In The News: Granada Cement Tiles in Houston House & Home Magazine

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September’s Houston House & Home Magazine cover story, “Ravishing in River Oaks,” spotlights a beautiful property by Jennifer Hamelet of Mirador Builders that showcases how Granada cement tiles can not only be used to enhance a home’s beauty inside and out but it also shows off the versatility of our concrete tiles in creating a number of different looks.  Outside, visitors are ushered inside with cement tile risers on the front steps and concrete tiles around the front door, enchanted with a encaustic tile mosaic on the garden wall, and charmed with a cement tile pool surround.  Inside, the kitchen tile backsplash design and cement tile “rugs” in the Hamelet’s design studio, the butler’s pantry, and foyer, add to the interior’s grandeur.  

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Among the cement tile styles that Hamelet used were Barcelona cement on the stair treads,  Cluny concrete on the kitchen’s backsplash and Sofia encaustic tile on the face of the wall of the pool.  Create your custom cement tile colorways here or check out our webstore to see which of our beautiful cement tile designs are in stock.

The same qualities that make our cement tiles perfect for a hardworking coffee shop or restaurant space — in addition to their beautiful designs and vivid colors, our concrete tiles are long lasting, easy care and low maintenance — make it perfect for your home, whether used as floor tile, wall tile, kitchen backsplash or pool surround tile.  Call us today at 213-482-8070 to discuss which of our encaustic tile designs would be perfect for your home or restaurant project.

Behind The Cement Tile: Cluny

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Cluny cement tiles are not only pronounced like George Clooney, these concrete tiles also share the actor’s classically handsome looks and versatility.  In fact, the name of these encaustic tiles derives from a district in the fabled Burgundy region of France.  Evocative of that country’s medieval heritage with its stylized three and four-leaf clover patterns, it’s one of our oldest cement tiles, a legacy from Don Ovidio.  Each of the three in-stock color ways of this cement tile captures a different mood; they’re just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this concrete tile pattern’s ability to adapt to your project.  In taupe, chocolate and coffee, Cluny cement tile conjures up the rich, wine-producing soil of its namesake region.  In black and white, a color way which was inspired by the display in the window of a jewelry store, the encaustic tile takes on a modern, graphic feel and can add a bit of whimsy and softness to an otherwise spare kitchen backsplash or kitchen floor.  The playful blue color way of our third in-stock color way came out of a client’s order.  When we saw it we knew it would be a perfect showcase for Cluny’s versatility.  We love how this cement tile fits right in to a room plush with wood whether dark walnuts and light oaks.  Have you used Cluny cement tile in your projects?  We’d love to see the results!   

The same qualities that make our cement tiles perfect for a hardworking coffee shop or restaurant space — in addition to their beautiful designs and vivid colors, our concrete tiles are long lasting, easy care and low maintenance — make it perfect for your home, whether used as floor tile or wall tile.  Call us today at 213-482-8070 to discuss which of our encaustic tile designs would be perfect for your home or restaurant project.

Behind The Cement Tiles: Marcos Cajina

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We wanted to know a little bit more about Marcos Cajina, the founder of Granada Tile and how a little boy grows up to start a cement tile company.

First, a little background:  At age 10, after running up a backpack from an old pair of jeans on his mother’s sewing machine, Cajina set off to see Nicaragua’s fabled giant lake.  It was on this journey that he first spotted the colorful cement tile designs found on the floors of public and private buildings throughout the country.  But it wasn’t until he was older that he recognized how these concrete tile designs had taken root in his heart.

What inspires your cement tile designs?

Some of our cement tile designs  are custom designs, that arise from our work with a client and then become part of the collection, like Tunis, which was a design we created for a specific project.  Some of them are historic designs from Nicaragua — like Firenze 22A, which is all over Granada, like at La Grande Francia.  One of our customers came to us and asked us to reproduce it.  And some of our cement tile designs come from floor tile designs and wall tile designs we’ve seen in our travels, like Perpignan, which was inspired by tiles that we saw at an old cafe in Paris.  A lot of our newest designs are inspired by textiles and fabric patterns.  Geometric play is very much at the forefront of our minds.

