Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Cuban Tile Redux in Muted Color Palette

For the last post of the year, I'm excited to share an exclusive tour of a private residence that uses Cuban Heritage cement tiles in a custom, muted color palette. You'll find the design is peaceful and calming. The redux also shows how cement tiles are not just for flooring anymore.

Exclusive tour of a private residence using Cuban cement tiles
Avente's exclusive tour of a private residence using Cuban cement tiles

The tropical setting of this private home on the island of Hispaniola is the perfect locale for Cuban tiles.  The home's design takes full advantage of the balmy, tropical weather and uses an open air design.  You are greeted by a small sitting area that opens to a large covered, open-air patio that joins the dining room, powder room, pool, and living spaces.

Entry patio greets guests and sets the design theme with Cuban tile
Cuban tile entry greets guests and sets the design theme

A Cuban cement tile rug adorns the large, central breeze-way
A Cuban cement tile rug adorns the large, central breeze-way

Our Cuban Heritage cement tiles have been popular since we introduced them over ten years ago. Because of their ubiquitous use in residential and commercial applications on the island of Cuba, cement tiles became known as Cuban tiles in some parts of the world. When Cuba was a tropical playground for jetsetters between 1920 - 1950 and for homes built in the Spanish Mediterranean Revival period, Cuban tiles were de rigueur flooring for businesses, hotels, and private estates.

This pattern, Cuban Heritage Design 150, does not utilize a border that was common in traditional Cuban designs.  However, the rug's colors standout from the surrounding coral stone pavers and a more contemporary feel is maintained without the use of a border.

Cuban Heritage Design 150 cement tile using a custom, muted color palette
Cuban Heritage Design 150 using a custom, muted color palette
While I love the eye-catching, open-air patio with the large cement tile rug, the powder room and dining room are some of the best examples of how a traditional, handmade product can adapt to provide design consistency and durability.  You'll notice that cement tile is used both on the floor and as wainscot in this small; but, rich powder room.  Avente's Traditional Salcedo border cement tile is used to frame the top wainscot row.  Also, notice the border pattern orientation does not change by the door as is it would in a traditional installation. All, unique details, executed flawlessly that really work.

Cement tile are used for floor and wainscot in this powder room
Cement tile are used for floor and wainscot in this powder room

Note the unique border tile orientation near the door

Cuban tile in soft colors work well for this powder room floor and wainscot
Cuban tile in soft colors work well for this powder room floor and wainscot

The large, formal dining room sparingly uses the same Cuban Heritage pattern and colorway as wainscot between the tall, windows and French doors that run from floor to ceiling.  This is a nice way to maintain the color and pattern without getting "pattern overload."

The same Cuban tile is used as wainscot in the formal dining room.
The same Cuban tile is used as wainscot in the formal dining room

Another view of the large dining room that uses cement tile wainscot
Another view of the large dining room that uses cement tile wainscot

A detail showing cement tile wainscot
A detail showing cement tile wainscot

Leaving the dining room from the same door that I entered, I once again strolled across the large open patio that connects all the living spaces. This time, I headed away from the entrance to get a glimpse of the pool and golf course.  Before, I reached my destination, I spotted a reflecting pool that provides privacy.  The pool is very Romanesque; but, rather than being lined with mosaic tile they used cement tile.  The same Traditional Salcedo border pattern that you see in the bathroom wainscot is used for the reflecting pool sideboard.  Here the effect is even more subtle; but, the  geometric design works well and helps keep the design motif consistent.

A reflecting pool uses cement tile for the sidebar.
A reflecting pool uses cement tile for the sidebar

Two rows of cement tile (Salcedo border pattern) add subtle design interest for this pool
Two rows of Avente's Salcedo border pattern provide subtle design details for this pool
I finally made it past all the stunning tile details to get a glimpse of the ocean.  Wow, what a verdant and peaceful ocean view!

View of pool, golf course and ocean from patio
View of pool, golf course and ocean from patio

I hope you enjoyed the exclusive tour of this private residence on the island of Hispaniola.  While this classic Cuban tile pattern has been brought back to use, I think you'll agree that the redux is both unique in design and creative in application.  I love how a simple, muted color palette, and repeated pattern work to create a a peaceful and harmonious theme throughout.

Want to see more photos of this installation? View the slideshow below, or click to see Cuban Cement Tile with Custom Color for Residence.

Cement tiles provide design flexibility because they can be customized with your choice of colors. As this project illustrates, cement tile adapt to any setting and work well in contemporary or traditional installations. Finally, you can't forget that cement tile are durable and will withstand decades of wear with little care. Finally, they can be used on floors, walls or even ceilings. They are a great way to carry a design motif, pattern or color throughout a home to achieve a cohesive and harmonious design. Visit our website to see all of the Cuban Heritage encaustic cement tile patterns and colorways we offer. Or, like this customer, you can customize the colors on any pattern to suite your distinct sense of style.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Holiday Cheer from Avente Tile

There is no better time than the Holidays to express our appreciation for your business and friendship. May all the joys of the season be yours.

