In this “clé conversations” series, we spoke with customer Shoshana Ross. interestingly, Shoshana is not a designer (at least not in this life). She shared how she was introduced to clé (hint: a chocolate shop is involved), what drew her to the tile, and why her experience, overall, was so delightful.
above: Shoshana Ross used clé Battled Armor zellige to ground her bathroom renovation with color and texture
Inside Tile Design with Shoshana Ross
clé: Tell us about your remodel. You took an older home and refreshed it. Can you share why that felt unique to you?
Shoshana: With an older home, it was really important to me that we kept that older “feel” as we made it new, that we kept some authenticity of its history. So it seemed to fit to use the tile we did, which was the zellige collection. We picked it for the floor and the walls in the master bath, our kids' bathroom, and powder room. And everybody who sees it loves it. Actually, we moved in a week before the coronavirus quarantine started, so we haven't really had friends over, but we have never been happier to be stuck at home. We are going on three months happily trapped inside with our new tile.. We love it. But during the process, when we popped in with a few people, they were blown away by it. It just really feels different when you look at it.
clé: So how did you find out about clé tile? Did you have a designer?
Shoshana: We did not have a designer. I just started following different designers on Instagram that had style that I liked, and clé popped up a few times. I'm also in Los Angeles, and I noticed it in a store in the Palisades, as well as a chocolate store in Beverly Hills. I just started to really notice it online and in stores and came to know it that way.
clé: Were there other brands you considered?
Shoshana: That’s interesting you ask that. I was certain I was going to go with another brand, that happens to have a studio in L.A., because I loved all their tile. I was convinced of it. I love their colors, and I still love them, but the texture of the clé tile and the glazed terracotta just got me.
clé: If you could identify one or two reasons, how would you say it’s different from the other tile you considered?
Shoshana: I just had this feeling that it was different. I think it's the earthy quality of it. To me, it felt different than others. It felt handmade. It has a sense of authenticity. It felt more “old world.” There's so much texture. To be honest, it wasn't the easiest thing for our contractor to put in, because of its natural irregularities, which is part of what makes the tile so special. Our tile person spent hours making sure he sanded down the little edges. Once they took that extra care, it feels so nice. It feels like you're walking on an old cobblestone street or something. I love it.
above: Ross worked closely with her contractor to get a perfect installation of Weathered White in this shower
clé: Had your contractor worked with clé before?
Shoshana: They hadn’t worked with it before, but they were okay with it. Their attitude was, “We'll make this work.” You know, when you have a “perfect” tile, it's much easier to install. With the zellige tiles, some are thicker, some are thinner. And we had to be careful with distributing the color because there's so much variation. My husband and I did that part. We used the weathered white, tea ceremony, and battled armor colors. We're very happy. It's not easy to do without a designer. Sometimes we second-guessed ourselves, but Jon at clé helped a lot, too.
clé: Speaking of that, how was your purchasing experience? Were you able to get the help you needed from clé?
Shoshana: We worked directly with Jon, and he was wonderful. When I called, he would email or call me right back. I felt like I had a relationship with him. He was so friendly. He never got antsy or impatient if I was hemming and hawing. And he knew what he was talking about. He always gave me his opinion. He sent me a lot of pictures, whatever he could find of different colors installed. And he sent me more tile samples when I was wavering. If I said, “maybe I should just look at this,” he popped them in the mail. So he really helped me make the decision.
above: Ross added more texture, pattern and visual interest by using two sizes of Tea Ceremony zellige
clé: And did that level of service stay with you until the end of the project?
Shoshana: Absolutely. We actually had a bit of a problem at the end. We needed more tile than we accounted for, and we ordered more and paid for more. But it didn't quite match; the weathered white was all too white, because the additional order was from another batch. You know, clé produces these small batches, which is enticing because you know you’re getting something unique. But it also means you have to think about ordering the right amount up front. In the end, clé just sent us some that would match, at no additional cost. For me, all of that extra support really goes a long way.
More About Shoshana
Shoshana Ross is a teacher at The Center for Early Education, a socio-economically and culturally diverse independent school for children, toddlers through grade six. The Center embraces a philosophy of education that combines a nurturing, inclusive learning environment with an increasingly challenging academic program that addresses the developmental needs of each child.