Editors’ Picks: Vintage Tile - Restoration & Design for the Vintage House | Old House Online

Editors’ Picks: Vintage Tile

We take on vintage tile as our editors highlight new and classic articles.
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Whether it's basic white hexagonal tiles lining a bathroom floor or beautiful handmade art tiles displayed on an Arts & Crafts fireplace surround, there's no question that tile is one of the key materials that gives old houses their character. The bad news? After years of living in an old house, tile can get chipped, mismatched, or go missing altogether. If you're searching for tile solutions for your house—whether you need to know where to buy art tile, how to spot-repair missing tiles, or even how to lay a new checkerboard linoleum floor—these articles will provide a great foundation.

Patterns of colorful geometric tiles were common in the bathrooms and kitchens of California houses rooted in the design heritage of Spain, like Mission and Spanish Eclectic styles.

Art Tile Revival: From authentic to transitional, art tile in early 20th century designs is easier to find than ever before. Some basic background and resources can help narrow your search for the perfect tile.

Modern mosaic tiles make creating period-appropriate floors a snap.

Modern mosaic tiles make creating period-appropriate floors a snap. (Photo: Arciform)

How to Match New Tile to Old: Finding the right replacement tile for a bathroom doesn't have to leave you feeling burned; knowing your options and keeping them open can spark matches that seamlessly fuse the old with the new.


The Adamson House (1930) in Malibu, California, including the kitchen with its fanciful cooking alcove and wall clock, is a veritable showcase of tiles from nearby Malibu Potteries.

The Adamson House (1930) in Malibu, California, including the kitchen with its fanciful cooking alcove and wall clock, is a veritable showcase of tiles from nearby Malibu Potteries. (Photo: Tim Street-Porter)

The Architecture of Art Tile: Rediscovering a forgotten side of early 20th- century ceramics.

Archival tile photo

Repairing unsightly tile can make a world of difference in your bathroom.

The 6 R's of Tile Repair: How to fix unsightly tilework patches around plumbing fixtures.


In the more public downstairs bathroom, tile is a stunning reproduction of a Malibu Potteries (1926–1932) design found in the 1929 Adamson House in Malibu.

In the more public downstairs bathroom, tile is a stunning reproduction of a Malibu Potteries (1926–1932) design found in the 1929 Adamson House in Malibu.

Colorful California Tile: In reproduction, historic California tile has made a delicious comeback.


Carefully wiggling floor tiles as you place them helps seat them in the adhesive.

How to Lay Linoleum Tile: As linoleum returns in popularity for the eco set, creative installation steps make it the ideal flooring for period kitchens.

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