Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Michelle Griffoul is a third generation artisan working with bronze and creates amazing clay tiles that range from an underwater shower experience to a coffee cup backsplash all of which have that little bit of wimsey.

One of  my favorite items to include in a shower was a fish or critter on the floor near the drain.  Just something to give the homeowner a chuckle before starting their day.
From Michelle's web site, which I recommend visiting, is her bio below and lots of ideas for unique ways to make your home special.  http://www.michellegriffoul.com/
"For over thirty years, Michelle Griffoul has thrown, pushed rolled, torn, pit fired, raku fired, high fired, low fired, sun baked, flocked, painted and otherwise stretched the acknowledged limits of clay. The consummate clay artist, she is a classically trained potter with the eye of a painter and the production skills and sensibilities of a manufacturing engineer.

While receiving her B.A. and M.F.A. in ceramics, she spent a year at the International School of Ceramics in Florence, Italy. Through numerous gallery shows and public art commissions, Michelle became recognized as a master of the ceramic arts. This led to the creation of her current ceramic tile design and production studio.

With her sense of design and glazing techniques, Michelle continues to surprise clients by breaking through the traditional boundaries of tile."

I love her critters and placed them in showers, patios and bathroom floors for that little extra touch.

Michelle's bronze line is well priced and comes in several different colors to blend with fixtures and stone choices.  They are solid metal from a lost wax process that was taught from one generation to the next and Michelle shares the beautiful results with all of us.  Any of her clay pieces can be ordered in a huge range of colors so next time you want to really have some fun and let your playful side out, visit Michelle Griffoul Studios.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Lagos Azul is known by two other names: Nova Blue and Lagos Blue. Lagos Azul is from the lower part of the quarry and Lagos Gold is the upper level of the quarry. It's not unusual to have bits of Lagos Gold in your Lagos Azul slabs and visa versa. The quarry for this stone is in Spain.

This is a beautiful limestone that blends well with any of the Carrara region marbles that I talked about last week. There are many trim pieces available, from pencils, crown molding to 5" baseboards that can also be used around a shower dam. Lagos Azul and Lagos gold both come in 2cm and 3cm slabs for counter top material or bathroom walls. The Lagos Azul tiles come in 12", 16" and 24." Sometimes you can find an 18" tile but the 16" is more common. There are also mosaics available in 3/8" and 1/2" and bricks that are 3" x 6".

There are many insert and back splash mosaic designs that can be also be used in the floor. Walker Zanger has several borders that include both Carrara and Lagos Azul in the design. There are also hexagons that are perfect for the floor of the shower or can be used as a rug insert on the floor. There are so many straight edges in a bathroom that it's nice to add a curve or a hexagon to change things up and soften all the sharp edges. If you are working with a master bedroom suite with dressing rooms you can use the Lagos Azul as counter top material in the closets.

Another option that gives a different look to the bath is to use the Lagos Gold in combination with the Calacatta Oro. The two stones complement each other very well. I've always found that natural stone colors seem to enhance each other differently with other stones rather than tile. The slab material of Lagos Gold can be used for wall cladding or shower walls. It's a sunny look with the Calacatta Oro. Lagos Gold tiles can found in 12" and 16."

Lagos Gold and Lagos Azul will also make a beautiful checkerboard floor for an entry or kitchen floor. The Lagos Azul baseboard is a stunning finish to the project.

There are also intricate circular medallions that are made with Lagos Azul, Lagos Gold and Calacatta. These medallions can be used for entry ways, hall ways or bathroom floors. Medallions are not recommended for shower floors.

The biggest problem with stone is the different thicknesses during your design phase. Tiles that are 24" can be 1/2" to 3/4" thick, so if you want the larger tiles you have to look at the level of the hardwood floor or carpet you are butting up against. Sometimes the use of a stone threshold can solve the height difference and your fabricator can make one for you.

Some of my sources do not recommend using Lagos Azul or Gold outdoors as it cracks over time when exposed to heat and cold.  This is another stone that you need to visually match up your pieces as the grey and gold ranges can go from very light to dark.  If you are using the internet or are ordering from a distance pay for sample from the current batch to be sent to you.