Did you have cement tiles in your childhood home in Nicaragua?

Yes, almost everyone in Nicaragua has cement tiles in their home.  These concrete tiles were in solid colors — dark red and grey are the most common colors for encaustic tile designs.  The decorative cement tiles had fallen out of favor when the Italian ceramics came in.  They were mass produced and they were created through a different process.  They were glazed and fired.  So they were cheap.  So it killed the market for cement tiles.  But they don’t last.

What do you consider the first Granada cement tile design?

Actually they were historic designs — Fez cement tile and Sofia cement tile.  We were doing research, learning how cement tiles were made and we were also looking for molds. The concrete tile molds are made of bronze so a lot of them had been melted down.  And then we came across this factory in Managua owned by a man named Don Olivio.  It was a lot of negotiation but he finally agreed to sell his collection of encaustic tile molds.  It was over 100 molds!   By then we’d become quite close to Don Olivio.  Unfortunately he died six months later.

I know that you were working in the non-profit sector before you launched Granada Tile.  Had you been thinking for a while about starting your own business?

It’s not that easy.  It was something I’d been thinking about but to find something that speaks to your heart is hard.  We were on a trip to Granada and we walked into the Cultural Center.  It’s a beautiful old building, grand and majestic.  And of course the cement tile floor is covered in beautiful old concrete tiles!  Melanie must’ve seen something in my face because she said, “There, that’s what you should import.”  The funny thing is that I’d made cement tiles as a teenager.  Originally I’d planned to import cement tiles but I wasn’t able to find someone that conformed to my manufacturing or shipping standards. The cement tiles would come and they wouldn’t all be the same thickness — you can’t lay a floor with them!  Or they hadn’t been packed properly and half of them were all broken.  So then I built my own hydraulic press in the basement.  And then I tried to get people to modify cake molds but no one was very interested in that.  So then we had a turning point moment.  It was either close up shop or take it to the next level and set up a cement tile factory.  So I went down to Nicaragua and I found land and a building to rent and I hired my nephew to oversee production of the encaustic tiles and we were off.

Thanks Marcos!

The same qualities that make our cement tiles perfect for a hardworking coffee shop or restaurant space and the reason that continue to shine all over Nicaragua — in addition to their beautiful designs and vivid colors, our concrete tiles are long lasting, easy care and low maintenance — make our concrete tiles perfect for your home, whether used as floor tile or wall tile.  Call us today at 213-482-8070 to discuss which of our encaustic tile designs would be perfect for your home or restaurant project.

Behind The Cement Tile: Tunis

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“How do you come up with your cement tile designs?” is a question we hear a lot around here.  So, in order to satisfy your curiosity, we’ve decided to share a little bit about the creation stories behind some of our concrete tile patterns.

How did you come up with this design?  Had you seen it somewhere?

The story behind the warm geometric of our Tunis cement tile is typical of how we work with our clients to create tile designs that then become part of our cement tile line.  One of our hotel clients came to us.  They showed us a photo of a mass of stars, the way you’d see it if you were looking at it from above, like a carpet view, and asked us, ‘Do you think you can you do a cement tile like this?”

What’s the process?

The first question we have when we look at a design is how do you break it up to create a concrete tile?  Because you’re creating a whole that has to be divided into parts.  Here you get almost the whole star — but not quite — and that has to carry over into the next one.  You have to be clever and careful when you’re putting it together a tile pattern.  We managed to come up with what they wanted; it’s a very funky design mold!

What about the name?

We have a tradition here at Granada Tile of naming our cement tiles after a place.  It’s not the that the cement tile design was found in those places; it’s less literal and more evocative than that.  We often go through the atlas asking ourselves ‘What kind of concrete tile would be found there?  What are the things you think of when you consider that place?”.  In Tunis it’s very common to see bronze fretwork that feels similar to the encaustic tile pattern here.  The midnight blue color was selected by the client, possibly because of the idea of a starry sky that had been the original inspiration for the tile, though that’s also a color that you see a lot in that country (find it in our webstore here).  We also did it for the client in yellow (find it in our webstore here), which almost looks like a bunch of suns.  So you kind of have this tile that is both day and night.

