For Tracey McCormac, discovering ARTO was love at first sight. The Principal Designer for Tempe-based Temac Development Inc, Tracey had been searching for just the right tile products for one of Temac’s most ambitious projects to date: the ICONIC HAUS 2020 luxury showhouse located in ultra-chic Paradise Valley, Ariz.
Temac Development was on a fast-tracked schedule for building ICONIC HAUS for a virtual showcase tour presented by ICONIC LIFE digital lifestyle magazine. Featuring 10,000 sq. ft., of incredible space that blurs the line between indoor and outdoor living, ICONIC HAUS was conceived to be an oasis unlike any other, a dwelling designed for deluxe entertaining.
Then came the task of finishing the home’s stunning spaces – a massive collaborative effort combining the talents and visions of 20 design and influencer teams. Leading this vision was Tracey along with her husband and Temac’s Owner, Tim McCormac.
“For ICONIC HAUS, we were building a traditional Santa Barbara-styled house with a modern edge, using a blend of rustic materials and contemporary finishes,” explained Tim. “It was important to find products that felt natural and worked organically with the home, while also providing a current feel.”
As the project’s tile installer as well as builder, Temac turned to Solstice Stone to help them find just the right product. Nicole Burke, Solstice Stone’s Residential Architectural Design Specifier, introduced Tracey to ARTO.
Choosing ARTO to create a Mod-iterranean style
“We wanted to capture a Mod-iterranean style that blends old-world charm and authenticity with a modern, luxe interpretation,” said Tracey. “We knew that the tile we selected would play a key role in achieving this balance. The moment I saw ARTO’s products, I said, ‘This is perfect.’”
“ARTO handcrafts its ceramic and concrete tiles,” explained Burke. “Every ARTO product is made to order, and every tile has a unique personality, like a fingerprint. These beautiful irregularities make ARTO’s products so unique, and a favorite among designers and installers.”
“Rustic elegance” has become synonymous with the ARTO brand, and it was this quality that attracted Tracey. “ARTO offers such a wide variety of tile designs, colors, glazes, and styles that we could get creative with,” she said. “I could instantly see how their product would be the ideal complement to the Mod-iterranean vision of the ICONIC HAUS.”
For ARTO Co-Owner Armen Alajian, the melding of old and new is, well, nothing new. “My Armenian father immigrated to LA from the cradle of the old world – Egypt and Beirut – and founded ARTO in 1966 with a passion for traditional craftsmanship,” said Alajian. “But he was also an innovator who constantly explored new and creative directions to take his craft. So that old-meets-new is in our DNA, as well as in our products.”
Tracey and the showhouse’s interior designers picked up on this melding of traditional and innovative, and used ARTO tiles to create a tension between old and new in several of the home’s boldest and most striking rooms – including the laundry room.
“In terms of wow-factor, the laundry room is one of my favorites,” said Burke. “You have this delightful dog washing station completed in ARTO’s gorgeously vivid, very modern blue glazed brick. Juxtapose that with the Spanish-style Artillo tile in an arabesque pattern on the floor, and you get this wonderful, unexpected play between traditional and contemporary.”
Tracey and the team of designers continued to make daring choices in their blended, unconventional use of ARTO tile. In the kitchen nook, Tracey installed ARTO’s nude Tierra Madre terra cotta tile against black grout, creating an arresting pattern in light and dark.
“There was some hesitancy around the decision to use black grout, and when installing we had to address the challenge of making sure the black didn’t seep into the tile itself,” Tracey recalled. “But we took the risk, and we couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out.”
Installation challenge: color variation
The variation of color present in each individual ARTO tile became a central theme in several ICONIC HAUS spaces. For one of the showhouse’s six bathrooms, Tracey chose ARTO’s Conche tiles in three amber shades, installed to create a cascading wall of gradually changing color.
A key feature, the color variation in ARTO’s tiles also presented a unique challenge for Temac’s installers. “In some cases, when ordering batches of the same tile at different times, the color variation was extreme,” recalled Tim. “But ARTO was extremely helpful in creating and sending new batches to fit the original colors we ordered. So, it all worked out in the end.”
When asked about his favorite installation, Tim pointed to ARTO’s large-format Italian porcelain in dark, distressed gray used for the border of the spectacular outdoor pool. The resulting effect was dramatic, unusual, and unforgettable. “It was awesome,” said Tim. He ended up using the leftover tile to clad the outdoor firepit for an added thread of continuity.
Even with the fast-and-furious nature of the project that had a clear and looming deadline, Temac was committed to creating a thoroughly customized home. Temac chose to install true brick rather than veneers, then had custom Schluter® metal edges made to create elegant, clean borders.
“It truly is remarkable how the ICONIC HAUS came together in just eight months,” recalled Burke. “It’s a testament to the collaboration and the professionalism of all parties involved.”
“ARTO is incredibly honored that Temac and the many talented designers who worked on this project selected our products for ICONIC HAUS,” said Alajian. “I don’t have the opportunity to walk many projects like I used to, but I did have the pleasure of walking through this one. It brought me incredible joy. Seeing our products used throughout this beautiful home was a dream come to life.”