European Flooring

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Summer Inspirations in Provence

Where Heaven Meets Earth, Viens, France

It's been some time since I wrote a blog for Pavé.  My time has been needed elsewhere...since we will soon be launching a division of Pavé  - an e-commerce site called Historic Decorative Materials.  But this is not the point of this blog...that one will surely come.

This blog is something personal - from where I get constant inspiration...from François' birthplace and our summer trips to Provence...Apt, France to be more specific.

Being an American - I partly define myself as a Francophile.  I was a French high school teacher - but beyond that - the French language always holds a passion for me.  The words do fall from my tongue. I finally understand more nuances than during my college years studying l'imparfait.  Married to a Frenchman for nearly 17 years - I still have not accomplished the upside down smile - although my daughter has.   The standards and exactitude of the French cultural when it comes to food, beauty, architecture - it's all very real.  We can spend upwards of 15 minutes discussing what is the perfect angle to slice un gâteau that has an irregular form.  Sentences like, "ce n'etait pas mauvais" discussing the cake afterward - the most amazing cake I have yet to experience...was qualified as, "it was not bad".  This is exactitude.  This means that surely someone else somewhere can make a more delicious and more beautiful cake.  The bar is always that high.  Maybe unachievable...

Circling back to my life - Pavé, François - creating art and providing beauty...we are always searching to perfect our products....we see the standard of beauty in our minds...we know it exists...and we want to reach that high.  We follow our passions - we follow our instincts....and we get inspired from our summers in Provence.

The Light in Provence...It's Like no Other

Walking in Provence - in small villages like Oppedette, Viens, Vachères, Céreste is the most favorite and crucial "loisir" François and I do when we are in Provence.  We take it in - most times in silence...the beauty leaves us speechless.

French Limestone Paradise, Oppedette, France

This unsurpassed beauty from an artisan so long there a more beautiful entry elsewhere?  I believe not...but I'm not French....

Harvesting Lavender with Oliver, François' First Cousin
A day spent with Oliver - François came home smelling like lavender fields and sleeping like a baby that night.  

Saturday Morning Market, Apt, France

Aside from our famous walks - the second best "loisir" is spending hours Saturday morning in Apt...Le Marché d'Apt.

What to cook tonight????
Merci, Monsieur for having your bar raised so magnificently high for your bread!!
Les Melons de Cavaillon...soooo good!!!

Where's François?
Summers Fruits in Provence
Just a normal everyday cheese stand...there's that bar again....oh so high....
Le Mistral - as seen through my daughter's hair.

I hope you enjoyed this blog as much as I did writing it.  I am still in awe of the beauty.  I will forever be running after that bar...achievements of beauty that may only be found in the Heavens....

A Bientôt,

Emmi Micallef
Co-owner Pavé Tile, Wood & Stone, Inc.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

To Market - Le Top de Top of French Limestone Dallage

This Dalle d'Aquitaine exudes authenticity.  Fabricated from one of the best manufacturer's of French limestone in France, this outdoor installation has an enhancer sealer to bring out a richer patina and darker tonal values.

As Pavé Tile, Wood and Stone, Inc. continues to grow - François and I continue to stretch ourselves
professionally and artistically to match our highest expectations for this company that we began 15 years ago.  Although I have not blogged since last August - silence does not mean complacency. 

First and foremost, we are working with a new supplier in France that is "Le top de top!" for quarrying and finishing French limestone - so loved for it's durability and elegance and history.
We have brought to stock two French limestone that are antiqued with a savoir faire that François - who is oh soooo picky - is pleased pleased pleased with these finishes.  And from the photos and my own experience handling them, photographing them and blogging about them - I see why.

As co-owner of Pavé, I have done my share of traveling around France, meeting suppliers, seeing and touching reclaimed as well as antiqued limestone - and I have become as well quite discerning.  When I was younger and living in France, I assumed that every French restaurant would be good...and to my astonishment...that was not the case. This applies everywhere really - to not assume anything.  I will say the French limestone manufacturers I have met and we have worked with through the years are STILL ahead of the game in terms of quality and authenticity.  However, the company that we work with today is beyond our expectations for they have invested in the newest technology and education that puts these limestones ahead of the rest.

Dalle d'Aquitaine has an extraordinary patina and hand done chiseled surface that can be installed matte as seen above or enhanced to bring out richer tones.

The two colors we are stocking are Dalle d'Aquitaine and Dalle de Charentes.  Where Dalle d'Aquitaine are creams, wheats and subtle golds - Dalle de Charentes are greys, cafe and wheat.  The sizes are are stocked in 12”/16”/20” x Random lengths with the thickness being ¾”.

As casual as these photos are - taking them right when they arrived from France - you can imagine what they will do to a living space.  Creating a solid foundation under foot whispering of elegance and that quiet French discreteness that speaks volumes about those who live there.

