zellige tile: not for the faint of heart

by clé tile | published: Feb 26, 2023

over the years, clé zellige tile—our weathered white in particular—has moved from being an “exotic” surface to a bona fide design staple. it graces backsplashes, bathrooms, and myriad other spaces in homes and restaurants, adding its handcrafted glamour, soulful character, variable variations, and glittering textures to virtually any style of design from traditional to bohemian to ultra-contemporary.

no surprise, then, that instagram, pinterest, and tik tok are filled with wonderful images of clé’s weathered white zellige featuring all its beautiful, beguiling variation.

but it doesn’t just happen, right out of the box.

while many fall in love with all those perfectly imperfect installation images, it’s not for the faint of heart. it takes care and consideration in selection, and time and patience in installation. not to mention the work of a zellige-experienced professional installer.

that’s why we love it when we find designers—and clients—who get it. the ones who understand that a great zellige installation is a journey, not just a destination. that sometimes (often) it’s the little details that make the biggest difference in design.

case in point, designer Amy Tausk of Swoon Interiors, who understands what it takes to create a zellige installation worthy of the material.

the secret? following the clé golden rule: blend, blend, blend... and working with a client who engaged deeply with the process. (pro tip for clients: if you're not willing to roll up your sleeves and become a part of the journey, this tile may not be for you. zellige demands that you be involved—and not just your contractor or installer.)

here’s what Amy had to say about the her journey:

“we were both in love with the look of zellige tile and it seemed that all of our favorite kitchens we had pinned or saved pictures of used zellige tiles … so it was just one of those … 'well obviously we are going to do zellige!' moments."

“zellige tile is a variety of glazed terracotta tile originally handmade in Morocco. it is kiln-fired over olive-branches, giving each tile a unique glaze, color and texture. no two tiles are exactly alike, so every application ends up being a unique tapestry of color and texture.

once again, rather than make a quick decision, we got samples from a few different companies. and then, because there is inherently so much color variation, we ordered more samples over time to get an overall feel for the variation. ultimately, we chose clé tile’s zellige in weathered white."

“installation of this tile, especially in the herringbone pattern we wanted, is not for the faint of heart! it took 5 days of labor and many hours of going through boxes to mix the colors. but definitely worth it!”

one backsplash. taking every tile out of the box. five days.

yes. that’s what it takes. and if this has you rethinking weathered white, fear not. a world of other white tile options await you in our whiteworks collection.