New Tile Collection is Inspired by Desert Wildflowers
Bring the vibrant colors of Southwestern blooms into your home with Desert Wildflowers, a collection of ceramic tiles designed by interior designer and author Julia Buckingham in collaboration with Country Floors.
Each 6-inch square tile is a modern, abstract watercolor interpretation of the blossom it represents. “I am always inspired by that moment every year when seemingly overnight the harsh desert terrain is blanketed with soft, delicate, blooms,” Buckingham says. “It is the kind of transformation that speaks of possibility and hope.” The Desert Wildflowers Collection comes in five color options: Kiss Me Quick, Bluet, Mist Flower, Paint Brush and Flame Flower.
The layers of glaze bring movement and sculpture into any room and are complemented with other natural materials such as limestone, marble, brass or wood. Suitable for any vertical interior application, including wet areas, the tiles are a perfect way to enjoy the striking beauty of desert flowers all year round.
We recently caught up with Buckingham about the new release.
Q&A: Julia Buckingham on the New Desert Wildflowers Tile Collection
Tell us a little about the Desert Wildflowers Collection.
This was a great collaboration with a heritage American artisan tile brand, Country Floors. They were open to my ideas and really worked with me to turn my designs into beautiful tile. The glazing process is tricky and requires tremendous skill, and they were able to layer glazes and create a matte finish so that the tiles really have that authentic watercolor feeling I was going for.
Are your collections often inspired by nature or is this a new direction for you?
Nature, travel, fine art, rare and exotic motifs from antiquity—all of these are inspirations. This collection really sprang from the desert, which I love.
The tiles are striking and abstract in their interpretations, what was your vision of how they’d be used and what other elements they would be paired with?
The water and fire tones and bold movement of this tile would be complemented in an interior scheme by neutral material adjacencies that call for such a modern-art sculpted color infusion. These might include limestone, terra cotta, marble, stainless steel, aged brass or wood.
The collection includes five colors inspired by real desert wildflowers. Which flowers did you choose and why?
I chose Kiss Me Quick—a flower name I just love. I honed in on this one for its deep pink color. It’s gorgeous in the wild and perhaps even more amazing for an interior because of how it warms up the light. If you did your entire bathroom in this tile you’d look about 10 years younger in the mirror!
I chose Mist Flower for an option that’s soothing. This tile creates a feeling of sky and fog in tones of deep green and bold blue. Almost feels as if it can be taken by photograph looking at Camelback Mountain after a rainfall on a brightly sun kissed day.
Flame Flower is as the name suggests. These fiery, coppery tones taken from the Flame Flower have an almost terra cotta effect in tile. It looks perfectly lovely as a new fun and updated option for those interested in replacing original Saltillo tile.
Paint Brush is not only found in the desert but also along the Pacific Coast and in the plains and beyond. It’s a great American wildflower. In nature, this bloom comes in several hues in the warm pink family, and we incorporated the greenery tones into this as well. Think organic in the very truest sense of the word.
Finally, Bluet is a flower in that tone of blue that we think of when we picture Delft or any classic blue and white tile. Modernizing the blue and white concept was key to this tile’s development.
What’s next? Do you think Arizona and the Southwest will inspire other projects?
Without a doubt! I currently am in the process of designing my fifth collection of home furnishings for Global Views- a powerhouse of global home design and have just started designing my first collection for Covet House another international mega manufacturer of luxury home furnishings. They are based in Portugal, so I have had to educate them about what’s-what here in Arizona.
There’s no end to the inspiration here in the Southwest. I spent a lot of time here and in New Mexico as a child and feel that it is truly my home. I am an alum of the University of Arizona, so Tucson is also not far from my thoughts.
We’re so happy here as both a family- and as a design team, and we love chasing the colors of the desert and having the weather create an almost year-round sunny, happy and inspiring cultural home base.