Moor Tile, Please! Spice Up Your Space with Moroccan Tile

Add an exotic touch with Moroccan tiles in everything from intricate patterns and rich colors to subtle, luminous neutrals.

When Euclid declared, “The whole is greater than the part,” I like to think he had Moroccan tile on his mind.

Moroccan tile is typically noted for complex geometric designs; artisans use mathematical precision to produce masterpieces. Designs rely on symmetry and repetition of complex patterns to cover large areas, such as walls and floors.

Although intricate kaleidoscope-like patterns are the most renowned, not all Moroccan tile is highly patterned. Graceful arabesque shapes, rich solid hues, crosses and carved tiles also add to the mix.

If you’re looking to spice up your next tile project, you can count on these Moorish numbers for inspiration.

Click HERE for the full story.

So Many Reasons to Love Cement Tile

You’ll notice their beautiful patterns right away, but cement tiles have less obvious advantages too.

Would you believe me if I told you cement tiles are a lot like checkerboard cake? Hear me out. When you slice into a checkerboard cake, you see alternating squares of chocolate and vanilla goodness. Cement tiles, popular in Mediterranean- and Latin-style spaces, are often highly patterned with geometric and floral designs. So what’s the connection? That lies in how the cake and tiles are made.

Like checkerboard cake batter, cement tiles are formed by hand pouring pigmented cement into decorative molds similar to cookie cutters to separate the colors. When the cement has set enough, the molds are removed and the tile is compressed under 2,000 pounds of pressure. The result is an irresistible work of art for floors or walls. Sounds pretty sweet, eh?

Click HERE to read more about how they’re made, their benefits and where to use them.

Bling Where It’s Least Expected

Give your interior some sparkle and shine with metal tiles on a backsplash, shower or floor.

Anyone who’s ever gone fishing with a flashy lure or held a baby while wearing blingy earrings knows that shiny things are attractive. There’s a magnetic draw to them.

In fact, recent research suggests humans are innately drawn to shiny surfaces because they reflect an age-old quest for fresh water to ensure our survival. Thirsty or not, we can easily infuse our lives and homes with shine — at a minimum to ward off the threat of monotony. One way is by using metallic tiles.

Metal tiles gained popularity in the past decade or so with the explosion of stainless steel kitchen appliances, and stainless steel tiles were (and still are) great harmonizers.

However, they’ve also made their way out of the kitchen — and all that glitters isn’t always stainless steel. Tiles are available in different metals, including bronze, copper and titanium, as well as different surfaces, such as brushed, polished and textured.

Click HERE for the full story.

 

6 Spot-On Places to Use Penny Tile

You’ll flip for these coin-shaped wall and floor tiles in bright colors, subtle neutrals and even clear glass
Penny Rounds via Mercury Mosaics

Penny Rounds via Mercury Mosaics

Looking for a tile with fun-loving appeal? Penny tiles, also known as penny rounds, brings both heritage and cheer to a home. A throwback to the early 1900s, penny tiles have come full circle to harmonize with nearly every style, from Victorian to bungalow, midcentury modern to contemporary.

Penny tiles were originally used for flooring, but also are a great choice for backsplashes, wall tile and  even columns. And given all the color and pattern possibilities, the love for penny tile may be never-ending.

Penny tiles are round in shape and usually between ¾ inch and 1 inch in diameter. Making their appearance in the early 1900s, they were typically made of unglazed white porcelain. At the time white was perceived as more sanitary and believed to not “hold sickness,” says Caitlin Walker of Mercury Mosaics. Colored floor tiles later became popular, as well as patterns, such as borders and flower designs.

Today penny tiles have hit the design jackpot — likely because they look great in nearly any space, new or old.

Click HERE to read the full story on how to use them right.

Suzani Style

source unknownA kaleidoscope of color and pattern, the suzani is a decorative tribal textile from the Central Asian country of Uzbekistan. Made as part of a bride’s dowry, suzanis were traditionally used as decorative wall hangings, bed covers, table cloths, and prayer mats.