We will be opening our showroom by appointment only  - and will have on view not only these two limestones, but others that will have different ranges and textures from this same supplier.

Pallets of Dalle de Charentes Antiqued French Limestone Dallage Flooring

French Limestone is a magnificent product and viewing it installed in our showroom next to our own Provence Ancienne French Oak flooring is delightful to say the least.  The colors and textures of these two authentic and organic products fit hand and glove.

Dalle de Charentes Antiqued French Limestone Grande Dalle Flooring
The question you may ask - what is setting this French Limestone apart from all the other stones on the over saturated stone market?  First, it's the absolute certainty that this is the real deal -  these stones are from one supplier in France working as hard as you and I, to bring to market authentic French limestone.  It's the real source.  And we - Pavé -  are truthful in our selling practices, period. 

Secondly, please look at the quality of the textures - it's subtle undulations, variations, veining, edging and worn patina. This is no easy accomplishment to achieve this level of aging.  This is not to be taken for granted.  Other stones at quick glance may seem similar - as well as...truffles from China.... Did anyone see that documentary????  I digress....

This Dalle de Charentes French Limestone shows two different installation possibilities.  One with an enhancer sealer and the top photo insert - with a matte sealer keeping that extraordinary soft matte patina.

Dalle de Charentes Antiqued French Limestone Grande Dalle Flooring
And as for my excuse for not blogging since last August?  After 9 months - I just finished painting all my decoratives - 109 new designs - 8 new Collections for a new division we will be opening at Pavé called Historic Decorative Tile.  This is an extremely large expansion of our wall tile division, but I remained true to who we are - focusing on historic designs from the 14th - 17th centuries France, Italy, England and the Moorish region of North Africa and Southern Spain.   These tiles are all hand made, kiln fired in our Massachusetts facility and allowing to be purchased through the click and buy site we are in the middle of developing.  The colors synchronize with all our French Limestone dallage flooring as well as our Provence Ancienne French oak floors.

We look forward to the coming months to see real advancements now - after a long period of quiet yet intense creation.  That is what François and I love about Pavé - it is our talent alone - working with our hands and our abilities that bring forth to market products of which we are proud.

A Bientôt!
Emmi Micallef

Friday, August 15, 2014

Antiqued Delft Tile, Francois 1er and PAVÉ

17th Century Antiqued Delft Tile - The Bees
A lot has been happening to PAVÉ over the past year.  As I had written before, we moved.  This move was imposed upon us by us for the conditions of the building were unsafe from those one hundred years ago.  Fast forward to a light filled, high ceiling, well-ventilated 14,000 sq ft facility with a 1200 sq ft attached showroom (open by appointment only beginning Spring 2015) - our creativity went into over drive.  We are working on a new division of Pavé that will be called Historic Decorative Tile.  I have been busy painting new series for our Antiqued Delft Tile which you will see in this blog, and as well as our Monet Collection - I will be painting in grays, blues and ochers our Montmartre, Carriage House, and Maison de Tunisie Collection as well as adding a new collection called On the Road to Florence.  These tiles will be hand decorated with my original paintings onto our beautiful hand made porcelain glazed crackled bisque tile.

As everything takes time...I wanted to post some of my new Delft Tile Series.  This first one is called Les Villageois for I have this need to turn everything into something French...being a former high school French teacher et al...

17th Century Antiqued Delft Tile - Wheat Fields
Our new division, Historic Decorative Tile will have it's own website - which I am also designing.  What drives my days (probably not yours...) is watching documentaries like last night with François on Voila TV.  It was a show on Chambord - the Château of François 1er (no relation).  We visited Chambord a couple of summers ago although to me, it seemed like yesterday, while taking in as much as possible via TV, the utter beauty of this place.  As I sit there mesmerized by the inlays and carvings in tile, wood and stone, I quietly sift through our Pavé Collections in my mind, present ones and those to come, thinking which ones could make an honest go at being accepted in a place like Chambord.  I was happy to announce to my husband that I could see a few of our collections there - a sweet dream that made me wonder if Francois 1er would agree.  Of course, my Francois does...but I don't know if that counts.

17th Century Antiqued Delft Tile - Fisherman's Wife is true.  We are that nerdy.  Or we are that authentic.  I prefer the latter.  So as my days are filled with creating, painting and running Isabelle to and fro - camp and play dates until school starts up again - my time is limited and thus, a bit slow going in terms of revealing new collections and new websites.  However, my daughter will always be my first Pavé must sit patiently until her time comes.  Which it will...

More to come...
A bientôt!
Emmi Micallef

17th Century Antiqued Delft Tile - Blacksmith
17th Century Antiqued Delft Tile -  Grape Stomping

Monday, April 7, 2014

Mixing European Materials with Industrial Chic - the 21st Century Aesthetic?

