Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Timberframe Journal - Adventures in tile

Monday was beautiful here in Ohio. Lawry and I took advantage of the great weather and headed out to the Seneca Tile factory to continue our search for the perfect tile for his timber frame home. Seneca tiles are hand molded and very rustic, a look that appeals to Lawry and I. (I have their tiles in my kitchen and my greenhouse and I love them.)

The Seneca factory is a very cool place. They manufacture the tile right at the facility here in Ohio. Any tile that is does not meet their quality standards is placed on a palette and moved outside to the back field. It's absolutely amazing; acres of tile just sitting in a field, waiting to be found and incorporated into a project.

And now for one of the best parts - the pricing is incredible. It is a fraction of what you would spend if you purchased "firsts" from your local dealer. It's rustic to begin with and I can pick the exact tiles that I want to's great. It's great if you like the adventure and have the time to spend sorting and planning on the fly. I like the challenge and I LOVE the deal.

I have visited the factory many times and I am still amazed by the quantity of tile out in the field. I first make a few passes around the area to scope out just what is available and the quantities. I admit it can be overwhelming, but I focus in on what tiles are unique and beautiful, on what tile catches my eye the most, and then I build from there.

Heading out to the factory in the truck with Lawry, I was a bit apprehensive as the quantity of tile is astounding and it takes quite a bit of time and labor to find the "gold." I wondered if I was crazy asking a client to sign up for a day in the field. I know Lawry has a great spirit of adventure - I was just hoping that sense of adventure would carry over to looking for his tile.

Lawry noticed that I had that "kid in a candy store" look in my eye when we pulled into the parking lot. It's a bit like a designers treasure hunt. Luckily, after the initial shock wore off (only took a couple of minutes), Lawry was into the adventure; in fact he found the awesome rustic tile in a brick format that will be the kitchen floor. He found it buried under some leaves and dirt in very old wood crates. Super find!!

Our great rustic tile find at Seneca in a herringbone pattern or...

a basket weave or...

a variation on a basket weave

I suggest bringing a sketch pad, tape measure and calculator. I recommend glove and good shoes too - there is a bit of climbing around on tile. I bring a cloth to wipe off some of the dustier tiles to get a good look at them. You can bring your own boxes or purchase boxes from Seneca.

Lawry boxing up the tile

He's still smiling! Whew!

Can you see the stacks of tile out in the background?

We used the bed of the truck to layout our shower wall. It will be beautiful!!! We found some beefy molding pieces that will be excellent in the shower. Those were a great find as locating enough of the trims can be a little challenging sometimes.

A closer shot of the shower wall layout - a work in process.

Lawry was digging in the old crates to find our brown tile for the top of the shower wall. Pictured here is the brick that we will use for the kitchen floor.

It was a productive day at Seneca. We know that there will be a trip or two more in our future to obtain all the tile that we need. And for me...I can't wait. I love a good adventure.

If you are interested in more of the scoop about Seneca's "field of dreams" tile yard, send me a message and I will pass along what info I can.

Happy designing, happy hunting.