Reclaimed French Terracotta | Trends in Home Design: Reclaimed French Terracotta for a Multitude of Design Possibilities
The primitive reclaimed clay tile from France with its rustic French country and Mediterranean charm has already won over a large group of designers and homeowners who have used them in a variety of projects. Usually, the “tomettes” (French for tiles) are used for kitchens, mud rooms, hallways and wine cellars. Vintage Elements’ experience has been that by utilizing all the available terracotta tile formats and different installation patterns and inlay options, we can successfully design in terracotta themes, beyond the kitchen and the secondary rooms that we mentioned above and incorporate these tiles in all major parts of the house: living rooms, foyers, bathrooms and bedrooms. By finishing French terracotta with an oil and a satin surface wax, the floor will warmly reflect the light without creating too much glare, thus creating a century old worn floor that will easily become the conversation and show piece of any home.
To avoid an overload of red color tones and limiting the interior design options, it is important to carefully research and combine all available colors and formats. The larger rectangular reclaimed Parefeuille tiles with their variegated color scheme – ranging from straw, wheat, and sand to hues of red, pink or rose –work great for larger rooms and create a colorful but still quiet backdrop for all design directions, whether it is French country, Mediterranean or even Traditional or Classic. The warm sand colors of the Parefeuille terracotta tiles instantly create a welcoming atmosphere. By using intricate patterns such as herringbone and basket-weave and borders along the walls of the room, the terracotta tiles are not just merely a floor cover but become a custom floor concept. Since the Parefeuille tiles are not truly symmetrical in the sense that the length is twice the width, there are no reference lines in the Herringbone and Basket-weave patterns, which give the impression that the floor is complex and in constant motion. Classic running bond or stacked bond installation are also an option but should be used in smaller rooms to avoid repetitiveness.
Our smaller 6” or 16cm hexagonal reclaimed French terracotta tiles are the strongest antique tiles in our assortment, making them an ideal choice for bathrooms, pool surrounds, exterior patios in warmer climates and smaller rooms throughout the house. Since its shape limits the designer in layout options, its busy appearance creates opportunities for tall but small rooms, rooms with long uninterrupted walls and long but narrow hallways. Although red is the most dominant color, we always find tiles that are wheat and straw colored and also tiles that range from dark brown, black/blue to dark red.
Vintage Elements’ reclaimed 6” square terracotta tile from France provides great layout choices for the interior designer or architect. From a simple stacked or running bond layout to complicated wood inlay and bordered diamond patterns. The small format can look busy, but with each tile looking completely different, busyness and visual confusion are working in the tiles favor. The red color variations of these tiles predetermine a room’s final look, but its earthen and organic appearance will work with any rustic design option, whether it is dark wood, wrought iron, plaster stucco, hand-hewn beams or rock wall veneer. The option to mix the red tiles with a wheat and sand colored variety in the same size provides an opportunity for checker-board and diamond patterns, border rows and surrounds.
Our antique hexagonal tiles and square terracotta tiles are hard and dense enough to also work in bathrooms and showers. These applications provide for a very heavy “look,” and shower stalls should be designed large enough to counterbalance the effect. We do recommend an epoxy sealer to further waterproof them and prevent excessive lime and soap residue, but the tiles are strong enough to be used without a sealer under the harshest of conditions. Heated flooring becomes a natural option in colder climates taking advantage of the fact that these antique terracotta tiles provide great thermal mass, slowly releasing the radiant heat throughout the day.
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