The Dirt – Clay

Everything you ever wanted to know about laNeva Tile’s clay body is here. Fun stuff, huh?

laNeva Tile uses a smooth white 3/8″ thick clay body for all of our tiles, which is rolled to thickness with a slab roller and cut onsite per order. We do not purchase pre-made bisque “blanks” on which to apply our glaze.  Since our tiles are cut by hand instead of molded, there is variation on each edge which creates a truly handmade look.

Because of laNeva’s contemporary image, we chose our white clay body to give a consistent texture and a more uniform finish than many handmade tiles.  It also helps us avoid tile warping, the bane of many a handmade tile maker.

laNeva uses clay from local Minnesota clay fabricators who get their materials from all over the upper midwest. We always use local material when possible and 100% non-toxic and lead free glazes are our standard.

3/8″ thick tile is consistent with many other handmade tiles but thicker than many of the mass-produced tiles available out there. We make no apologies for that. 1/4″ handmade tile, while convenient, isn’t a great cost savings to produce or ship and just doesn’t exude quality nor feel substantial enough for us.

We’ve designed laNeva to give a slightly contemporary yet warm feel in a world where there is mostly rustic handmade tile. Perfect for your modern green home, midcentury abode, or any other style inbetween, laNeva Tile is a timeless classic.

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Contemporary Concept Boards

laNeva Tile has been busy, busy, busy this summer. We’ve been shipping out loads of samples and our favorite project right now is a series of 8 concept boards for our new dealer, Christopher’s Baths and Kitchens in Englewood, Colorado. We’ve been so busy in fact, we have no idea where the time has gone. Blog posts? What blog posts?

Well, the concept boards for Christopher’s are nearly done and we can’t wait to reveal all the lovely modern details and bold colors of these 9 boards, but for now we will leave you with a few snapshots… including the Christopher’s EXCLUSIVE Rift Series color combo of #71 Dune/ #24 Steel. We love the play of matte metallic Steel and the glossy, subtle crackle of Dune.

You may be surprised with this board set. They are bold, fun and an introduction to our standard pattern project to be announced later this year. Enjoy!

See a few other laNeva Design Ideas on our site.

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Dreams of Decorative Tile

When I shut my eyes, I see color. Not like a lava lamp of flowing, moving organic blobs of color; My mind sees bouncing, colorful geometric shapes. It’s always been this way…and I know you think I’m a nut.

Last night when I was listening to music, on the cusp of sleep, I heard the rhythm of the song and my mind saw tile. The tile seemed to appear from nowhere and laid down like a train track in front of me. There were short tiles to match the faster beats, long tiles to follow the slower beats. It all seemed so natural and well, normal.

As inspiration can come from the strangest of places, I took this train track “dream” and ran with it, creating the first of a several contemporary border designs.

The design ended up being something like the tile layout shown here, with a wide “track”
border on each side using our bars in 1/2″ x6″ and 1″x6″ and a center with a random layout of 4″x4″, 2″x4″ and 1″x2″.

Like all borders, this can be used in a vertical or horizontal layout. Just blew your mind again?Vertical borders? Of course! Watch for a post coming shortly that shows some great ways to use vertical decorative borders in both kitchen and bath wall tile layouts.

We love decorative tile and are always striving to find inventive designs and installations!

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The Dirt – Glazes

#84 Siren showing brush strokes on 2x2 tile

Many of the glazes in the laNeva tile line create a fabulous watercolor-like finish on the tiles. This is in part due to our use of 100% lead free glaze and is even more apparent on the larger size tiles. Lead-free glaze does not move or melt as much in the firing process as leaded glazes do, and since we brush all of our glazes on by hand instead of spraying them on, the character of the brush strokes is apparent in some of our final tiles. Colors that have more obvious brush strokes are Oregano, Siren, Dune, Curry and Café.

The nature of the brush strokes all depends on the thickness of glaze application. Thinner coats of glaze show brush strokes more than thickly applied coats. Since laNeva tiles are all handmade, there will always be variation from tile to tile and order to order.

Contemporary Ceramic Tile, color green sage oregano

laNeva's #90 Oregano with Overglazed edge

**laNeva Tile also offers overglazed edges when you need a tile with a finished edge. This overglazed edge is our version of the bullnose tile. We add an overglazed edge to create a finished edge at the side of a backsplash, shower wall or top of wainscoting, just to name a few applications. The tile edge remains square and the glaze color wraps all the way around the side thickness of the tile to create a uniform, finished side.

See more examples of our Solid Color glazes and our Exclusive Rift Series tiles where we combine two colors on one tile for a unique, contemporary appearance.

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Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Glazed bricks and relief tile wall

Ishtar Gate at Babylon, circa 575 B.C. from DesignBoom.com

As a somewhat inquisitive person by nature, I happen to question a lot. I hate the word no, because there is always a solution.

Anyway, I love tile and I always want to learn more. Where did ceramic tile originate? Why? Where does the odd word ’tile’ come from? What are the earliest examples of historic tile and what did it look like?

