Northwest Renovation Magazine

A Home Improvement Magazine

Wow! That’s what all of us long to hear and feel about our decor, be our home small or grand or somewhere in between. And the good news is that goal is easily accomplished. All it takes is putting aside our fear of color (especially in the Pacific Northwest, where taupe passes for a jewel tone) and the knowledge that little things loom large.

The even better news is that getting that ker-pow! factor does not have to put a gaping hole in your budget. Despite a gray economy, there is a bright spot. At Clayhaus we have the ability to turn a mundane area into a unique interior vignette that will fit any budget.

A perfect example of getting the most decorative bang for the buck is incorporating tile — a beautiful, timeless creation — into a simple kitchen or bath backsplash or accent wall. With the right choice, simple becomes simply gorgeous. A vanilla kitchen can become an attention-gleaning diva by installing eye-catching tiles in your choice of hue, shape, and texture. Because a little can go a long way, you can tame the budget by keeping the square footage in check.

For instance, envision putting red into the mix of a kitchen backsplash of an otherwise ordinary cooking or eating area. The impact of red tile would be dramatic and warm and definitely add “pop” to the scene without having to do major remodeling. However, when it comes to red, the color of passion, less is often more.

“When you have accents of red, it draws attention to other things you might not ever notice in the room. The whole idea is to entice, intrigue, and invite without clubbing you over the head and dragging you in,” notes Jaymes Richardson of Civility Design in an HGTV Start At Home article.

Whether your taste leans toward eco-chic greens, bright pastels, metallics, watery tints, or jewel tones, there is an amazing array of tile choices. Tile selections can be keyed to add a modern twist to a vintage dwelling or old-school touches to a new home or condo. If you find the Bauhaus style intriguing, with its emphasis on modern characteristics and geometric designs, the selection is wide and fits in with a myriad of time periods and environments.

Texture and shape also play important roles in selecting tile for your home. Color is the most obvious décor feature of tile, but the texture, size, and shape of the tiles, even when in neutral shades, have a major impact on the design esthetic of a room. That holds true whether you are creating an avant-garde look or a casual, laid-back atmosphere.

Clayhaus Ceramics is a Portland-based manufacturer of handmade modern ceramic tile. To see complete line of loose field and sheeted mosaics, as well as their collection of decorative relief tiles all made with lead-free glazes, visit the website,, or phone 503-928-3076.

Rain Reynolds, a Seattle-based writer, is an award-winning journalist and self-taught decorator.

Click Cover to view a Digital Version of the current issue.