home decor must-haves

Product of the Week: Crag Subway Sunset

Bringing nature home is a lot easier than you’d think.  Our Crag Subway Sunset is a subway mosaic made with natural slate.  Though the word “slate” is associated with deep gray and black (it used to be used as chalk boards!), it’s far from a plain stone tile- its palette of earth tones, rust, gray, and blue is full of character and adds a rural touch anywhere.

The Crag Subway Sunset is available through the Home Depot

The Crag Subway Sunset is available through the Home Depot

Slate has been used as a building material for centuries- the first recorded instance of its use as a roofing material was in 1287.  Time has proven it to hold up well against the elements, keep its dramatic natural beauty and its hardy endurance over time.

This angled shot shows some of the intricate coloring of natural slate.

This angled shot shows some of the intricate coloring of natural slate.

Something that makes it great for a tile is that it breaks smoothly. It’s a foliated metamorphic rock, meaning it slices in a clean, flat plane when struck by the right instruments. Its fine grain makes it highly slip-resistant and ADA-compliant.
This look is suitable for a lot of different spaces. Check out some applications of slate tile in a modern setting:

I love this because while you’d think a black tile would dominate a space, it doesn’t do that at all. The sunlight and light blue tile temper it beautifully.

 

Look at how this beautiful, multi-colored tile works with just about any finish! The dark wood pulls from some of the rich tones in the stone, and the metal appliances and fixtures complement the lighter gray slate, pulling everything together wonderfully.

 

And of course its rugged appeal is the perfect fit for an all-natural feel. Check it out in this cabin:

 

Here’s a rustic farmhouse-style kitchen that uses the colors and stone very well:

It’s a warm and welcoming look, with a rugged inviting touch. There’s no mistaking that timeless subway shape, but it breaks the mold with its organic appeal, which is anything but urban.

For its versatility, breathtaking color palette, and hardiness, the Crag Subway Sunset is this week’s Tile of the Week.  Check it out on HomeDepot.com!

Sources: here, here, and our resident experts.

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Product of the Week: Revival Series

Something surging in popularity lately is cement tiles with a heavy European influence.  Extra points if the color is a bit subdued to imitate aged, slightly faded tile from another era.  The range is captivating. The patterns pull from anywhere from encaustic Spanish tile or the geometric hallmarks of midcentury décor.

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Though these tiles often have distinctive patterns, it’s becoming more and more common to mismatch them, creating an accent wall or a floor that’s 100% unique to your home.

Click to see this series on HomeDepot.com

Click to see this series on HomeDepot.com

 

Our Revival series (pictured) is a favorite.  Its rich, warm golden shade is balanced by a cool blue-gray, arranged in floral and geometric patterns that are a true throwback to European artisanal tiles. For its diversity and timeless charm, it’s this week’s Product of the Week.

Something fun about these pieces is that the patterns are so unique that it’s easy to mix and match, but they look great arranged in their respective patterns too.  Look at the way this tile fits in with this rustic kitchen without the pattern overwhelming the space:

 

 

Another product of ours, the Cementi Quatro Trab Centro, looks fantastic when laid out in its pattern.  It has potential to seem busy, but breaking the repetitive patterns with wood planks prevents that from happening and adds a rustic touch to this installation.

The Cementi Quatro series is available through the Home Depot.

The Cementi Quatro series is available through the Home Depot.

Another perk of this tile is that it’s just as individualistic and interesting as its cement or encaustic predecessors, but with a more appealing price tag. The 7-3/4” by 7-3/4” Revival pieces are ceramic and $1.97 each from the Home Depot. Comparable pricing of actual cement tile from one website showed $6.90 per 8”x8” piece.  If you think that may be due to durability or wear resistance, consider this: the PEI rating for the Revival series is high, meaning that the glaze is extremely resistant to wear.  Ceramic is also considerably lighter in weight, making it more suitable for a wall than heavy cement.  It is also frequently necessary to re-seal cement in order to keep it relatively slip resistant.  This tile is already marginally slip resistant, enough to stand up to standard residential use, so there’s no need to re-seal it.

Its utilitarian nature and fantastic balance of modern patterns and artisan arrangements make the Revival series our product of the week.  Special order it from the Home Depot for your next home renovation!

Curious about the origins of these distinctly European tiles? Sign up for email updates from the Merola Tile blog. A brief primer is coming up soon!

Sources: Here, here, and our resident experts.

To see more photos of this product and our other Products of the Week, go check out our Product of the Week Pinterest Board!

Product of the Week: Stainless Steel Penny Rounds

We all have that one room in our homes that just needs a certain something.  It’s not really that the space around it isn’t nice, but perhaps it just isn’t quite as you envisioned it. Not enough character? Not bright enough? Lacking some sparkle that you need in your life? Look no further: stainless steel penny round tile is here.

The Merola Alloy Penny Round, available through the Home Depot

The Merola Alloy Penny Round, available through the Home Depot

Penny rounds are a classic shape. They came about, much like subway tiles, around the Industrial Revolution in an attempt to keep everything more hygienic (or at least give the appearance that it was) as indoor restrooms became more commonplace.  As tile evolved in terms of shape and aesthetic, penny rounds became a little less popular but never fell out of favor- much like subways or hexagons, they are a timeless look with vintage origins.

Fast-forward to the past five years: the surge in demand for metallic tile has resulted in inspired and artistic mosaics that have really accented the versatility of the material.  Check it out when mixed with other textures:

The Tessera Square Alpine tile is available through the Home Depot.

The Tessera Square Alpine tile is available through the Home Depot.

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A closer look at the Tessera Square Alpine.

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The Fusion Linear Lorraine, a glass and metal mix mosaic tile available through the Home Depot.

However, in the face of all this innovation, ageless looks stand tall: stainless steel penny rounds are tremendously popular. The addition of a glittery sheen to such a versatile look brings this vintage look into the 21st century.

That doesn’t mean it has to go in with other futuristic looks, though. It works with a range of styles. Check out this stainless steel penny round backsplash in this craftsman kitchen:

It coordinates beautifully with the dark colors of the island and the cream cabinets on the wall. Not to mention the fabulous way it contrasts with the copper pots- brilliant!
When paired with polished granite, the effect intensifies. Look at the reflective properties that come together here. This installation is sure to brighten the room:

Just because it’s an up-to-date look doesn’t mean it can’t work anymore with its vintage brethren! Here it is as an accent with some vintage-look subway tile. It acts as a medium-tone between the bright white tile and the dark walls and black accents, accomplishing an effortlessly clean and coordinated look.

As versatile as the original penny rounds that surfaced in the 1900s, stainless steel penny rounds are a perfect example of teaching an old dog new tricks. By adding the stainless steel caps, the look is brought up-to-date while retaining its classic allure.

Curious as to how to care for metal-topped tile? Stay tuned for a post dedicated tips for cutting, installing and caring for your new look!