Vibrant colors and geometric patterns are at the heart of the interior design of a private residence in Decatur, MI. The homeowners favored a brightly colored custom tile palette from Motawi Tileworksof Ann Arbor, MI, which creates a playful environment throughout the living space.

“The direction we were given was to incorporate Motawi tiles in a variety of [applications] in such a way as to set the design approach for the entire rest of the home,” explained designer Colleen Crawley of Motawi Tileworks. “The exuberant use of color was part of that challenge. Our goal was to create several feature [applications] that each had a unique personality, but were cohesive and unified the entire house.”

According to Crawley, the homeowner sought to make the foyer floor and hallway a “blast of color” that would set the tone for the additional tile applications. “She also expressed a fondness for geometric designs, and was hoping that a variety of tile sizes and shapes could be incorporated into the patterns of each project,” said the designer. “The cover of our current product guide features a sunroom floor that the client found inspirational. While she didn’t want to copy that particular design, she expressed an attraction to the look and feel of that project.”

While all of the tiles employed for the residential project were made to order, they are all standard parts from the line of handmade ceramic tile from Motawi Tileworks. “Our client was very involved in choosing her favorite glaze colors for this project,” said Crawley. “She arrived at the first design meeting with a list of eight glazes that she wanted to incorporate. Initially, I felt that there were too many colors and cautioned her that the project featured on our product guide cover that she admired has only five glazes. She was not dissuaded. Despite my initial hesitation, I was able to design an exciting, colorful floor project using her preferred palette. For subsequent projects, the client identified specific feature tiles, such as the decorative tile used on the Great Room fireplace, to be incorporated into each design.”

A total of 375 square feet of custom handmade tile was utilized throughout the private residence. Specifically, 204 square feet comprises the foyer floor, with 59 square feet for the Great Room, 52 square feet for the Media Room, 42 square feet for the kitchen and 18 square feet for the wet bar.

“The planning and layout of the foyer floor and hallway were the most challenging aspects of the entire project,” explained Crawley. “Besides creating a cohesive overall pattern with a multitude of glazes that was to become the jumping off point for the rest of the home, there was the installation coordination aspect. Detailed dimensional drawings were prepared to identify all changes in tile size, shape and color to be able to communicate critical information to the installer, Harry Underdah of Harry Underdah Tile Co., who did a terrific job.”

It took just under a year to complete the design and tile installation. “The client and her husband are enamored with all aspects of their new home, and in particular, they feel that the tile is the key to tying everything together,” said Crawley. “Our tile sets the tone and defines the design approach to all the interior spaces — paints, fabrics and other finishes were all selected after the tile design was complete. Our client has shared with us the joy she gets from showing the tile to first-time visitors, and from seeing it in her beautiful home every day.”

Recently, the project won in the “Residential/Tile” category of the first annual Coverings Installation & Design Awards.