[laNeva News] Announcing Beetlekill Pine Tile

In our quest to provide the coolest, most unique artisan-made tile in the USA, we approached Ryan Schlaefer of Ryan Schlaefer Fine Furniture in Loveland, Colorado to partner with laNeva to produce tile using an uncommon material: waste wood killed by the Northern Pine Beetle.

Before we get into the details of the wood, we have to tell you about Ryan: A graduate of the Art Institute of Colorado, Ryan’s contemporary furniture pieces have a sense of scale and artful mix of materials that can only come from an artist’s eye. Not just a furniture maker, Ryan uses the beauty of form to create one-of-a-kind (as well as ready-to-ship) pieces using beetlekill pine and an array of other woods.

Now back to the tile.

Beetlekill 1"x 2"

 

Wood tile? Wood killed by beetles? Yes and Yes.

Beetlekill wood is a waste product in many western states in the USA. Instead of letting the wood go to the chipper or providing unwanted fuel to forest fires, it is gaining a unique following and being cut and milled for everything from furniture to building materials.  Artists like Ryan Schalefer have developed a love for the look and story behind this unusual wood and incorporated this waste-wood into gorgeous contemporary furniture and fixtures- and now decorative wall tile.

The extraordinary detail about beetlekill pine is the streaking left by the beetles. The beetles leave an enzyme in the wood that turns the graining blue, gray, purple, or even rust colored. Each piece is an incredible act of nature, completely unique and available only through laNeva Artisan Tile.

For accent walls (non-wet locations), our Beetlekill pine tile can be applied with an epoxy straight to the substrate with butt-joints. No need for grout. Our pine tile is composed of 1/4″ beetle-kill pine with a backer of 1/4″ plywood, attached using a high-pressure lamination process. Before leaving the artists hands, the pine is sanded and edges smoothed, then a clear polyurethane is applied. We are currently offering 1″ x 2″ , 1″x 4″, 2″x 2″ and 2″x 4″ sizes. Additional sizes and finished edging pieces can be produced by request.

Our beetlekill tile has a very low expansion and contraction rate due to the plywood backer and as a result, it can be used in conjunction with our ceramic or SK8 tile and either butt-jointed without grout or grouted (using a flexible grout) to create a dynamic multi-media tile installation. If using in a damp location such as a backsplash, we recommend using a grouted installation with a sealer applied after install to both the grout and wood tile.

laNeva’s BEETLEKILL PINE TILE IS made from reclaimed waste wood in Colorado. This is beautiful, unique, functional tile with quite a story!

 

For more info about this or our other tile collections such as GLASS, SK8, Modico or our original Handmade Solid and Rift Glaze ceramics, contact us! questions@lanevatile.com

To learn about the wood artisan, Ryan Schlaefer, please visit the Ryan Schlaefer Fine Furniture website, like their page on Facebook or read about his work in the Vail Business Journal.

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LEED Certification?

In a recent conversation  with a laNeva Dealer, we discussed all different aspects of our production, environmental practices, future designs and how we might fit for a future project they were presenting. ‘

In the middle of that call, I was also asked if the tile that laNeva produces is LEED certified.

After the discussion, I got off the phone and did some research. I hadn’t thought  that LEED certifies products, but couldn’t be sure. Manufacturers can have all sorts of ‘environmental’ certifications from various organizations, many of which cost buco-bucks and are akin to Organic Certification for a local CSA. The CSA might follow all the same organic practices, but it doesn’t make economical sense for a small operation to pay for such an expensive certification…. but I digress.

As stated direct from the USGBC.org website:

Q: Can I get my product or service LEED certified?

A: USGBC does not certify, endorse or promote products, services or companies, nor do we track, list or report data related to products and their environmental qualities.

LEED is a certification system that deals with the environmental performance of buildings based on overall characteristics of the project. We do not award credits based on the use of particular products but rather upon meeting the performance standards set forth in our rating systems. It is up to project teams to determine which products are most appropriate for credit achievement and program requirements.

So, in an itty-bitty nutshell, that answer is no. laNeva Tile is not a LEED Certified product, nor is any other tile or any other building product.  It is the entire construction project that could qualify for LEED Certification, to which the materials are only a small component.

To learn the basics of LEED, particularly LEED For Homes, watch this great overview video:

LEED for Homes: Certification Process from U.S. Green Building Council on Vimeo.

If you’re interested in learning more about laNeva’s environmental practices, see the Environmental Statement on our site, email or just call us.

While not all of our products are high on the recycled-content spectrum, we have others that are 100% recycled content.  Plus, we’re adding new products and refining our techniques all the time.

