We are hosting a new giveaway today – be sure to read the information at the end of this blog story!!!
In medieval times in England, these tiles were called “inlaid.”
One of the oldest examples of encaustic tiles from medieval times is found at Cleeve Abbey in Somerset, England. This year, a protective, contemporary building has been erected around this invaluable section of ancient tile.
The Cleeve Abbey tile, one of the largest sections of cement tile from Medieval times, survived intact because it was buried for over 400 years before it was discovered. But, the fact that the tile has survived all these hundreds of years is a testament to the durability of the cement tile.
A pagoda in Viet Nam with an encaustic tile floor dating from 1744.
After the great popularity of the tiles in medieval times waned, the Victorians rediscovered the cement tiles and named them encaustic tiles – using a Greek term. It is also called Cuban Tile, Mission Tile, Victorian Tile, Barcelona Tile and other various names around the world.
The cement tiles are handmade and are not fired in a kiln. There are 3 layers which are hydraulically pressed together and left to cure. The tiles must be sealed after they are installed – and only after a 2 or 3 day wait can the field then be grouted. After grouting, the field should be sealed again with a penetrating sealer.
In other words, be sure your tile man has worked with cement tiles before so that these expensive beauties are not ruined.
Victorian and Edwardian houses in England used the tiles to liven up their hallways. The colors were often mostly browns and tans with blue accent tiles.
Another example of a Victorian tiled floor. Today, homeowners go to great expense to have these original tiled floors restored.
The English also used the tiles to decorate their small entry courts.
Here is a rather larger entryway with a fireplace found in the English countryside.
When exactly did encaustic tiles take over the 21st century?
Was it this kitchen that started the current trend? Kristen Buckingham’s kitchen caused a huge stir when it was first seen in Elle Decor in 2009. Her cement tile came from Mission Tile Co., who have been manufacturing cement tile in California since 1900. HERE.
Or was it the growing popularity of Marrakesh – where in 2008 in Elle Decor - the American owners of the cement tile Popham Design company showed their latest house? Popham Designs’ cement tiles went far beyond the typical:
Three examples of trendy cement tiles by Popham Designs.
The tiles are everywhere these days – including this May cover of House Beautiful:
How is the best way to use these beautiful tiles? Is a little just enough and too much, an overkill?Unless you live in a stucco house in Marrakesh or Mexico or California, the tiles are best used sparingly.
In St. Petersburg, Florida, this sunroom in an older house is the perfect space for a floor of cement tile – by the Cement Tile Co.
Vintage houses, cottages, and Spanish style designs are good examples of when to use cement tiles in larger expanses. In traditional houses like Georgians – the tiles should be used more sparingly.
A house in Marrakesh – an entire floor of cement tiles is appropriate in the Riad.
The other side of the room in Marrakesh. Carpeting a house in tiles looks great in the Riad, probably not as great in a traditional house in the states.
For some reason, an entire floor of graphic cement tiles looks wonderful in spaces that have been renovated. I love this kitchen, with a wall of bricks, some natural, some painted, and steel windows. The large black Smeg with a black sink and fabulous hardware adds even more interesting elements. Without the floor of tiles, the room would not be quite as fabulous.
Chateau Domingue sells antique cement tiles that are just the perfect element in a remodeled kitchen. Not too much, but just enough.
A collection of antique cement tiles from Chateau Domingue in Houston.
With the vivid island in green, only a vivid backsplash would look correct. I love the shelves in wood against the black and white tiles. Fabulous.
One of the best looking tiles is Tulum from Cement Tile Co. Again, a remodeled kitchen, a stucco look, wood shelves, an accent color – elements that cement tiles look best with. I love this kitchen and this is my favorite tile too. Ignoring the pretty ceiling, this could be any kitchen – by painting the cabinets, removing a section of uppers, installing the cement tiles – you could change any hum-drum kitchen into a fabulous one!!
White walls, black steel windows, brass, black cabinets, and a floor of cement tiles. In this non traditional kitchen, it’s hard to imagine another floor looking as good as this one does.
