Paoay Church in Ilocos
I've always been attracted to cement tiles/encaustic tiles. I came across a website that explained everything about encaustic tiles--it's history, and even how to care for them. It's an American site. It also listed the suppliers who still make these tiles all over the world. Unfortunately at the time I discovered the website, there was nothing listed for the Philippines. I quickly fixed that by emailing them!
The Laguna house where my father-in-law grew up has cement tiles in all the rooms, in different patterns. His ancestral home was turned into a library for kids.
Only when I started being more observant of floors did I start noticing how ordinary these tiles were in places such as Vietnam, where even the streetmarket stalls had them. Maybe they were once the cheapest tiles? They are definitely not the cheapest tiles in Manila, where a lot of people refer to them as "Machuca tiles". Machuca is actually a name of a person, a Spanish dude who started making if here at the turn of the century. Today, many old tiles are "harvested" off old homes and resold to collectors and people who restore homes. The thing is, there is no reason to buy the worn out ones when Machuca still makes tiles in Manila the way they did for many decades. Many homeowners and commercial establishments still use them.
Most of the Machuca patterns are multi-colored. They hardly have any which are just one color like the one above, although you can customize and specify what you want, after all, a one color tile is much simpler to make than the many-colored tiles The only other manufacturer in Manila I'm aware of is Malaga tiles or Habitiles.
After growing up with the Machuca patterns, it was refreshing to see the selection of Malaga Tiles. Malaga Tiles/Habitiles has many one-colored patterns and reproduce older-looking ones. It's owned by Edwin Espiritu who is extremely accommodating. I had a clear idea of the effect I wanted, but I didn't know how to achieve it. Finally after a number of meetings in his shop, he decided he would make a pattern one just for me (copying a pattern from Architectural Digest). We changed the colors to the colors I wanted for my kitchen, and voila! I love my kitchen!
My kitchen during construction days..
For my foyer, I just chose something from what he had because I wanted black and white only. I love the look--it has so much character.
The rest of the house has wooden floors. It's a very nice contrast.