Perhaps some of you took notice...or not...but we did officially change our company name from Pavé Tile and Stone, Inc. to Pavé, Tile, Wood and Stone, Inc.  As a new cornerstone of our Collections, our Provence Ancienne French oak floors help to continue toward what our goal has always tastefully bring to the American market an authentic European aesthetic.

With soooo much on the market - with so many styles and tastes  - it can be hard to decipher what really should go together in a home.  I believe there is an adage with many American tastes...more is more.  The more colors, materials and textures - blending Italian ornate with American colonial can make one disoriented to say the least. However, I do see a back lash to that - with kitchens done in white on white on white with that added gray.  It is beautiful...but safe...and it's what every  Jone's is doing lately.

In Europe, not always true - but at times true - the adage could go...less is more.  This means perhaps one flooring material running throughout the home - not overly done - less swirls and moldings and trim and stone sizes etc...yet with a beautiful decorative and a pop of color.  As a company - we have our feet in old world Europe - but selling to the American market.  It is my hope that Mr. Jone's will begin to have free will and design not like his neighbor Mr. Smith.

We do take risks at Pavé...with more to come...but any one of our products is designed to nearly go with any one of our other products.  Close your eyes and point - and soon your home could  be tastefully done - perhaps even artfully done...risking what Mrs. Jone's could say...but we care?

If I did, I would not be doing Pavé at all...but importing white tile and white stone from China.  In the end...for there is that...we leave a design legacy for future generations.  There is a design legacy in France, in Italy, in Morocco...but what is it in America?  We are of the people who can meld and recreate - like mixing old world Europe with modern that I love and I term it frankly the 21st century aesthetic.  There is nothing like the sleekness of cool metal next to old wood and terra cotta tile....It's also called Industrial and you can find some wonderful examples on Houzz under that style rubric.

Understanding there are enough companies creating contemporary everything - I would like to think of Pavé as adding a small bit  to this design in a Willy Wonka like flourish....bringing forth authentic Europe materials - edited so as not to become too sweet or giddy...and beg homeowners. designers and architects to pair it with justice...keeping it vintage or mixing it up...just mix it up authentically.

A Bientôt!
Emmi Micallef
Pavé Tile, Wood & Stone, Inc.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Pavé Tile, Wood & Stone, Inc. is Expanding!

As of March 2014, Pavé Tile, Wood & Stone, Inc. has moved to a larger manufacturing facility. 

With the success of our pre-finished vintage French oak floors as well as our exclusive terra cotta floor and wall  decorative tile collections - we have moved to a larger facility.  This new facility will allow us to increase production of all our products and add new collections to our repertoire of artisanal tile wall and floor collections.  In the pipeline of new collections to come will be a Montmartre Wall Tile Collection that exudes 14th-16th Century France ( yes...certainly for the masses ), On the Road to Florence that will be a 21st century take on a 17th Century Italian Renaissance's coming out beautifully...I might add...a  subway tile that is glorious and so Pavé with a vintage Japanese twist and finally for the love of Delft...I am adding new paintings to our 17th Century Antique Delft Collection.  

Oh it's been a long road...and the art part of Pavé has had to step aside to the nuts and bolts of moving Pavé....but soon we will be back in our groove creating art on tile!

For a sneak peak to the new designs of Pavé's Delft Tile, here are two decorative paintings that I did which will be among the 14 new designs we are adding to this collection:

Never have we followed the same path of other tile companies...if one thing can be said, François and I continue to beat to our own drum...we follow our own cobblestone path...a trail leading to classic aesthetics that cross time and place - that can become new again that once seemed too old....well....old would not be the word....vintage is more like it....

A bientôt, 
Emmi Micallef
Pavé Tile, Wood & Stone, Inc.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Maison de Tunisie Vintage Terra Cotta Tile Collection

There is something appealing when one stumbles across authenticity.  I can remember when François and I first started Pavé and we were showing at Coverings.  Men with their little black cameras taking pictures of our products just to return from where they came across the sea, to copy all our hard work and originality.  I say to those men with this collection - good luck.

Pavé's Maison de Tunisie Vintage Wall Tile Collection takes 10 steps to achieve what we believe, a comparable tile to a real antique.  Ten steps.  Yes...we are crazy.  But we would never create something we did not believe in ourselves.  So ten steps later and two years later, we are have arrived to this point of authenticity.

Authenticity of what?  We certainly did not recreate the wheel...these Tunisian, Moresque designs have been done and redone for over 3000 years! flattering to recreate these same motifs for over 3000 years...why not Pavé?  Pavé is picky.  We will not create a new collection that does not exude who we are authentically.  François's father being a professor for a time in Tunisia, he and his siblings lived in Carthage, Tunisia.  He grew up among the Jasmin and palm trees, ate dates from the trees in their family's gardens and learned Arabic, writing the letters carefully with ink and plume.  Here is in fact a picture of François (on the right, standing up) with his younger brother Emmanuel and sister Anne in their gardens.

