Here’s the Story : Santa Barbara Tile Tables


S.B. Tile Table, Cherry Wood

“I have long been a fan of the show ‘This Old House,’ and often received inspiration from elements of their projects. That was the case with the Santa Barbara project a few years ago. The project home was an Arts and Crafts bungalow, and RTK Studio a nearby tile studio, was chosen to design and install the kitchen decorative tile. I was impressed with the beauty and quality of their tile and some years later I visited their studio in Ojai. I decided to buy some tile for a future table, envisioning something with a California motif. That idea was found in the work of Greene and Greene, architects who designed some of the most outstanding Arts and Crafts bungalows ever built, including Gamble House in Pasadena.

“This table incorporates many iconic features from the Greene and Greene designs, including exposed and finished joinery, surfaces shaped with the ‘cloud lift,’ and polished ebony plugs at each mortise and tenon joint. The tile is mounted in a cherry or walnut frame with bridle joints, which are carefully shaped and finished. The artistic nature of the frame sets off the beautiful array of tile. The base is constructed from cherry or walnut joined with mortise and tenon joinery. The rails and styles are shaped with the cloud lift motif which is also carefully finished as a design element.

“The entire piece was finely shaped and sanded keeping with the tradition of Greene and Greene work. Finally the piece was finished with multiple thin coats of varnish, rubbed smooth, and polished to a satin sheen. I think Charles and Henry Greene would be happy with the result.”
     —Tom Abbott

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