Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Finding the Right Cement Tile Adds Personalized Touch

Meet Mark & Erin C from central New York and their recently remodeled kitchen. What a great space and design!

Mark and Erin's Kitchen After Remodeling

They have been on quite a journey to get here. It's hard to believe, especially when you see where they started. Here's Mark and Erin's kitchen before remodeling.

Mark and Erin's Kitchen Before Remodeling

It was due for a little updating, wouldn't you say?

I was fortunate to join them on a small part of this journey. I had the pleasure to work with Mark. Avente provided both the design services and ultimately created the custom cement tile you see here!

Mark and Erin's Custom Cement Tile Design created by Avente Tile

Serendipity can be a wonderful thing. Mark kindly shared all of the photos of their kitchen you see here. He also provided a great summary of how they decided on this tile design, the decisions he and Erin struggled with to make, and the custom design process of cement tiles. It's a great story and thank you, Mark, for allowing me to share it with our readers today.

I asked Mark, "How did you find this cement tile pattern, and why did you decide to work with Avente?" Here's his reply.

Finding the Right Tile

We explored different avenues locally and online. We basically worked with the design we saw in a design-oriented magazine, Traditional Home. My wife saw it in a featured home's kitchen and said, "I want this!"

Reclaimed Cement Tile featured in Traditional Home provide inspiration
This clipping from Traditional Home magazine featured reclaimed cement tile and was the inspiration for Mark and Erin's design.

As with many design magazines, they list the designer or manufacturer of the elements in the room being featured. Of course, the cement tiles we loved, were reclaimed 19th century tiles. Not like they were still in production. We investigated local options to no avail. Online searches led us to several different sources. Some were simply vendors of reclaimed tile, flavor of the week, and when they're gone, they're gone. Some had designs that were close, but just didn't offer exactly what we wanted. Some would replicate the design by simply transferring our design onto porcelain tile. The cost was excessive and in our mind, the integrity of the product, structurally and philosophically, would forever remain suspect. A cop out, if you will.

Ultimately, we found Avente Tile. Avente's tile's were delightful and flexible, while maintaining an integrity beneath the face of the tile. They offered similar designs with color customization options. I called and spoke with you. After deciding the cement tiles would offer the hardy, stout, handmade look we desired, we focused on the design itself. The Traditional Bayahibe pattern was so close to what we had in mind that we decided to try to make it work. We ordered the Heritage Color Chip Set and chose our colors. It was a more expensive option. Once I'd crossed THAT threshold, I made the executive decision to just go for it and have custom tiles made. We would focus on doing it right, getting exactly what we wanted. No compromises.

Mark and Erin's Remodeled Kitchen featuring Avente's Cement Tile

It was a tough pill to swallow, spending the money for custom tiles, but the end result and focal point of our vision will never be regretted. Worth every penny to get it right!

I spoke with you frequently and the process took flight. I'd say it was three months total. From the time we said "yes," it took almost the exact time frame as predicted. It tool a week or two for the design and coloration, probably four weeks until we had a hard sample, and four to six weeks until they were delivered. There were no mysteries or overages involved in the cost. Your estimate was correct, to the penny.

Our contractor raised an eyebrow when he saw them, but by the end of the installation, he was a believer. The proof is in the finished product. There is an ultimate satisfaction in knowing these tiles are handmade, just for us, to our specifications. They incorporated so well with he preexisting brick, it's like it was meant to be.

Seeing the smile on my wife's face when she says "I LOVE my new kitchen," is priceless. Don't regret it for a second.

Erin enjoying her new Kitchen

It's been great fun, and being featured is a nice compliment.

Thanks for your participation and guidance!

I'm so glad I could help, Mark and Erin. Custom jobs are always fun. This job went smoothly because you both had realistic expectations and a clear sense of what you wanted. It was a joy working with you and nothing makes me happier than knowing you will be enjoying the tiles and your new kitchen. Great job!

Great Choices Make a Great Kitchen

Smart choices in appliances making cooking and clean-up easy and fast. Combine that with stylish surface coverings and the kitchen can easily be your favorite room and cooking becomes a joy. The kitchen can be the place to entertain guests and relax after a long week at work. Here's Mark & Erin's choices for making a kitchen great!

The cabinets are by Medallion. The style is Rushmore in maple wood with a ginger snap finish and paired with handmade pulls by Artesano Iron Works. Nice touch!

For the appliances, they decided on a Thermador 36" Professional Series Convection Gas Range with a custom vent hood by Faber. A Thermador microwave and a Thermador Emerald Series Dishwasher with matching cabinet facing provides good looks with function.

The countertops are "black titanium" granite. The flooring is Vallano in caramel. It's a porcelain tile with the look of lightly weathered stone.

Mark points out that, "Of course, the star attraction... custom cement tiles by Avente Tile for our backsplash." And, how could I possibly disagree?

Cement Tile Projects from Avente Customers

If you enjoyed this article, you might enjoy these Tile Talk articles that show how Avente customer's have used cement tiles in their homes. These posts will show you how cement tile can be used on floors and kitchen backsplashes. You'll also discover the decisions, trials and tribulations that each customer experienced as part of the project. I thank these customers for taking time to share these tips and ideas.

Ceramic Tile Projects from Avente Customers

Our customers have also used our hand-painted ceramic tiles to add style and a personal touch to their home. Here are a few posts devoted to tile floor accents and kitchen backsplashes using our hand-painted ceramic tiles.

What pattern and colors would you choose for a custom cement tile? Where would you use the cement tile, on the floor, or for a backsplash? In three weeks, I'll explore the custom cement tile design process in detail. You'll see examples of pattern development, color choice, and the manufacturing steps from Erin and Mark's design.

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