If you’re a fan of the store, you know we love tiling. In fact that’s how we started almost 10 years ago…setting tile into concrete garden pavers (hmm, that should be a post). Anyway, we also started making tile tables when we first opened and we’re so happy to be able to show you our latest design…The Midge.
Our first tile tables we did using ceramic tile and we had a very definite “Mondrian” style. These are two of the first tables we ever made just before I grouted them. I was the one who actually cut and set them back then too. Learned a lot (like I am way too impatient to set tile)!
This beautiful table got us our first mention in the Los Angeles Times. We realized how much we liked a graphic style of tiling, even with something that was more traditional like this table. Someone once asked us if we would make them a table with a bird on it (no, not another Portlandia reference)…we politely declined. It just didn’t excite us in any way.
Then we found a vintage table that once had glass and was way too thin to put ceramic tile in and we thought, “glass tile!” So here is our first attempt at glass tile. We loved the clean look.
We even created a top with a channel so you could inset ceramic tile into the way thinner glass tile (not so easy, let me tell you). I wish I knew where this table was now. It was always one of my favorites. I would kill for a decent photo of it. But customers kept asking for very simple glass tile tables.
At some point a customer brought in this table her uncle had made in the 50′s for us to make a new base for as the old one was made of wood and she wanted to put it outside. We just loved the top and thought, “Round! That isn’t something you see every day.” And we found out there’s a reason for that…every stupid little tile has to be set by hand. But it was too late, we were enamored.
We had another great designer, Jeff Lindfors, commission us to make this gorgeous table (please, please when will be learn to take photos before the tables leave us?) But at 4 feet across this guy was a beast and also not cheap (remember that whole “set every tile by hand” thing?) People were in love with it but they just couldn’t afford it. So we thought, “make an occasional table!”
And The Midge was born. We were inspired by mid-century tables we’d seen over the years. Traditionally done with plywood tops, we’d never seen them done with tile before and we got excited. But how should we tile them?
This is the very first one we made in an outtake from a photo shoot that Sunset Magazine did at my house a few months ago (Note: my garden will be in the April 2014 issue due out next week I think…but I’m pretty sure they won’t be using this photo). This table was our first idea of how to tile them. Don’t you love those Sixties Chairs by Fermob? We’ll have several in the store in two weeks!
Here’s a close up of the top. But as cool as it was, it was too busy. It needed to be simpler yet we also wanted customers to be able to put their own stamp on it without making a new custom table every time.
So we came up with “pixels.” The idea was to imagine the table as a spinning wheel of paint and you just dropped in a few drops of another paint color. Remember Spin Art?
You could even use two colors as I tried here by laying these black and white pixels on the grey table. There’s really a ton of ways you could do it. We were really excited!
Then came the coolest opportunity. Artists Roy Dowell and Lari Pittman graciously invited us to do our photo shoot at their amazing property where they have a Richard Neutra House overlooking a Michael Maltzan. It was so perfect. This was actually taken in the carport looking back at the Maltzan House entryway.
And this is on their front balcony over looking La Canada. One of Roy’s tiled artworks hangs above and that is actually a vintage Ikea chair next to the white Midge table. Wish they made those again.
And here’s the Neutra House with a Butterfly Chair and an orange Midge. It was so fun.
Okay so that’s our story of The Midge Table. If you desire to see the official online press release, click here. And if you want us to make you one, then drop by and we’ll get started. We even have a few ready to go. They are also available online here.
Hope you like it!