thin brick tile

Hearth and Home — The Fireplace

Kirk Fireplace

Anyone who has started a business will smile at the memory of selecting the name. The name is important, and sets the tone for the future. What is this child you are creating? What are your hopes and dreams for this new creation? What would you like to offer the world, when you give this gift of a name?When my daughter, Emily, and I brainstormed names for our company, we wrote down many ideas. We liked the name “Lions’ Gate tiles,” because of the massive female stone lions at the main gate of the ancient city of Mycenae. My major was Classics in college, and the image of these guardians was a favorite of mine. But there was already a film company by that name, and it seemed confusing. We liked the name Shakti, because of the “girl power” meaning of the word. However, it sounded too Indian, and we are made in America.We settled on Inglenook Tile Design. During one of my university “vacs” in England (many years before), I stayed in a cottage named “TOAST,” belonging to my friends Linda and Ralph. When Ralph ripped out a wall of the cottage, they found a huge, walk-in fireplace, covering the entire back wall. You could walk inside, and one could imagine an old granny nodding in the stone seat within the side wall. It was the heart and center of the home, where you prepared food, told stories and kept warm. This was the kind of home energy we wanted to emanate from our little company. So Inglenook Tile it was.

True to the spirit of the name, our brick tiles now grace many fireplaces and chimneys. The Kirk fireplace pictured above is the creation of our customer, David Kirk. He wanted a fireplace in the family’s basement family room, but there was no chimney. He used our tiles to create the ambiance of a fireplace wall.

Another customer  created a fireplace wall, with a mantel, for their wood stove.  The built-in alcove provides storage for their wood. In addition, the brick tile absorbs the heat from the wood stove, and radiates it back into the room.

Brook’s Kitchen

The Hanleys also used our tiles as a focal point for their wood stove.This clever hearth is part of a brick tile floor. The hearth area is marked off with a frame of tiles set in a different pattern, and then the herringbone pattern is continued into the firebox. The result sets the hearth aside from the rest of the floor. Another fireplace surrounded the wood-burning firebox with a soldier course of our brick tiles, and created a slightly elevated hearth. Still another created a similar, traditional fireplace for their pre-fab gas log insert.

Hanley Wood Stove Enclosure

Other customers like the warmth of a fireplace in the kitchen.  Here are two pictures of kitchen wall fireplaces. Brook used our tiles on his kitchen floor, and also on the fireplace wall, adding warmth to the seating area.  The other wall fireplace encloses a gas insert, and a small alcove was also created beneath the firebox, to simulate an opening for wood storage.

Brook’s Kitchen

Kitchen Wall Fireplace

Our tiles have also been used on the outside of the house, to create the look of an exterior chimney, where a full-thickness brick could not be used.

Lauhoff Chimney

The uses of our brick tiles aren’t limited to use in the home — the Lorien Hotel and Spa, in Alexandria, Virgina, built a tall pizza oven wall in their dining room.  This created a traditional Mediterranean ambiance for the restaurant. Many of the floors in the common areas of the hotel are also our tiles.

Lorien Hotel Pizza Oven Wall

Use your imagination to create the warmth of a home fire in your own castle.
Fireplace Surround For Gas Fireplace
Fireplace Hearth
Fireplace Hearth (set within a brick tile floor)

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 .