tile makes the cabin: anthony d’argenzio’s latest project

by clé tile | published: May 05, 2022

a contemporary kitchen featuring extensive use of marble including marble backsplash, kicksplash, and countertops

floor: foundry flats brick in sand cast, fange hood: clé x zio & sons vintage rose octagon + sea salt bouchon. all design + photography by zio & sons

Anthony d’argenzio is the founder of interior and lifestyle design firm zio & sons, whose signature work employs vintage design in a way that manages to feel utterly of the moment.

over the years, we’ve relished our time working with anthony on the wildly and enduringly popular zio & sons collection of zellige tile—a pairing of handmade authentic zellige octagons and smaller bouchons in some of our most popular zellige colorways: weathered white, sea salt, charred cedar, natural, and most recently, vintage rose.

we love the zellige tile of course, but what’s particularly satisfying is how homeowners and designers have made this distinctive collection their own, using it in ways both traditional and modern, expected and unexpected: a sign of great design.

we worked with anthony on his signature project—this old hudson maison in new york’s hudson valley (we wrote about it here) and on a great lineup of projects since then. but when anthony started talking to us about his latest project, a family country cabin a few miles up the hudson, we were particularly intrigued—and not just by the blend of clé tile he employed: zio & sons zellige, foundry flats brick, terracotta, marble, and clé guild thin brick.

we weren’t the only ones—the resulting gut-renovation was recently covered in the new york times.

we caught up with anthony to learn more about his design choices and his experience on the renovation.

what was the vibe you were going for in the new cabin?

our zio cabin was a challenge, and a true learning experience from start to finish. i really saw this as an opportunity to showcase my range of design expertise, experiment with new styles, and have a lot of fun with new materials. any time i design something new, i like to stay true to the structure. this log home was built in the 1970’s, and is a unique style for me to take on. i viewed it as an opportunity to explore a more modern approach versus my traditional vintage aesthetic.

how did you choose the tile you used?

i knew that i wanted a fresh look, but not one that was off-brand or didn’t make sense with the overall design vision. that mindset led me to select handcrafted zio and sons zellige, clé’s foundry flats brick, terracotta, marble, and new california glazed brick. i wanted our zio and sons zellige to be front and center—it’s a material that is simple but incredibly special: old-world inspired, handcrafted, texture-driven, and still timeless.

let’s talk about your kitchen: we love the combination and we love the thick grout lines and your decision to tile the hood. can you talk a little about your choices?

it was labor-intensive, but the result was so worth it! i was inspired by the cottage look of a countryside mudroom in the united kingdom. it’s cozy, but the contrast between the appliances and tile gives the space a dramatic look. disclaimer: foundry flats need to be sealed (multiple times) in order to protect both the grout and the light-colored tile in a high traffic area! it’s a process.

and what about the primary bath! we love the mix of materials.

our bathroom was all about texture and mixing materials. i used over four different types of materials in the room, beginning with our zio and sons sea salt + vintage rose behind the tub. the pink hue adds a fun and unexpected touch to the bathroom. i also played off of the marbling effect from the fornace brioni terracotta by pairing it with real carrara marble for a luxurious embellishment. i wrapped the walls in clé’s new california tile in mallow to complete the space.

what were some of the main challenges you faced in the original space?

every single room was in poor condition and needed a full restoration. i did want to bring a sense of history to the project, and i believe that fueled the complexity of the project (not to mention renovation during a pandemic). specifically, the bathroom was a complete design overhaul. it’s hard to believe when looking at the pictures, but the home was originally a tiny bedroom, so i had to create this vision from scratch entirely. the kitchen was a lousy 1990s design with horrible 18×18 faux granite tiles and formica countertops. the logwood beams were the only things we didn’t replace.

you’ve had a lot of experience with tile over the years, but we’re going to guess that every project teaches you new things. what did you learn about tile this time around?

absolutely. firstly, the foundry flats are gorgeous but better suited for less water-centric areas. they weren’t really ideal for the kitchen, but i took the risk and tackled the challenge—along with a lot of sealant! the price is excellent, so you can get good coverage at an affordable cost. i spent on the grout installation, between the extra grout cost and labor, but it feels so special and unique so it’s clear to me that the entire process and investment was worth it.

i also learned a lot about material and color play: vintage rose is a perfect color choice for those who are pro-neutral and afraid of color—myself included! it takes my world of mixed metals and neutral hues to a new level. marble is timeless and works beautifully as an accent. and my weathered white + sea salt zellige has been a huge crowd pleaser in the powder room.

if you had a soundtrack to accompany the vibe of the home, what would it be?

it would have to be 1970s funk with a mix of contemporary indie vibes.