Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Tiling Effect

I don't know why, but Delft, Portuguese, and Spanish tile have been catching my eye lately, and it's made me realize that I miss seeing it in interiors. You used to see some beautiful examples of it in bathrooms, kitchens, solariums, and alongside fireplaces, but not so much anymore. I think that we threw the baby out with the bath water a few decades ago, banishing all hand-painted tile from our homes as a result of the unfortunate looking tile that started to be seen everywhere.

In the right environment, hand-painted tile, especially that in blue and white, can be really very charming. Think about how nice it would look in a country house, a beach house, or even a country-style home in the city. I haven't bought any Delft or Portuguese tile before so I don't know how easy it is to find the good stuff, but after studying these photos below, I'm thinking that it just might be worth the effort.

Image at top: blue and white tile at Antenor Patino's summer house in Portugal. Photo by Horst.

This photo of a Paris kitchen, one that I featured a few weeks ago, got me on a roll thinking about tile.

Delft tile was used to great effect at Chateau de Groussay, and that's about the highest seal of approval there is in the design world.

Gorgeous Portuguese tile at Fronteira Palace, Portugal. I've read that some of the hand-painted tiles depict monkeys frolicking around.

Antique Delft tile surrounds a fireplace in a house located in Ile-de-France.

In this Georges Geffroy designed bath, Portuguese tile lines the floor, walls, and ceiling.

Antique glazed tile was used in a French kitchen designed by architect Pierre Barbe. If I could find antique tile like that above, I would use it in my own kitchen in a heartbeat.

Patino photo from Horst: Interiors; Chateau de Groussay photo from Decoration, Volume I (Connaissance des Arts Collection); Geffroy and Barbe photos from The Finest Rooms in France.


  1. I adore dark green rooms. That is my weak spot. Oh, and damask in soft tones like grey and ivory.

  2. I'm planning a pied-a-terre reno in Lisbon for later on the Spring and this just got me fire up. Thanks!!!

  3. Worthington, I adore dark green rooms as well!

    Sybarite, Lucky you! You'll be in the land of fabulous tile :)

  4. collier11:08 AM

    I got my Portugese tile from Solar Antique Tiles. Pedro Lieto is the owner. They are in NYC and Palm Beach.
    They have antique tiles or reproductions they make in Portugal.

  5. Collier- Thanks so much for the info/name! Nice to know that there is a tile purveyor close to home.