Like this cement tile for your home?  Check out what we have in-stock or click here to create your own colorway.

The same qualities that make our cement tiles perfect for a hardworking coffee shop or restaurant space — in addition to their beautiful designs and vivid colors, our concrete tiles are long lasting, easy care and low maintenance — make it perfect for your home, whether used as floor tile or wall tile.  Call us today at 213-482-8070 to discuss which of our encaustic tile designs would be perfect for your home or restaurant project.

Get The Cement Tile Look: A Cement Tile Backsplash Adds Pizzazz In An Open Airy Kitchen

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We’re drawn to any project that includes beautiful cement tile and this kitchen from Houzz is one that recently caught our eye.  Talk about looking on the bright side!  When Hurricane Sandy flooded this Larchmont, NY kitchen, the owners took it as an opportunity to go bigger, brighter and better!

A raised floor brings the formerly sunken kitchen level with the rest of the house.  A single wall of appliances and cabinets, a hard-working island and walk-in pantry streamline the space while the mix of stainless steel appliances and white cabinets reinforce the fresh, open feeling.

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But the key element tying together the grey stained island and the marble countertop to the rest of the space?  Why, that cement tile backsplash of course!  You can get a similar look using either our Cluny concrete tiles or our Normandy encaustic tiles in silver and white.  For an exact match to this pattern, we can also create a custom cement tile for your space.

Have a favorite project from a magazine, blog or website that you’d love to recreate using cement tiles?  We’re happy to fabricate custom tiles for your project.  Just give us a call to discuss your ideas.

The same qualities that make our cement tiles perfect for a hardworking coffee shop or restaurant space — in addition to their beautiful designs and vivid colors, our concrete tiles are long lasting, easy care and low maintenance — make it perfect for your home, whether used as floor tile or wall tile.  Call us today at 213-482-8070 to discuss which of our encaustic tile designs would be perfect for your home or restaurant project.

Cement Tile Trend: Patchwork Cement Tiles

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When it comes to cement tile trends, Patchwork is where it’s at.  This eclectic and quirky look has quietly been gaining steam.  Colorful and exuberant, patchwork’s riotous mix works just as well in traditional homes as it does in spare, modern ones.  And this collage of cement tile pattern and color doesn’t need a large space for a big effect.  (See the two photos above: the kitchen of a home in Boulder, Colorado and the counter of GoGreek, a yogurt shop in Beverly Hills, California)

If you’re unsure if this look is for you, start with small doses — showers and/or shower concrete tile floors, a cement tile kitchen counter, the encaustic tile backdrop to a shelf of solid color dishes, the cement tile backsplash to your white stove, a patchwork cement tile hallway winding through your home, a feature concrete tile wall in a bathroom or a kitchen or a cement tile patchwork as the focal point in your outdoor space.  While this colorful look obviously marries well with white, it’s also a great counterbalance to wood and rustic textures.  You can go for an all-over quilt pattern or try stripes of tiles.

The patchwork cement tile look can be created with pattern or with color.  To see how it might work for you, hop on over to My Portfolio, the best place to begin when starting any of your concrete tile projects.  Sign up and then start to play with the cement tiles you’ve chosen.  (If you don’t have any encaustic tiles in your portfolio, then create and save some using our design tools).  Here’s our five tile pattern.

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We chose a simple color palette of black, white and grey.  We began with our Cluny tiles,  laid in some stripes with our Santander tiles, some sinuous swirls with Istanbul, added playful checks with Alicante and finished with the warm geometrics of Tunis.  While we chose to impose some method to our madness (you’ll notice that every other line is the same and that the tiles follow the same order), the only limit for the tiles in your home is your imagination.

If you think this is a trend that can work for your home, we’d love to help you out.  Give us a call and chat with one of our cement tile experts and let us help you bring this look into your home.

The same qualities that make our cement tiles perfect for a hardworking coffee shop or restaurant space — in addition to their beautiful designs and vivid colors, our concrete tiles are long lasting, easy care and low maintenance — make it perfect for your home, whether used as floor tile or wall tile.  Call us today at 213-482-8070 to discuss which of our encaustic tile designs would be perfect for your home or restaurant project.