Ah, Heath Ceramics. Where to begin…
When we first began thinking about the work we wanted to do on our house, adding ceramic tile from Heath was at the top of our list. Started in San Francisco in 1948 by ceramicist Edith Heath, Heath quickly became known for their range of shapes and beautiful glazes in their pottery. In 1960 they opened their factory in Sausalito and in 1969 started experimenting with tile and it’s function as building material.
In July, I was lucky enough to visit the Heath factory and showroom in Sausalito. Here are some photos from my visit.
The best part about the factory is the shed in the back where they sell tile overstock and seconds for a fraction of the normal cost. I had a small kitchen backsplash for which I needed tile and was hoping to find a great deal here. As luck would have it, I did! For a mere $60, I walked out of there with 30sf of this custom, handmade turquoise tile.
And here it is installed…
The only downside is that they will not ship overstock tile, so I had to divide the very heavy tile between two carry-ons and take it home on the plane with me and my five year old daughter, who was no help by the way. In the end, it was worth all the effort as this tile would normally go for about $30 per linear foot.
It’s a good thing I found a bargain for the backsplash because the fireplace was another story. We could have invested in a painting, or designer furniture, but instead we splurged on a custom Heath tile installation on the face of our fireplace. After a few trips to the LA showroom, we decided on Dimensional, made-to-order tile in bowtie and diamond shapes. Installed together, they create an eye-catching modern pattern. With over 90 glazes to choose from, we went with a layered glaze in chalk-gunmetal.
Since each tile is made by hand, the lead time was a couple of months. It felt like Christmas morning when the tile finally arrived. With the nature of this tile being difficult to install, we had to locate an installer who had experience with Heath or handmade tile. We went with Sam the Tile Man who installed the Heath showroom in LA. He was very professional and the finished product turned out as beautiful as we had imagined.
Here are some images of the installation.
And here is the finished product.
If you’re interested in learning more about Heath Ceramics, go to their website or checkout a showroom in LA or San Francisco.