Suzani is derived from the Persian word suzan, which means “needle”. They are made on a light-colored cotton or silk base which is heavily embroidered with colored silk thread. Popular motifs include moon roundels, flowers, fruit (typically pomegranates), leaves, and birds. Suzanis are usually made in two or more sections and stitched together to create a finished piece.

Suzani fever has woven its way into our homes and hearts. As a traditional wall hanging, a suzani creates a spectacular alternative to a headboard, such as Paige Morse’s bedroom design shown below. Likewise, suzani bed covers and throws offer an artful bedroom focal point.

Some designers repurpose the textile by cutting it and creating new forms. Suzanis are installed on upholstered seating, like the settee above or as bold throw pillows, as seen in Jessica Helgerson‘s living room design.

With size limitations and (understandable) hesitation to alter hand-embroidered textiles, an alternative of fabric printed with suzani inspired patterns allows for greater design flexibility. Wide-width fabric allows for upholstery of larger furniture pieces such as sofas, chairs and headboards to achieve a similar look.

Colorful and ever so global, suzani style celebrates the beauty of life through traditional pattern. Be bold and check out some favorites below:

via Hillary Thomas Designs

via Hillary Thomas Designs

via Anthopologie, Inge Chair with Vintage Suzani

via Anthopologie, Inge Chair with Vintage Suzani

via Deborah French Designs

via Deborah French Designs

via Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

via Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

via Tara Bussema

via Tara Bussema

via Chr Dauer Architects

via Chr Dauer Architects

via Vani Sayeed Studios

via Vani Sayeed Studios

via Paige Morse, photo by Sarah Greenman

via Paige Morse, photo by Sarah Greenman

via Emily Chalmers, photo by Debi Treolar

via Emily Chalmers, photo by Debi Treolar

via Heydt Designs

via Heydt Designs

via Katie Leede & Co.

via Katie Leede & Co.

via Steven Favreau Design

via Steven Favreau Design

via Garrison Hullinger Interior-Design, rug by Kush Handmade Rugs

via Garrison Hullinger Interior Design, rug by Kush Handmade Rugs

via calicocorners.com, Oh Suzani Fabric Collection

via calicocorners.com, Oh Suzani Fabric Collection

 

via Thibaut, Suzani woven fabric

via Thibaut, Suzani woven fabric

via F. Schumacher & Co., Konya Suzani

via F. Schumacher & Co., Konya Suzani

I couldn’t resist to go out in style…..

via O-Suzani Boot Co.

via O-Suzani Boot Co.

Related links:

Calico Corners

Chr Dauer Architects

Deborah French Designs

Emily Chalmers

F. Schumacher & Co.

Garrison Hullinger Interior Designs

Heydt Designs

Hillary Thomas Designs

Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

Katie Leede & Co.

Kush Handmade Rugs

Paige Morse

O-Suzani Boot Co.

Steven Favreau Design

Tara Bussema

Thibaut

Vani Sayeed Studios

*Marla Mallett sells antique and contemporary suzanis

Unstoppable: The Return of Cork

Cork Mosaic Circles Sideboard by Iannone Design

Cork Mosaic Circles Sideboard by Iannone Design

Mention ‘cork’ and most people think of wine stoppers and lifeless pin boards. Cork has far reaching uses past the ordinary and is infamous for its Superman attributes. Aside from being 100% sustainable, it’s also waterproof, buoyant, fire-resistant, insulating, and resistant to mold and bacterial growth.  It also has a warm, pleasant scent.

Cork’s popularity has certainly risen in years past, but it’s not a new building material. Cork flooring was introduced in the late 1800’s and used in a variety of commercial and residential spaces, but its use quickly waned with the invention of vinyl flooring after WWII. The 1960’s and 70’s experienced brief flirtations with cork wall covering.

Lucky for the design industry, recent shift by wine makers from cork to synthetic wine stoppers, as well as a global push for sustainable building materials has caused a resurgence in cork’s popularity as a material of choice for interior applications.

