February 11, 2011 The Architect’s Newspaper
Kim Preis’ 20-year-old business, The Fine Line, is nothing short of a tile studio, a tightly curated and well-designed space to foster interaction with clients. Preis recently moved the studio around the corner to a more visible North Wells address. You won’t find racks and walls littered with hundreds of samples. Instead, you encounter custom-made display fixtures, areas with mock-ups, weathered work tables, and maintenance shop tool cabinets, giving the space an authentic, handcrafted feeling.
This pared-down setup necessitates more engagement, and the custom fixtures are designed to facilitate that process. Designed in-house by Preis and business associate Lucy Minturn, sliding high-density storage racks—like those used for art collections—neatly house tiles from some of the top American artisans. Across from these, a mock-up fireplace and mantel using Motawi Tileworks is lit by four vintage ceramic filament bulb fixtures from an old Woolworth’s.
The work really happens in the back of the showroom. Multiple baking racks holding magnetized tile samples are parked next to sliding metal panels, a sharp and functional way for designers and clients to visualize the offerings.