The Italtile Style Guide.

April 19, 2022

Your Look Locator.

Remember the little cellophane fish whatnot in Christmas crackers, along with the tiny pack of cards too weeny to shuffle (but your drunk uncle tried anyway), and the utterly useless miniature tape measure? You placed the fish in the palm of your hand and it curled, flipped or fell over, depending upon your mood. Which then corresponded to a prediction of passionate love affairs and untold wealth in the future.

If only the creation of an interior mood, look, style and colour palette was as easy as that! Interior design and décor might be creative and fun, but, as our interior design diva, Chapters CEO Melanie Ewing will tell you, there’s a fair old bit of science, a smattering of maths and geometry and a ton of in-depth study involved. Without it, you can get lost in the looks. Classic French. French Rustic. Italian. Nordic. Eastern. Art Nouveau. Belle Epoque. Baroque. Art Deco. Minimalism. Maximalism. Bohemian. English Country. Industrial. Modern. Contemporary. Natural. Eco-chic. Transitional. Traditional. Eclectic. Mid Century Modern. Biophilic. It’s endless. And any journey through the style world is a bit like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Complicated, confusing, and enough to make you feel a bit mad.

In the half a century that we’ve been curating beautiful living, interpreting trends and facilitating residential and commercial projects, we’ve chosen to radically simplify the journey into four key style themes. It’s the Italtile Style Guide in four parts – Classic, Urban, Natural, Modern. We’ll unpack them for you here and give you the clues you need to recognise the looks and select the style that resonates with your taste. We’ll also and match a selection of our latest limited-edition luxury with the four themes.

NATURAL

Are you seeking a more sustainable, harmonious existence? There are so many roads to Natural. From rustic, rural, romantic ‘cottagecore’ (worn wood, old stone floors, floral prints, patchwork, wicker, ceramics), to the big Biophilic Design trend (which reflects our innate connection to nature and the natural world outdoors) to eco-chic bush lodge looks and off-the-grid living. Natural mood boards love Scandinavian simplicity and the Japanese wabi-sabi aesthetic (the honest beauty of slight imperfection, like the knots in wood, or handmade pottery.) Look for nature-inspired forms, patterns and textures, organic materials, natural light, a light carbon footprint. Woven baskets, jute carpets, wicker, wool, raw linen, hand-thrown pottery. Plants. Natural stone cladding, stone-look tiles, wood-look tiles of every description: all beautifully eco-chic ways to make the Natural look sing.

Moda Vinile is a range of utterly outstanding imported vinyl wood-look tiles that offer all the lush looks and feels of timber, with excellent durability. Vinyl floors have come a long way since your granny’s days, baby. Décor tip: Don’t limit your imagination to floorscaping; may we suggest you consider “the fifth wall” – your ceiling – and give it a wooden finish to create those country barn vibes.

Aix is Atlas Concorde’s latest and (we think) greatest stone look innovation, with all the charm and sense of tradition of 18th century French Farmhouses – you can almost smell the rosemary and lavender in the hot Provence sun! Incredible digital technology has recreated authentic, time-weathered surfaces. From warm Beige and Blanc, to cooler Cendre and Fumée, these stunning stone looks will add a strong French accent to your natural moodboard. Décor tip: Make the most of our South African outdoorsiness by laying Aix inside and out – and create a perfectly seamless living space.

Our sensational ranges of Natural Stone Cladding are the real deal. No longer being used for outside areas, we’re seeing these biophilic beauties being incorporated into interior moodboards to create feature walls, decorate fireplace surrounds and highlight supporting pillars. We love natural stone cladding for its ability to conjure up those 5-star bush lodge looks.

