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How Knoxtile’s Tex-Mex Cafe Makeover Won a CID Award

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“Tile isn’t cold. It’s cool.”

That’s just one misconception about tile from 2016 Coverings Installation & Design (CID) Award winner, Donna McClendon. She’s the President of Dallas based Knoxtile, a firm dedicated to turning concepts into reality.

Knoxtile focuses on function to create a look that is inviting, yet practical. “Tile should be made to be touched, either because it is unique and beautiful or because it looks so clean and soft. If it doesn’t make you want to touch it, then you should use some other material.”

Clean and soft: yes. Slippery: no.
McClendon says there’s more to slip resistant ratings than you can gather at first glance. “A floor should feel like smooth velvet under your feet, a spa or shower floor should give you a comfortable grip that feels clean but lets you walk across easily or stoop to grab a bar of soap you’ve just dropped.”

She encourages specifiers to go above the standard .42 DCOF (a low standard which almost any satin wall tile will meet) and find tiles that are truly slip resistant when working on floors (especially wet surfaces, like McClendon often designs).

She wishes the specifier at her local Y had this info before installing the shower. “I have to grip my toes and take very careful steps trying to maneuver across a smooth 2×2 in the showers,” she says.

Meticulous installs using varying materials
Knoxtile’s mission is to understand and provide educated consultation, working with quality materials backed by testing and produced by reliable, stand-behind-the-product manufacturers.

That’s one reason this tile company took home the 2016 CID Award for their work with Miguel’s Tex Mex Cafe. The installation involved meticulous work on many different surfaces in completely different materials.

Miguel’s direction, given by Rex Kirby Design, was for each of ten spaces to be uniquely different and eclectic. The concept was a contemporary play on traditional Mexican colors and style but joined together with a fun atmosphere.

Knoxville dedicated lots of resources to make the ideas become reality. The process took a minimum of ten meetings with the owner and designer and plenty of hours of in-house design – working with renders and pattern layouts. Surfaces included everything from tabletops to floors to broken mosaic walls, all intended to provide templates for ordering and layout for installation. Knoxville successfully completed the design using every manufacturer they work with and multiple items from many.

“We did it using every manufacturer we work with and multiple items from many of them,” McClendon said. “All the work paid off because the owner agreed to contract artisan CTC installer Edward Flores Tile–hence the installation award for meticulous work on so many different surfaces in totally different materials.”

Another reason to apply for a CID Award
McClendon recommends entering your company for a CID Award as a team-building event. “As a company, we all gathered photos, took a bus on a 350-mile round trip to experience the venue, and saw first-hand the materials and quality of work in the project. Everyone realized the amount of time, effort and talent involved, and really felt a part of it,” she said. “The satisfaction and pride we gained just in preparing our submission was valuable and lasting. We all grew together.”

Here are McClendon’s top 3 tips for making the most of Coverings:

  1. Walk the show with eyes open for an overall view, it’s a great way to define yourself and your company just by seeing how everyone works.

  2. Visit with the Art Village and check out the meeting rooms if you’re looking for artists or smaller manufacturers that you might grow with.

  3. Be sure to have your people attend an installation session and pick two important seminars, one technical, and one on design or color, to round out and develop interests for conversation and further research.

2017 CID Award submissions are due January 6, 2017. Submit yours today.

If you’re not yet registered for Coverings 2017, register now so you don’t miss the opportunity to explore new materials, educate your team, and discover experienced vendors to help your business grow.