Your New Tile Obsession: Cement Tile by Sabine Hill

Sabine Hill boasts modern and organic designs infused with the traditional process of creating cement tile. Each piece that Sabine Hill creates bears the seal of an artisans touch. With slight imperfections and irregular edges, these characteristics add to the tile’s natural appeal. Cement tile is suitable for wall and floor coverings for commercial and residential use.

Sabine Hill Booth at Coverings. Their “kinetic” pattern pops out on the floor.

Cement tile first appeared in the late 19th century in France and its use quickly spread into Europe, Latin America and the United States, primarily in California. Its popularity began to wane in the 1940’s but now cement tile is making its comeback in a huge way. With Sabine Hill’s innovative, geometric and organic designs, many styles can be achieved in a residential or commercial application.

calypsoSabine Hill’s “calypso” pattern.

Unlike other patterned tile, the custom placement of cement tile can drastically change the overall design.
See how Sabine Hill’s “bluff” pattern changes from one design layout to the next!

How is Cement Tile Made?

Sabine Hill’s cement tiles are made by hand; one at a time using a metal mold that creates the design. These metal molds resemble large cookie cutters. The tiles are then left to air dry, much like ordinary industrial cement. The next step is color; a layer made of white Portland cement, white marble powder, sand, water and mineral pigments is hand poured onto the tile, section by section.

The “tilt” mold resembles a large cookie cutter

A second and third layer of cement is applied to the tile, which is then pressed using a hydraulic press. Once the process is complete, tiles are left to cure on a cooling rack for an additional day. Since clay is not used to produce cement tile, the use of a kiln or any high-temperature curing process is absent, thus contributing to cement tile’s cost effectiveness and Eco-friendly properties. Due to its handmade nature, cement tile ranks high along with many other high-end tile types.

processHand pouring of the color layer (left) and the final product (right).

tilt 5Various layouts of the “tilt” pattern

Cement tile is making a big splash at All Natural Stone and we hope that you’ll become just as obsessed as we are! If you’re thinking of making the switch to cement, check out our cement tile displays at our San Jose, Burlingame and Pleasanton showrooms!

photo credits:    http://sabinehill.com/gallery/     http://sabinehill.com/tiles/about-process/

Homemade Tile Ornaments: A Nifty Holiday Project In 12 Easy Steps

All Natural Stone Showroom Christmas Tree

Go big or go home—that is the mantra for Christmas in the Bay Area. Extensive planning is required to ensure that the holidays go off without a hitch, from decorating to entertaining. The pressures that come with this sometimes leave us without a second to catch our breath or enough limbs to handle everything. However, if you’re one of the few fortunate out there who has time to spare and/or are just looking for something crafty to do, we’ve got you covered. If you’ve got some extra tile from your past or current remodeling projects, follow these easy steps to create your very own tree ornament—All Natural Stone style! (brought to you by our genius in-house designer, Lucila)

5 Bay Area Haunted Homes

In celebration of All Hallows’ Eve, we’ve rounded up 5 historic Bay Area homes that will give you the creeps. From Sarah Winchester’s head spinning labyrinth to the haunting of Mary Lake at the Queen Anne Hotel, these abodes are sure to make your skin crawl.

