Friday, May 28, 2010

Kicking off summer

Happy Memorial Day!  
Just a few scenes from our beautiful hometown of San Diego.
The coastline in La Jolla.
Photo by AMagill.  Original can be found here.

Take a lesson from the Surf Divas.  
Boys are welcome too.

Take drive out to Palomar Observatory
to gaze at some of this:

Hotel del Coronado, photographed in 1900.

Locals know it as "The Del."  It is a National Historic Landmark and one of the last examples of a wooden Victorian beach resort.
Don't miss the lobby...

...or the incredible ballroom.

Another summertime "Del" that might be familiar to the East Coast crowd is a classic summer treat called Del's Frozen Lemonade.   Started in 1948 at a little stand in Cranston, RI, Del's still uses a recipe developed in 1840 by the DeLucia family from Naples, Italy.  
Anyone from Rhode Island will tell you - there is nothing better than an icy cold Del's on those 90 degree + 90% humidity days.

San Diego is undeniably a military town, with a large number of Naval and Marine bases throughout the county.  So we can't forget to say thank you on this day for those men and women, in all branches of the service, who have given their lives while serving our nation.  We are all grateful for their tremendous sacrifices.

Wishing you and your families a safe and fun holiday weekend.  And may we all have a summer filled with sunny beaches, ice-cold lemonade and slow, breezy evenings relaxing with the ones we love.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Deep, rich colors - a makeover for our Marseille Collection

From the moment that we introduced it, our Marseille Collection has been one of our most celebrated and popular tile designs.   We have seen this versatile pattern used in kitchen backsplashes, large and small, and also scaled up for large format flooring applications.   It even won the coveted Platinum Award for Design Excellence (ADEX) for 2009.

The Marseille Collection was inspired by Jacobean embroidery, using highly stylized floral designs with flowing vines and leaves.  This type of embroidery was popular during the reign of King James I of England, in fabrics used for elaborate tapestries, bed hangings, curtains and even stylish jackets worn by both men and women. 

Ladies, can you imagine dressing yourselves in all those layers of embroidered, lace finery every morning?  And Gentlemen - how many of you could rock that terrific gold, leafy shirt like this guy is doing?  (Hawaiian shirts don't count.)  He owns that look.

We originally introduced this collection with three colorways - Red, Blue-Green and Green-Yellow.

In the past few months, our designers have been working to create different color palettes for this design.  We are going with rich, deep hues that really make a statement - Burgundy, Sage Green and Deep Brown.  Earthy and warm, but with enough boldness to add a stunning focal point to any room.


Sage Green

Deep Brown

The colors that you see here will become a bit more muted after these designs are printed on our stone tiles.  The shading of the natural stone will show through in the areas that are white in these pictures.  The warm color and natural texture of the stone will add so much to the unique beauty of these designs.  You will never get quite the same result on a porcelain or ceramic tile.  The natural stone gives this collection a warmth and a timeless feel that maintains the connection to its historic origins.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

When size does matter

Our designers love a challenge.  Send us your odd-shaped rooms, crazy backsplash measurements or impossible looking spaces and we'll help you figure out a tile layout that will work.  You might be surprised by all of the tricks and workarounds we can come up with to modify our designs

Here is an example.  A client really loved the Marseille Red pattern.

It is shown in our catalog with the middle pattern on eight 6x6 tiles and border listellos as 3x6 tiles with 3x3 corners.   As you might already know, we can print any of our designs in any size that you want.  You can also choose any of our stone types (or send us yours.)  

This person had a particularly small space to work with - 34 inches across and 10 inches high.  Here is what we came up with:
In this modified version, the middle pattern is a single row of five 6x6 tiles.  Border listellos are 2x6 with 2x2 corner pieces.  (You can click on any of these pictures to get a better view.)

At first glance, it might be easy to miss all of the detail changes that had to be done to the design in order to fit that space.  For instance, the middle pattern is usually made up of four tiles, but in this case we had to shrink the whole pattern down to fit on a single 6x6 tile.

It normally takes two listellos in the border pattern to make up the design.  The little flower thingy is in the middle.  

But in this case there was an uneven number of listellos needed.  For the 34 inch width,  we had to use five 2x6 tiles across.  (Five 2x6's give you 30 inches and then add 2 inches on each side for the corner pieces to come up with the total of 34 inches.)

How did we solve this issue?  We created a new listello that has the flower in the center of the 2x6 tile that lines up with the regular 2x6 tiles so that the pattern continues to flow.

This allowed us to use five 2x6 listellos to border along the top and bottom, like this:

Et voila!  The same Marseille Red pattern, still balanced and flowing evenly, in a much smaller space.

We have to give credit to the designer who worked this out.  Drew is the Pattern King.  We can always rely on him to solve problems like this.  He is somehow able to see the flow of the patterns and the connections in all the chaos.  He has the attention to detail that is necessary to make sure the lines line up and and swirls keep swirling.  But he also has a good sense of design and knows when something has crossed over into "Boy, that looks stupid" territory.  

So don't be afraid to give us a call if you need help with some odd space.  There is a chance that we have already made some modifications for another client that will work for you too.  Or we can continue to throw challenges to Drew to see what he can come up with.  

Now that we've bragged about him, we are hoping it doesn't go to his head.  So send us your most difficult layout issues and let's see if we can stump him! 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sneak peek - New Tile Designs

We are this close to introducing our brand new tile book.  Get ready for a huge expansion of our pattern and motif tile collections, with inspiring new shapes and color palettes ranging from bold to natural.
Stay tuned! 

Color Wash Silhouettes - Pendant

Altalena Collection

Go ahead - click on the pictures to get a better view.
Let us know what you think!