La Cienega Boulevard is a major north-south arterial road in California, which runs between El Segundo Boulevard in Hawthorne on the south and the Sunset Strip/Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood to the north. In Hollywood, it’s a regular surface street and one of the city’s major thoroughfares.
The new Circa Lighting showroom on North La Cienega Boulevard in West Hollywood, which is known for its prominent location in the midst of Restaurant Row and a myriad of television network offices and movie studios, is constantly being updated for its high-end clientele, with a recent remodel completed using a variety of innovative porcelain products from Crossville, Inc.
The extensive renovation encompassed the 4,800-square-foot first floor, as well as the 2,400-square-foot mezzanine. The visionaries who planned the update — Circa’s leadership and designers, along with Houston-based architect, Rudy Colby of Colby Design — focused on function and fashion from the inside out, not only demolishing existing finishes and walls, but also replacing mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems.
The design team placed a lot of attention on the selection of surfacing materials used throughout the space, aiming for materials that would allow the lighting and accessories to serve as the focal point. Selecting a curated mix of the Crossville Porcelain Countertops collection and other Crossville tile products, designers were able to create a light and airy space that is both chic and functional.
For the first and second floor coffee bars’ countertops and backsplashes, the marble-look “State of Grace” design from the Crossville Porcelain Countertops collection was used, which features gray veins and subtle hints of black and brown tones. The main kitchen display on the first floor features an island clad entirely in the large-format tiles, complete with a waterfall edge on both sides to create a contemporary vibe.
An unpolished finish was chosen for all of the countertops throughout the showroom, which showcases the natural light throughout the showroom and lighting fixtures. “Since this is a lighting showroom, the design team had to be very aware of light reflection, so they opted for surfaces that would not compete or interfere with the purpose of the showroom and the customer experience,” said Shawn Robb, COO of C.V. Tile & Stone Home Center in Monrovia, CA, which completed the tile installation. “The very simple white countertops really let the lighting products shine, literally and figuratively.”
The Crossville Porcelain Countertops collection was also used for the tops of two 4- x 4-foot lamp displays in the design “Sugar Coat.” The solid white color was also implemented in the second floor’s lighting lab for the built-in cabinet with floor-to-ceiling recessed lighting options that highlight various lighting capabilities, as well as the countertop and backsplash in the employees’ kitchenette.
Five porcelain tile panels from the Crossville Porcelain Countertops collection were specified for the project, which each measure 1620 x 3240 mm (5 x 11 feet). “This project could have been done in three or four slabs, but to achieve the best layout with veins matching at the seams, we recommended the extra slabs for a better flow to everything,” Robb said. “Extra slabs are always a better option when doing countertops with waterfall edges.”
The large-format tiles involved a more intricate fabrication process, opposed to your typical 12- x 24-inch tiles. “We needed to cut the material at a slower rate with a special porcelain blade to keep cuts smoother and avoid chips and cracks,” Robb said. “We also needed to back-cut on a 45-degree at the joints to allow the seams to become more flush with a closer joint.”
The size and scope of the project also required a larger team of installers, according to Robb. “Four installers were needed due to the size of the island and to properly install the waterfall edge on the sides,” he said. “Also, transporting porcelain slab material takes more manpower, since it can be fragile during transport.”
During the installation, the layout and seam placement of the marble-inspired tiles was of utmost importance, especially for the first floor’s island. “That was the most challenging part,” Robb explained. “Since the island was the focal point, we wanted to make sure that the veins in the material continued through the seam. This is the reason we recommended the extra material to ensure we could align the veins properly.
“Most customers don't understand the need for the extra material when matching up seems with material with a lot of veins,” he went on to say. “We also wanted to make sure the backsplash was done in one complete piece, which was not done on the prior installation.”
It took Robb and his team about one week to fabricate all of the pieces for the showroom, with the installation completed in one day over a four-hour period. “Since completing this project, we have received multiple compliments on the layout of the material along with the attention to detail used to ensure the joints are done properly,” Robb said. “We have also received multiple calls regarding porcelain countertop installations due to the fact a lot of installers stay away from this type of installation because they’re unfamiliar with the product.”
West Hollywood, CA
Designer: Colby Design, Houston, TX
Contractor: Howard CDM, Long Beach, CA
Tile Installer: C.V. Tile & Stone Home Center, Monrovia, CA
Tile Supplier: Crossville, Inc., Crossville, TN (Crossville Porcelain Countertops collection in “State of Grace” and “Sugar Coat,” Retro Active 2.0 and Patterns collection in “Snow Blind,” Ready to Wear collection in “Flannel Suit”)
Tile Installation Products: Tenax USA, Charlotte, NC (Axson Technologies’ Wood and Stone Company’s Akabond 621 Clear Knife Grade Resin)