The other side of the kitchen. This kitchen has become THE cement tile kitchen. Pictures of it are everywhere. But it is the perfect use of the tile.
By contrast – I’m not sure the same tile is the best choice for this kitchen. I would have used one with pinks and greens and blues instead of such a graphic pattern.
Dark countertops with light cabinetry mixes well with the graphic black and white cement tiles. Brass is also a great look to mix with in.
A traditional kitchen with a large accent wall of black and white cement tiles. Just beautiful!
Another traditional kitchen with black accents.
Here’s a different look – a more traditional kitchen, with a blue and white tile – a softer look, less graphic than black and white.
Again, in a more traditional kitchen, with gray marble countertops – a gray and white cement tile gives a softer look than the more graphic black and white.
In a vintage cottage, this fun wall of tiles looks good.
Don’t: While I love this kitchen, I think the floor tile should have been a darker gray. This looks washed out – so why bother?
Don’t: This is just a little too much with the vivid green repeated in the backsplash and with the black walls.
Well, this is personal. I’m not a lover of the patchwork tile look. Especially here. It looks good on stair risers, but not mixed with a contemporary kitchen.
Do: The patchwork tile looks good here, in a vintage looking kitchen.
But, this is the best – the kitchen itself is a patchwork and the floor is a perfect match.
Here are Cement Tile’s patchworks by color. They come in either 4” or 8” sizes.
Don’t: This is a little cute. The backsplash is enough of an accent, but a faux rug looks so matchy-matchy and Interior Design 101.
The mantel is a great place to add a bit of an accent. These contemporary tiles look good in a restored vintage house. Not sure they would look as good in a contemporary setting.
I love this in a cottage or a family room.
A more traditional look in a traditional setting.
I love the bold contrast in the Spanish style stucco.
Don’t. This tiles are so light, you barely notice them – so why bother?
I love the mix of this large bathroom with the black tile floor, brown stained cabinets, and antique rug. It all works together and the tiles are the perfect addition.
Love this modern tile mixed with the shiplap walls. But the mirror and sconces need to be more of an accent.
Should the tile go into the shower floor? I’ve seen it both ways, but here – I like the white shower floor. It is a nice break. Love the stool in the shower.
A European bathroom mixes light wood and white subway tiles. Why don’t we use urinals in the states??!!?
A contemporary bathroom set in a vintage building. Love!
This is an iconic bathroom, seen all over the internet. I love the sink with the shelves. This tile is a classic.
The rest of the large bathroom – with its fabulous shower room!! Notice the shower has a white tile floor.
Using subway tile with a black and white cement tile? Use dark grout to tie it in together.
This beautiful bathroom used the lighter tile mixed with more cream walls. This tile color looks so great with the brass accents.
The other side of the bathroom. Notice the white shower floor. And notice how she ran the tile up the sides. Not sure that is a good look. I would square off the tile instead of running it up like this because it looks a bit crooked.
Want to save a little money? I pulled these tiles off the Home Depot web site. Great prices.
The same tile in reverse.
A more colorful Spanish looking tile from Home Depot.
This one would look good mixed with Carrera marble.
Tulum is probably one of the most popular black and white tiles of 2015-2016. From Cement Tile Co.
And it is a stunner. Black grout on white subway tile. Brass hardware.
The tile looks great mixed with dark wood stain.
A contemporary remodeled bath.
A floating counter. Love the wainscot of tile. This is a good idea.
Perfect. Love the dark grout and the black ceiling, which is a great idea with this tile.
From the HGTV show that I blogged about. This tile was one of the reasons I really liked the house so much!
A large European bathroom with cement tiles. Love the fireplace in the bathroom. Can’t imagine the luxury.
Love this accent wall in the bathroom that is actually a part of the bedroom too. By removing the door and replacing with curtains – the room is expanded. Great idea.
Don’t. Too much of a great thing. This is just blinding. This particular tile looks really great in blue & white, but not so great in black & white.
Don’t: The niche ruins the smooth look of the tile wall. It looks like there is a magnifying glass placed over it. Avoid this look.