CLASSIC

Fashions and fads come and go, but true style goes on forever. Modern Classic style is a forever look and pays homage to traditional moodboards. It’s a little bit romantic, with a feminine side; and it speaks of Italian glamour and French opulence. Today’s Classic decorator loves sculpture, symmetry, elegance and comfort. You’ll find columns, large windows, arches, ornate fireplaces, architectural mouldings, gilded mirrors and chandeliers in a Classic home. Warm, rich velvets fit right in, as does the play of black and white. Classic style is calm, sophisticated and sumptuous. Patchwork tiles, art deco pattern, Regency-style furniture, retro subways and rich woods are all Classics. And, of course, no Classic moodboard is complete without marble, marble and more marble. (Marble is to moodboards what pearls are to an outfit; as Coco Chanel said: “ a woman should have ropes and ropes of pearls”.)

The Pembroke V&A bath is an ultra-luxurious modern take on a classic freestanding tub. It’s seamless, having been cast from one mould, and then finished by hand. Regal, silky white and warm to the touch, with crisp lines, the Pembroke is named after the birthplace of King Henry VIII, and was inspired by Tudor luxury. So... expect a right royal soak. Oh, and an eco-chic one, at that – the Quarrycast material is a great heat insulator. Décor tip: We’re thinking black and white checkerboard floor and marbled subways to complement these Classic, crisp lines. Plus the matching Pembroke basin.

The Sofi tap range by Tivoli, with its curvaceous lines, brings those unmistakable under-the-skin Italian design genes home, backed by a no-nonsense 10 year guarantee. Durability, waterwise credentials and tapsolutely fabulous!

Our brand-new, just-unpacked Trinity Cavan black and white patchworks might be examples of the very latest digital technology, but they tell a majestically traditional monochrome story. Black and white, whether geometric, floral or graphic in pattern, creates crispy freshness on floors or backsplashes. Décor tip: We’re mad about pattern on a staircase, to create movement and a dramatic contrast against the walls.

The Shaws Shaker Sink has got to be the ‘most wanted’ item on our showroom floors right now, as the ultimate feature item in a traditional kitchen. Shaws of Darwen, UK, offers deceptive simplicity with a backstory of over a hundred years of master craftsmanship. Each one of our Shaws Shaker Sinks has been handmade and carries the date, number and maker’s signature stamp. These are Italtile exclusives, so you won’t find them anywhere else.

Well, we’ve already let the cat out of the bag about marble being a key theme of the modern Classic moodboard. But what we haven’t dropped is how marble has evolved as a look over the years. In 2022 you’ll read about The Modern Marble Trend, with beyond XXL formats and uber-decorative patterns. Enter our most dramatic marble yet. Mystic. Inspired by mountainscapes, seascapes and cloud formations, Mystic lives somewhere between fantasy and reality, in a space that Italian master tilemakers Ceramica Sant’Agostino call “beauty beyond nature”.

Another Italtile exclusive, and our most glamorous exquizzness to date!

Talking of Ceramic Sant’Agostino, check out our Intarsi patterned tile range - which takes two Classic looks – rich fruit woods and cool marble – and creates an opulently patterned hybrid look that you won’t find anywhere else – except maybe in the grand basilicas and cathedrals of renaissance Europe!

 

MODERN

This is the largest piece of the style pie. The biggest and most diverse set of looks. From mid-century modern, to the geometry of remastered Art Deco, to pared down minimalism of every kind. It is sleek and deceptively simple, seeking to express the ‘less is more’ aesthetic. The modern interior is clean, uncluttered and carefully considered. It can be monochromatic in mood (all the tones and hues of one colour set, like taupe, brown, terracotta, ivory, nude) or achromatic (the black-grey-white canvas). It features ingenious storage solutions and can handle pops of colour. Wood, glass, concrete, stone and steel create the bone structure. 

Viva the Concrete Evolution! Shop our huge selection of cement-look tiles – all of which are absolutely killing it in the minimalist flooring stakes. You’ll find everything from smooth and muscular finishes to more multidimensional, witty looks, with stipples and terrazzo-like fragments that capture the eye and delight the heart. Décor tip: Darker screed-look tones may swallow a smaller space, so as much as you might adore those charcoal feels, open up your compact space with a lighter colourway, which will reflect natural light.

