Social Media Updates

AN UPDATE FROM JULIE GOOD-KRUGER, OWNER OF INGLENOOK TILE DESIGN

There have been many changes with us at Inglenook Tile Design over the last months. We have moved our tile-making operation from our warehouse in Kinzers, PA, to a work facility for the blind and vision-impaired in northeast Philadelphia. I am now working from a home office, in Lancaster County, PA, and making periodic trips to the new warehouse. We had a rocky start, when our large kiln was dropped during the move, but everything is now running smoothly. My new office number is 717-806-3900. I still meet with customers at my home office, and have loose tiles and concept boards to show. If you would like to visit, please call me to make an appointment.

Many of my visitors have liked the brick tiles in my front entryway, and so we have made a mold of this style, and called it Wimers Mill. This tile is slightly smaller than our usual 4×8″ tiles, with a textured top and a very rugged edge. The grout lines need to be wider, as a result of these uneven edges. What I did with my own floor was to press tiny pebbles from our stream into the mortar. When I sealed the floor, it also shined up the tiny pebbles. The black in the texture was done with a water-soluble shoe polish. It can be found at any Dollar Store — the Kiwi polish with a felt tip. After I used a low gloss sealer on the floor, I squeezed the black polish into some of the texture, then wiped off the top with a damp rag. After it dried, I sealed the floor again.  I did the same with the mortar. This lovely kitchen is a picture shared by the Cahill family, who visited my home office before Christmas 2011.

If you haven’t visited our Facebook page, please follow my regular posts, at Inglenook Tile Design. If you click “Like,” you will see pictures in your news feed.

I also found a wonderful site called HOUZZ.COM when I was looking for bathroom vanity ideas that I could build myself. I saw that they offer pages to builders, designers and people like me, and so I have also been uploading pictures daily to my HOUZZ site. You can create albums there for things that catch your eye, as you browse through their various categories. http://www.houzz.com/pro/inglenooktiledesign/__public

Our daughter, Emily, will be getting married this summer in our back yard. She and her cousin started a Pinterest board, called Em’s Fairytale Wedding. I started posting ideas on that, and then started another “For The Home,” which also has postings of Inglenook  Tile Design pictures (as well as other things I like, and links to some other artisans I know).  That board can be found under my name, Julie Good-Kruger. There is a limit to how many pictures I can put on the website, and our customers often generously send us photos of their projects. This gives me a chance to post many more pictures than you will be able to otherwise access.

Enjoy the lovely Spring!

Julie Good-Kruger

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Through the years with David and Pam Haring

Pet Friendly Flooring!

David and Pam Haring bought their home from Pam’s aunt, and she has many happy memories of time spent there as a child.  The Chester County, Pennsylvania, house was built around 1900, and has been in the family for many years. The Haring children were raised here, and now that they are grown, David and Pam share their home with two friendly, rescued dogs.

Hannah Kincaid Schofield

The home is filled with family antiques, and everything has a story. One heirloom of note is a striking museum-quality oil portrait, which hangs in the master bedroom. It is a beautiful image of Pam’s great-grandmother, Hannah Kincaid Schofield, born in 1822. The artist is unknown.

Another of Pam’s special pieces is incorporated into her Inglenook brick tile floor — a lovely, hand-carved cow butter mold, which once belonged to her mother-in-law.  Pam brought Julie (owner of Inglenook Tile Design) the original wooden mold, and Julie first made a polymer clay cast. This she hardened in the oven, and then made another mold for the final pieces. The butter mold was returned to Pam in its original, perfect condition.  A window-shaped depression was made in a brick tile model, and the image of the cow was inserted, so that the design would not extend over the tile surface to create a tripping hazard.

Hand-carved cow butter mold

Pam and David loved the special touch of the cow on the floor — so much so that they also requested a few pigs, and some fern “fossils”. Pam proudly points them out on the floor. 

The Harings chose the Wright’s Ferry brick tile, with its tumbled sides and rustic surface, in the Marietta color mix. Their Inglenook brick floor covers most of the first level of their home. It extends throughout the large kitchen, with a seamless transition into an equally large dining room. This floor held up well to the constant foot traffic and the large dogs. After the floor was installed, Pam and David decided to use the 2×8″ Lancaster Running Bond tiles to face a wall behind the dining room buffet. 

Dining Area

“I never want to live anywhere else,” says Pam. How lovely to be so contented, and know you are home!

The Haring Home


Featured Installation: “Pig House” — a guest house renovation

Concept of Lea projectJake and Gretchen Lea bought their lovely farm in Berks County, Pennsylvania, in 1972, and raised their twins there. The twins grew up, and the Leas decided that they needed a more private place to stay when they visited their childhood home with their families. 

Gretchen is a designer, and saw our tiles at the Historic Home Show, in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. She and Jake were planning a guest house on their property, and knew right away that our tiles would be ideal for the floors. Gretchen is full of imagination, and could see the possibilities in the touches of whimsy we could provide for her floors. In her work, she likes to include little “surprises” in the rooms she designs…which makes her a kindred spirit to Julie, owner/designer at Inglenook Tile.  