Check out some favorites:

Oro Cork Fabric in color Azul by Habitus

Oro Cork Fabric in color Azul by Habitus

Float Lamp by Benjamin Hubert

Float Lamp by Benjamin Hubert

Corsica Chaise by Daniel Machalik

Corsica Chaise by Daniel Machalik

Corkcomfort Linn Moon by Wicanders

Corkcomfort Linn Moon by Wicanders

Cork Floor in Hangman Valley Residence by Uptic Studios

Cork Floor in Hangman Valley Residence by Uptic Studios

Asian Home Gym by JK and Sons

Asian Home Gym by JK and Sons

Cork Mosaic from Habitus. Design by Molley Frey Design.

Cork Mosaic from Habitus. Design by Molley Frey Design.

Super Tuscan Cork Mosaic Tile by Habitus

Super Tuscan Cork Mosaic Tile by Habitus

Dekwall in Bamboo Terra by Wicanders

Dekwall in Bamboo Terra by Wicanders

Zen Powder Room by HTR Renovations

Zen Powder Room by HTR Renovations

Wine Cork Tile by Yemm & Hart

Wine Cork Tile by Yemm & Hart

 

Related Links:

Iannone Design

Benjamin Hubert

Daniel Machalik

Wicanders

Uptic Studios

Yemm & Hart

John Kraemer & Sons (JK & Sons)

HTR Renovations

 

 

 

 

 

A Step Above: Centerpiece Staircases

Often a neglected design component, the staircase is the workhorse of the house, enduring countless forays between up and down.  Typically relegated to the land of blah, staircases are traditionally painted a neutral color or stained to match adjacent woodwork.  Some forsaken flights are unkindly carpeted in a monstrously muddy shade to intentionally hide dirt.  Considering the typical staircase is approximately 3 feet wide by 8 feet high, that’s a lot of area fueled with unbridled design potential!

With some imagination, your staircase can be an extraordinary element in your space.  Check out these stunning examples:

Source links:

Design Sponge

Lowe’s Creative Ideas

Jonathan Adler Interior Design

Elle Decor, Caitlin-Dowe Sands

Ferm Living, Clever Spaces

Design Crisis

DIY Network

My Itchy Fingers

Coastal Living

vrbo

design amour, Peacock Painters

apartment therapy

Funky Junk Interiors

blogs.babble

 

Floorcloth Fancy

Tywod Arian, Jenny Lee-Katz

Floorcloths, also known as “painted canvas area rugs” and “oylcloths” originated in England in the 17th century.  Initially made from defunct sailboat canvases, their patterns typically mimicked parquet flooring and geometric marble inlay.  Primarily adorning the stately entrance halls of the wealthy, floorcloths eventually spread in popularity to middle-class homes and Colonial America, where the variety in patterns increased to include hand-painted stencils and stamped woodblocks.  The invention of linoleum flooring in the 1860’s fueled the floorcloth’s decline, as linoleum and carpets became more fashionable and eventually overtook over the decorative flooring market. However, in recent years a resurgence in this functional artform has emerged with diversity ranging from intricate historic replicas to bespoke modern marvels.

Floorcloths offer several advantages over other floorcoverings.  Foremost, they are custom works of art that can be made in any size, configuration, color or pattern.  Few flooring options allow limitless and unique design possibilities.  With floorcloth design, one may say the sky’s the limit!

Considering it is a piece of painted fabric that is walked on, floorcloths are considerably durable.  Constructed from a base of heavy canvas, which is sanded smooth and covered with two or more layers of gesso, painted and sealed with several more coats of paint and polyurethane, and often sealed with an additional top wax and a resilient backing fabric, they certainly have some heft to them.

Floorcloths will last for many years, but they can also be repainted if the design layer wears out over time.  They are also easy to maintain; loose dirt should be removed and then wiped with a sponge or mop. It is suggested to replenish the top wax layer by applying a paste wax several times a year.

Here’s a sneak peek of just a handful of the myriad of floorcloths available. These professional, high quality selections are by artists Gracewood Design, Jenny Lee-Katz, Sophie Sarin, Early American Floorcloths and The Lime Loft.

 

Functional History: Repurposed Vintage Grain Sacks

 

“Bridlechair” using German grain sacks, 3 Fine Grains

Repurposed grain sacks have made a welcomed design appearance in the past couple of years, and it doesn’t seem to be a passing trend. Check out some more inspired applications of these old workhorses below, from upholstery to lampshades.  Grain sacks are inherently durable, pest-resistant and their understated, nubby texture is equally at home in rustic, traditional or contemporary spaces.

