17m2+ antique ceramic French damier floor with single border frame
A classical French damier floor, totalling between 17m2+ / 183 sq ft reclaimed from the entrance hall of a town house in Levis Saint-Nom, a village some 44kms south-west of Paris. We would date the floor between 1920 and 1930. The floor was produced by the heritage ceramic house of Boch Freres, Maubeuge, France. We show in the photo gallery a couple of scans fron the original Boch Freres catalogue showing the tiles.
The floor is ceramic and consists of four tiles, three being the main field tiles and the fourth a half size border tile which frames the floor. The lay is a traditional damier with the twist of an ornate motif field tile present; the sky blue, charcoal and off-white palette for this tile being replicated in the half size border framing the floor. The Boch Freres motif tile is a version of an earlier tile from the beginning of the 20th century and which can be seen by clicking here, the only difference being the size of the tile with the earlier version being 14.7cm square and this one 14cm square.
For photography of the floor we have replicated how the floor appeared in its original lay.... a diagonal lay to the borders.... and hence the reason for the half size diamonds of the large grey tile. We supply these triangles, totalling 2m2, free and if used they would take the floors surface to c.19m2. Obviously there are various options for laying the floor in different ways within the necessity of respecting the quantities available which are detailed below. There are virtually an equal number of motif and grey tiles but a smaller numer of mottled grey tiles. We can assist you with looking at a potential layout.
There are some variations in the tile thicknesses, with the Boch Freres motif and border tiles being thicker than the two grey tiles by a few millimetres, something the tiler will compensate for when laying the floor. As the photographs below show the floor has cleaned very well, a small number of tiles display grout-able edge nibbles but it is in excellent condition and good for another 90 years.
This is a classical floor lending itself to many potential applications; an entrance hall, kitchen or outside as a garden path or on a patio. Subtle, discreet but with lots of impact it will also work very well with under-floor heating systems.
Tile quantities, give ot take one or two:-
MOTIF FIELD - 345 tiles - 6.75m2 / 72.7 sq ft
MOTTLED GREY FIELD – 120 tiles -2.4m2 / 25.8 sq ft
DARK GREY FIELD – 325 tiles -6.4m2 / 68.5 sq ft
* plus 100 diagonal half tiles (see photos) - supplied FREE - c.2m2 / 21.5 sq ft
SMALL BORDER - 150 tiles plus 4 corners - 1.5m2 / 16 sq ft or 21 linear metres / 69 linear feet
Antique tiles were most commonly made in single or two tile moulds. Before current computer automation methods their moulds were made my hand and the colour slips mixed by eye. Kiln temperatures could also be variable, as could the firing time. The result is that often tiles display subtle size and thickness variations and there can be tonal variations in colours, owing to the slip mixing and/or firing time. All of this makes these handmade tiles unique and adds to their charm. Some floors display their subtle variations in size and tones, some not, but when photographing we always take a random section of the floor so that it is representative of the whole. A tiler should always dry lay a section of the tiles to familiarise himself with them before starting to fix lay.