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Website work and a late entry to Clerkenwell Design Week!

Posted on April 19, 2017 by Becca | 0 comments

Phew! We've been busy over the last week. 

First up, we've created a whole new range of tiles - a generally less-expensive 'off-the-shelf' collection, grouped under 'Ceramic Tiles'. We are still building this range and there are some fabulous patterns and brilliant prices among them, for example these fabulous 'Alphabet' tiles at just £41.74 per sq m. 

We love the new Pop Wall Tile range, too. This is our favourite pattern, and it is only £58 per sq m.

The new Hexagon Tile section is still in its infancy, but here is a preview:

And there is plenty more to see, if you would like to take a gander. And do keep coming back as there will be more in due course.

It hasn't all been about off-the-peg tiles this week. We've been carefully considering our more bespoke, crafted products, too, and to this end have booked a late stand at Clerkenwell Design Week, May 23-25.

Once there, we are launching our biggest bespoke tile design yet, in collaboration with none other than the wonderful Rob Lowe, aka Supermundane! He's designed a wonderful tessellating tile for us, which we can put together in a variety of different formations. How brilliant is that? You can't see it yet - the design is under wraps until its launch on Day 1 of the Design Week. 

Read more about our Bespoke Tile Collaborations here

There's a lot to do, what with the Design Week coming in less than four weeks! We'd love you to come and visit us there - we are on Stand A5A of the Additions Marquee in St John's Square. Hopefully, we will see you in May!

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My Spanish Mountain House - Andalusian Design Inspiration

Posted on April 11, 2017 by Becca | 0 comments

Well, it's been a long haul, and there's still a way to go with the finishing, so what better time than to look at some of the inspirational ideas that got me started on the road to reforming the, until now, stubbornly un-reformed Casa Becca? (In Spain, renovating is known as 'reforming' - which, I must admit, brings out my rebellious streak!)

Well, first up, the open-plan dining room and kitchen is taking shape, with yeso cupboards nearing completion. Just the wooden lattice doors and matt white tiles for the worktops to come - along with a rather special patchwork of 1960s and 70s tiles found outside in the garden (they have been there since I bought Casa B, some 20 years ago).

The middle 'cave' bedroom is nearly done, with stairs up to the new bathroom and a fabulous new window!

And here's a peek at the new bathroom - also still to be finished, of course!

So, where are we heading? Well, top inspiration came from my friends Matthew Weir and Isabel Soler. Matthew makes our beautiful art tiles (soon to be featured in World of Interiors magazine), and his own home is full of his wonderful work.

I also took inspiration from my old friend Jasper - who was brought up in Spain and has returned to live in his childhood home, the poetically-named Casa de las Seis Estrellas. The Spanish use yeso (plaster) for a host of building needs, and I've always loved Jasper's yeso sofas, covered with foam mattresses and gorgeous Spanish jarapa rugs!

I'm also super-fond of Jasper's gorgeous wall lampshades - from El Corté Ingles some 20 or so years ago! If anyone out there knows where I might find them (or get them made) I would love to hear!

And last but not least, big thanks to my friend Nina, who has been a tower of good advice and top taste - she is the woman who brought Farrow & Ball to the Spanish mountains, after all! I love all her artful alcoves and high yeso shelves, in particular.

 

So, what's next? Well, apart from the painting, lampshades and general finishing, I'm excited by some opportunities at the end of Casa B, where we've unearthed the outlines of an old bread oven and two windows. The room within is what is known as the 'bottom bedroom', and as yet untouched by the builders - but the plan will be to turn it into an office with views over the hills. I'll be sure to keep you posted!

See more Andalusian houses on our Pinterest page

 

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Encaustic Bathrooms

Posted on April 04, 2017 by Becca | 0 comments

One of the questions that we get most often from clients is whether encaustic tiles can be used in bathrooms. The answer is... a resounding yes!

In fact, from our experience, encaustic tiles are extremely popular for bathrooms. It makes perfect sense, it is a great opportunity to add colour and pattern to a room with limited possibilities of decor. 

Provided they are properly sealed (which is the golden rule for encaustic tiles, regardless of where you are placing them), these tiles can stand the regular splashes of water that are to be expected in bathrooms. 

We love the combination of encaustic tiles with regular, more traditional bathroom tiles, such as in these bathrooms from two of our clients:

 

And is't it great how encaustic tiles always can make a statement in a bathroom? We believe in many cases, the colour and pattern of them, "make" the look. 

If you are considering encaustic tiles for your home, you can find more  info on sealing and laying them on the Tile Nitty Gritty section of our website. You could even have some fun having a go at our Interactive Tile Chooser.