Jake enjoys piloting his small plane, so one day he and Gretchen flew to a small Lancaster County airport to see the tiles again. Julie picked them up at the airport, and brought them to the warehouse, so that they could see the full selection of styles and colors, and customize their order.  

In 2007, Jake and Gretchen decided to level the old pig sty on the property, where they raised pigs when the children were young. On the site, they built a new “pig sty” guest house, designed to complement the other buildings on the property. It has two bedrooms, a powder room, a full bath with a washer/dryer, a kitchen/dining room, a living room, and upstairs hallway. When Gretchen was planning the floors, she wanteFloor details lead a few tiles of pigs, to reflect the history of the old pig house that once stood on the site. We created a brick tile with an inset pig sculpture, to be placed randomly in the floor (see detail picture). 

Now when the twins visit, they stay in their own guesthouse. There are other guests that also enjoy the “pig house”; for example, a director from California recently took up residence there for a month and a half, while he worked with a local non-profit theater. Visitors can fish in the pond, swim in the pool, and walk the 2 fields of wildflowers on the Lea’s eighty acres of Berks County farmland. They have allowed their property to be used as a site for Geocaching (www.geocaching.com), and sometimes they enjoy seeing families digging for the “treasure” in their woods. Gretchen’s creativity is not yet satisfied with the “pig house” — she has plans to create additional living space in the tower silo.  

Lea kitchen

When asked how she feels about the tiles, now that they are installed, Gretchen says, “They fit in beautifully, and gave us a rustic look at a reasonable price.” She added that, as a designer, she appreciates working with companies that take pride in their work. 

Lea stairway 

If you are interested in working with Gretchen, she can be reached at glea316@ceinetworks.com, or at 610-367-6773. Her website is www.gleainteriordesign.com .

Home Office Installation

 These installation pictures feature an interior wall in a home office. Our customer, Steven, wanted brick shelves incorporated into the walls for candles and other accent pieces. Lancaster Running Bond 2×8″ brick tile and custom brick tile shelves created the effect he desired.

 Steven said the following about his experience with Inglenook Tile Design:

“The tiles I purchased from Ingelnook were great.  Their customer service is excellent and all the advice and guidance on how to complete the project was very much appreciated.  Everyone loves this wall in my home office.  I get compliments from everyone that walks in.  I’m very happy that I went forward with this project and Ingelnook was a great choice.
I’m definitely going back to Ingelnook for my next tile project!!!”

Watch for more new installation photos, coming soon!!

Installing Tile over a Vertical Surface

Kitchen cubby wall

At Inglenook Tile, some of the most dramatic installations of our brick tiles have been on walls, ceilings and chimney boxes. Brick tile can be installed on all of these surfaces without needing to pour concrete footers or otherwise add extra support, one of the major advantages of brick tile over full-sized brick.

Installing brick tile vertically, however, can pose a conceptual challenge to many customers– how exactly do you install it? How does the surface need to be prepped? Are there differences between indoor and outdoor installations? How does the installation process change if the tile is being laid over wood-framed walls, cement block, or drywall?

To help answer some of these questions, we turned to Jim Glessner, a very knowledgeable installer who has laid numerous Inglenook Tile projects. These directions and tips apply to our brick tiles as well as any other unglazed tiles that you might use on a vertical surface.

Directions: Installing Brick Tile on a Vertical Surface

Depending on the surface type you install over, these steps will be slightly different. Read more details in the surface-specific sections below.

  1. Prepare surface by screwing backerboard firmly into the wall studs, if this step is necessary for your surface. Cover the entire wall area that you intend to tile with backerboard.
  2. Jim emphasizes the importance of taking the time to lay out your tiles properly before you begin to install. Take careful measurements and lay out your tiles, keeping 1/4″ grout lines in mind. You might want to draw out the final lines on the wall.
    • Pay special attention to the final, highest row when laying out the tiles. You don’t want to be left cutting a small sliver of tile for the final row at the ceiling– it ruins the illusion of full-brick. If the final row lays out as a less than the full tile height, split the difference between the first, lowest row and the last, highest row. This way, you will have the appearance of full-sized brick for the entire wall.
    • If you are installing with corner pieces, as for a chimney, horizontal layout is also crucial to avoid cutting a much shorter tile piece immediately before the corner piece. As with the vertical wall layout, plan ahead and spread out the cutting between two or more tiles so that they are all a similar size.
  3. Once you have laid out the wall installation, install the tiles using standard mastic and 1/4″ spacers. Start at the bottom and work your way up, row-by-row. Be very careful to keep the rows plumb as you install tiles across the wall area.
    • For small wall areas, you may choose to use speedset thinset instead of standard mastic or thinset. You will need to work quickly if you choose to use speedset.
  4. Allow 12-16 hours for the mastic to cure for standard mastic; 4 hours for speedset thinset.
  5. After the mastic has cured, pull out the spacers and prepare your grout or mortar.
    • Jim recommends mixing mortar in a bucket with a 1/2 inch mixing drill
    • The mortar should be a thick liquid consistency, much thinner than the mortar used to install tiles on floors. You should be able to scoop up mortar and pour it into joints with a trowel.
  6. Grout in-between the tiles and strike the joints. Jim strikes the vertical joints first and then the horizontal ones.
  7. Allow 24 hours for the mortar to dry.
  8. Seal the tiles and mortar with a penetrating sealer of your choice to allow easy cleaning and protection from water.

