Design Stories | Sunflower Fireplace

Artist David Baker’s relationship with Motawi Tileworks dates back to the garage days on Packard (1992-1994). During that time, David owned a home in the Burns Park neighborhood of Ann Arbor, where many of the homes are Arts & Crafts style. With its wide moldings and all-over charm, he fell in love with the craftsman style of the 1920s house. In the next house he owned, David designed a tile fireplace which he loved, but when he bought his dream house in Ann Arbor Hills several years later, he knew he wanted a Motawi fireplace. “The color ranges are beautiful…the designs are beautiful.”


Floor detail at left: Field tile in 5040, Golden, 5024 Navy and 5153 Pear; Fireplace detail at right 4x8 Carnation, 4x8 Sunflower, 4x8 Tudor Rose in Gold Salmon Colorway, 6x6 Bleeding Heart in Green Oak Colorway

The nature and garden-esque themes of a lot of the tile just appealed to me

When he moved into the classic pre-World War 2 colonial, the fireplace was an awkwardly shaped box with contemporary cut marble, which didn’t appeal to his sense of style and didn’t complement the design of the home. He was excited to work with Motawi because it was a local company producing local art. “The nature and garden-esque themes of a lot of the tile just appealed to me” and working with Motawi to create the perfect design was a joy. For David, designing the interior of a house and creating a garden around it has been a lifelong obsession. His house is perched atop a steep hill, with stunning gardens covering the entire front yard.

 


Field tile in 5040 Golden and 5153 Pear; 4x8 Carnation, 4x8 Sunflower, 4x8 Tudor Rose in Gold Salmon Colorway

It has the look that it's always been there

David worked with former Motawi designer Hadley Lord. Oringinally, he wanted to incorporate as many Motawi decorative tiles as he could get his hands on, but Hadley encouraged him to take the ‘less is more’ approach. David was very pleased with the way the design turned out using only five decorative tiles. “It really is the core of this old house. It’s what you see right when you walk in the door. It has the look that it’s always been there.”

 


Field tile in 5153 Pear, 5040 Golden and 5024 Navy; 4x8 Carnation, 4x8 Sunflower, 4x8 Tudor Rose in Gold Salmon Colorway

This fireplace is a work of art that is the center of the house

The firebox itself needed construction before the tile was installed. The fireplace was converted from wood to gas and the old marble surround had to be removed to make room for the beautiful wood mantel he had installed in its place. David was very pleased with the installer and of course the designer. “This fireplace is a work of art that is the center of the house and that is how you do design.”

 


Field tile in 5153 Pear, 5040 Golden and 5024 Navy; 4x8 Carnation, 4x8 Sunflower, 4x8 Tudor Rose in Gold Salmon Colorway

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