Winchester-House

1. Winchester Mystery House. San Jose, CA
The stories and rumors behind the Winchester Mystery House have been considered unexplained haunted phenomenons to some, and tales of ever changing fabrications to others. It is evident, however, that this 126 room mansion is swarming with rich history. The home’s most colorful owner and namesake, Sarah Winchester, fell into a deep depression in 1866 after the death of her young daughter, Annie. Shortly after, her husband, William Winchester fell ill to pulmonary tuberculosis and died on March 7, 1881, leaving Sarah 48.9 percent of the Winchester Repeating Arms fortune. After pursuing guidance from a medium, who informed her that the spirits of the thousands killed by the Winchester Henry Repeating Rifle were seeking vengeance, the grieving widow sold her home in New Haven, CT and ventured west to the Santa Clara Valley. Her journey led her to a 6 bedroom home under construction, which the alleged spirit of her late husband instructed her to purchase. She began meticulously rebuilding the home, adding rooms to rooms, turning rooms into wings, and by 1906 the mansion stood 7 stories tall. Unfortunately, the home did not withstand the great quake of 1906 and the top 3 stories collapsed and trapped Sarah inside her favorite room, the Daisy Room. Sarah believed that the earthquake was a sign from the spirits, angered by her near completion of the estate. Some experts believe that the confusing nature of the home’s layout were the result of the earthquake that left the mansion in disrepair. In 1922, Sarah Winchester passed away at the age of 83 and her estate and fortunes were left to her niece, who then sold the property to investors looking to turn the mansion into a tourist attraction. The Winchester Mystery House opened to the public only a mere 5 months after the death of Sarah Winchester. Today, many visitors of the Winchester Mansion still believe the home is haunted by vicious spirits seeking vengeance; others admire its beauty and vastness, while some find Sarah Winchester herself to be a source of pure fascination. This historic mansion sees thousands of visitors year round and guided tours are available daily.

rispin mansion
2. Rispin Mansion. Capitola, CA
This beautiful, four-story, 22 room mansion, was built in 1921 in the style of Mission, Spanish Colonial, and Mediterranean architecture by millionaire, Henry Allen Rispin, who had plans to develop the estate further. Rispin was forced to sell the mansion in 1928 due to financial hardships and over the years, the home held many owners, including a convent of nuns called the Order of Poor Clares. The nuns sold the property in 1957, after complaining of the unsettlingly cold temperatures inside. Between the 1960s and early 2000s, the property fell to neglect and became a victim of graffiti and vandalism. After abandonment, Rispin Mansion quickly became the setting of many haunted stories. It is said that one can see the shade of a Lady in Black carrying a bible wandering the halls and unlocking heavy bolts. The mansion was beautifully renovated by the city of Capitola in 2012 and can now be toured daily.

queen-anne-hotel
3. Queen Anne Hotel. San Francisco, CA
Originally built in 1890 as a boarding school for girls, the Queen Anne Hotel inhabits one of the friendlier ghosts one may encounter. The ghost of Mary Lake, a strict yet kind instructor of the once boarding school, is said to haunt rooms 410 and 414. During your stay at the Queen Anne, you may experience having your bags mysteriously unpacked for you, pillows fluffed and one might even be tucked into bed on a cold night. If you’re in the San Francisco area, be sure to stay at this stunning Victorian boutique hotel and receive the hospitable service that the ghost of Mary Lake is known to provide.

Chambers-Mansion
4. Chambers Mansion. San Francisco, CA
The Chambers’ Mansion is the setting of one of the more spine chilling tales heard in the Bay Area. Built in 1887 for Silver Rush tycoon, Richard Craig Chambers, the Chambers Mansion is home to the ghost of Claudia Chambers. Claudia and her sister, nieces and heirs to Richard Chambers’ estate, moved into the mansion in 1901 after their uncle’s death. Soon, they began despising each other deeply and Claudia’s sister purchased and moved into the home next door to avoid further confrontation with her sister. Shortly after her sister’s departure, Claudia met a grisly fate and was found dead in the Josephine room of her home. Members of the family claimed that Claudia’s death was the result of a “farm implementation accident” but the public believed that she was murdered by a jealous and insane relative. Today, the mansion has been converted into a well-respected Victorian boutique hotel and is available to visit daily.

Old Gilroy Hotel

5. Old Gilroy Hotel. Gilroy, CA
Little is known about the Old Gilroy Hotel but the rumors behind its eeriness is gruesome nonetheless. At one time, the Old Gilroy Hotel was a popular destination for travelers on Old Monterey Highway to stop and rest in the Garlic Capitol. It is said that two young women still haunt the halls and adjoining rooms of the building that once was the Old Gilroy Hotel. These apparitions are the alleged victims of a murderous man who stalked and killed several women in that very building. Previous workers of the hotel claimed to have heard banging on the doors as if someone was trapped inside of the rooms. The building is currently vacant and not available to visit, but can be viewed from the street.