Deer in Moonlight Mural - Rosewood
Deer in Moonlight Ceramic Tile Mural

Take 10% off any online order placed through January 2015. Use coupon code CHEERS.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tile Backsplash Ideas for Modern Vanities

Maybe your bathroom is stuck in the 60s or maybe you just need to freshen things up a bit. The vanity backsplash serves both a functional and aesthetic purpose, adding decorative features to your bathroom while simultaneously protecting your walls from moisture. A backsplash allows you to personalize your bathroom with a style that mirrors your own taste, character, and lifestyle.

Red Bathroom Backsplash
Photography by highfithome

So how can we choose a backsplash for a modern vanity? By nature, modern design is chic, trendy, fashionable, and in vogue. Your options for backsplashes are wide-ranging, not only based on the materials available, but the orientation of the tiles, techniques used, and molding features. You can visit Trade Winds Imports to find unique, designer quality modern bathroom vanities.

Modern Bathroom Backsplash Ideas
There are many different types of backsplash ideas you can use in the bathroom.

Style of Decorative Tile Backsplash:
  • Handmade Cement Tile
  • Natural Stone Tile
  • Glass Tiles
  • Mosaic Tiles
  • Mirrored Backsplash Panels
  • Classic White Subway Tile
  • Metallic tiles
  • Themed Tiles
  • Classic White Subway Tiles
Matching Your Countertop
For vanities with travertine tops, you can match your counter with a travertine backsplash. Other materials, such as natural stone and synthetic stones like Phoenix stone, can also be complemented with a nice stone tile that matches the hues and patterns of your countertop. Dark Emperador, quartz, and marble are all ideal candidates for a gorgeous stone backsplash.

Modern Vanity with Cream Marble Top
The Corinth Vanity comes with an elegant cream marble counter top.
Handmade Cement Tile
Beautifully hand-crafted cement tile always creates a stunning effect. You can make your bathroom stand out by pulling together elements that mirror your personal preference. As an extra tip, tile to the ceiling to make your bathroom look bigger. This will accentuate the verticality of the room.

Glass Backsplash
Modern and contemporary vanities have an especially enticing visual appeal when paired with a glass backsplash. You can even have the back of the glass hand-painted to create a silky smooth finish that flickers with vibrant spectrums of light. Similarly, metallic tiles can bring in the same "flash" and eye-grabbing qualities.

Tiling Size & Patterns
As for shape and tile patterns, staying in line with modern design patterns will create a well-organized and uniform design. For modern applications, large tile typically creates the best effect. Less business and more simplistic and streamlined designs. Although you can experiment with laying tile diagonally in the shape of a diamond, a square tile pattern maintains the sharp edges that are characteristic of modern vanities. There are also a variety of techniques you can use including bullnose, cap, and cove.

White Subway Tile in the Bathroom
Classic White Subway Tiles. Photography by Urban Apartments

Conclusion: Tiling it All Together
Finding the right backsplash for a modern vanity adds the icing on the cake and can really help pull together the entire design. Remember to try these tips to keep tile costs down.

About the Author
Cheryl Khan is a Design Consultant at TradeWindsImports.com, a fellow community member of KBTribeChat. Cheryl is knowledgeable about all phases of home remodeling, including complete kitchen and bath renovations.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Support the Tile Heritage Foundation

"Tiles tell tales!" is the way Sheila A. Menzies, Executive Director of the Tile Heritage Foundation, explained it to me many years ago. As the year draws to a close and you consider year-end donations, don't forget about this amazing organization. They need your support and engagement!

Tile Heritage FoundationThe Tile Heritage Foundation (THF) is a well-run, non-profit organization that is benevolent and generous. The THF works tirelessly to validate both the art and craft of tile as a cultural treasure. As a national non-profit, THF is focused on keeping tile history, both past and present, publicly accessible in the THF Archives and with an online index. Since it was founded in 1987 by Sheila A. Menzies and Joe Taylor, this California-based non-profit has been supporting the preservation, history and appreciation of tile. This organization gives back to the tile community and works to preserve our tile heritage. Avente continues to proudly support their efforts and thanks the directors, staff and volunteers.

The Importance of Preserving our Tile Heritage

I admit, I love tile and it's one of the reasons I started Avente Tile. Tile can take you places and the story behind each tile is an important part of our culture. Shortly after I started Avente Tile, I remember Jorge Aguayo, of Aguayo Tile explaining that he had discovered many floors in disrepair while visiting Cuba. His goal was to preserve these amazing tile tapestries. He archived the Cuban tile patterns and colors found in homes and estates on the island. We are able to share that with you today with our Cuban Heritage line. If we don’t strive to preserve and record these amazing works of art, we lose so much in the collective history of who we are.

