Tile personalities: Design Center stores say it’s looking like leather, stone, even wood and water now

Consider your home a blank canvas to create a work of art that expresses you. Tile is one of the most versatile ways to do it. It can be practical or passionate, create a mood or be a focal point.

Textured tile is a hot new tool if you are looking to add dimension and interest. Patterns appear as if they are in motion, creating the illusion of flowing fabric or the slickness of stone and rock. At the Walker Zanger store in Miromar Design Center, shoppers are greeted by a tapestry of tile textures patterned on raw materials, including leather, wood and glass, as well as porcelain and ceramic.

Jared Becker, Walker Zanger creative director, recommends mixing several elements for greater impact.

“A lot of bathrooms are basically boxes with one window. Combining textures is used widely in fashion. Playing smooth and rougher textures off each other adds visual interest to a space and creates a subtle ‘wow’ factor that makes a bathroom stand out,” Becker says.

His choice: the company’s new French-inspired Tuileries collection, a textured, updated look on the classic motif.

Its particular feature, he said is its handpolishing, “allowing the glaze to pool reflecting light in a way that machine finishing can’t.”

Gold Coast Tile & Marble, another Design Center company, specializes in setting semi-precious stone into custom tile sizes and shapes. Natural stone can be textured in a variety of finishes, explains owner Brian Smith. Those includes a leather finish, for which the stone is carved to look and feel like leather; a flamed finish and using a wire brush on the stone to create dimension; and sandblasting, which results in a lightly sanded feel.

“You can do walls, floors, backsplashes or countertops,” Smith says. “When you are selecting your hard surfaces, keep in mind that these are more lasting pieces of décor. Texture will leave a lasting impression.”

DeeDee Gundberg creates new tile lines for Ann Sacks Tile & Stone at the Design Center, including the new Clodagh Core line of ceramic-textured tiles. This line uses the look of natural wood for its beauty and surface.

“It can be subtle, or dramatic depending on your style,” Gundberg observes. “The multi-dimensional surface of these textured tiles forces the glaze to break over high and low areas, creating a beautiful surface that is visually appealing.”

Textured tile is even showing up on living room walls, replacing traditional wallpaper and paneling, on lanais and of course in bathrooms and kitchens. Designers are using walls of textured tile in almost any room of the house to add a distinctive backdrop for furnishings, plants or even a freestanding fireplace. In a bath, it can create warmth and a spa-like appeal.

Tile is ultimately designed to serve the practical purpose of creating a surface that is fireproof, durable, soil- and water-resistant and easy to maintain, but why not add an “exciting” to that list?

Lisa Mishler is a marketing writer for

Miromar Design Center, off Interstate 75

at exit 123 in Estero.

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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