Elevate your modernist bathroom mood with the Arco Black Wall Hung Vanity, with its got-it-all-in-one looks: natural wood handles, matt black soft-close drawers and squared off white double sinks. A monochrome masterpiece that wraps up those neutral moodboard tones.

While our Aix worn stone looks suit a more Natural canvas, we always direct our more modernist Italstylistas to the muscular, hewn-rock looks of Klif. Grand, almost majestic looks that will create that extreme granite ‘gravitas’ in a modern, sparely-decorated, high ceilinged, glass-sided living space. Klif may be what we’re crushing on, but we suggest you view the entire Italtile Stone Collection to find the stone looks that rock your world.

URBAN

This is the go-to style for city lovers. The look gets its inspiration from loft living, warehouse conversions and gentrified inner city spaces. It is spirited, energising and contemporary; the Urban aesthetic is all about cosmopolitan living. We always think about Manhattan here. Or the lofts along the Amsterdam canals. Or the spectacular apartments in Düsseldorf’s mixed-use inner city precinct.

Urban is a fusion of a number of styles – including industrial edge (distressed wood, revealed brick, concrete walls and floors, exposed copper piping), and buzzy pop culture (witty, quirky, hip and fun, like retro cartoon posters) but it also needs to be full of easy living to provide a cocoon from city stress. Less grunge, more comfort. Leather, neutrals, wood, mixed metals, matt black, screed, paired with scads of natural light from big, floor-to-ceiling windows. 

Décor tip: It takes a clever and imaginative eye to pull off an Urban look. Its eclectic personality might need a practiced eye; in which case may we suggest you speak to one of our design-certified sales assistants. And if we can’t answer your Urban questions, we’ll ask our design diva, Melanie Ewing, CEO of Chapters Interiors.

Program 1. More eco-chic water systems than taps, these matt black works of art

are masterpieces of industrial engineering. Our lead designer has termed them “needful things” and we couldn’t agree more! The influence of global urban architecture is very evident in the minimalist lines and sense of balance. Ultra-cool tapology, really. Décor tip: Please use a professional installations specialist. No, really. Please. (Unless of course you’re an industrial engineer.)

Darling, darling Kit-Kat mosaics, aka Finger Mosaics, are steaming up the spectacles of trend-hunting Pinterest users all over the world Right Now. Next Level Nowness that may or may not take over from Subways. These cheeky little slivers will create havoc with your heart when laid vertically or horizontally across your bathroom walls or kitchen splashbacks. In a range of soft neutrals and zingy, almost electric peacock Sapphire and Emerald. Snazzy, pizzazzy and pretty beyond.

The urban ‘second life’ aesthetic so popular in the recycled palettes of Urban dwellers is the inspiration behind the tarnished, weathered metal looks of Nox.

These extraordinary and unique metal looks will create instant talkability in your contemporary, urban spaces. Both inside and out. Floors and walls.

Last words. When looks collide in wicked cross pollination, creating complex hybrids, then what!?! Like Hygge Gothic Jungalow*. I’m sorry what, you squeak. And rightly so. We say, keep calm and call us. There are almost as many looks and feels as there are people in the world; personalities, habits, likes and dislikes curate individual looks. Eclectic is awesome when done with panache and some understanding of the humour behind it. But without an experienced eye, it can become an expensive, hot mess.

When it comes to creating your homestyle, ask us for experienced eyes. Always. We’re here for you 24/7, to help you live beautifully, confidently and authentically in your chosen style.

Ciao.

 

*Hygge Gothic Jungalow happens when cozy comfort (Hygge) meets decorative High Victorian ostentation (Gothic) and carefree, oddball Bohemian knick-knacks on floating shelves, with thrift-store furniture, dream catchers and indoor plants everywhere... oh and a pallet bed (Jungalow)! #nowyouknow