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Chesapeake Home: “Tile Trends”

“Tile Trends”
Chesapeake Home, August/September 2008, by Tracy Mitchell Griggs

Banish beige. Today’s tiles aren’t meant to fade into the background. Whether applied to shower walls, countertops, backsplashes, or floors, tiles from such companies as New Ravenna, Ann Sacks, and Villeroy & Boch are decorative and innovative, which explains why homeowners are willing to make them the focal point in many rooms. Not only will these tiles lend a bit of drama to your spaces, experts at the World Floor Covering Association say that the more color, texture, and range a tile has, the more it hides dirt, so pretty can also be practical.

Creating color buzz at the 2008 Coverings Trade Show in Orlando, Florida is a newly launched line of ceramic tiles introduced by MacKenzie-Childs. The New York company’s new tile offering has been added to their hand produced, hand-decorated majolica pottery, furniture, and home furnishings lines created by Finger Lakes artisans since 1983. Designed to coordinate with their tableware, the 4-inch, 6-inch, and 8-inch signature designs range from landscapes to checks, tiles, dots, decals, and seashells. A company representative said the eagerly anticipated line would be shipped in September 2008.
Everything Old is New Again

Mosaic tiles are the tiles of the moment, says Lauren Ames, of Lauren Ames Interiors in Chestertown, Maryland. Materials that include porcelain, glass, or metal can be combined with a range of shapes to create classical motifs or more contemporary patterns, says Ames. New Ravenna Mosaic and Stone, based in Exmore, Virginia, reintroduced this ancient art form 20 years ago and from its production facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, continues to bring hundreds of fresh, original designs to the world of stone, tile, and glass artistry in its border designs, field patterns, and custom mosaic patterns.

Sara Baldwin, New Ravenna’s founder, borrows from nature for her first signature collection. Called Metamorphosis, the designer transforms organic patterns and textures into the timeless craft of mosaic. This collection is a way to capture the soul of nature’s imagination, and to invite its tranquility into the home,î says Baldwin. Patterns include dune, mist, cloud, mirage, and meadow, names that will inspire you to dress up your rooms with a bit of Mother Nature.

And in another nod to a far distant past, comprehensive stone and tile company Walker Zanger has just unveiled its Sonja Mosaic Collection. The collection’s intricate mosaic designs pay homage to those perfected ruing ancient Roman times. Reinvented to suit modern tastes, some of the tiles individually hand-cut by master craftsmen in Tunisia are collected from ancient Roman quarries.
Tiles for the Greener Good

Last month, The American Society of Interior Designers and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) launched the nation’s first green residential remodeling guidelines. Consumers overwhelmingly want greener homes, and the REGREEN Guidelines will help by showing them how, says Michelle Moore, senior vice president of the USGBC. The REGREEN Guidelines empower people with practical knowledge about how to green projects ranging from deep energy upgrades to kitchen and bath renovations. Many glass and tile manufacturers have been touting the eco-friendly benefits of natural materials for years.

You can feel good about buying Oregon-based Aurora Glass Foundry’s products. The company not only uses 100 percent recycled glass in its manufacturing process but its profits also assist homeless and low-income people through emergency services, housing, jobs, training, and other charitable endeavors. The company’s signature Rosette Blocks are produced in vivid shades like cobalt blue, amethyst, apricot and emerald and can be ordered online.

Rockville, Maryland-based Architectural Ceramics, a top tile and stone distributor in the region, is also going green. Company spokesperson Dick Clark says that plans are in the works to launch Eco-Booths in each of the company’s five area showrooms. The booths will feature eco-friendly products alone with educational support materials that will define green tile materials, certifications processes, and present tile that is manufactured in a green, eco-friendly environment, says Clark. A product we’re excited about is IceStone. It’s durable [and] made of recycled glass and concrete. Committed to a sustainable future and produced in a daylight factory in New York, IceStone also manufactures green countertops by recycling glass from landfills. It’s a modern look offered in 27 colors.

Sandhill Industries also manufactures wall and floor tile from 100 percent recycled glass. Compared to many of the ceramic tiles in the market, each Sandhill Industries tile uses on average less than one-half of the energy to produce, and the Idaho-based company has been recognized with an EPA Evergreen Award for eco-friendly environmental practices. The company’s product line includes border, field tiles, and mosaic blends. Fans of the Art Deco era will appreciate the company’s three dimensional and smooth large-scale tile designs in lotus, fleur de lis, and window checkerboard patterns.

Walker Zanger’s new Sobu Collection also puts a green spin on tile design. Crafted from renewable bamboo, it’s an alternative for kitchen backsplashes or home spas, and is available in multiple mosaic patterns: straight, basketweave, herringbone, and random planking, all of which showcase the material’s delicate veining, and subtle variations of texture and hue. Three colors are available – gold, sable or espresso  –  all in smooth, matte finishes.

Lights, Camera, Action

Sara Baldwin has teamed up with Ann Sacks and recently launched Beau Monde, a collection that recalls the timeless glamour of Old Hollywood. The patterns are named for icons of silver screen like Audrey, Carey, and  Ingrid, inspiring consumers to add a bit of drama to their homes. ìThe visual inspiration is all about connections: chains, links, stitches, and networks using Hollywood Regency style graphics,î says Baldwin. Using a style inspired by the ancient mosaic art for of Pietre Dura, the collection creates elaborate imagery using exquisitely cut and finely fitted stones that present a fresh and updated interpretation.

Inspired by old time glamour, but updating it with 21st century technology, designers at Villeroy & Boch have created an innovative tile that features a build-in LED light source. These eye-catching tiles require no electronic installation, have enough power to illuminate your spaces for years and require zero maintenance.

Also drawing inspiration from the past, Michigan-based Motawi Tileworks has adapted the original designs of Frank Lloyd Wright for a new collection called the Frank Lloyd Wright CollectionÆ Art Tiles. The tile line is a collaboration between the company and the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and is officially licensed. The handcrafted pieces are notched on the back for wall hangings, with some pieces framed in oak. Tiles are applicable for any interior application and some exterior uses.
Bringing it Home

What began as practical and durable way to add strength and water resistance to floors, walls and counter, and other surfaces has evolved ñ creative and talented designers are turning yesterdayís functional flooring into todayís sumptuous surfaces. Tile manufacturers have infused their products with bold colors and textures derived from nature, unleashing a new outlet for design creativity in the home.

Artisan Mosaic Chesapeake Home tile trends

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