 

Photo credit 1: http://www.ronsgoldclub.com/resources/10-homes-you-never-want-to-buy
Photo credit 2: http://www.capitolamuseum.org/1930rispin.html
Photo credit 3: http://www.sanfranciscohotelguides.com/articles/top-5-famous-san-francisco-hotels/
Photo credit 4: http://www.ronsgoldclub.com/resources/10-homes-you-never-want-to-buy
Photo credit 5: http://www.loopnet.com/Listing/14616039/7365-Monterey-St-Gilroy-CA/

4 Summer Interior Design Trends For All Seasons

It seems just like yesterday when we were marking our calendars for June 21st, the start of the liveliest season of the year. Now, that summer’s winding down, you might already start to feel the withdrawals. But don’t fret; it’s not quite over just yet! And, in your home, it doesn’t have to. Check out the following 2013 summer trends that are hot both right now and even when the days start to cool back down!

1. Emerald Green and Blue

emerald green and blue decor summer trend all natural stone san jose

4 New Ravenna Tiles That’ll Bring Your Home Right [in]to the Ocean

With summer at its peak, many are flocking to the beaches to soak up the sun. Northern California residents are especially lucky to have such easy access to the cool blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, and even luckier still are those who wake up everyday to the sight of them. For those who wish to have an ocean view or what may lie beneath those crashing waves, we’ve got a take-home solution for you that won’t require a hefty mortgage.

All Natural Stone gives the Bay Area access to a selection of coastal and marine-themed fine tiles from New Ravenna. The following designs will not only bring perpetual summers, as well as “seaside views,” it will also provide the illusion of being submerged beneath the ocean’s surface.

1. Eddies with Sea Creatures

New Ravenna Edie Creatures All Natural Stone Bay Area Tile

Use this quirky tile mosaic as a kitchen or bathroom backsplash, and you’ll feel as if you’re living inside an aquarium! Crabs, seahorses, and seastars comprised of various colorful stones bring the ocean to life in your own home with New Ravenna’s Eddies with Sea Creatures!

2. Oceanius

Oceanius New Ravenna Crema Marfil Marble Travertine All Natural Stone San Jose

You’ll catch yourself carefully watching your step once you enter a bathroom featuring this life-like bathroom floor medallion. The seaweed or kelp design is portrayed quite realistically with the “blending” of colors from stones, such as Crema Marfil Marble, Renaissance Bronze, and Sylvia Gold.

3. Coral

New Ravenna Coral Glass Mosaic Tile All Natural Stone Burlingame

Dive into the most vibrant and colorful coral reefs in the world with New Ravenna’s Coral glass tile mosaic. This fun, adorable, and modern backsplash is created with hand cut glass tiles made from Rosa Quartz and Agate, perfect for bathroom back splashes for all ages.

4. Float Fish

New Ravenna Float Fish Sardonyx Pearl Quartz Water Jet

Can’t get out to the lake or the open sea enough to catch yourself the freshest fish? Well, leave your boat in the garage, and come on down to one of All Natural Stone’s Bay Area locations where you won’t have to wait too long to catch something good! New Ravenna’s Float Fish practically hands the fish to you on a platter—well not quite—but they’ll surely be swimming on your kitchen back splash! These inhabitants of the sea (or potentially your kitchen!) are crafted through water jetting and hand cutting each piece of tile. And, they owe their lively colors to a variety of stones, including Pearl Quartz, Garnet, and Sardonyx.

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We know most people don’t have the privilege to live so close to aquatic areas or are too busy stuck in their daily adult responsibilities to head down to the coast. Luckily, if you fall in the latter category, take the short drive (or is it dive?) to Burlingame, Pleasanton, or San Jose and visit one of All Natural Stone’s tile showrooms and we’ll ‘hook’ you onto some quality stone tiles that’ll turn your inland home into an ocean front escape. Our expert staff is here to help sail you to your dream tropical hideaway—nothing fishy about it!