Robin Ferrier – Art Quilts »

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Hana House Update: The Tile

The rainy season has set in here on Maui and we are in long-sleeved shirts and socks these days.  On clear days like this one, you can still warm up in that hot Hawaiian sun, but that wind will remind you we are in winter mode here. Already our house has been subject to high winds that rattle the beams and make our house shudder.  Those gusts make me uncomfortable at times, so I stay put inside planning my holiday and with the dogs for company. Lately construction on the Hana house has been all about the tile.   It’s taken many hours, and several trips back and forth to Hana but we’ve finally decided on these for the kitchen; a sanded grey/green glass tile called “loft” for the walls and a brushed charcoal limestone for the floors.  It may not seem like much or even that complicated, but to me it was.  In the world of tile these days there are endless colors, surfaces, materials and motifs one can choose from.  In the end, I chose natural stone and sanded glass.  I just love how the cool the black stone feels and how it’s gentle irregular surface has the right balance of smoothness and organic irregularity. My inspiration is the shore where its not uncommon to find tumbled glass and smooth lava rock.The walls of the bathrooms are a different story. This tile is a printed ceramic tile that has the surface look and texture of grasscloth.  I like the feel of it and how it almost looks like fabric.  Because this is a larger area and because we have two bathrooms, price is also a serious consideration. Ceramic tile is good that way.  This photo was taken before the grout was filled in.  I have our guy in Hana, Nathan, to thank for the layout.  Trying to fit those tiles in between the beams was not easy.  He came up with this “H” motif which I think looks visually interesting and doesn’t allow those wood slats to interfere with the spacing of the tile.  It’s a little difficult to explain, just know I’m happy with what we decided. The end result is stunning! Now the room feels solid, waterproof and perfectly ready for a nice long tub bath!Meanwhile on the outside of the house, work is being done on those front stairs.  For this we chose Ipe, which is similar in density to the coconut wood of the house but has a more homogeneous grain.  The wood has to be treated with an oil which gives it that deep reddish color and protects it from the elements.  Looking at it now one might not appreciate just how much work has been put into this but I can tell.  For one thing, Ipe is hard! Those pieces are cut to precision and sanded to look smooth and inviting.  Walking on these steps feels solid underfoot and oh so much better than climbing ladders and planks like we used to.  As with anything, here in Hana, progress is slow and these stairs are no exception.  To that I would say, I wouldn’t have it any other way. After all this is Hana.

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