The Advocate, a highly anticipated restaurant located in Berkeley's historic Elmwood neighborhood, serves up wood-fired Northern Californian cuisine that has both Southern Mediterranean and Moroccan influences. Housed in what was Wright's Garage (originally built in 1918), the restaurant honors its bones; which lends itself to a truly beautiful dining experience. The designers managed to seamlessly incorporate colors and textures in a way that is completely cohesive--they even worked with our commercial team to develop a custom brick color specifically for the space.
How did you hear about Fireclay Tile? Who here helped you, what did you enjoy about the experience?
I have Fireclay tile in my house in our master bath and kitchen - not sure how I originally learned about the company. Caitlyn was our primary point of contact and provided great design feedback.
Can you tell me about the space? Is there any story behind it and the project that you want to share? What did it look like before? What did you change?
The space was originally an auto garage: Wright’s Garage. The building was completely overhauled a few years back. We started our work with an empty core that had great bones: exposed brick, Douglas fir beams, plaster walls, etc.
What type of look or aesthetic were you going for?
First, we wanted the space to fit the vernacular of the neighborhood, which has a strong Arts and Crafts influence and also has standout architecture from the likes of Bernard Maybeck and Julia Morgan. We didn’t want to be too literal about any of these design reference points, but we wove them in in subtle ways. And we were after simple, modern lines with lots of warm wood and splashes of color (mainly through the brick and tile).
How did you come up with your color scheme and design?
We wanted to bring color into the space, but still have the overall feel be understated and muted. To a certain degree, the color choices for the glazed brick and kitchen tile were driven by a visit to Fireclay and just really liking these particular colors. They both work well with walnut, which is the predominant wood in the space, and both felt like that added warm color without being too loud. And we love the wide variation of color tones within those two tiles. The bathroom tile is another case of just really liking the interesting veining and overall unique character of the tile.
Tile Shown: Custom Glazed Thin Brick
Why did you choose the color/pattern?
The Saffron square tiles in the kitchen was inspired by seeing an offset pattern using the same tile at the Fireclay showroom in San Francisco - it feels traditional and at the same time a little edgy, as I don’t see many folks using the square tile right now. The 2x6 tiles used for the bathroom at wainscoting height felt like a good choice - can’t explain why.
How did the installation process go? Did you face any challenges? Did you work with a tile installer or contractor?
I guess you’d have to ask our installer to hear about any challenges, but he didn’t make us aware of any. There was a certain amount of size variation in some of the tile, but he’s a great installer and adapted to it in such a way as to celebrate the “hand made” qualities. His name is Maximo Ortiz and he’s a fantastic tile installer.
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