A big hello from somewhere up in the sky over the middle of continental U.S.! I’m headed to California to visit two of my bestest friends and I can’t wait. Even though the reason for the trip is principally work-related, I’m taking a few days on each side of the work to spend time with my friends and to also do a little work on the house. I love a good renovation and I love all the creativity, I really do, but there seems to come a point in each renovation when I’m a bit worn out, when decisions don’t come as easily, and my to-do list just seems to spiral out of control. The chance to escape the cold (and craziness) of home/work in Boston and be productive in a warmer (and quieter) climate is something I’m really looking forward to.
The big item on my house to-do list right now is the tile. I’ve been searching high and low for the “right” tile for weeks now and, due to an abundance of options and a little fear of commitment, I’m still languishing in a state of indecision. The tiles are for the bathrooms (you’ll remember the backsplash tile was another adventure) and I’m looking for something that fits with the overarching design direction of “Scandinavian modern” yet gives a pop of life to our spaces. Playful color, texture, pattern, geometry… all attributes that I’m hoping to bring into our home by using beautiful tiles from an array of suppliers.
I haven’t placed any orders yet so I’m not going to reveal my choices (read: I’m not 100% sure about my decisions so am going to keep things under wraps for a little longer in case I change my mind!) but I definitely want to share my finds so that you can explore these sites if you’re in the market for something similar.
So here it is, my list of ten sources of bold and modern tile:
(1) Cle manufactures the Swiss Cross tile that you already know we are using as our kitchen backsplash. Based in Northern California, Cle has an incredible variety of cement tiles that can be ordered in a wide range of colors. The patterns are endless and entrancing and I’ve spent hours on their site. I’ve also ordered a number of samples, and they are indeed beautiful with that rough, unfinished look of tiles from another time. If you’re interested in some for your own project, it’s worth noting that the actual tile color is much lighter than the corresponding Benjamin Moore colors listed on their site. [Expect prices in the $12-$18 per sq ft range].
(2) Marrakech Designs produces three incredible tiles, Casa, Dandelion, and Stone, which seem to be popping up in more and more places every day. I ran across their Dandelion in a gorgeous bright green (they call it “lawn”) in the powder room of Fung Tu in New York City in December and I’ve come across their tiles on- and offline every couple of days since. Marrakech Designs is based in Sweden, so I’m guessing lead times are a little longer for U.S. customers, but the simple beauty of their tiles might just make it worth it. [Prices typically fall within the $15-$25 per sq ft range].
(3) Popham Design, was founded by a wife-husband team in Marrakech, Morocco, who design the gorgeous tiles and employ very skilled local craftspeople to make their wares. They have a great range of colorful tiles and interesting patterns. And when I reached out to them with some questions, they emailed me back within 24 hours (over the holidays!) with a pleasant and detailed set of answers, so I’m guessing they have pretty good customer service. In the U.S., they are represented by Ann Sacks, which can order any of their designs for you if you’re not in a time crunch and can wait the 10+ weeks for delivery from Morocco. For non-U.S. readers, the Popham website has a list of their international distributors. I particularly like the Hex Star, the Hex Shelter, and the Loop di Loop, but honestly, they’re all pretty amazing. [Prices typically fall within the $25-$29 range].
(4) Cement Tile Shop, an outfit that seems to be based in both Florida and the U.K. and that has a really wide range of tile made in Mexico. I quite like the Pacific Contemporary line and the Mexican Shapes line, and you’ll note that they have a number of tiles that mimic more expensive designs you will have seen elsewhere. So if the tile price or shipping from Europe have you turning away from your preferred design, don’t fret until you’ve checked out the Cement Tile Shop, where you might just find something very similar (indistinguishable?) to your original tile crush. [Prices typically fall within the $15-$25 range].
(5) Mosaic del Sur, a London-based showroom, whose online site allows you to configure your own cement tiles with a whole range of colors and then see the pattern applied to the floor or walls of a bathroom, living room, entryway, etc. They have thousands of designs, you will definitely find something to love here. [Prices typically fall within the $10-$15 range].
(6) Exquisite Surfaces, an L.A.-based outfit whose Sitio and Native lines by Commune are really interesting and unique (one of the Native line tiles is above). No idea about the prices but the site makes me think that these tiles’ price might be right up there with their beauty.
(7) Mosaic House, a New York-based vendor, for generally more traditional cement tiles with some interesting more modern patterns too.
(8) Erin Adams, of HouseFiftyTwo, is a product designer with apparently a bit of a celebrity following. She has some fantastic designs, and I’m a huge fan of the gorgeous red number above, which is the LeWitt, from her Lee Collection. Her work has lots of great color too.
(9) Also worth checking out is Tesselle, for highly geometric patterns I hadn’t necessarily seen before.
(10) And for a real splurge, take a peek at Fireclay Tile – I quite like their Stream (above) and Diamond Contour tiles but they’re certainly beyond the budget of this project! [Tiles are upwards of $30 per sq ft].
So fellow travelers, any other incredible designers or shops I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments section and I’d be happy to add them to the list. Enjoy!