Agrarian Kitchen Floor
Designer duo Taylor + Taylor partnered up with friend and blogger Anne Sage to give their cozy rustic kitchen a bold burst of pattern, featuring our Handpainted Agrarian floor tile in custom colorways. We're sharing all the details of this kitchen below!
First, can you tell me a bit about yourself and what you do?
We are a husband and wife interior design team based in Los Angeles. We work together on a mix of residential and commercial projects, and cannot imagine a better job or more wonderful excuse to spend most days together. We have identical twin boys who just turned two. They are the most wonderful human beings we have ever met. Earlier this year we purchased our first home, a wonderful hillside house on the Eastside of LA. It was built in 1951 and we bought it from the 93 year old original owner.
How do you and Anne know each other? What made you decide to work on this project together?
We met Anne at a local flea market almost a decade ago, and have been dear friends since about fifteen minutes into our first conversation. Before she moved to LA, Anne would stay with us when she was in town. She is one of the smartest, kindest, most creative people we know. She's also a remarkable cook and baker, is so well-read, and is so good at connecting people that, while we both grew up in LA, Anne has introduced us to a handful of our dearest friends. When we were in escrow on this new home, we reached out to Anne asking her if she wanted to collaborate on designing various parts of our house, as we deeply respect her eye and knew that Anne's style resonates and compliments our own.
Was this kitchen project a part of a remodel or renovation? Is there a story behind this project you'd like to share?
We closed escrow on a Monday and on Tuesday had a crew in working to get the upstairs (our main living space) ready for us to move in. After this was ready, we moved in and got to work on the guest space. We had loved that the house had a spacious and well-lit downstairs basement that we could make our design studio as well as a large guest space that our best friends could live in. They founded a non-profit and spend about half the year in LA and the other half in Africa and the Middle East building schools in war zones.
Here's the kitchen before:
Before construction, the guest kitchen was a small, 1970s kitchenette with a sink, mini-fridge and a Schlitz beer light fixture providing all the light--picture Halloween-orange laminate for countertops. We knew there were several feet of open basement space behind the kitchenette and hoped we would make it a fully-functioning kitchen so that the guest space we were creating in our downstairs.
How was it designing your own space vs for clients?
In some ways it was easier to design our own space because we only had to pitch ideas to one another. We do this all day long in conversation as we work out concepts for our clients, so it was quite natural. We were also a bit giddy that this was design for our home. On the other hand, our clients tend to have a less limited budget than we were up against. We stumbled on the house without being fully ready to purchase it, and our budget was fairly limited.
As designers, we loved the challenge of working with a small space. This meant every inch mattered. We'd also been dreaming about designing a kitchen that was more pared-down and utilitarian than most of the high end kitchens we design for clients. Designing something that embodied the earthy modernism we gravitate towards while also having less frills was a delight.
Kitchen shelving detail, with industrial style countertops
What overall aesthetic were you going for in the home?
We drew most inspiration from the original board-formed concrete foundation that ended up serving as the backsplash in the kitchen. This paved the way for an approach where we worked to combine the most basic materials into a beautiful space. The home overall has an early modern quality to it--not a stylized mid-century, but rather a crisp, light-filled minimalism in which this kitchen fit perfectly.
Let's talk about this kitchen. What were the goals for the space?
More than anything, we needed to fit a full kitchen with laundry and enough storage into about 85 square feet without it feeling cramped.
We also needed to integrate a window, as this was the one spot in the house that didn't have abundant natural light.
On to the tile: What was the inspiration behind the floor?
As we saw some of the utilitarian elements come together with the backsplash, countertops and cabinets, we knew there was an opportunity to let the floor be the one wow-factor in the space. Everything else had a simple beauty inspired by Scandinavian design, but we felt that the floor could be the one surprising element.
What made you choose the two patterns Grange and Fallow? Were there any other contenders?
We kept going back to one particular image Anne had sent early in our dialogue about the project. In that image, we'd all fallen in love with the concept of an abstract floor that had no pattern, that was the center of the space and brought an artistic element to the perfect simplicity of the other elements in the kitchen.
The geometric but necessarily symmetrical construction of the Grange and Fallow patterns allowed for this creativity. And the possibility of ordering no minimum of each pattern meant that we could achieve something truly unique without buying hundreds of extra unneeded tiles.
How about the color palette? What was your experience like using our Color-it Tool?
Thankfully, we had most of the Fireclay glaze samples in our library already, so we grabbed these and started playing with combinations. We knew we wanted the texture to mostly be matte. Jess easily did 30 different color configurations using the Color-it tool. We discussed little besides Fireclay glaze options for a number of days.
What was your process in laying it all out?
We took screen captured images from the Color-it Tool and made them tiny and overlaid these on our digital plans for the kitchen to lay out each and every tile. We spent hours working out color and tile pattern combinations, individual tile orientations, and the overall plan. There were so many drafts where we worked out the color and irregularity. This was critical since we needed to know our counts before placing an order. Then when the tiles arrived, we worked this out again with the real tiles in the space, making some adjustments when seeing things in real time.
Ultimately, we developed a system whereby each tile had a piece of blue tape noting its column letter and row number so that the tile installer could get the pattern perfect without our supervising the entirety of the installation.
Image: Anne Sage
How did the installation process go? Did you face any challenges?
The only real challenge on the installation was that the existing walls weren't exactly straight. The cabinet makers had adjusted for this as much as possible without throwing off the countertops.
But it meant that the tiles didn't line up perfectly with the cabinet base. We kept the tiles perfectly spaced and just had the kick brought out to help conceal this. Thankfully we've worked with enough imperfect old homes in LA that this didn't terrify us.
Lastly, which of our tiles are you hoping to use in any future projects?
There are so many spaces in our new house and home design studio that need tile! We just started using some beautiful outdoor tables Jonathan designed using some triangular Fireclay tiles our friends had leftover from a project.
Tile Shown: 6" Triangles in White Wash
We're currently dreaming about what tile to use as flooring as well as kitchenette for our design studio, in the outdoor patio that is getting a modern steel pergola built over it in the next few months, and for our eventual main kitchen overhaul. We're eyeing Fireclay's glass line as well as mosaic lines for some of these projects.
Tile Shown: Our Glass Tile
Loving this bold kitchen floor? Give our Color-It Tool a try to make a creation of your very own or order color samples online now. Need some help? Simply call, chat or fill out our
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