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The Insider: inspiring tiles from Bert & May

The Conran shop is usually out of this blog's price range... but this story is only partly about Conran.

The rest of it is about Bert & May, a new company (but also not so new, more of which shortly) specialising in beautiful reclaimed and made-to-look reclaimed tiles. Bert & May today launch their collaboration with the Conran Shop, with whom they have exclusively developed a hue named Azure Blue, inspired by the French Riviera.

They've woven Azure into a range of geometric tile designs featuring an array of other blues. Rather lovely, don't you think? Especially on a living room floor... And if you can't afford enough tiles to do that, you could get busy with a stencil and some no-prep Annie Sloan paint... (I'll be writing more about Annie Sloan anon, since I've just done one of her paint effect classes).

Brits don't generally do tiles on bedroom or living room floors – it's not, of course, an idea that would ever have originated in a country with chilly winters. But underfloor heating has changed everything. If you fancy the idea, you might also find inspiration in this incredible 70s-heavy house in Mali, tiled pretty much all over.

Alternatively, you could also limit your tile numbers, as I did in the recent downstairs loo makeover, which made two salvage yard floor tiles centre-stage. And two tiles are eminently affordable.

But I digress.

My first contact with the company now known as Bert & May was a couple of years ago, when the company's co-founder Lee Thornley dropped me a line.

The email explained how his passion for beautiful reclaimed tiles had come about. And it was quite a story... Lee (Bert) and his wife Amelia (who is not, incidentally, May) met on a Spanish course in Andalucia. Both had quit their respective "rat race" lives in the UK (his words) and wound up there, searching for something new. They found each other, and in under three months of meeting had decided to open a hotel in Spain together. But when their search for a beautiful old building to renovate was unsuccessful, they decided to build their own "old new" version. The hotel Casa La Siesta has since been voted one of Tatler's top 100.

But the building process had opened up another new door for Lee: reclaimed tiles which, as he puts it, he now "rummages around Europe for", and the skill of reproducing said tiles beautifully. And a few years later, with business partner, Harriet Roberts (she's May) here we are...

Bert & May's Azure Blue Majadas costs £7.50 each (plus vat).

Azure Blue Churriana also costs £7.50 each (plus vat).

But aside from the Conran collection, these designs also caught my eye.

The Ortuno tile costs from £7.50 apiece (plus vat). And take inspiration from this bar decor using the tiles: why tile a full wall?

This is the base of a bar – but why not the base of a bath?

Another commercial interior to be inspired by: I love the idea of framing a window, or indeed another architectural feature, with a tiled column or two.

The Zorita tile is priced as those above.

And these ones, above, Monochrome Esparza (£9 each, originals) remind me a little of the pair I picked up for the loo, don't you think?

Post by Kate

1 comment :

  1. I love everything about your home! The interior design looks great. Really it’s been a fantastic job! I hope you kept it…