Stories: French Architecture | Fireclay Tile
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Designer Spotlights

Stories: French Architecture

By Lindsey

Stories: French Architecture

Tile Shown: 3" Triangles in French Linen

Interior Designer, Gabriela Gargano had us at "Bonjour" when she submitted her Parisian inspired palette to our first ever "Storyteller Contest" earlier this year.

Gargano, founder and principal designer at Grisoro Designs in New York, captures the effortless grandeur of one of the world’s most iconic cities through eight hand-selected Fireclay glazes including blushing greys, alabaster neutrals, and faded French blues.

Adoring Gargano's winning take on the City of Love? Check out her Story and shop her top tile picks (you can also head to our French-inspired Pinterest Board for more inspiration). Each of Gargano's sample packs comes with a 2 x 4 color chip in Mushroom, Cyclone, Ultra Cream with Black Patine, Birch, Flagstone, French Linen, Slate, and Nautical:

We caught up with Gargano to find out what brought her to Paris for our Storyteller Contest and what she's learned over the years working in interior design.

You're one of our winning storytellers! How did you come up with your concept "French Architecture?"
The inspiration for my Fireclay Tile story was architecture, in particular, architecture depicted through the paintings of French Artist, Gustave Caillebotte. I've always found the colors of Paris to be so beautiful and moody. While the palette is soft, the architecture is grand and incredibly detailed. The result is effortless, understated elegance that's always chic and never trendy.

Details of Gargano's color inspiration:

Tile Shown: Chaine Homme in Mushroom

How did you go about selecting your color palette when you heard about our Storyteller Contest?
While I love so many of the Fireclay Tile colors, the eight I chose felt the most reminiscent of the Parisian architecture I find so inspiring. For example, Slate Blue and Nautical picked up on the color of Paris's famous rooftops; the Ultra Cream with Black Patine of the antiqued facades, and the Cyclone of the cobblestone streets. Overall, I'd say the colors I chose all have a rich elegance, yet an aged softness you can only find in historic cities like Paris.

More of Gargano's color inspiration:

Tile Shown: Pickets in Ultra Cream with Black Patine

I selected finishes that blend both tone and texture for a serene yet aged look (crackles, higher variation colors, etc). I paired this with a few bold patterns that have a dramatic, historic quality. I believe the result is a design that feels both fresh and timeless.

Tile Shown: Chaine Homme in Slate Blue // Design: Becca Stephens // Image: Reagen Taylor Photography

Why do you love working with tile?
So many reasons! Tile really sets the stage in a space and allows for so much creativity-- from color and material selection to the pattern in which you lay it. Tile provides a great opportunity to create something unique and authentic for each person.

Tile Shown: 2 x 6 in Mushroom // Design & Images: K Interiors

With Fireclay Tile, in particular, I love that it's a handmade surface. In a world where things are often seamless and perfect, I think a material that shows the hand of the artist is so special and provides a tremendous amount of character.

Tile Shown: 2 x 6 in Mushroom

What's one of the most valuable tile tips you've learned over the years?
When it comes to installing tile in patterns (say herringbone) make sure you talk to your contractor about your installer's experience level. Once the tile is set you cannot adjust it so getting it right the first time is key!

Tile Shown: 2 x 6 in French Linen

What do you find to be critical when in your material selecting process?
Make sure you have samples of all the materials you're considering--tile, cabinets, floors, and countertops. Even if your tile is a shade of white (which Fireclay makes so many of!) don't trust your computer or phone alone. Compare all of your samples together in person to make sure it's perfect!

Tile Shown: 2 x 8 in Flagstone // Design: The Filomena // Image: Michael Bolognino

Choosing materials for a bathroom can seem daunting. Any tips on where to start?

Bathrooms are a great opportunity to do something fun, especially in a relatively small space! I often recommend clients take a bit of risk whether it be with color or pattern to make it feel extra special.

Tile Shown: 2 x 8 in Flagstone and Sugar // Design: Jen Pinkston // Image: Katie Jameson

If you have more than one bathroom in your home, use it as an opportunity to give each space a unique feel. I think a home should feel unified but not repetitive, bathrooms are a great way to make that happen.

Tile Shown: 8" Hexagon in Slate Blue // Design: Jen Pinkston // Image: Stephanie Godfrey

Let's talk grout. How do you go about pairing tile with the right grout color?
Grout color is so important! You can select something to match your tile for a softer look or select a darker/lighter color to create contrast and highlight a pattern.

Tile Shown: Wave in Cyclone

I recommend reviewing the grout color options next to your actual tile samples so that you know you're making the best selection.

What about grout on the floor?
I often recommend a light taupe or grey grout for high traffic floor areas, as it can help hide dirt much more than a white grout.

Tile Shown: 2 x 8 in Ultra Cream with Black Patine // Image: Malcolm Fearon Photography

Gargano doesn't just do kitchens and baths. Check out her other design work below!

Design: Grisoro Designs // Image: Regan Wood Photography

Using a modern aesthetic as a foundation, Gargano mixes in rich textures, eclectic pieces, and vintage finds to create soulful spaces.

Design: Grisoro Designs // Image: Regan Wood Photography

Design: Grisoro Designs // Image: Gross & Daley Photography

Just as inspired as we are by Gargano and French Architecture? Order your sample pack 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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