“The boys’ bath takes on the natural colors of the rural landscape in a 1x1 random color mix mosaic adding some punch and fun for the young occupant.” Tile manufacturer: Interstyle Ceramic & Glass

“The glass tile also offers a smooth surface for bathers in the pool where feet and skin come into contact with the tile.” Tile manufacturers: Hakatai, Interstyle Ceramics Glass

Located in an area known as Texas Hill Country in Fredericksburg, TX, a historic structure known as Knopp School and its adjacent Teacher’s Residence recently underwent renovations - merging modern and contemporary designs, while maintaining a fluid connection to its surrounding landscape.

“The project took shape with us balancing the historic structure of Knopp School and the Teacher’s Residence with the contemporary intent of the homeowners. Curved walls, skylights, freestanding walls and pool areas were a few of the tile challenges we dealt with in the process,” said the project’s designer Rahnee Gladwin, R. Gladwin i.Design Tile. As an interior designer and Tile Heritage Foundation member, Gladwin says she has enjoyed working exclusively with ceramic, glass, metal, and stone tile as her design medium since 1998.

The schoolhouse, which features handmade tile, is tiled in a more traditional style with wainscot. Although the interior may now be contemporary, “the exterior retains the original stone walls as does the interior. They are beautifully integrated with the new areas,” Gladwin noted.

Commenting on her vision for this particular project, Gladwin said, “Natural colors of the landscape were sought as our touchstones to communicate a connection to the land and water of the Texas Hill Country - taupes, blues, greens and iridescents - to reflect the changing nature of the environment.”

In addition to complementing the landscape, Gladwin’s designs also integrated local resources into the project. “The original structure constructed of large stone blocks of local limestone was incorporated as the central structure to house the living, entertainment and a second floor teen suite with contemporary (modern) additions that branch off to form the kitchen, dining room, master suite, entry, powder room, craft room, downstairs boys’ bedroom and bath suite and pool.”

“The kitchen backsplash of iridescent oval mosaic tiles glistens and changes as the daylight moves across the kitchen interior through the skylights. Sometimes, it reflects the colors of the earth with taupes and grays, and at other times, it reflects the blues of the rivers and streams.” Tile manufacturer: Sicis

Meeting the Needs

Each manufacturer and tile collection fit a particular need within this project. After much research, Gladwin and the homeowners, Jim and Victoria Brown, were pleased with the results of their selection.

For the kitchen, Sicis’ NeoGlass, a mosaic glass tile, was utilized for the backsplash’s curved walls. “These tiles were mounted with the longest length of the ovals traveling horizontally to increase the visual length of the space,” Gladwin added.

The master bath’s tub and shower walls were fitted with the matte Walker Zanger Roku Series (6”x12”) glass tile in Sharkskin for a sophisticated, clean contemporary look that “blended well with the cement floor, cement vanities and cement tub deck. The large-scale size grounded the glass tile with the ‘weight’ of the cement surrounding it,” noted Gladwin.

To add an element of “punch and fun for the young occupant” and to complement the terrazzo floor tile, Gladwin went with Interstyle’s Glassblends random-colored mosaic series (1”x1”) for the downstairs boy’s bathroom, while the upstairs teen suite bathroom was fitted with 1”x1” Oceanside Tessera in Tahoe, also for the fun aspect, but with a contemporary twist.

“The master bath’s large scale glass tile in a matte taupe shade exudes the contemporary and sophisticated mood of the home owners paired with concrete vanities, floors and tub deck.” Tile manufacturer: Walker Zanger

To beat the inevitable heat of the Texas sun, the homeowners also added a swimming pool, spa and water feature to the landscape. The pool is lined with Hakatai’s Tivoli glass mosaic on the bottom and sides, while the spa and fountain areas feature Interstyle’s Glasstyle (2”x2”) series.

“The pool bottom incorporates iridescent-finished black glass tile [Hakatai’s Tivoli, Indigo Blend Iridescent]. This coloration gives the pool a quiet visual depth with sparkle that changes as the sun travels across the pool; while the spa areas of the pool are covered with a bright green 2”x2” glass tile from Interstyle that pops the surrounding greens of the farm fields into the pool. The glass tile also offers a smooth surface for bathers in the pool where feet and skin come into contact with the tile,” Gladwin noted.

So, did this 19-month-long project yield the expected results? You bet, says Gladwin. “The homeowners and their two boys where wowed with the results. The family enjoys the baths and the pool - delighting in the design everyday.”