hide menu

Sara Baldwin Designs Blog

Tips on Merchandising Tile and Stone

Or, Back in Black: Redecorating the Studio with Sara.

Mosaic factories by their very nature are dusty and full of clutter–all those little tiny pieces, everywhere. Because New Ravenna is located in the beautiful boondocks on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, we rarely get visitors–when we do, I usually whine out loud about the state of our display walls. But with 100 employees, and so much to do, I become oblivious to my worry as soon as the visitors leave and other priorities take precedence. Until recently, here is what visitors and employees were greeted by as they entered our factory (this is the left hand wall):

Not very inspiring, is it? For a while we even had a curtain jerry-rigged to the same wall for an impromptu photo shoot:

I’m not proud. However, one day after I broke two of our new un-cleated concept boards in half by trying to see them in relation to each other by balancing them on strips of cleating on a similar wall (they fell down of course), I just couldn’t take it any more. AAAAHHHHHH. There wasn’t a place anywhere in the factory where I could view new mosaic designs without being distracted by….clutter.

However, a miracle was about to occur.

I quickly devised a plan that involved a little paint and some shelving–this gets rid of the need for those pesky “cleats” on the back of concept boards that are so prevalent in tile and stone showrooms. In the space of just two days, my human resource director (and apparently, construction project manager) Mary Harris arranged for a wall to be painted black in what we call the “design center” (r and d headquarters–my usual hangout and the location of my office). Then we attached shallow walnut shelves to the wall, and voila:

Much better. Slight aside–these are some of the Beau Monde designs we produce for Ann Sacks. We had just finished recoloring many of them so alternate stone choices could be posted on their website. One of my favorite 14″ boards is below–when you view the entire repeat, the roses are about 24″ each:

Extremely ecstatic about our new display, I immediately started planning for the downstairs entry. We got a call that the Lieutenant Governor wanted to visit us, so that was the perfect excuse. You’ve seen the “before” shots–now here’s a “during” view:

And here’s the “after”!

Unfortunately we ran out of shelves until we build more. I inserted a silhouette so the scale is easier to understand. The doorway to the left is actually nine or ten feet tall, the doorway to the right about seven. Check out what it looks like with different boards and more shelves photo-shopped in…


P.S. Here’s a section so you can easily have these shelves made. Simply bolt a ripped-down two by four to the wall, then take the sideways U of the shelf and screw through the top down into the two by four.

6 Responses to “Tips on Merchandising Tile and Stone”

  1. It looks fantastic! Although there is dust in our studio as well, it's mostly artist colors, brushes and paint cans all over. I'm not proud, either. Now you've inspired me to think about tackling our studio! I bet the Lieutenant Governor will love touring the factory.

  2. I don't think any designer is 100% satisfied with his or her showroom, but that sure makes me want to play with mine now. Nice!

  3. It turned out great!

    <3 Lindsay

  4. Anonymous says:

    Stunning presentation – really pops with that black wall!!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    great idea Sara! What an improvement!!Hate those cleats-they are such a pain.

  6. Deepak Kumar says:

    thanks for sharing this tips

Leave a Reply

About Me

Sara BaldwinSara Baldwin

Exmore, Virginia, United States

New Ravenna Mosaics founder and Creative Director, Owner, Sara Baldwin Design, Bass guitar player, Envisioner, Appreciator of the Sublime and Ridiculous.


Subscribe To My Blog Subscribe by RSS

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Become a Facebook Fan

Blogs Worth A Gander

Overstock Mosaics

Continue to our overstock store to shop:

Continue to our overstock shop Return to newravenna.com for our full offering of custom and ready to ship mosiacs