Fleur-de-Lis. Regal Tiles and French Style

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Fleur-de-Lis tiles represent styles used in European and notably French portion of the American design character. Long a symbol of monarchal society, according to Wikipedia, “the fleur-de-lis has appeared on countless European coats of arms and flags over the centuries, it is particularly associated with the French monarchy in a historical context, and continues to appear in the arms of the King of Spain.” This elegant shape allows tiles patterned after it to bestow a classic expression on stylized current interior design.

Perhaps the best translation for Fleur-de-Lis is “flower of the lily.” French historian Georges Duby said that ” the three petals represent the medieval social classes: those who worked, those who fought, and those who prayed. ”  While such depth of knowledge adds background, it may also help explain the allure the shape has held for centuries. On this topic, the exciting site Style at Home posted, Get the look: French design.” The author, Lauren McPhillips, suggested you “incorporate these ten design elements into your home for a touch of classic French style.” Number Seven on this list was the Fleur-de-Lis, about which Ms. McPhillips said, “the fleur de lis has always held importance in French culture and design.”

A tile studio in New Hampshire produced the tiles used above. Now no longer active, this studio was known for its authenticity and artistry.  This studio used kilns with wood fire.  Woodfire provides a very high fire that fluctuates in temperature. This extreme variation made glaze colors that varied from deep blues to green. You could have the same tile with green in one shipment and blue in the next shipment. This natural variation made these tiles extremely appealing.  This type of studios is tough to find, and they are mostly closed, except a few that are still commissioned by Country Floors.

Since its founding in 1954 by Norman Karlson, Country Floors has believed that some aspects of style transcend trends and periods. Indeed, the symbolism of the Fleur-de-Lis and the place it holds in French history and design is a perfect example of this idea! Take a look at the very top of this post and also immediately above. The Country Floors brand proudly offers you ceramic tile Fleur-de-Lis options as part of our Alhambra Collection.

As always, you can find these collections at Country Floors showrooms across the United States and now in Puerto Rico. Also, please take a look at our Reclaimed Terracotta and Classic Portuguese Blue Tiles.

Applications of these tiles:

Decorative tiles from Country Floors are perfect as an accent tile or ornamental tile in any bathroom and kitchen. Borders on various residential tile applications are an excellent example of this use. For instance, Spanish Hacienda style homes with wood stairs are an excellent example of risers used.

You can have floral designs or Mexican Talavera type of motives on these risers. Another common area for these tiles is kitchen backsplashes.  Designers chose beige or brown granites for countertops, and a matching floral or vegetable design tiles can be beautiful accents.

This type of trend started in Southern Spain and Portugal a long time ago, and these tiles were used all over the house.

Inside the kitchen, you have a backsplash area and oven hood area that can be covered by these tiles. Tiles in this application will decorate an obvious place and make it easier to clean.  You can see our 8×8 Marsala tile collection. This collection is hand-painted at our studios in Southern California.  Our hand made tile studios paint every tile and give it a true artistic feel to it.

Spanish Style Tile
Baldosa tiles from Marsala collection

Another common area of use is to tile over fountains and outside pool deck areas.  Spanish style houses often have an inner court with a fountain. Spanish homeowners used these fountains with decorative glazed tiles year around.

Country Floors Heritage tile collections represent various American artists, mostly in Southern California, that have small studios to hand paint these tiles and fire them in small batch kilns.

Norman Karlson and his students founded the American Tile production movement. Early producers such as Tile Guild, Ken Mason, and K.J. Paterson were all supported by Country Floors. Country Floors developed a lot of the original glaze formulas and body types along with these pioneers.

Early designs were all European inspired, and it was a perfect fit for the Spanish and Mexican style of Southern California. Original tile production was all made by small-batch kilns, and all the glazes were hand mixed and formulated. These designs were difficult to mass-produce, and for that reason, Country Floors invested in large scale hand made facilities.

Today, our factories produce true authentic hand-painted tiles as well as reproduction tiles.  Hand painting is gone by true artists in studios fired in small hand made kilns. Each tile is hand-pressed, hand-painted, hand-glazed, and fired individually.  Some of these small kilns will produce only a few tiles each day, not even enough for a backsplash.

Reproduction tiles are done in silkscreen lines and each design is run through the line multiple times, one for each color. These lines are different from large scale digital production, truly machine made tiles in Italy, Spain, and China.

True machine made tiles, sold by big box stores are mass-produced. Just to give you an idea of the scale,  a single production line in Italy or China can produce enough tiles in a single day than an artisan can produce in an entire year. Naturally, hand made tiles are authentic and beautiful. Each tile is unique and one of a kind piece of art.

Country Floors Heritage tile collections represent various American artists, mostly in Southern California, that have small studios to hand paint these tiles and fire them in small batch kilns.

 

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