Installing Over Drywall

For installing brick tile over existing drywall walls, Jim tells us that you have two options depending on whether or not you want to remove and re-install your trim or wainscoting.

Option 1: Lay tiles directly on drywall

The first option is to leave the trim in place and install the tiles directly over the drywall. Our brick tile and most other tile is thin enough to lay flush against standard trim without an unusual transition from the trim to tile. This option has the disadvantage of being less resilient. For instance, as Jim explains, if the wall were to have a hard impact, such as a 2-by-4 hitting wall with some force, the tiles would go through the drywall. If you choose this option, start at step 2 in the above directions and then follow as given.

Option 2: Lay tiles on backerboard over drywall

Installing the tiles over backerboard makes the wall more resilient to impact, but requires the removal of all trim from the wall area before installation. You then screw backerboard through the drywall, making sure to hit studs. You might wish to glue up the backerboard and then screw it in. Follow the remaining directions as given above. After sealing the tiles and allowing them to dry, reinstall the trim over the tile wall.

Installing Over Wood-framed Walls (New Construction)

For new construction, you generally will be starting your installation project with a wood-framed wall. Installing over a framed wall simply requires screwing the backerboard into the wall studs, exactly as the above directions detail.

Installing Over Concrete Block

Concrete block is simplest surface over which to install brick tile. You can stick the tiles directly to the concrete block with mastic or thinset. Skip to Step 2 above and follow the directions as given.

Interior vs. Exterior Wall Installations

The technique is the same whether you install tiles indoors or outdoors, but the products you use will be slightly different.

  • When installing exterior walls or chimneys, Jim recommends laying tiles with mastic that has a much higher portland cement content. This type of mastic is more expensive but is much more pliable, allowing the tiles to move with the movement of the building once installed.
  • Make sure to seal exterior tiles to protect against rain. Use a sealer designed for exterior use.
  • Only use tiles that have been tested for freeze-thaw resilience if living in an area with cold winters. Inglenook brick tiles have been successfully tested for freeze-thaw resistance by the Tile Council of America.

Not interested in installing yourself and live in central Pennsylvania? Jim can be contacted at 717.672.1987.

Feature Project: Pemberton Hall Visitors Center

Historic Site, Salisbury MD
Wright’s Ferry 4×8″ Brick Tiles, Running Bond Pattern

This thin brick veneer installation is in the Visitors Center of historic Pemberton Hall, a circa 1741 plantation home in Salisbury, MD. The buildings and surrounding land have been made into a park with miles of wetland trails and many day camps and outdoors groups often using the space for learning and play.

The Visitors Center building is a reproduction tobacco barn used for educational purposes. Inglenook’s 4×8″ brick paver designs fit the ticket for the interior brick flooring that is both historic-looking and rugged enough for the pounding of many little feet. This project was commissioned by the Maryland Parks and recreation system. In the picture above, the Pemberton Hall with an inset of the reproduction tobacco barn that used Inglenook brick tiles.

The entryway of the Visitors Center, by itself with an inset of children emerging from the learning center. This entire installation used Inglenook Tile “Wright’s Ferry” 4×8″ brick tiles in Old Strasburg color mix.

The educational room from various angles.

Julie’s Update: New kiln and other news

The most exciting event this week was yesterday’s delivery of our new Bailey gas cart kiln! We have been making many preparations for its arrival, such as putting on a new roof, pouring a new (level) concrete floor, and adding to the size of our workspace.

This kiln will improve our lives in many ways. Most importantly, we will be able to cycle many more tiles through our kilns, and shorten the lead times on most orders. We will also be able to load and unload it without crawling inside, so it will more user-friendly.

It is a sophisticated kiln that regulates itself, and we will not be required to baby-sit it on

evenings and weekends as it fires, as we do our present gas kiln.(Perhaps this fall we will get wood chopped for our fireplaces, after all!) So much of our time over the past year has been taken up waiting for the gas kiln to finish its firing cycle.

With the kiln, we also took delivery on an additional electric slab roller, which is part of our production process. With it, we will be able to add another line of workers, and fill that gas kiln regularly. Next, we will need to make a larger break room! With our new equipment, we are ready for the busy fall building season.

We will welcome Ben tomorrow, another veteran worker from the Coatesville VA Hospital.

We are excitedly anticipating an article that will be published soon in Architectural Digest, featuring a home renovation that used a large number of our Summer Kitchen brick tiles. When we have more information on this, we will share it in our blog.

Cheers,

Julie Good-Kruger

Inglenook Tile Design