But I digress.  Whether one is French, Tunisian or American, there is something about these Moresque motifs that appeal to all our senses.  Sometimes I ponder this.  Why these designs?  I, as well as François, like "chunky" designs, designs one can grab and hold with the eye.  I am not pleased with over ornate motifs...they in fact make me dizzy.

Why 10 steps?  The first few is simply making hand made European terra cotta tile - high fired and glorious, a quality without compare.  From there, in our studios we do 8 more steps...and voilà!  We have 19 different motifs that come in 8 different colors.  This is where I step in...the American francophone.  As a former French high school teacher, lived in France, married a French guy and our daughter's first language is French - I am still very much American.  I get us.  I know, without generalizing...but in general, most American decors welcome pattern...but not too much.  Most American decors like color...but not too much!  A touch, a splash.  Thank goodness beige has been replaced probably by white - or by gray - but with an added zing, maybe paired with apricot or chartreuse.  So in this collection, we were very aware of color.  The colors still must seem authentic to Tunisia but translated ever so slightly for the American color palette.

Texture.  Of course through a computer screen - you could not possibly know the surface texture of this collection.  I will define it for you.  It's like a patina glass.  The decorative seems to be floating just underneath vintage glass with a slight crackle.  And yes, crackle is overdone in the tile market - but this tile called for it.  Period.  The crackle is done elegantly and adds to the authenticity of this collection.

Another fun part of creating an authentic Tunisian terra cotta tile collection is in the names.  I love naming my designs and colors.  I fully believe a name for a certain motif and a name for a certain color is a necessity when trying to translate how I feel and view about our products.  For me, our collections must speak to my soul or I will not have a passion for them.  I have names like Femme Berber and Tunisian Wedding to Souk and Place Victoire.  I have colors like oxblood, sky and sea mist.  I envision myself in this country and using the right word - my mind almost believes I am there.  I feel an openness - a big clear sky, a dark marine sea, a sea mist raised by winds, the sand beneath my feet, café one drinks that is rich and bitter...

This is just a sampling of the Maison de Tunisie Vintage Terra Cotta Tile Collection. If you would like to view the entire collection as well as all the names, colors and motifs, please click here.

So much is going on at Pavé...I have been quiet for awhile...but it's simply because François and I have been creating.  Next up is a collection close to my heart, The Montmartre European Terra Cotta Flooring Collection.  I added more designs and glaze colors.  I will be in my studio photographing the lovely boards François has made for me.  Look for that soon in the next blog and on our site.  And something so exciting will be On The Road to Florence Wall Collection - Florentine elegance and color inspired from the 16th century with my little American twist.

We hope you enjoy our hard work and authenticity!  Kudos to François,  for without his incredible hard work and meticulousness, Pavé would just be pretty designs on pieces of paper.  It is he who has tamed hand made European terra cotta tile. Period.

A bientot,
Emmi Micallef
Pavé Tile & Stone, Inc.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Farmhouse Provençal European Terra Cotta Tile Flooring - The Yellows

Perhaps you are as obsessed as François and I when it comes to hand made European terra cotta tile...or perhaps not.  But if you would understand why these 3 simple photographs I will show you in this blog are the achievements of our lifetime.  (Not really - that would be our  7 year old daughter.)

However, If  I could take you behind the scenes - the back story on how we finally achieved this feat - would take 13 years.  The number of years we yearned, pleaded, tested and screamed for this clay.  And suddenly...we finally got it. would like to know how we achieved this remarkable achievement because, the reality is that Mother Earth does not like to produce yellow clay too often, but we cannot tell you :)

What we can tell you is that the photographs I have taken are just the beginning.  Waiting for this stock is like waiting on a shipment of truffles.   When the stock arrives - and a few boards are made - I will show you the beauty of this clay.  As hand made terra cotta tile connoisseurs - François and I are oh so picky.  We want the perfect texture, the satin patina, just the right aging for the edges not to be too this or that...and the colors...these are wheats and they are straws.  Colors that are warm and neutral - something designers have been craving.

The Farmhouse Provencal Terra Cotta Tile Collection will be more than a collection reminiscent of the warm days in Provence - it will speak of the warmth of everyday living - the cleanness when mixed with whites - the modern edge when mixed with grays.  It will hold a room hostage in beauty - it will be elegant, subtle, old and already story-filled. 

We will stock in two classic Provencal shapes and sizes - the 8" x 14" x 3/4" parefeuille and the 7" tomette.

Sadly, I don't have anything more to add.  But in the months to come - you can be sure I will be humming to Charles Trent as I photograph this tile properly.  This is just a hint of what's to come.

A Bientôt!
Emmi Micallef
Pavé Tile & Stone, Inc.