In this day and age where what goes into our homes is mass produced, expected quickly and can readily be gotten anywhere, the idea of craftsmanship has been somewhat forgotten — and in its place are items that function well, but are void of special meaning or character.  The same — in some instances — can be said of tile. Because of tiles functional nature, many fail to go one step beyond and look for beauty and originality in something that needs practicality. 

When you invite handmade tile into your living space, you have the perfect opportunity to bring a legacy of beautiful art pieces that blend functionality and a link between the homeowner and the individual artisian tile makers. Imagine using a piece of your grandmothers lace hankerchief given to you on your wedding day, or your favorite flower in your backyard, to create a fireplace surround or kitchen backsplash in any color you want – that’s just how customized you can get! We thought it would be fun to look at some of the custom tile lines we carry at Bella Tile to help encourage both our customers and interior designers to go beyond the typical when working on a project.

Tabarka: Influenced by the tiles from Old World Paris, the Mediterranean, Africa and the Baltic and Blakan Regions, this is one of our most popular lines for handmade looks. Tabarka specializes in handmade tiles in a variety of shapes and sizes, with Deco Patterns and color combinations that are the perfect match when a client or designer is looking for “old world rustic” tile with a twist. Their tiles can come distressed or a bit more finished depending on the look of antiquity that is needed, and are completely customizable to the colors of your choice.  It is our go-to for that forever tile – one that looks old yet fresh and updated at the same time.

Mediterra Tile: This wonderful company has drawn its Old World inspiration from the Mediterranean region and has blended it beautifully with a forward feel giving their tile the ability to transend beyond fads to classics.  Mediterra Tile has the most beautiful basic field tile as well as Moroccan shapes and patterns, and the variation in colors and crackles make simplicity spectacular!!  This little company makes their customers part of the artistic process- decision making and ultimately the finished product (tile) is a culmination of the artists and the customer.

Kibak Tile: We love this little Tile Company that consists of three generations of Kibak women. With the obvious inspirations of Denmark and simplicity in design, these one-of-a-kind handmade and colored terracotta tiles reflect our client’s vision and colorways to create a timeless, but fresh feel in any room.  They limit the tile sizes to 6×6” and 8×8” squares, but offer the most exquisite color palette and a list of patterns to choose from.  Kibak is a wonderful tile for a modern, updated, but obviously special in it’s craftsmanship and saturated colors.

Syzygy Tile: At Syzygy there are over twenty artisans who help produce their line of handmade Arts and Crafts tile- hand cut and hand glazed, they have the most beautiful dimensional and shaped tile that is reflective of their home state of Arizona.  Their look has an earthy, rustic elegance and is perfect for Fireplaces, Backsplashes and anywhere that calls for unique tile with an organic feel.

Terra Domus: This local Wisconsin tile maker takes items from nature – leaves, flowers, corn husks (!!) etc as well as any type of cloth material — and presses them into the tile for amazing textured and colored patterns. This allows for sentimental and meaningful possessions that can live on forever in her creations.

Lead times are longer with custom tile so it must be well planned out. From start to finish, expect lead times to be anywhere from 6-10 weeks out. The process is time consuming and the artistry can’t be rushed.  Also, you have to be okay with the perfectly imperfect. The true beauty of handmade tile is that it looks handmade- undulations and color variations, as well as uneven brush strokes and off set patterns all add to the sought after beauty of  handmade.  You must embrace all of these things and celebrate the fact that you waited patiently for true pieces of art and craftsmanship!!

If you are building a custom home or remodeling your current home in Wilmette, IL, Delafield, WI or Lake Geneva, WI, you should visit our showroom in the area.  Our showrooms are filled with marble, ceramic, porcelain, terracotta and cement tiles for uses on floors, walls, backsplashes, fireplace surrounds and more. We also offer custom tile and interior design services.  Our clients rely on us for interior design help when they build their custom home or are working on a remodel. Call any of our showrooms today for an appointment.