Don’t: Don’t run tile up the side of the tub. This just looks bad, no other way to say it. The side should have been finished in white tiles. Also, notice how gray the tiles are – nothing really makes sense here. There is a black & white tile and a gray tile mixed with cream paint with a pink undertone. Nothing really matches or makes sense. And, further, using an antique for a cabinet is a great idea. But, this looks like a big office desk.
Colorful tiles are a good choice instead of the graphic black and white. This bathroom is so charming with the yellow and blue tile. The oil painting is a great choice to pick up the same color in the tile. Her hair color picks up the color of the tile used as a baseboard. And notice, the base of the colors all match – the white walls, the white tiles, the white tub. Compare these choices with the bathroom above where pink walls, gray tiles, and black & white graphic tiles are all disastrously mixed together.
Two different tiles that exactly match the tub. A good look for a child’s bathroom.
Blue and white.
Beige and white. So pretty.
The other side of the bathroom. Notice the shower floor – the tile stops at the door, a much better look than running the tile up.
For a contemporary house.
A contemporary design in this shower.
A vintage look in green tiles.
Golden yellow and white.
A vintage bathroom with a colorful tile. That sink is fabulous!
Beautiful dark blue and white tiles and paint mixed with brass. Notice the white tile that separates the shower without running up the tile.
A new take on Spanish design.
Contemporary Marrakesh porch – by Popham Designs.
Blue and white tiles look great on a terrace in a sunny climate. For northern locales, other colors would probably be a better choice.
This house owned by Adrianna and Paul was featured in Apartment Therapy HERE. Tiles by Granada Tile. Adrianna decorated the house – it was her first job!
he entry hall sets the tone with this carpet of cement tile.
The beams are incredible. This vintage Spanish house is located on Long Beach in California.
The original kitchen – freshened up with tile floor.
The range and refrigerator came with the house. But, want the look? Try Smeg HERE.
The master bathroom is off the bedroom - with no door.
The bathroom is filled with plants – helped along by the skylights.
The walls and floors are tiled in cement tile. Beautiful sink and antique chest and mirror.
No shower door – makes this a “wet room.” This house – a renovated vintage Spanish house is exactly the kind of space where the more cement tiles you use, the better.
In a Georgian house, use the tiles sparingly – in the kid’s baths or as a backsplash in the kitchen or bar.
This beautiful tile in pinks and green by Cement Tile Co. was used in a classic New Orleans restaurant.
Designer Richard Keith Langham completely redesigned the iconic Brennan’s restaurant in New Orleans. For this new room, he used the pastel tiles from Cement Tile Co. Love this so much, especially the curtains and the chandeliers!
Around the paintings, Langham used antique oyster plates, which is the perfect touch. My mouth is watering!!!!
It’s hard to know where to stop! There are so many tiles, in so many different colors and patterns. There are the traditional tiles and the fun contemporary ones and there are so many choices – too many!!
Here are some of the bigger and better places to order cement tiles from. This is just a tiny sample of their tiles. Be sure to click on the link to see their entire collections!!!
Brothers Cement Tile HERE
Cement Tile Shop HERE
Chateau Domingue has a beautiful selection of antique cement tiles. HERE.
Granada Tile HERE
Original Mission Tile HERE
Popham Design HERE
Rustico Tile HERE
Not from the United States? Try Encaustic Tiles HERE
In honor of the 7th Anniversary of The Cross Bottle Guy, Artie is having a sale AND is hosting a giveaway!!!
All his beautiful handmade bottles are now on sale – 25% off for Cote de Texas readers!!!
Be sure to look at all the new merchandise – click “OLDER POSTS” to see even more!!!
To see all the bottles, go HERE.
To see jewelry Artie is now designing, go HERE.
One lucky winner will get the bottle of her choice!
To enter – go to The Crossbottle Guy’s site, look around, and pick out your favorite bottle. Come back here and leave me a comment telling me which one you love!
Contest ends this Saturday, July 9th at 11:59 pm.
Remember – 25% off all merchandise!!!!!! Good luck to all!!!