Do you need reproduction antique tile for your classic home or landmark property? On this page, we describe the process used by Mizner tile studio to restore or recreate the original grandeur of these tile installations.
Over the years Mizner Tile Studio has come to be known for reproducing antique tiles. We have been involved in many projects where the original tile, usually over 100 years old, has deteriorated beyond repair.
Many hours of research and sampling are involved in the process of antique tile reproduction. Thanks to Historical Societies, many landmarked properties have been photographed in their original condition and we are able to access these photographs for reproduction.
The Process of Tile Reproduction
When we are first contacted by either a company or individual to reproduce old tiles we request photographs to determine the style of tile involved. Mizner Tile Studio produces several styles of tiles: hand-painted, hand-screened, and cuerda seca. Tiles such as the Isabelline and Renaissance tilework you see in Andalusia, we will collaborate with several companies in Europe who possess the original molds and glaze recipes.
An Andalusian tile restoration project
This panel was removed from a landmarked home in Palm Beach, where years of exposure to the elements had destroyed the tiles. We replaced all of the tiles on the front elevation of the home to return them to their original splendor.
Restored tiles prior to installation
Once we review the photographs to determine if this is a tile that we can reproduce, we request actual tiles be removed from the site and sent to us. The artwork is reproduced from the original tiles. If the design is unrecognizable we refer to the hundreds of antique books in our library to find the original design and reproduce the pattern. While the artwork is being produced we start the color sampling. Considering that glazes produced decades ago were often produced with lead and pigments no longer used or available, this can be an extremely time-consuming endeavor.
Color and Finish Matching:
In addition to matching the colors, we also have to consider the finish of the tiles. If we are reproducing the entire project then typically the tiles will have a gloss finish as they did in their original condition. If however, we are only replacing tiles and some of the original tiles will remain, then we will also need to match the existing finish. Most likely after decades, the gloss finish has dulled to a matt finish which we must replicate. If the glaze has crackled and then been stained with years of dirt filling the cracks then we must reproduce this.
Many of the tiles we are asked to reproduce were originally made in Portugal, Spain, Holland, and Tunisia. Since these countries use the metric system we need to cut our standard 6” tile to size. When the quantities permit we have the bisque tiles produced to size and then we hand paint and glaze.
Tiles cannot be repaired in place. We do not “paint” and repair broken or faded tiles. This is a short-term fix and will eventually fade or wear off. All of the tiles we reproduce must be done in our studio in Winter Park, Florida, where they are fired at extremely high temperatures to ensure their permanence.
Reproduction & Restoration Projects
Project 1: Normandy Fountain – Miami, Florida
After: The Normandy Fountain with the restored tiles installed.
The tiles in the Normandy fountain in Miami were so deteriorated and covered in plaster that we had to remake all of the tiles in the fountain.
These tiles were done in the cuerda seca technique where a line of wax resist is applied to the bisque tile and then the glaze is applied using a dropper.
Project 2: Palm Beach, Florida
Palm Beach is saturated with antique tiles originally placed by Addison Mizner in the early 1920s. The beautiful hand-painted tiles were purchased by Mizner on buying trips throughout Europe and northern Africa.
These original tiles have chipped, faded, and cracked. Firing techniques, glazes, and clays have improved tremendously since the early 1900s. Once we reproduce the tiles using the latest advances in ceramics the replacement tiles will last indefinitely.
With the project of the Wells Fargo Building on County Road in Palm Beach, the developer wanted to return the building’s façade to its original splendor.
Using the tiles that were still remaining and photographs obtained from the Historical Society, we were able to reproduce the tiles in the lower planter and the upper façade.
The restored tile facade of the Wells Fargo Bank building on the ground floor.
The restored tile facade of the Wells Fargo Bank building 2nd-floor window wall
Project 4: The Everglades Club, Palm Beach
Mizner Tile Studio is fortunate to be involved in many projects at the exclusive Everglades Club in Palm Beach.
The club was designed by Addison Mizner and has become a landmark in Palm Beach. Over the years we have reproduced many of the existing tiles when expansion or renovation requires.
The Everglades Club – Restored door surround tile.
The Everglades Club – Restored tile stair risers
Project 5: Boca Resort and Hotel, Boca Raton, Florida
Boca Resort Fountain Before Restoration
Recent renovations at the Boca Resort have presented Mizner Tile Studio with an opportunity to replace tiles in a fountain installed in 1920 by Addison Mizner.We have visited the site and removed a few of the original tiles and are in the process of reproducing these tiles.
The projects mentioned are just a few of those that Mizner Tile Studio has been called upon to assist in the reproduction of old tiles. Our more than twenty years of experience creating hand painted tiles provides a wealth of knowledge that we are happy to share. If you are looking to replace antique tiles we would love to hear about your project.
We ship worldwide. Our tiles are carefully packed and labeled for ease in the installation. Each box containing approximately 32 tiles is placed inside another box and surrounded by packing peanuts to ensure they arrive at your door in perfect condition.
Please contact us and we would be glad to offer our expertise in replacing your antique tiles.
Mizner Tile Studio has been producing custom tiles for more than 23 years. We have been involved in hundreds of projects and are happy to share our experience and knowledge with you.