Your home/office/restaurant might just be nearby a production site for a specific laNeva Tile collection! And,  a huge advantage to using tile is the long-term durability, simple maintenance and overall low life-cycle cost.

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Minnesota Green Spotlight

I really need to send a big shout out to two MN companies that I admire and want to tell the world about: Metamorphosis and their Tuesday Green feature of Amazon Environmentals recycled paints.

Metamorphosis is a multi-faceted company that focuses on Realty as well as Design/Build, leasing and Property Management. They are environmentally conscious, locally connected and have an entertaining and informative blog (which is the goal of all of us, right?)

The latest blog post from Metamorphosis is featuring Amazon Environmentals, Inc and their incredible recycled paints. Amazon uses discarded paints that are brought to local Household hazardous waste centers for disposal. This is an exciting product that produces 12 colors made from recycled latex paints.  I am giddy. What a cool concept.

Check out these two very forward thinking MN companies.  I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more from both in the future.

 

 

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The Non-Toxic Dilemma…

A choice we made upon starting laNeva Tile: All of our glazes must be lead-free and rated as AP-non-toxic. All of them. No exceptions.

Okay, here’s the dilemma: While the industry is reformulating many glazes to be lead-free, there are still a lot of glazes out there with lead and cadmium in them or they are still considered a “toxic” glaze (or rather, not “non-toxic) because they contain other elements with a known health risk.

There is yet another problem when the glazes meet the non-toxic requirements when used as a brushed-on glaze, but not when sprayed.  Inhalation risks are great with sprayed glazes and any dry glazes. Lead-free or not. (Spraying is not an issue for us because we brush all of our glazes. Glaze overspray isn’t good for people or the environment, period.)

An even further problem is that some of the coolest, richest, most dramatic glaze colors are made from heavy metals, including lead and cadmium, the exact elements that make these tiles not fit with our business model.

We have an awesome (and I don’t use that word lightly) launch coming up and we’re working on glaze formulations and selections like madwomen* here. The challenge is to find glaze formulas that create gorgeous laNeva-worthy colors that all fit in with our lead free and non-toxic glaze model. So, stick around for a truly fabulous, richest, bestest new glaze color launch you ever did see – all lead free and non-toxic – early next week.

*Yes, for those of you wondering, we are all women at laNeva Tile ;)

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Environmental Statement

Green?  Eco?  Environmentally Friendly?

There is much information in the news about “Green” products.  We hate the word “Green” (since there is no tangible way to measure a “green” product) and prefer not to define ourselves by that term.

What’s important  to us is the overall environmental impact of a product, evaluated by the life cycle costs involved in a products’ production, maintenance and ultimately, its disposal.

laNeva Artisan Tile was founded on the idea that tile glazes should NEVER contain lead. Since we’ve been manufacturing tile, we’ve developed other ways to minimize our environmental impact through creative reuse of waste and reduction of extraneous materials. Everyday we do what we can and continually evaluate and improve our processes. We care about the world and want to see it stick around for our children, grandchildren and beyond.

Read laNeva’s environmental statement here or click on the “Environment” tab above.

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Preserving the Mod in Cape Cod

Nathaniel Swift House photo, Library of Congress

When I think of Cape Cod, a cute little symmetrical home comes to mind.

With it’s rectangular shape and single gable roof, it is a simple, yet effective design intended to withstand the cold Northeastern winters as well as sand and surf.  I was completely floored to learn that the Cape Cod area has a wide variety of modernist structures built generally between the late 1940′s and mid 1960′s.  Turns out many famous architects built their own summer cottages here as well, for example Walter Gropius  and Marcel Breuer designed homes for their families on Cape Cod.

Like many mid-century modern homes, these are in various states of deterioration and a group called the Cape Cod Modern House Trust is working to not only restore these houses, but collect information and document the history of the modern homes on the Cape, something which has never been done.

The /Gips House Vincent Dewitt for The Boston Globe

Kugel/Gips House by Vincent Dewitt for The Boston Globe

The underlying reason for some of this deterioration is an unusual one: Many of these homes have been sitting vacant, owned by the National Seashore. This is not due to lack of interested buyers, but from a government acquisition of the properties to create a state park on the Cape.  This buy-out took place in 1961 but allowed the occupants an option to stay in the house for another 25 years and in some cases, longer. Due to a fortuitous twist of fate, the government did not have the money to raze the houses as was originally planned so they remain, a silent reminder of the modernist history of that area in the last 50 years.  The goal of the Cape Cod Modern House Trust is to “Restore all seven of the Modernist houses owned by the National Seashore and reconfigure them into educational and cultural resources.”

Click here for some amazing photography of these modern homes, linked to the Cubes on Dunes/DWR article referenced below.

Sources and more information:

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