How to Create a Vintage Tile Tabletop
This Old House reader Rosi Zingales shows how to upgrade your home with vintage tiles
For centuries, decorative tiles have transformed the mundane elements of a house—namely floors and walls—into works of functional art. This Old House reader Rosi Zingales is a master at this type of disguise. In her submission to our online Salvage Challenge, she demonstrated how to turn a blah brick fireplace into a showpiece by decorating the hearth with swirls of vintage blue, white, and black tiles. The mosaic recalls the waves at the beach near her 1970s ranch house in Hampton Bays, New York.
When I e-mailed Rosi to tell her how much I loved her work and to see if she'd lend a hand with my salvaged tile project, she was happy to oblige. "But if you like what I did inside the house, you should see the outside," said Rosi, who forwarded me another shot of her handiwork. This one was of her home's concrete foundation, the front of which is completely covered in colorful tiles.
Though Rosi's style is more atomic than antique—she prefers tiles from the 1950s to the late-19th-century ones that I favor—I knew she'd be able to teach me a few tricks. Plus, it's always more fun to work in twos. So follow along step by step to see how we blended Rosi's creativity and tiling know-how with my salvage-sleuthing abilities.