I love patterned tiles and reclaimed and vintage are among the best. Now, obviously the tile you choose can be dictated by how many are in stock and how big an area you need to tile but, having said that, there is a certain vogue for patchwork tiles at the moment so they don’t necessarily have to match.
In our last house we found a huge stack of patterned and mismatched tiles in the shed when we moved in. They looked as if they might have come from the sides of fireplaces but there were many more than there could ever have been fireplaces in the house and they were in completely random numbers.
We were going through a period of preferring painted tongue and groove in bathrooms so we didn’t fancy using them in there, and the kitchen, which kept subsiding, had to be rebuilt and redecorated on a fairly regular basis so we didn’t want to use them there and risk losing them thanks to a rampant tree root.
Eventually when we redid the courtyard garden we decided to dot them among the slate flagstones we were putting down and create a random pattern. It looked rather good if I do say so myself. Of course when we moved they stayed, but there were plenty left over and for reasons which will never become clear (and for which I am still kicking myself today) we left the rest behind.
I would definitely have used them as splashbacks in this house. Or perhaps inset into a wooden floor to create a rug effect. I would have liked to do that around the freestanding bath for example. I might have pulled off the same tiling trick in the garden or used them to recreate a couple of the hearths that had been ripped out over the years.
One practical idea which I have longed to recreate ever since came from a house I visited in Portugal about six years ago. The owners had used a patchwork mix of tiles all along the hall walls below the dado rail. It was an unusual way to add colour and meant that muddy fingerprints, scrapes from bags and bikes and all other abuse that a hall is often subjected to either didn’t show or could be simply wiped off with a cloth.
Alas, I had no tiles to do it with. And now I have found Bert and May. There are dozens to look at and if you fall in love with one that is out of stock you can ask them about having a bespoke version created.
For more tile inspiration have a look at my Pinterest Board: cement tiles.
All the images were taken by Yeshen Venema so do get in touch through the link if you want to use them or have some of your own shots taken.