For any of you who care about the nuts and bolts of tile and want to see some incredible historic tile designs, check out this amazing article A Condensed Ceramic Tile History from my new favorite site, DesignBoom.com

Oh DesignBoom, I can already anticipate the hours we will spend together. For good or for bad, I am intrigued (and a little smarter after my history of ceramic tile lesson. xoxo)

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The Rift

#92-Mist/#61-Sky Rift, #84 Siren Solid, #95-Lichen/#68-Twilight Rift

What is the Rift Series and how did it get its name?

The Rift series is laNeva’s signature design that brings two colors of glaze onto one tile for a contemporary-bold or tone-on-tone look. Why is “Rift”, which has usually means “division”, used when we are instead bringing two glazes together rather than pulling them apart?

Our response? There is more than one definition of the word, and we are using it as “A space, an interval”.

The Rift Series Tiles are greater than the sum of its parts. Sure each tile has two glazes, but the magic happens in the center- where the two colors overlap. That is the point of the chemical reaction between the glazes. With some color combinations, this line of delineation becomes a series of beautiful bubbles, in others, it is a third color entirely, in even other color combinations, it is a subtle overlay of one color with a shadow line below. Each combination is completely unique and each tile within that combo has a character all its own.

On a micro scale, our Rift tiles are the grand canyon, with the drama being at the center, with the mountain ranges on each side playing a slightly less dramatic, yet integral role. As such, we are focusing on the drama in center, knowing that it cannot be achieved without the colors on the sides. Thus, the Rift.

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Not Another Boring Subway Tile

Subway tile. The rectangular tiles that were common at the turn of the century only to go out of style through the 1950′s-90′s (replaced by squares) are back in a BIG way. You see them everywhere. Kitchens, Bathrooms, traditional and contemporary. Wha-what? Contemporary subway tile? Absolutely.

#1 Vertical Tile/Vertical Running Bond

You’re used to seeing subway tile in the traditional running bond pattern (sometimes called a brick pattern) shown in the photo to the left. One row is laid lengthwise and the next row is offset by a half tile length to create an offset pattern that resembles a brick pattern. Most often in white, it is a classic pattern.

If you’re sick of the standard layout, or just want to consider some fresh new subway tile ideas, consider the following:

#2 Horizontal Tile/Straight Stack


What if you turn traditional running bond pattern 90 degrees right or left? You have a vertical running bond as shown in drawing #1. Traditional, yes but a little edgier and unexpected than the standard horizontal layout. The focus is the strong vertical line that this pattern creates. It is perfect for those transitional spaces or more contemporary spaces in a dramatic color or unusual size tile.

We can go even further as in drawing #2 with a straight stack of subway tile, either vertical or horizontal. This pattern has been done frequently in more commercial setting such as…subway stations! In a restaurant or home, this is a simple way to bring a bit of funk into your space.

#3 Vertical Tile/Horizontal Running Bond

Even lesser known is drawing #3, a unique subway tile layout that is also a running bond pattern. Here the tiles are vertical, while the slightly different offset layout creates a line of strong horizontal banding. This is my favorite of the subway patterns and one that is completely underutilized.

Check our design boards under Design Ideas for more examples of how to use subway tiles in a pattern. laNeva offers two sizes of the traditional “subway” shape tile- in 2″ x 4″ and 3″ x 6″- with lots of different color combinations to fit your life.

laNeva Tile can also be mesh-mounted for your order in any of these stunning patterns. It makes your life (and your installers) simpler with fewer details left to interpretation!

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Bathroom – Austere Loft

This loft was an expanse of space with rich contemporary details.  The guest shower, although tiny, had to match.  One vertical stripe of detail on each wall kept it interesting without feeling out of place.

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Is it Modern or Contemporary?

What really is the difference between “Modern” and “Contemporary”? Even within the design community these words are often used interchangeably. The truth is the two are inherently different.

A trade resource (ie not available to the general public) from Moen discusses the fundamental differences between the terms “Modern” and “Contemporary” and how knowing the difference/clarifying their clients wants can help a designer’s success:

“Modern isn’t a style. It’s a way of thinking,” says architect Bryan Russell, a partner in the Atlanta-based Dencity Design. He says that modernist designers seek creative solutions for design problems. By contrast, contemporary is just a style and differs from traditional only in looks, he says. A good illustration of this is the traditional Cape Cod house: a simple box with symmetrical windows topped by a gable roof. A contemporary house might replace the gable with a shed roof, or with a flat roof surrounded by a parapet, and lose some of the detailing. But, because it’s basically a distilled version of the traditional home, major elements and proportions remain. Inside, the design will call for the same materials as a traditional, but with less trim and molding.

The modern home might be radically different: a box cantilevered over the top of another box with large corner windows, for example. That’s because the designer is more concerned with views to the outside than with composition. “Modern thinking is based on asking questions about how to solve problems and not necessarily following the tried and true,” says Russell.

Are you modern or contemporary or somewhere on the spectrum in between? To read the Moen article in it’s entirety, click here.

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