Encaustic patterns are very popular these days amongst porcelain/ceramic tiles too. Look at this gorgeous bathroom tiled with our Picasso Star porcelain tile that we found via Design-Milk:

There are other ceramic tiles amongst our Picasso Range that resemble encaustic patterns, such as Blue Patchwork, Mix, and the ever-popular Picasso Cube.

There really is no reason for bathrooms to be boring!

If you're looking for bathroom tiles inspiration of your own, our Pinterest Bathrooms boards might be a good place to start... come and join us!

 

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Truly Bespoke - we can deliver almost any design!

Posted on March 28, 2017 by Becca | 0 comments

 

People often ask us what is Alhambra's USP - or Unique Selling Point - and I always say that it is our unique ability to do almost anything for anybody!

Alhambra has been described as a 'treasure trove of beautiful Spanish tiles' - we have a gem of a showroom in leafy south London where, rather than rows of bland metal cabinets, there is an array of beautiful wares displayed on the walls, along with fabulous photographs of some of our proudest projects.

Personal Touch

We are proud to be a small company working with other small companies. It means our clients get our individual attention. It's the same for us: we deal directly with the owners of a handful of small family-owned Spanish firms, and they always go the extra mile.

Thanks to this, we have delivered some memorable tiles!

In 2013 we provided Tara Bernerd and Partners with an amazing selection of patchwork designs - 340 sq m - each in a unique colourway for the Thompson Hotel Chicago. We provide bespoke colours as standard, no matter how complex the brief, and with this project we showed that neither the size of a project nor the distance is an issue for us.

Bespoke Patterns, too!

It's not just the colours that can be bespoke - we produce bespoke patterns as well!

We have just worked with Judith Stewart Design to create a fabulous Chinese-inspired pattern for a client with love of old Oriental artefacts, who was seeking an interesting floor to complement the pieces.

From China to Jamaica

In 2015 we created a brand new colour for Levi Roots Caribbean Smokehouse - a gorgeous green within a sunny tile reminiscent of the Jamaican beach hut. How cool was that! We got inspired all over again, and presented Levi with a gift - a bespoke tile with his logo on it! 

And last year we broke new ground, delivering a huge diamond-shaped metal mould with which to create massive 3D hexagons. This really was a challenge: our partners in Spain had to hunt for a specialist who could make such a big mould. We were all very proud to fulfil the brief.

It's not just commercial clients who can get their own pattern. We regularly create new designs for private customers, too. Sometimes they want something copied, and other times they come up with their own thing completely!

It seems that zig zags and chevrons are big this year! 

Alhambra's Own Designs

We've also produced our own designs with textile designer Manda Clarke. Our unique Contemporary Retro Range is available in any colourway of your choice.

Pssst! Right now, we are working on perhaps our biggest bespoke project yet. It's a closely guarded secret - but keep watching this space, and all will be revealed in due course!

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Encaustic tiles - the environmentally-friendly choice!

Posted on March 21, 2017 by Becca | 0 comments


Here at Alhambra, we are very proud of the relationships we have with our Spanish tile manufacturers - especially the father and daughter team who make our gorgeous encaustic cement tiles. We first met them back in 2010 when we literally turned up on their doorstep!

The family business goes back over generations, and all the encaustic tiles are still handmade, using natural colours and materials from an approved quarry which guarantees respect for the environment.

The top layer of each tile comprises a mixture of cement and ground marble. These are mixed with the colour and poured into a mould. The pattern is determined by a 5mm template. The complexity of the template and the number of colours chosen determines the final price of the tile.

The lower layers of the tile are then added. These are made from sand and cement to form a solid base. Finally, the slab is pressed with a hydraulic press and removed from the mould to mature and set. The tiles are not kiln-fired, but left to dry in fresh air for 21-28 days.

Watch video showing the making of an encaustic tile

Read more about encaustic tiles

There are some 250 different patterns (some surprisingly modern) with bespoke colours as standard. We have also designed some patterns of our own, working with Textile Designer, Manda Clarke. You can see her zig-zag patttern in the gorgeous bathroom floor above.

See Contemporary Retro Range by Manda Clarke

We have come a long way since our first meeting with our encaustic tile makers, and perhaps our proudest project was a 340 sq m bespoke patchwork for the Thompson Hotel, Chicago.We also produce bespoke patterns, most recently a beautiful bespoke design for a top restaurant in Paris. 

Read about our tiles at the Thompson Hotel, Chicago



Our encaustic tiles can be used all over the house. If well-sealed, they are perfect in showers and bathrooms - and they are very popular as little accent statements, such as splashbacks and fireplaces!

We will be blogging about the various ways that our encaustic tiles can be used in different rooms over coming weeks!

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