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Posted on 09.09.2018
Wonderwall – Creating a tiled feature fireplace
Every now and then, when you are designing an interior scheme, (and this goes for you too in your own home) you come across a finish or an object or a colour and it grabs you with both arms and says “we were meant to be together”. You know when you just know. No question.
Well that happened for us with these tiles. We first specified them for a client project 2 years ago and it was love at first sight. Then we saw them making a huge impact at this years Milan Design Festival for an epic Hermes installation. And finally, by some strange twist of fate Mosaic Del Sur got in touch and asked if we would like to work with them. We told them about our kitchen plans and that was that.
It was less a case of finding a finish for a surface and more a case of finding a surface for the finish, because we were already smitten and knew that we had to make them part of our dream kitchen project. So that is the why and now we want to help you with the how.
Hermes (photo by 2LG Studio)
Mosaic Del Sur Zellige tiles in our Design House
The tiles themselves are known as Zellige tile and are hand cut glazed terracotta. Each one is entirely individual and the process of picking a colour is based on what had been made/is in stock, rather than selecting from choices they always have on the Mosaic Del Sur website. You can order bespoke but this is more lengthy and expensive and we were only given the option to choose from stock. This adds an element of risk, but we love that they have their own identity and are entirely unique. Each one hand cut and with subtly different shades of pink.
The glaze is uneven and so the tiles create a stunning dappled light bouncing off them. They really are very special in any room. This means they are also not the most budget friendly option, so you would be wise to use them sparingly.
Here we worked with the company who offered us the opportunity to pick from their existing stock in return for them being a part of our project and in the photography. Picking the colour was tricky simply because there are so many stunning shades to choose from, all rich and beautiful. But once we had settled on the colour from their stock selection (they have a dedicated section for stock quantities available here) we knew that we only had a certain amount to play with so we had to find a spot that would make the most of them. The Fireplace would have been where the original stove would have been in the kitchen when the house was built in the 1870’s so we knew it was a core part of the space and we wanted to give it a moment to shine. So it was a natural fit.
We also had to play with small tiles (50mm x 50mm) making the overall look like a large scale mosaic. This is gorgeous, but time consuming and very difficult to install. We only attempted it on this area because we knew that the build work would allow us to make the fireplace level and fit the measurements of the tiles to minimise cuts. This gave us more control and meant we could plot the tiles out perfectly before the plastering began and added in a box section on one side to make the whole thing fit into the grid of the tiles perfectly. It was a long way round but the only way to get this finish. the finish is down to the builder, the plasterer and the tiler. They all had to had the baton to make sure their element would help the next trade and we were the go betweens to keep the communication going and ensure we stayed on track.
The edges are mitred - meaning no need for tile trim. But this is skilled work, so get a professional in.
There is minimal grout as the tiles are made to be butted up close to one another - this allows little room for error in the measuring phase.
We used a pale pink liquid grout to make it as seamless as possible. Adding to the solidity of the finished architectural statement.
Mosaic Del Sur Zellige tiles in our Design House
These tiles really are a labour of love, from the hand cutting process in Morocco to the skilled finish of our lovely tiler (Jamie we hope you don’t hate us for making you use such small tiles). But the end result has made us so happy. It is a joy every time we enter the room. So often, the best things take time.
In the meantime, with another Milanese connection, we are soon to be taking delivery of our kitchen worktops and they are going to change our lives. No more 50’s laminate for us. (although we actually have a soft spot for that). No, we are moving onto new pastures with CaesarStone Worktops after an inspirational moment back in April on our annual trip to the worlds biggest design show in Milan (see below for a sneak peek). So nice when yes are able to see something so epic and then bring it into the reality of your own life. This is always what we aim to do with our interiors.
If you would like similar tiles head over to the Mosaic Del Sur website and see if any of the colours move you in the same way we were moved.
Russell and Jordan at Caesarstone