Interior Design / Mosaics & Decorative Tile / Contemporary Stone & Tile Design Magazine

Handmade tile maintains historic look of vestibule

June 26, 2012
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+

The owners of an historic row house in Philadelphia, PA, wanted to maintain their home’s character and charm when renovating its vestibule. In the end, they were struck by the uniqueness and quality of custom handmade tile from Lilywork of Quakertown, PA.

“They didn’t come in seeking custom handmade tile,” said Tiffany Ferraro, designer and co-owner of Earthstone Tile Works of Philadelphia, PA, which was the tile distributor and installer for the project. “The goal was to have something unique. It’s a small space. They wanted something that was beautiful, because it is the first thing you see when you walk in [the home]. As soon as they saw Lilywork — it is a big focal point in our showroom — they loved it. [Also], the tile makers are about an hour away. People love supporting a local business.

“I designed the whole foyer based on color,” Ferraro went on to explain. “We did kind of a traditional vestibule with field tile around the center and created interest in the center. We wanted to make it look like a rug.”

According to the designer, the clients selected their favorite pieces, and she developed the design from there. “They liked the star and cross, and I added details,” she said. “Instead of just using 6- x 6-inch tiles, we started with 3- x 6-inch pieces. It is very traditionally done for handmade tiles.”

Ferrara also explained that her inspiration came from the Trent tile vestibules that are found in the area. “You see them everywhere in South Philly,” she said. “Lilywork is similar. The colors are not bright and poppy. They are muted — something you would see in the early 1900s.”

Esther Halferty, co-owner of Lilywork with her husband Paul, agrees that the custom handmade tile complements the home’s age. “The colors and patterning coordinates with tile from 100 years ago,” she said. “We did custom cuts to frame the stars and crosses. Mosaic patterning is such a nice look for floor inserts.”

Halferty explained that the focal point of the floor design consists of “Monreale”/star+cross tessellated field surrounded by plain field. Complementing the floor pattern is a wall border of “Ravenna” tessellated listello.

In all, the tile-making process requires approximately four weeks to complete. “It takes about three days to press or hand-cut the tiles, and then they dry for a week,” said Halferty. “The tiles are then bisque-fired, which is a three-day process of loading, firing, cooling and unloading. Next, the tiles are glazed and loaded into kiln/s. The glaze-firing is also a three-day process. Finally, the smaller mosaic sections are mesh-mounted, and the order is packed.”

Ferrara explained that the homeowners are actually friends of her and her husband. “They live around the corner from our store,” she said. “We get to see the vestibule often. They are over the moon about it.” 

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Stone World 

Recent Articles by Jennifer Adams

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

The Stone Fashion Show at Marmomacc in Verona

As usual, stone suppliers from Italy and around the world relied on the Marmomacc fair to showcase some of the latest stone materials to the international marketplace. The following is a look at just some of the stone materials on display in Verona.

Stone World Magazine

Stone World September 2014 cover

2014 September

In this issue of Stone World, we have a Report from Europe, which includes a series of articles about the quarries and stone processing operations that SW editor Jennifer Adams visited as part of the Marmomacc Stone Academy.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Contemporary Stone & Tile Design Magazine

CSTD Fall 2014 cover

2014 Fall

In this issue of Contemporary Stone & Tile Design, we take a look at the latest developments in TPT, with a feature article and you can read more comments from Waldrep on this subject as well as other industry professionals.

Table Of Contents Subscribe


Are you aware of the new stone standard – ANSI/NSC 373 Sustainability Assessment for Natural Dimension Stone?
View Results Poll Archive

The Stone World Store

How to Polish & Restore Marble Flooring

This video will show you step-by-step how to resurface and polish marble flooring from grinding and removing lippage and scratches to achieving a highly reflective polish.

More Products

Stone Guide

2014 Stone World Stone Guide

The directory for Stone, Equipment and Supplies - the single information resource readers turn to.

Stone Industry Education

stone industry educationStone Industry Education is sponsored by Stone World Magazine and Marble Institute of America. The SIE events will help you: strengthen your skills, build your business, and  increase profit in your shop.  Check out to register for upcoming fabricator and installer seminars.


facebook logo Twitter  YouTubeGoogle+