Project Spotlight: The Commune | Fireclay Tile
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Project Spotlight: The Commune

By Kali

Project Spotlight: The Commune

Design: Claire Zinnecker Design // Architecture: Hunt Architecture  

The Commune, an Austin-based co-working space, carves out a spot for creatives to refuel and recharge. Designed by Claire Zinnecker, this light and bright space will leave you feeling inspired whether you you're designing for your home or commercial space. 

First a bit about about Claire:

Can you tell me a bit about yourself and your firm? Where are you based? 
I'm an interior designer and owner of Claire Zinnecker Design founded almost seven years ago based in Austin, Texas. 

How did you hear about Fireclay Tile? What did you enjoy about the experience? 
I've known of Fireclay for as long as they've been around! I probably first heard of them via their wonderful social media channels. I enjoyed everything about the experience. They were responsive, willing to send as many samples as we needed and offered helpful tips and suggestions. 


Why do you love tile? 
I love the hand quality of each piece. No one tile is the same as the other. It feels almost like an abstract watercolor when you see them all on the wall, perfect for a co-working space for artists and makers! 

Blue Spruce 2x8

Tile Shown: 2x8 in Blue Spruce // Image: Whitney Arostegui

What are your 3 best design tips for working with our handmade tile?

1. It's helpful to get at least 2 samples of a color so you can see the variety of the colors.

2. Make sure you use an installer who is willing to take the time and attention to place each piece! Since they are handmade they are not all perfectly the same size.

3. Have fun with it! Don't always defer to the standard white, fireclay has a world other colors and neutrals to play with.


Now onto this beautiful space! 

How did you get involved in this project? How involved were your clients in the design/build process? 
I've done two residential projects with my client (and owner of The Commune), Lauren Cunningham. We are now close friends and pretty much have the same design brain so when she brought this idea to me I was 100% on board!

Meet Lauren + Claire, pictured in Lauren's studio in The Commune: 

3x3 Sand Dune

Tile Shown: 3x3 in Sand Dune // Image: Son of Rand

Can you tell me about The Commune? Is there any story behind it and the project that you want to share?  What did you change?
This building has been abandoned for years and was crying for some love.


Lauren is always coming up with the most amazing business ideas and as an artist herself she had been looking for a shared workspace that was artist friendly and couldn’t find one so she decided to create one herself! The building was in shambles and had to be completely gutted and renovated (the back part didn’t even have a roof!) 


Thankfully, we had a great team with Hunt Architecture and Texas Design & Construction to help tackle it.


What type of look or aesthetic were you going for? How did you come up with your color scheme and design?
We wanted the space to feel light, bright and welcoming. Since it caters to artists/creatives we wanted the space to invite inspiration with every detail. Calming colors, organic materials and natural light were the themes carried throughout The Commune's commercial kitchen tile, bathrooms, and studios. 


This is my third project with Lauren so at this point are brains are pretty much in sync and the design was fluid. I wanted to pay attention to the details, to make the moments count and reflect thoughtful design. 

The Commune x Fireclay Tile

Image: Leonid Furmansky

2x8 tiles Blue Spruce

Tile Shown: 2x8 in Blue Spruce // Image: Whitney Arostegui

Let's talk about the office's commercial kitchen tile first. Why did you go with 2x8 tiles in Blue Spruce in a vertical straight set pattern? 
Lauren and I are all about the neutrals but wanted to bring soft subtle colors into this space. The blue spruce feels to me like a neutral because it goes with everything! We wanted it to feel slightly more “modern” so we turned the tile to run vertically.

2x8 tiles vertically straight set in Blue Spruce.

Tile Shown: 2x8 in Blue Spruce // Image: Leonid Furmansky

2x8 tiles Blue Spruce

Tile Shown: 2x8 in Blue Spruce // Image: Whitney Arostegui

2x8 Blue Spruce Fireclay Tile Kitchen

Image: Leonid Furmansky

What is the second kitchen area in 3x3 tiles in Sand Dune used for? 
This is Lauren’s studio! We spent a lot of time looking over samples to make sure we got the perfect color and Sand Dune was it! Her studio is the DREAM artist’s space and those tiles complete it.

We love a natural neutral. Sand Dune's high color variation reveals a warm range of shades in this studio backsplash: 

3x3 tiles in San Dune

Tile Shown: 3x3 in Sand Dune // Image: Leonid Furmansky

We love the side-by-side bathrooms in Oyster Shell and Mushroom (those colorful ceilings are so good!), along with the Rosemary bathroom too. What was the inspiration here? 
Since the bathrooms aren’t seen unless you are in them we wanted to have more fun with the colors in these spaces. Each one had a different “theme” color but all still work together. 


The paint part of this was quite the difficult process. We wanted tone and tone in different shades and fireclay’s colors are so lovely it’s hard to find paint that is as beautiful as the tile!! 

A ceiling painted in deep mauve brings out our Mushroom Tile's earthy pink undertones. Its high color variation is all the more eye-catching next to the neighboring bathroom's cool Oyster Shell Tile: 

2x6 tiles in Mushroom.

Tile Shown: 2x6 in Mushroom // Image: Whitney Arostegui

Oyster Shell's green undertones are accentuated by this bathroom's teal ceiling:

2x6 tiles in Oyster Shell in a stacked pattern create a soothing vibe in this office bathroom

Tile Shown: 2x6 in Oyster Shell // Image: Whitney Arostegui

This bathroom's boldly saturated green ceiling both complements and contrasts with our Rosemary glaze's handmade crackled texture and color variation: 

This bathroom features 2x4 tiles in Rosemary in a horizontal straight set pattern.

Tile Shown: 2x4 in Rosemary // Image: Leonid Furmansky

How did the installation process go?  Did you face any challenges?  Did you work with a tile installer or contractor.
Fireclay tiles require a skilled installer. Each piece is handmade and needs to be thoughtfully placed. In an old building nothing is straight or level so this took some time but the end result was worth the wait.

2x8 Blue Spruce

Tile Shown: 2x8 in Blue Spruce // Image: Whitney Arostegui

Lastly, which Fireclay products are you dying to use in future projects?
The hand painted products! I watch those instagram videos on repeat!!

Fallow in White Motif

Tile Shown: Fallow in White Motif

Inspired by this beautiful space? Order color samples online now. Need some help? Simply call, chat or fill out our Design Assistance Form and one of our talented Design Consultants will get back to you shortly. 

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