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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Tile From Afar and Stone From Nearby

A reminder to our readers: Val and I originally bought a parcel of land in SW Utah, in late 2000 when we were on a road trip and visited old friends Rod and Pat who lived near St. George. We instantly fell for the expansive views, the red rock cliffs, the smell of the sage. We started to collect stuff for the inside of a future house, including tile from Mexico, some purchased in Mexico and other stuff bought in Albuquerque and Santa Fe and "trucked" back with us in the VW Eurovan. Long story short: we decided SW Utah was not for us, too many reasons to enumerate (though it is still gorgeous and we love to visit.) Fast forward to 2010, and we are building this whacky "cabin" on the top of a bluff 15 miles from the nearest small town, with no electricity. Where would be the perfect place to use that stunning cobalt blue tile with the antique Majolica accent tiles we've had in our storage closet for almost ten years? At our New World at Cascade Bluff, of course....

Looking into the kitchen, with the cabinet "shells" in place but not much else...
Jim Elverhoy, the master tile artist, laying out the pattern for one of the walls...

Don, getting ready to cut a tile to fit around an electrical outlet....

...Here is the tile, lying in wait...

The back splash behind the sink, going up, one...

...two...

....three... Notice the fancy cutouts required to fit around the outlet...

Here's one counter newly laid, still gleaming wet from having just been wiped clean of dust... Don't you just love that cobalt blue?

Here is the finished back splash behind the sink, with some antique tile accents...

A close up of one of our Majolica tiles. We bought these at a beautiful little shop in the old town section of Puerto Vallarta. The tiles are hand painted, salvaged from old buildings in Mexico, all over South America, and if the proprietor was telling the truth, even from Spain. The tiles are made of sun-dried red clay. Really old, really cool. And from very far away: 1500 miles to Albuquerque, over 3000 to PV, and before that, from...? OK, we admit it... probably our least "green" choice for the place... but ceramic tile is not toxic, and the antiques are "reused"... And we already had all the material!

The piece de resistance: the Majolica "mosaic" back splash behind the stove (not yet installed). We think it is pretty darned gorgeous.

Then there is the stone from nearby. The black slate for the hearth under the wood stove (temporarily decommissioned and resting in the corner of the room) comes from "The Range." For the non-Minnesotans out there, that means The Iron Range, ie, the central NE section of the state, where iron has been mined for many years. Towns like Ely, Hibbing, and Virginia were built by the mines, and now that the ore is mostly gone those towns are really suffering. Just so happens that Virginia has a stone quarry too, and this great black stone comes from there, around 100 miles as the raven flies and 132 mi by truck.

Here's one of Jim's stone masons at work, cutting and fitting the VIrginia slate. It looks great but we are told by the experts that there must be a ton of iron in this slate, since it is very hard.

The heat shield wall behind the wood stove might have been just more random chunks of the slate... But Jim asked if we wanted any sort of pattern or design. I said, well here we are on the Cascade River, on Cascade Bluffs road.... How about a stream of stone?
Here it is, emerging...


A close up of the rushing stone stream...

We are so pleased with the beautiful details that are evolving at our place in the woods! Stay tuned, more is coming...

1 comment:

  1. You would have enjoyed being at your house today. The weather was blustery and there were a few snowflakes in the air. The green of the trees is making its was across the valley and up the hills. While I worked I watched a bald eagle soaring around the valley. It came up and over the ridge, made a few circles above your land, before moving out over the western valleys. I never once saw it flap its wings, it was sailing on the wind the entire time. It was fun to watch while I worked. -Nathanael

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