Design Notes Archive

Warm Wishes

Warm Wishes

The end of the year brings with it a dip in temperatures that makes burning a fire too enticing to resist. It’s also a season for reflection. To that end, we’ve been looking back at projects we’ve contributed to, from vaulted ceilings and a vast nine bathroom home to tiny basin backsplashes made of just four tiles. In between, supplying tiles for fireplaces has been a popular request and it’s no wonder—compared to the rest of a room, a fireplace’s smaller scale is just the right size for creative experimentation. “One of the best parts of our job is to see how interior designers take the building blocks of our tile shapes and colours and transform them to suit their projects,” says Balineum founder Sarah Watson. “We are always inspired by them.” 

Happily, the inspiration goes both ways. Take the fireplace in designer Pandora Taylor’s London bedroom, left. Her design was inspired by a midcentury modern set we built to launch our Terra Firma glazed bricks collection. No matter that her home is a Victorian semi. “I wanted to create something that was a design moment and be a bit playful with it,” she says. “We’re at a point now where people are experimenting and things don’t have to tie into the era of the property, as long as it sits well with the other pieces you have in the room.” To achieve the right balance, Taylor focused heavily on proportion and palette, integrating three different hues for the posts, lintel, and reveal. The result is a gracious mantel that anchors the lofty room, and its scale is directly correlated to the size and number of tiles she used. “Technically it’s really interesting because the design almost comes out of your material,” she says.

On the flipside, designer Sarah Peake of Studio Peake sought to recapture a home’s Victorian architecture by replacing an imposing modern fireplace with one that felt more period appropriate, centre. Not without a bit of contemporary flair though. Looking to the motifs in the vintage Nils Nilsson rug, she and senior designer Sophy Toller opted for a fresh zig zag pattern in a combination of Balineum’s Hanley Tube Line tiles and liners. It’s colour palette—a bespoke selection of blues and greens—dials up and joins together the hues found elsewhere in the room. Pairing such striking pattern with a sleek black firebox and white marble hearth keeps the focus squarely on the design.

We also used tube lined tiles for a fireplace in our new showroom in North London, right. The checkerboard pattern was inspired by a blue and white design Jesse Parris-Lamb created using these tiles for a client in Brooklyn. The US is just one of the many countries we ship to outside of the UK, even as far afield as South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Unfortunately, we’ve been losing many beloved clients in Europe due to Brexit shipping costs and tribulations. We’re trying our best to minimise this—we have such dear clients in France, Belgium and Italy in particular! If you are in the London area, do make an appointment to visit our new showroom. Its completion was one of the highlights of our year. We worked with Nadine Bartholomew of Studio Noam on the design and it’s a lovely place to be. Not the least because a fireplace always makes a room feel cosier. This one we designed using green and pale pink tube lined tiles with a surround painted an inky blue called Raven by Papers and Paints—a suggestion made by another regular client, designer Adam Bray. We're looking warmly to 2023 and continuing to work with, and be inspired by, so many talented creatives.

Photos © Michael Sinclair | House & Garden (c) The Conde Nast Publications Ltd; Alexander James | House & Garden (c) The Conde Nast Publications Ltd; Balineum