Did you know that Knaresborough, near Harrogate is home to the largest tile showroom in Europe?
I didn’t, until recently, when I visited the impressive premises of Lapicida. The grand and airy showroom, with its high vaulted ceilings, is the perfect space to showcase an incredibly extensive range of surfaces available from the leading luxury stone and tile specialists.
Although it’s a huge place, it still manages to feel warm and welcoming and the vast choice of materials doesn’t overwhelm; everything is thoughtfully laid out to enable you to move around and browse the samples on display. With inspirational roomsets to discover, too, it’s definitely worth your while spending at least a couple of hours or so, taking it all in. Here’s a few of my favourites:
I was given a full and fascinating tour by Lapicida’s founder, Jason Cherrington. His passion for stone is unmistakable and he hand-picks the very finest natural materials the world has to offer.
However, being a luxury supplier doesn’t mean there aren’t options for those developments and renovations on a – shall we say ‘slimmer’ budget – far from it. Recognising the need for a wide choice and the fact that people often want a high-end look on an affordable-for-all basis, Lapicida also offers fantastic porcelain and ceramic surfaces that provide the look of marble, onyx etc at a more cost-effective price.
The versatility that man-made products can give discerning buyers can’t be denied – and in fact many customers choose to mix and match their materials. For example, they may order an authentic stone fireplace or hearth, combined with a porcelain wall. In the showroom you get to appreciate how these different materials can really complement one another.
From my visit, it was clear that innovation and craftsmanship are at the heart of this business. Walking through the workshops, the mix of old and new is quite remarkable – the contrast between the latest high-tech, powerful machinery, alongside slabs of ancient stone is striking. But not everything is automated here; hand-finishing is an integral part of the process and the business employs seasoned stone masons and nurtures new apprentices.
I was also impressed by the sustainability aspect of the business and the measures Lapicida is putting in place to eventually become carbon neutral. I saw for myself how rain water is collected and used for washing stone and cooling purposes. Stone is recycled wherever possible and off cuts and ‘waste’ turned into beautiful, usable smaller tiles. When old buildings are demolished, the world over, Lapicida is keen to salvage and rescue the ancient, antique wall and floor materials and bring them to Knaresborough to be recycled into amazing, unique surfaces for houses and buildings once again.
If I had to tell you which of the surfaces at Lapicida were my favourites I would really struggle as I loved so many! So instead, here are my suggestions of how you might use some of Lapicida’s surfaces in your own home, depending on the interior style:
For a characterful cottage or farmhouse-style home, the rustic look is perfect. Think chunky stone fireplaces and limestone slabs on the floors. For smaller areas, you may want to choose a beautiful decorative tile, perfect for capturing that homely, historical charm:
And this wood panel effect tile would look really cosy on the walls:
Those who love the popular Scandi-style look might consider a lovely porcelain floor tile in a pale blonde wood effect for that typically Nordic look:
These porcelain tiles are incredible at achieving a wood floor effect, with all the hardwearing convenience of a tile. Actual reclaimed wooden floors are notoriously difficult to keep clean, especially in a kitchen or dining area where food can be trapped in gaps, whilst porcelain is easy to wash and keep clean.
If you love the industrial look, you may opt for surfaces that are raw and textural like a concrete. Alternatively, these porcelain tiles are stunning, giving the look of wood that has been deliberately ‘charred’ in the ancient Japanese fashion called ‘Shou Sugi Ban’ which was traditionally a way to preserve wood:
For a striking feature wall, look no further than this metal effect tile with a verdigris finish – just stunning! And if you look closely, you may notice that some of the squares also have a very cool geometric design on them:
In a contemporary home, people tend to opt for clean lines and neutral finishes, but with a few striking on-trend design details mixed in. Lovely large wall tiles like these below look very cool, minimal and sleek:
For those design accents, these Black Star tiles below are very popular right now; they’re all over Instagram in fact, used in bathrooms and hearths etc to great effect:
Classic homes can’t really go wrong with timeless herringbone floors and richly veined marble which acts as a dramatic backdrop to a bathroom or kitchen. For those who love symmetry, Lapicida can offer book matched or quarter matched options, in both natural marble or porcelain that looks as good as the real thing.
I particularly like the heritage look of some of these parquet inspired floors such as this one – amazing in a traditional hallway, for example.
And Lapicida can produce bespoke items of incredible furniture and vanity sinks, as well as help advise on the details such as complementary paint and grout colours, to enhance your beautiful surfaces.
Although you can order through the website and request samples, I can’t recommend highly enough a visit to Lapicida’s showroom where there’s plenty of parking, or you can hop off the train at Knaresborough station as I did and take a quick taxi ride. With lovely Harrogate on the doorstep, you have an excuse to make a day of it! Let me know if you’re planning a visit soon – I’d love to hear. Or for more Lapicida inspiration, why not check out their Pinterest Boards.