Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Discover Design with Historic Spanish Tile Installations in Los Angeles

By , Avente Tile

As summer starts to kicks into full swing with the solstice less than 10 days away, I find myself enjoying the perfectly splendid outdoors of Southern California with longer walks each day. This summer, our blog is dedicated to handcrafted tiles and their use outdoors. Last week we introduced our new Artisan Porcelain Tiles for the Pool! This week I share my favorite historical tile installations that I've discovered during my urban treks in the neighborhoods of Los Angeles and Beverly Hills.

These brightly colored tiles are grouped beneath a Moorish arch to create a colorful tribute to Spanish Revival Architecture
Brightly colored tiles are grouped beneath a Moorish arch
create a colorful tribute to Spanish Revival architecture.
Most of these homes, duplexes or commercial spaces were built in the late 1920s. What you’ll see in every photo is the optimism that was prevalent in the era. Optimism expressed in the colors of the tile and the details of every structure; details that you rarely find today. Each installation pays homage to a specific architectural style: a portico found in a Mission style home, an extremely decorated façade of a Spanish Renaissance commercial location, or a fountain typical of Spanish Colonial architecture found in a duplex courtyard. You’ll find that these installations show some wear; but, they are a great tribute to both Los Angeles architecture and the classic forms they honor.

Patterns grouped or "blocked together" create an impact on the entry to a California Courtyard.
Patterns grouped or "blocked together" create an impact on the entry to a California Courtyard.

Color or pattern blocking is a common method where tiles of the same color or pattern are grouped together to create maximum impact or define an area. Unlike the photo above, here you see several different patterns and formats used on a planter box below a window. The quarter design circular patter has strong ties to Moorish patterns and the smaller format cross pattern is class Spanish. The colors are typical of tiles from the 1920s with a listello border on the bottom of the planter box.

Tiles patterns on this planter box are Spanish and Moorish influenced.
Tiles patterns on this planter box are Spanish and Moorish influenced.
The cohesive palette and tiles is circa 1925.
Something you don't see very often today is the use of brick with Spanish tile. We often think of brick as being traditionally English. However, the red clay brick plays nicely with the red clay roof tile and decorative Spanish tiles on the planter box because it has a natural "terra cotta aesthetic."  The architectural details on the home enforce the Spanish style theme.

Brick can work with Spanish tile
Brick can work with Spanish tile designs especially when the
home's architectural theme is influenced by Spanish details.
Spanish tiles are used for the stair risers on this brick path leading up to the home. Notice the planter box to the left of the door at the top of the stairs. A cohesive color scheme of different shades of blue on the tiles work well with the alternating stair rise patterns and the planter box.

A cohesive color palette allows different patterned tiles to harmoniously exist.
A cohesive color palette of blues in the stair riser and planter box tiles
allows different patterns to harmoniously exist.
Architecture often speaks to the times both in form and function. The period in the late 1920s in Los Angeles was one of optimism and hope. Sunflowers are often considered a symbol of optimism with their big, over-sized, bright yellow flowers reaching up to the blue sky in the warmth of summer. Nothing symbolizes this optimism more than these stylistic sunflower tiles used on this Beverly Hills duplex.

These stair risers are tiled with a sunflower motif
Architecture captures the mood of the times.
These stair risers are tiled with a sunflower motif (circa 1925).

Doesn't that get your attention? You can't help but smile seeing those tiles on the stair risers.  Here's a close-up of these stunning tiles!

Detail of Sunflower Tiles on stair risers in Beverly Hills circa 1925.
Detail of sunflower tiles on stair risers in Beverly Hills circa 1925.

I hope you enjoyed exploring some of my favorite historical tile installations near the Los Angeles neighborhood where I reside. These are great examples of how Spanish tile have been used to complement an existing architectural style. Throughout the summer, we'll explore more homes in the neighborhood and share additional ways to bring tile outside! If you liked this post, don't miss my previous post, Spanish Tile Details Charm this Los Angeles Neighborhood.

Want to add some Spanish tile charm to your home? Then look through our Spanish tiles or browse our Ceramic Tile Design Ideas where you can find a large collection of projects showcasing our handmade and hand-painted Spanish tile. Let us know how we at Avente Tile can assist you!
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