At this point in the project we're making tons of selections for interior finishes. Today's topic: the gorgeous encaustic tile floors that were selected for the restrooms. We absolutely cannot wait to see these installed! Here's a sneak peek at the pattern:
Encaustic tile is known by a ton of different names, but encaustic tiles are made from marble, cement and minerals. They are individually formed by hand within metal frames that define the pattern, and finished with a high pressure hydraulic press. Encaustic tiles are not fired in a kiln. More detailed information on how the process works is available here: How Encaustic Tiles Are Made. One tremendous advantage of these tiles is that the color layer extends deep into the tile, rather than being applied to the top surface. As the tiles wear underfoot, the pattern will not be lost - even if the tiles became concave! If you've been fortunate enough to travel in Spain or perhaps in the shops of Paris, and have seen strikingly patterned floor tiles that are well worn underfoot but still show their patterns, chances are you've seen the encaustic tiles in person.
Most agree that encaustic tiles have been around since about 1850, but opinions differ on whether they first appeared in Barcelona, Spain or along the bank of the Rhone River in France. Either way, these tiles became quite popular in Europe, and appeared everywhere from Tsars' palaces to Parisian storefronts to official governmental buildings in Berlin. We are excited to bring some old school building materials to Norris House that would have been in use at the time she was originally built. You can satisfy any further curiosity about the history of encaustic tiles here: History of Encaustic Tiles.
Folks local to Raleigh can see some encaustic tile at the Oak and Dagger location in Seaboard Station. Check the wall behind their gigantic copper brewing tanks. The owners of Oak and Dagger reported that they chose encaustics to replicate the look and feel of an old Bavarian brewhaus. We think you'll see these workhorse, gorgeous tiles popping up all over the place pretty soon. Give us a few months, and you can come on down to Norris House to see ours!