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Design Stories | Halsted Fireplace

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Manfred and Lisa Schon weren’t very familiar with the Arts & Crafts movement when they bought their 1921 home last year. They fell in love with the home after seeing it while driving by one day. Luck was in their favor a few months later because the house was on the market.

To just kind of 'be' in the house and listen to the house and let that guide us.

When they became the home’s third owner (and first owner outside the family), they knew they wanted to decorate the house in a way that was true to its roots. Lisa says they wanted to be respectful of the history; "in our hearts, we really wanted to just stay true to the style and be a steward of the house and take our time with the projects as we make changes; to just kind of be in the house and listen to the house and let that guide us.”

Beauty in progress

We made a commitment right then that when it would come time to do the fireplace, we would do Motawi. 

Through her research of the Arts & Crafts style, Lisa came across the Motawi name many times. She knew Motawi made tile, but hadn’t looked into it much more because she wasn’t ready for the fireplace yet. When she was in Ann Arbor purchasing furniture from Arts & Crafts furniture specialist King’s Chosen, the salesperson asked her about her plans for a fireplace and referred her to Motawi. The Schons took one look at a Motawi display fireplace and they were in awe at how beautiful it was "We loved the richness of the colors and the detail so we made a commitment right then that when it would come time to do the fireplace, we would do Motawi."

The Schons were paired with Motawi senior designer, Colleen Crawley and met with her for the first time with nothing more than a color palette in mind. They brought some sample tiles home and lived with them for several weeks making sure they had the perfect fit in the home. Lisa was grateful for Colleen’s ability to keep the project as historically accurate as possible. “She was able to tell us if things would work together or not. I think having a designer is really important and actually kind of critical.” Lisa said. “On the Motawi side, you want it to be a masterpiece and representative of what Motawi is, so by working with a designer, you get that.”

Tiles used in project: field tiles; 2x6, 1x4, 4x4.5, 2x4, 2x3, 1x2; glazes; 5002 Lee Green, 5024 Navy, 2019 Sepia; relief tiles; 4x6 Halsted, 4x6 Halsted Left End, 4x6 Halsted Right End, 4x4 Sullivan; Borders and trim; 2x6 Oxford Trim, 3x3 Oxford Picture Frame Corner. 

The Schons say using Motawi tiles for their fireplace wasn’t a decision made based on the beauty alone; “we took a tour of the Tileworks and that is one of the reasons why we decided to use Motawi tiles…just understanding that process and really appreciating it, that’s how we approached everything in the house. The fact that they were able to buy a local product "added to the cool factor."

Photo left: spacers make sure the grout lines are a consistent 3/16"; photo right: tile installer sponging off grout

The tiles were expertly installed by Val Zavedyuk of Elite Tile, who even came to one of the design appointments so that he could really get a feel for the project. The end result; pure Arts & Crafts beauty. Lisa says guests in her home absolutely love the fireplace. “They are very complimentary of it and fascinated by the many details, which often leads to wanting to touch the tiles as part of the experience.”

Project almost complete, just the custom built-ins needed.

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