellas look like something out of Star Trek!), we don’t anticipate this fantastic pattern going anywhere- and that’s great news for us and for the decorating community at large.

 

Sources:  here, here, and our resident experts

Product of the Week: Tessera Subway Blue Smoke

You don’t need a college-level fine arts education to know that blue is one of the most relaxing colors. If you didn’t learn that in high school art class, you probably know instinctively: there’s something about a space swathed in blue that’s soothing and safe.  This knowledge has been used time and time again by designers and decorators looking to create a welcoming atmosphere for the home or workplace.

To that end, check out our Tessera Blue Smoke, which is a foil-backed 3” x 6” glass subway tile.  It’s a lovely gray-blue color that definitely subscribes to the relaxing blue ideology:

The Tessera Blue Smoke installed in a kitchen.

The Tessera Blue Smoke installed in a kitchen.

A quick look through Houzz proves that blue is a classic color staple that’s also incredibly versatile.

Here it is in a super-sleek modern kitchen with stainless steel appliances.  With just an ordinary white wall, this may have been a little too industrial for some- but adding the glass tile was a brilliant way to make it more personal:

What’s interesting is that the designer confirmed it’s actually a green-hued tile, which shows how adaptable glass tile can be- it definitely has a washed out bluish tinge in the photo because of how the light is bouncing off of it, the appliances, and the countertops. Overall, a modern marvel without being too modern.

Here’s a strikingly similar tile in a contemporary kitchen.  It’s a great way to break up the light colors and perfectly complements the grays.

If the color is just a touch off from what you had in mind, it’s worth noting that this is a glass tile. That means the grout will dramatically change the look (more on that here) and so will the lighting.  So if you like the color but don’t necessarily love it, try taking a sample home and seeing how it looks in different light and with different color grout- the effort is 100% worth it once you get exactly the shade you were looking for. See how the grout changes this one?

This is an unusual combination of natural stone elements paired with the glass mosaic subway. It’s a totally unique installation and the resulting effect is a vague feeling of being in an underwater cave. Altogether, a very inventive application!

And then finally, here’s an installation around a fireplace. Picture a bright orange fire in there- the contrast would be magnificent and probably match the couches. It’s an interesting idea- coordinate your décor not just with the furniture, but with the fire!

For its flexible beauty and range of application, the Tessera Blue Smoke (and the looks it can achieve) is the product of the week.  Order a sample here!

 

 

Product of the Week: Castle Antic

Wood look tile continued to be a dominating force at Coverings this year, cited in several recaps as a major player in this year’s convention.  It seems that though our lives have become busier and more complex, there is no need to sacrifice style. That’s why this is a triumph for anyone who’s enamored with the aesthetic of wood flooring but less enthusiastic about its upkeep:  while wood flooring requires meticulous attention right down to the types of shoes you wear in your own home, wood look tile requires the same amount of cleaning as any other tile.

That’s why this week’s Product of the Week is our Castle Antic ceramic floor and wall tile.  It has a distressed look with a tonal and grain variation that adds authenticity to each box.  That slightly worn look immediately conjures an image of a rustic, well-loved home- and who doesn’t love to feel welcome whenever they walk in the door?

 

Another point in its favor: distressed wood looks great in almost any setting.  Contemporary or rustic, Asian-themed, the options are pretty endless. There’s always room for wood, and the older it looks, the better.

 

Interestingly, it pairs well with last week’s featured product, the Riverstone series.  Here it is in an Asian-themed bath, blending these pleasing natural elements together for a spa effect:

 
They add a subtle elegance to this transitional bath on Houzz by providing a warm touch to an otherwise cool-toned room:
 
You can install wood look tile in places where you normally wouldn’t put wood due to water exposure or other factors. Take a look at this intriguing shower and bath space- if the floor was plain tile, the room may seem a bit sterile. The addition of the dark wood-look tile adds warmth and contrast.

And outside:

 
Because of its versatility and durability, the Castle Antic is this week’s Product of the Week.  This unique tile mimics wood right down to the texture.  Because it’s opened up the possibilities of wood looks to rooms where authentic wood flooring could prove problematic, wood look tile is here to stay.

Sources: Here, here, and here. All photos are from Houzz.

Product of the Week: Riverstone Series

Have you ever looked at pictures of idyllic spa locations and sighed to yourself, wondering when you’ll have a chance to just sit in a steam room and relax? The union of man-made and natural, the ambient lighting, the knowledge that this space is impervious to the outside world: there’s something comforting about that, in no small part thanks to the décor. Is a spa really complete if it resembles a highway rest stop rather than a luxurious, natural hideaway?

Well, pine no more: our River Stone series will provide you with that natural component you’ve been looking for.  It may seem unlikely that such a simple product will enhance your space so dramatically, but it’s true. Take a look at what pebbles do for this bathroom:

It’s pretty astonishing.  Without the stone elements, the bathroom may seem a bit cold and impersonal, but the addition of the pebble floor and split-face transforms it into a tranquil hideaway where you can go clear your mind in a hot bath.

Then again, if your space already has that organic feel, the addition of pebbles is a cherry on the spa sundae.  Some examples:

 Sometimes though, pebble accents are all it takes to complete a space. One of our favorite examples comes from this sleek modern shower space in the San Francisco area:

Or the casual addition of pebbles to this kitchen:

Take a look at the way the pebbles seem to fit so naturally into this bath, which is otherwise a pretty modern space:

The River Stone series is versatile. Use it as an understated accent to add a natural flair to your space or on a larger scale as part of a spa theme.  We love it and our customers love it, so if you feel like your next remodel might need a soothing element that incorporates nature into your décor, this is a perfect pick!

 

Origins of Lantern Tile

There’s no denying that lantern tiles are hugely popular. Not only are they among our top sellers, but they’re all over photos on Houzz, written up in blogs, and featured in a variety of décor magazines.  It’s strange though- even though it’s a prevalent style, there is still something distinctly exotic about them, even in modern kitchens.

Lantern Blue, available through Home Depot.

Merola Tile Lantern Blue, available through Home Depot.

The lantern tile as we know it today is crafted in the popular Moroccan style, which is a modern adaptation of a long tradition of the arches, curves (or ogees), vibrant colors, geometric patterns, and elaborate artistry that comprise Moorish architecture.  The Moors were conquerors of North Africa, Spain, and the islands of the Western Mediterranean in the 8th century, and their characteristic aesthetic, which evolved around the 11th century, was heavily influenced by the Islamic architecture found in the Middle East.  Islamic architecture is an amazing fusion of mathematics, structural design, and respect for the Quran, all three of which carried over into Moorish architecture.  The Quran forbids the copying of natural forms such as animals, humans, and flowers. To accommodate this, these styles developed geometric patterns heavy with stars, squares, crosses, crescents, hexes and octagons to express the importance of natural unity and order.  There is special emphasis on arches, carved masonry, and decorative tiles.

The Mihrab of the Great Mosque of Cordoba- Spain.

These pronounced styles have since been softened and updated to accommodate modern home decor, with wide use in the United Kingdom and the United States.  The selection of tile colors (red, blue, green, white, silver and gold) tend to stay true to the original looks from long ago, but updates in glazing methods and styles has resulted in an evolution of the look into multicolor glass mosaics.  As we continue to borrow more from ancient architectural styles, it will be interesting to see how we adjust the looks accordingly to suit modern décor and appliances.  As the 25th annual Coverings convention unfolds in Las Vegas, I’m sure new looks will pop up that answer this question- and I’ll report accordingly in next week’s post.

 

Sources: Here, here, and here.