These days, as the proud showroom manager for the Balentine Collection in Aspen, Colorado, I get to see a lot of handsome new ceramic, porcelain and stone tile products making their way onto the market. Lately, I have been having a flirtation with metal tile.
Usually, metal tile is not made only of metal. Often, the metal is a cap over porcelain or ceramic tile, or the metal shine comes from a glaze. Sometimes, pieces of metal or metal tiles are combined with stone (and/or glass) in a mosaic. Here’s an example. This travertine and copper border comes from Australian tile manufacturer Maniscalco.
I love the interplay of color and light in the copper, and the contrast of textures between the metal and the travertine. This 3 in x 11 3/4 inch border is called Hotel Bondi and is part of the Bondi Beach Borders™ series. It would be stunning in a kitchen or a bathroom, or as an accent on a mantel.
The image above is Ironker Cobre from Porcelanosa. This is a large format porcelain tile — 17″x 26″ — with a metallic shine, and it’s extremely versatile because the pieces are so large. Because it’s durable and somewhat textured, Ironker makes a great, non-slip flooring material. Porcelanosa features it as flooring in their installation shots. Can you visualize this in a bistro-styled dining room or around a home bar?
Flashier still is La Nova’s Metaluxe Flashing. The Metaluxe collection is metal tile over a porcelain substrate. That means that while it’s pretty enough to be installed inside, it’s also tough enough for exterior applications. You could install this around your grill on the patio.
This tile comes in a choice of 6″ x 12″, 6″ x 24″ and 12″ x 24″ formats, as well as several colors and brushed metal patterns. In addition to the silver and gold tones shown here to the left and right, there’s also a pale platinum tile.
Because of their industrial chic, I can envision these tiles making a handsome kitchen backsplash. Because of their reflectivity, they would also be good at opening up a too-small or too-dark foyer.
The Porcelanosa tile shown above has lots of relatives, all members of Porcelanosa’s Stonker line of porcelains. The Cobre (copper) shown above is actually part of the Ironker (iron) family, which also includes an Ironker Acero. Even more extensive is the Ferroker group, which includes Ferroker Alumino, Ferroker Caldera, Ferroker Niquel, Ferroker Titanio and their handsome parent: Ferroker, shown in the detail below.
Ferroker is a Stone-Ker porcelain tile, which can be used on indoor or outdoor walls and floors. It can even live outside happily during Aspen’s ski season, which makes it a great choice here in the Rockies. Stone-Ker tiles are made with 95% recycled materials, as an added benefit.
The handsome mosaic above is a nickel blend from Daltile’s Fashion accent series. It comes in 12″ x 12″ sheets on a mesh backing, so it’s easy to install. The series includes silvers, coppers and wrought iron tiles mixed with glass and stone tile for lots of choice.
Above is another stunning border from the Maniscalco Bondi Beach series. I recently helped a woman from Michigan redesign her powder room, using it to top a large-scale porcelain that looks like stone with rusty iron accents in it. The room will also have an underlit, translucent onyx countertop holding a beaten copper sink.
We’ll be sending her the tile from our showroom in Aspen. (Given that it’s an international destination, Balentine sells to customers from all over the world. ) This particular combo of stone and metal sounds so gorgeous, it makes me want to fly to the Great Lakes to see it.
Maybe she’ll send me a photo.