A fair quantity of vintage grain sack material is available, and prices vary depending on origin, rarity, quality, condition, etc.   For some background information to assist with your hunt… American grain sacks tend to be either thin or thicker cotton.  Thin cotton stock often has imagery dyed into the fabric. Conversely, thicker cotton sacks have imagery printed onto the face of the fabric and can have stripes sewn integrally in the bag fabric and are suitable for upholstery. Unfortunately, the thin cotton variety often fades and bleeds when washed while the thicker, printed selections are less likely to.

European grain sacks are highly prized and are heavier, made out of hemp or flax. The background colors vary (off-white to flax to grey) and demarcation markings, usually stripes, are sewn in the bag, sometimes with embroidered or stenciled initials.  Like lobster buoys and livestock branding, the markings visually signified the farm from which the sacks belonged, and allowed the bags to be re-circulated to the owner once the grain was deposited at the mill.

In particular, German grain sacks are considered the paragon of the grain sack world – they’re rarer (many didn’t survive the war) and a bit softer than other European sacks.  They  are stenciled in a tar-based black with the name of the farm and the date it was established and frequently an animal silhouette or decorate symbol associated with the farm.  German bags often show a number on the bag face for inventory purposes, 1 to 99.   Hand-painted bags pre-date the stenciled bags, usually prior to 1890.

One-of-a kind, these everyday relics are striking and enchanting repurposed into another form or simply as artwork in themselves.

 

Contacts:

www.myworld.ebay.com/loodylady

www.etsy.com/shop/3finegrains

www.stephanielloyd.com

www.legrenier.com.au/

www.lumadirect.com

www.antiquated.co.uk

www.etsy.com/shop/cottageintheoaks

www.etsy.com/shop/Sassyshades

www.hammersandhighheels.blogspot.com/2011/03/diy-tiered-grain-sack-window-shade.html

www.etsy.com/shop/jillbent

www.potterybarn.com

www.ballarddesigns.com

 

Special thanks for providing me with valuable background information, inspiration and imagery:

www.missmustardseed.com

www.sheilazellerinteriors.com

 

Carpet For A Cause: Alpha Workshops Edition

“Phaedra Rug” / Alpha Workshops Edition

Edward Fields Carpet Makers, a long-standing creator of high-quality, bespoke area rugs, and Alpha Workshops, a non-profit organization that trains people with HIV/AIDS in the decorative arts, have collaborated to create a special selection of contemporary area rugs in the Alpha Collection Edition.

Based on patterns from Alpha Workshops’ design archives, the 13 abstract patterns suitably bear Greek names and are made from a blend primarily of wool and dull silk, but additional material combinations include flax, delicate silk, Lurex and viscose.

“Epifanio Rug” / Alpha Workshops Edition

Phaedra, which translates in Greek as “the bright one” radiates a vibrant, amber glow with a fluid depth. Epifanio, which means “bringing light” captures light with a interwoven subtly sparkled fiber, whereas its coloration and design inspiration is derived from clay.

Greek for “stone spirit”, Haldis captures the textured depth of a rocky façade, but with a fierce dynamism that offers a unique animation to the rug.

“Haldis Rug” / Alpha Workshops Edition

Standard sizes are 8’ x 10’, but are available through the interior design trade in custom sizes and colorations, as are all Edward Fields’ products. www.edwardfields.com

 

 

 

 

More information about Alpha Workshops:

Responding to the growing number of New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS, Kenneth Wampler and a founding Board of Directors created the Alpha Workshops in 1995. The Alpha Workshops is the nation’s only non-profit decorative arts studio that trains people with HIV/AIDS and offers employment in a supportive environment. Since its founding, the Alpha Workshops has developed into a highly respected vocational training school and decorative arts studio. Year after year, it has expanded its funding base and client list, increased the professionalism and efficiency of its decorative arts training programs, and broadened the opportunities offered to HIV-positive individuals for creative study and employment. www.alphaworkshops.org