Los Angeles loves Encaustic Tile

 
Design by Consort Design, photo by Daniel Collopy

Design by Consort Design, photo by Daniel Collopy

 

Encaustic tile has been all the rage in Los Angeles.

The designs are made by pressing together different colors of clay to achieve the pattern - opposed to a glaze applied to the surface. Traditionally they were made from clay, now cement tiles seem to be the popular medium with a wide variety of available designs.  

From what I researched encaustic tile are known to have originated in Europe & France around 1850, and later gained popularity throughout Spain and Latin America.  

There are a lot of Spanish style influences in LA and with our moderate weather and the bohemian modern design aesthetic that continues dominate the LA style scene, these artisinal tiles continue to pop up in the coolest restaurants, bars and homes.

 
Gracias Madre Restaurant, design by Wendy Haworth Design

Gracias Madre Restaurant, design by Wendy Haworth Design

 

I decided to check out Gracias Madre, a vegan Mexican restaurant in West Hollywood, known for it's fantastic food and equally magical interiors to see how they applied the tile to the main bar in the restaurant.  Did I mention, JLO and Jessica Alba love to dine here?  Yeah, they weren't there.  

 
The vibe at Gracias Madre in West Hollywood

The vibe at Gracias Madre in West Hollywood

My lunch companion, Ms. Dotty

My lunch companion, Ms. Dotty

 

First impressions, beautiful.  The tile, along with a very open, bright but layered space was elegant and nails the LA vibe - kind of upper echelon laid back chic.  Our weather makes us chill - but Hollywood keeps it glam.  It had a friendly vibe.

I didn't get a lot of great pictures because I was struggling with Milo, my giant LV bag, assisting my elderly friend and trying to capture it all on video.  They were very accommodating to my obnoxious camera.  You can watch our adventures in this week's video.

 

Looks-wise I was sold.  But would it function well as a flooring for a bathroom project I am researching? 

Short answer, probably not.  Biggest disappointment of the day.

 

Eastern Promise in Tangier Pallazzo via Anne Sacks.  Design by KMI.

Eastern Promise in Tangier Pallazzo via Anne Sacks.  Design by KMI.

I went to Ann Sacks, a tile showroom in Weho and found two patterns I absolutely loved. Really this one was my favorite for the project.

Even though it looks amazing, there are some cons to using it as bathroom flooring.

Cons:

  • Porous - needs to be sealed again, 6 months after installation

  • Stains - body products and oils in the shower, no bueno and god forbid you rinse out at home hair dyes etc. in a shower with this tile

  • Prone to Slipping - there's nothing worse than slipping on a wet floor.  That's probably the worst thing ever

So, what is it good for?

Best Applications:

  • Backsplash in Kitchen or Bar

  • Fireplace Surround

  • Feature Wall in Bathroom - think wall behind vanity or toilet

 

So why am I seeing these floors all over pinterst?

 
Encaustic Tile.  Design by KMI

Encaustic Tile.  Design by KMI

Porcelain Tile.  Design by Deirdre Doherty

Porcelain Tile.  Design by Deirdre Doherty

 

Some people simply go for it.  Or you can get the same look but in a different material - porcelain.

Since the bathroom I'm doing is very small, it doesn't make sense to do a patterned feature wall.  I think it will look bigger with a smaller scale pattern across the entire floor with an open shower divided with partition glass and white subways tile on most of the walls.

So the search continues.  But the first chance I get to use encaustic tile, I'm taking it.

 

I made a vlog this time to bring you into my world and have a little fun.  It was not easy to make - I'm an interior designer, not a filmmaker.  But I hope you enjoy a look into my world.  xo, B