Subtle Seaside Style: Tile Inspiration & Collections With a Soft Touch

Subtle Seaside Style: Tile Inspiration & Collections With a Soft Touch - Architessa

Summer is here. The beach is calling. This time last year, we featured a beach blog about AC's Naturals Collection whose soft color palette and names are inspired by nature. Architectural Ceramics is at it again, this time with a focus on sea shells and mother of pearl as inspiration. Just like collecting shells at the shoreline, we've picked up a few ideas that will have you feeling cool, calm, and collected. Dive in with us, as AC looks toward tile collections that lend themselves to a subtle seaside style.

Iridescent Glass

When designing a home inspired by the beach, the ocean is an obvious jumping off point. The sound of the waves, the color of the water, the sun setting over the water's glassy surface -- it makes us feel a sense of calm that clients often want to replicate in their home. The Vihara Collection from our vendor Sonoma Tilemakers, is a tactile type of glass whose inspiration can easily relate to the sea. An artistic blend of texture and shine, the face and color of the glass change with a water-like movement. Its texture is not dissimilar to seaglass, whose rough form and surface are shaped by the tide. The tile's iridescent shine reminds us of a polished pearl.
AC's Sonoma Tile Maker's line, the Vihara Collection, color Puka Iridescent, eHex mosaic
Pictured above, the Vihara Collection was used as a backsplash. The elongated hexagon mosaic is in the color Puka with an Iridescent finish. The color name comes from puka shells that are white in color. Again, the iridescent finish reminds us of mother of pearl. Available in two finish types, a shiny iridescent or silk matte, the Vihara Collection offers subtle texture as well as a range of mosaic shapes and color options. Below, the Puka color is shown in both finishes and in five mosaic styles. To view the collection's full color options, download a Data Sheet here.

Related Glass Links:

Want to learn more about different types of glass tile? Check out our blog, The Layman's Class on Glass: Design & Installation Tips for Glass Tile.

To see inspiration from our Naturals Collection, visit our blog It's OnlyNatural: AC's Glass Tile Collection. Or visit the Naturals Product Page of our website here.

Shell Mosaics

AC's rivershell oval mosaic featured in the DC Show House, design by Aidan Design
A show-stopper, here our rivershell oval white mosaic was used as a backsplash for the 2012 DC Show House. Designed just over 5 years ago by Aidan Design, the kitchen and backsplash are still timeless instead of trendy. The clean lines and clutter-free space allow for your culinary creativity to take over. The rivershell mosaic installation behind the stove doesn't take over the space but adds a backdrop with a bit of shine to the otherwise masculine kitchen. Because the rivershell mosaic is thin, it is backed with ceramic, and meshed mounted for an easier installation. The rivershell mosaic is available in multiple patterns; some that use a single-tile like the oval shown above, while others use a more intricate water-jet technique to achieve their look.

Related Links:

Oval, offset mini brick, hexagon -- Curious about the various tile shapes and patterns available throughout the tile industry? Read our blog Getting in Shape: The Skinny on Tile Shapes & Patterns to find your favorite.

Stone & Glass Mosaics

Sara sells sea shells by the sea shore -- For New Ravenna Tile, a company that specializes in handmade mosaics, the familiar tongue twister is true. New Ravenna Tile was founded by Sara Baldwin, and today, the company is headquartered in Exmore, VA. Sandwiched between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, the artfully crafted mosaics that mix stone, glass, mirror and mother of pearl, are made by the sea and sold coast-to-coast in showrooms like Architectural Ceramics.
The Silk Road Collection featuring the Fiona Mosaic with mirror and jewel art glass, from AC's vendor New Ravenna
Through her Bachelor's and Master's degrees, Baldwin studied and trained as a fine arts painter. Her background is reflected in her designs for New Ravenna. Since it's conception nearly 35 years ago, New Ravenna has collaborated with several artists and designers to create one-of-a-kind mosaic collections. Here are a few collections that invoke a sense of calm with their subtle seaside style:

The Rattan Collection

AC's vendor New Ravenna, featuring the Rattan Collection in Lagos Gold natural stone

Texture, texture, texture -- This small-scale natural stone mosaic in a tumbled finish reminds us of a beach boardwalk, or woven hats worn to protect against the sun. The Rattan Collection features three hand-cut natural stone colorways: Driftwood, Lagos Gold and Sylvia Gold.

The Sea Glass Collection

From wind-swept clouds to sand blown dunes, or from rolling waves to mysterious tide pools, the Sea Glass Collection from New Ravenna includes hand-cut glass mosaics in soft and bold designs.

The Sea Glass Collection from AC's vendor New Ravenna, featuring the Clouds Mosaic

The glass mosaics in the Sea Glass Collection take their inspiration from natural elements found at the beach. New Ravenna prides itself in being a company that is inspired by nature, and here, various artists and designers like Baldwin contributed to the collection.

Shown below, are just three of the many patterns available within the Sea Glass Collection. The Dunes Mosaic, for example, looks like a hand-clipped and tumbled natural stone mosaic, but it is in fact a mix of two types of hand-cut glass. The affect is a subtle color palette with soft movement. Conversely, not pictured but worth mentioning, are bold and vibrantly colored patterns like the Floating Fish or Mod Palm mosaics.

To view the entire collection online, visit the Sea Glass Collection product page here. Or to see the patterns in person, visit one of our five DC-metro area showroom locations.

The Aurora Collection

The Reve Mosaic from New Ravenna's Aurora Collection, features a delicate mix of natural stones and glass with 24 Carrot Gold foil. Like watching a golden sunset over the ocean, using this mosaic as a bathroom accent wall allows for a relaxing way to end the your day.

AC's vendor New Ravenna, featuring the Reve Mosaic

The Reve Mosaic was designed by Baldwin, and is just one of the many stunning options from the Aurora Collection. Each mosaic creation combines a blend of natural stone, mother of pearl, and 24 Carrot Gold.

Baldwin used a careful eye when designing the collection. When incorporating an element like gold foil, it's important that it doesn't overwhelm the pattern. Pictured below, are a few of the patterns available from the collection, that have just the right touch of mother of pearl or 24K Gold.

To view the entire collection online, visit the Aurora Collection product page here. Or to see the patterns in person, visit one of our five DC-metro area showroom locations.

Terrazzo Tile

Terrazzo tile has been around for centuries, but has recently caught a wave of popularity with the design community. Our AC team spotted terrazzo tile in a big way at the 2018 Coverings Tile & Stone Show.
AC's Terrano Collection in the color Crystal White
Traditional terrazzo tile is a composite material, made of a cement bonding agent or body, with chips of marble, granite, glass or quartz on the surface. The tiny chips remind us of sea shell fragments. AC offers a porcelain tile that looks like terrazzo tile, so you get the best of both worlds: easy to care for tile with a beautiful appearance. Our Terrano Collection features two large-format tile sizes in three color options. The Crystal White color in the 24"x24" size was used in the master bathroom pictured above. Walking in this space will make you feel like your feet are on the white sand beaches of Siesta Key, Florida. For more technical information about the Terrano Collection, download a Data Sheet here.

Related Terrazzo Links:

To learn more about terrazzo tile or the other trends our AC team spotted at this year's Coverings Show, check out our blog, A Recap: 2018 Coverings Tile & Stone Show.

For other examples of cement tile, view our blog Cementing the Latest in Tile Trends: Cement Tile

For further questions about the tile featured here, or to place a tile order, please contact Want weekly updates about Architectural Ceramics and our product lines? Join our newsletter here.

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