Tiffany Aweeka from Ambiente Tile

By December 17, 2012 No Comments

Lindsey: You guys have some incredible tiles. What is the most decadent, expensive tile you have?

Tiffany: I would say the most decadent tiles are the ones that have the greatest amount of hands-on time in order to produce them. For example, this is a piece of a larger mural of a whole peacock feather, using a full color palette of glass pieces. It starts out as sheets of stained-glass. Then they hand cut them down and hand-piece it all together. So there is artistry to it; it isn’t about having a template and sheeting it in a mass-produced way. The overall installation is done as one big piece; this just shows one section.

Peacock by New Ravenna Mosaics Peacock in glass Obsidian, Jasper, Tortoise Shell, Peacock Topaz, Peridot, Carnelian, Tiger’s Eye, Aventurine, Malachite, Opal

Starts at: $612.50 SF

Lindsey: That is so beautiful! So when you install it, do you install in smaller rectangular sections like this sample?

Tiffany: Smaller sections yes, but they interlock together so you won’t see the sheet lines. My recommendation is to order something like this custom cut to fit your dimensions, you’ll save time and money by doing so. Lindsey: Wow, that is incredible. Tiffany: In general, mosaics tend to be the priciest items. Here is another example:

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Manhattan Soho by Mosaique Surface Water-jet Glass and Stone mosaic, Hudson Petite 5 Starts at: $303.60 SF

Lindsey: That’s gorgeous.

Tiffany: Instead of being hand-cut, this is water-jet cut. Water-jet cut is extremely precise, so it allows you to get these beautiful, tight grout lines and curvilinear shapes, and everything fits really closely together.

Lindsey: What tile do you personally love so much that you just wish more people would use on a project?

Tiffany: I have the perfect example. This is Revolv. It’s made from recycled stone, limestone from old buildings, and concrete. It has the most velvety surface. It’s all handcast so it sounds like it’s going to be really expensive, but it’s actually very affordable. I just love the tactile nature and the way the light reflects off of it. It just feels really soft to me.

Revolv Hourglass by Flux Studios
Random Hourglass Pattern
Revolv starts at: $17.94 SF

Lindsey: Yeah, it’s really beautiful.

Tiffany: It also seems to reflect a variety of different looks or aesthetics. When you see something like this:

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Pillow Subway by Flux Studios
Revolv starts at: $17.94 SF

it looks rather classic; you can see it as an alternative to your basic white subway tile, but the way the light catches it gives it a beautiful luminosity. Something like this:

Revolv Push Pull by Flux Studios
Revolv starts at: $17.94 SF

is really popular for a fireplace, you can see something like this framing an opening.

Lindsey: Is Revolv only for use on walls, or can you use it on floors too?

Tiffany: You can use it on both walls and floors.

Lindsey: I could totally see this one in an entryway on the floor.

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Jasper by Flux Studios
Revolv starts at: $17.94 SF

Lindsey: What trends are you seeing right now in tile that you just think are ugly and awful and wish would just go away? Be honest.

Tiffany: Haha… I’ll tell you what I’m tired of: I’m tired of the interlocking, rectilinear shapes. I think along the same lines are the manufactured, knock-off glass tiles that aren’t hand-made, because I think that it’s been done.

Lindsey: Yeah. You’re over it.

Tiffany: It lacks some character.

Lindsey: What are your feelings on grout? I’m sure you have opinions about size, about color…

Tiffany: I think the biggest mistake that people can make is that they don’t think about what it (tile) looks like when it’s grouted. I think that grout definitely should be selected based on the type of tile and the color. It should work to your advantage to compliment the tile itself.

Lindsey: That’s interesting. Yes, grouting definitely changes the look of the overall installation.

Tiffany: Also, I see a lot of clients being afraid of grout in wet areas. They might have had a bad experience in the past, or they think that grout’s hard to care for, and hard to clean. But, I think that if you pick the right materials, than you’re not going to have the grout problems.

Lindsey: By the “right” materials, do you mean like the right backer board, and things like that?

Tiffany: Exactly. That and all the right installation materials, and even the type of tile can help keep your grout clean.

Lindsey: Oh really? So what type of tile can help keep grout clean?

Tiffany: Vitreous materials like glass or porcelain don’t absorb moisture like ceramic products do, so they’re less likely to cause mildew problems. It is worth it to go for the higher quality product in this regard.

Lindsey: Are you seeing tiles made of recycled materials besides the commonly- seen recycled glass tiles? I know you already showed me the Revolv, but anything else?

Tiffany: There are the recycled-content slab products like Trinity and Ice stone. But I think that sometimes when we’re trying to make sustainable choices, we just look at recycled content and forget about other factors. The manufacturing process has a huge impact on these environmental concerns. For example, when Encore Ceramics glazes a run of tile, they will usually have leftover glaze. Instead of throwing that leftover glaze out, they put it back into the body of the run of the next tile. You don’t even notice it, but the glaze is used. So in essence, they take their own post-industrial waste and put it back into the new tile.

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Emerald Mosaic, Pointed Oval Dimensional in Bianca and Wave Mosaic in Kilkenny Blend by Encore Ceramics

Encore Ceramics start at: $22.56 SF

Lindsey: Cool. Those are pretty too. What is your advice for the average person who might be interested in re-tiling their bathroom?

Tiffany: I always like to see someone starting with something that they love. I think they get too wrapped up with what other people are doing. You do need to have your list and understand the parts and pieces that you need. But, you should start by finding something that YOU want to wake up to every day.

Lindsey: YES. I totally agree. You know, with furniture (as well as tile), we run into the same issue. People worry, “Am I going to like this in five years?” But my thought is, since you don’t know what you’re going to like in five years, go with something you like now, because there’s no way to predict the future. You don’t know what is going to become dated, or trendy. As long as the overall room & scheme is well-designed originally, I believe it will stand the test of time.

Tiffany: It’s true. Installed tile is going to stay with you for a long time, and it has nothing to do with what’s trendy. I think if you really love it, originally, that is what is most important.