Cuban Tiles found in Old Havana and Camaguey are in disrepair
Cuban tiles found in Old Havana and Camaguey were in disrepair and nearly lost.
Photo Credit: Aguayo Tile

The Preservation of our Tile Heritage

The Tile Heritage Foundation promotes an awareness and appreciation of tiles in the United States. It provides consultation and research services, leads preservation efforts, and shares information about tile. Its library and research facility also offer a wealth of knowledge, including books and slides about ceramic tile surfaces, by providing historical perspective and depth on all ceramic surfacing materials. Because of these efforts, the organization now plays a major role in the preservation of rare existing ceramic installations. They promote contemporary tile work as well.

Detail of Sunflower Tiles on stair risers in Beverly Hills circa 1925.
Detail of sunflower tiles on stair risers in Beverly Hills circa 1925.
THF works to preserve significant historical tile installations.

THF Member Benefits

As a member of Tile Heritage, you become an advocate for the preservation of significant tile installations throughout the United States. You become a part of an international network of tile enthusiasts from around the globe! I can tell you this, it's a great group of people that really support each other. THF's archive, which is publicly accessible, offers information and examples about U.S. tile makers, business records of dealers and installers, historic catalogs, periodicals, and photography from the last 150 years.

  • You support the continued development of a unique library of information and archival materials that are available to the public for purposes of research, restoration and preservation.
  • You protect the Tile Heritage archives. This rich archive of tiles and related materials represent one of the largest public collections in the country! The tiles are available to galleries and museums for display and exhibitions as well as to members for personal examination.
  • You receive a free listing in the THF Resource Directory, which is revised annually and distributed nationally.
  • You receive Member discounts on selected merchandise, services and events.
  • Tile Heritage keeps you connected with impartial tile news, multiple tile resources nationwide, information about new and old tile discoveries, as well as special tile-related events.
I could go on about the great folks at the THF and the membership benefit; but, just visit www.tileheritage.org and discover what a great resource they are. You can also follow them on Twitter and Facebook for the latest information.

 Most importantly, I encourage you to join Avente Tile in supporting this great organization with a donation.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Custom Commercial Cement Tile Inspiration

Customizable cement tiles used in various commercial installations.
Customizable cement tiles, from clockwise (top right), include: Traditional Melilla;
Classic Serengeti; Traditional Gran Cordoba; and Geometric 02 Cement Tile.

Handmade cement tiles are a great choice for commercial, hospitality, and retail spaces. Not only do these tiles deliver an unforgettable decorative impact, but because they are handmade, they can be customized to fit the client's needs, thanks to an extensive palette of colors. If it's inspiration you're craving for your next commercial design project, then make sure to view the dozens of images we've assembled within our Cement Tile Design Ideas section.

Whether a bold Cuban tile pattern in contrasting colors is specified, or a classic cement pattern in harmonizing colors is chosen, you and your client can be assured of a lifetime of usage and viewing enjoyment.

A cement tile mold acts as a blank canvas
A cement tile mold acts as a blank canvas for applying your creativity with customization.

Remember, our handmade cement tiles, which are also called encaustic cement tiles, are made one tile at a time using a method that has been in use for more than a century. It's because of this handmade process that varying amounts of customization is even possible. Of course, whether used as floor tile or wall tile, the long-lasting benefits of cement tile will positively impact and transform any space.

In the meantime, for more information about cement tile selection, installation tips, customization services, or available sizes, shapes and more, please see our new Guide to Buying Handmade Cement Tile.

Avente's Pinterest Board of Fireplaces and Hearths

Designing with Tile

fireplaces hearths

Avente's Pinterest Board for Christmas and Winter
"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home." - Edith Sitwell

Cement tiles work well for a fireplace or hearth. The warmth they exude is further enhanced by their ability to be customized to fit any décor, or to complement surrounding materials (such as wood, carpet, concrete, etc.). Our fireplace tile design ideas include both cement and ceramic tile installations using Avente's hand-crafted tiles. There is no better choice than tile when creating a decorative and visually appealing fireplace design.

Further enhancing their allure is the fact that cement tiles can be customized with any color from our Heritage Color Palette. After choosing colors, we recommend a "strike-off" or sample be made to verify the design on the tile before final production. Strike-offs can be shipped directly to you from the factory.

Remember, installing cement tile is a fairly simple process, but it must be done with care in order to achieve the best results. To fully enjoy the versatility of handmade cement tile, we recommend reading our Cement Tile Installation Guide. We are also proud to offer a complete line of Cement Tile Customization Services that will help you meet or exceed your design expectations. Our newly published Guide to Buying Handmade Cement Tile is an especially valuable resource to keep handy. Download a free copy here, and let the inspiration begin!

Let us know how we can assist you with your next project. Please feel free to call our offices at 888.739.4972 or email us at: info@AventeTile.com.

There is no better time than the Holidays to express our appreciation for your business and friendship. May all the joys of the season be yours.

Deer in Moonlight Mural - Rosewood
Deer in Moonlight Ceramic Tile Mural

Take 10% off any online order placed through January 2015. Use coupon code CHEERS.