Style Trends: Tile with a twist

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly
A large New Albany home provided several opportunities for exemplary displays of tile. At top, the kitchen features oval-shaped, stainless steel tiles that contribute to the industrial feeling of the space.

An elaborate New Albany mansion offers design pizzazz.

When Ira Sharfin, CEO of Continental Office Environments, built his nearly 11,000-square-foot New Albany home in 2010, he wanted to inject it with pop and flair, muted by classic colors and design choices.

He enlisted the aid of longtime friend Adam Lewin, president of The Hamilton Parker Company, and designers from his own staff to create an impressive six-bedroom, seven-bath abode.

Just past the home's entry, guests are greeted by an enormous stained glass wall hanging. Beyond it is a large dining table. In between is the real talking point: an enormous, floor-to-ceiling wall of solid and textured tile. "The texture offers a soft, restful movement that gives more interest and elegance to the fireplace," explains Lewin.

At Lewin's suggestion, Sharfin installed a large, two-sided, gas-powered fireplace into the tile wall. Because the wall separating the dining area from the great room is big, Sharfin wanted to create a focal point.

"I wanted something different yet neutral enough to blend in with the rest of the decor. I wanted something textural to stand out but not too distracting to detract [from its surroundings]," he says.

The home's wet bar is one area where Sharfin allowed a touch of whimsy. Circles of blue glass tile in various sizes emulate bubbles on the bar's walls. Unusually, they were installed on a slant. Call it tile with a twist.

The kitchen, visible from several vantage points on the first floor, is industrial in feel. Enormous slabs of poured concrete create the room's floor while oval-shaped, stainless steel tile adorns the wall behind the six-burner, commercial-grade stove.

Tile work in the home's bathrooms is unusual, too. One shower is lined with light brown, square tiles along its walls. To break its consistency, a streak of jagged tiles was designed in brown, white, black and gray. The disruptive streak creates a column of color from the floor to ceiling and then across a line of the ceiling, too. The shower floor offers yet another design, this one a checkerboard pattern of pale yellow and light brown square tiles.

Adding linear design to tile walls injects definition and visual interest to normal space, says Lewin.?