Design Stories | Peninsular Fireplace

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Long-time Ann Arbor resident Barbara Sloat and her late husband J. Barry loved attending the Ann Arbor Art Fair, and it was there that they discovered Motawi Tileworks. At the time, they lived in a 1950s ranch in the Pattengill/St. Francis area of Ann Arbor. The house had a simple black marble fireplace that Barbara loved. When their youngest son was in Jr. High, she and Barry discovered a gorgeous piece of property on the Huron River and knew they had found where they wanted their next home.

They hired Ann Arbor architecture firm Angelini and Associates to design the home, complete with a simple black fireplace made with Motawi tiles. They lived in that beautiful home for 19 years. Sadly, toward the end of that time, Barry passed away. Barbara decided she wanted to downsize, so she connected with her friends at Angelini and Associates once again.

Barbara ended up purchasing and building a brand new, Angelini-designed 19th century classic American condo in Ann Arbor's popular Water Hill neighborhood. She told the Angelinis that she once again wanted a plain, black Motawi fireplace. She came to Motawi to work with designer Colleen Crawley, who was presented with the challenge of designing a peninsular fireplace this time. Colleen said "from the moment I heard that Barbara was having her home designed by Angelini and Associates, I was excited to be involved in the project. The open floor plan allows the 3-sided fireplace to be enjoyed from both the living and dining rooms, providing plenty of opportunity for the Motawi tile to make a unique architectural statement." Together, they translated Barbara's fireplace wishes into a beautiful and unique design. 

It's an artistic creation, not just a fireplace

Fate stepped in during the final design session, however. When Colleen left the design studio to run Barbara's credit card for the deposit, the credit card machine wasn't working and needed a re-boot. During the minutes Barbara was waiting for her card back, she looked up on the wall in the design studio and discovered Motawi's Cadet Blue glaze and knew she had to change her vision. "It's an artistic creation, not just a fireplace" therefore basic black turned into a stunning slate blue.

Left: Peninsular fireplace in Cadet Blue glaze  Right: 2x6 Leaves and Berries Border, 6x6 field tile and 6x6 Leaves and Berries relief tile all in Cadet Blue glaze.

It was just what I was after

Barbara loved Motawi's Leaves and Berries relief tile and border, so Colleen incorporated those with several square feet of 6x6 field tiles and the design came together beautifully."It was just what I was after. Simple, elegant, artistic. You know, you never tire of that." Barbara said of the design.

Sloat project quality control table

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