Designs in Tile
Backstory of DIT & founder Selene Seltzer
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Designs In Tile is but one expression of my lifelong exploration of the seemingly dual nature of the world – Heart and Mind, Art and Science, Form and Function, Spirit and Matter, Tangible and Intangible.

My passion is about the process of creativity, creation, and transformation.

Historic tile has fascinated me since my childhood, when I was transfixed by the amazing and colorful historic tile installations I saw throughout Southern California.  That spark stayed with me through a time as operations manager and lead designer for a tile and general contractor specializing in San Francisco Bay area home renovations.  And ultimately, it inspired me to begin years of research on the history, designs, and production methodologies of late 19th- and early 20th-century Art Tile Studios in the U.S. and Europe.

What I found was that proponents of the Victorian and Aesthetic (Arts & Crafts) Movements, both in Europe and the US, promoted a collaborative effort between architecture, the decorative arts, and the fine arts, and revived an appreciation of Art Tile – fine hand-executed ceramic art tile that is totally integrated into an architectural environment.

In 1978, with this faith in the collaborative effort and the belief that Art Tile has a timeless and permanent place in our environment, I followed my passion and embarked on the creation of Designs In Tile in the manner of an “Old World Atelier.”  My goal was to make Art Tile directly available to those who appreciate the richness of these historic traditions.  

Over the years, Designs In Tile has created, restored, and preserved tile installations in "Painted Lady" Victorians, jewel-toned Mission Style, Spanish Revival, Hispano-Moresque, and Craftsman homes, as well as Beaux Arts office buildings in the San Francisco Bay Area.

We’ve reached up and down the West Coast, across the country, and around the world, bringing our work to residential and commercial installations alike. Whether new construction, restoration, or renovation, our installations include kitchens, baths, sunrooms, restaurants, spas, hotels, B&Bs, museums, libraries, civic buildings, and National Park Service Historic Sites.

Having developed a reputation for quality crafts work, designs, and colorations, products from Designs In Tile continue to be sought for editorial review and coverage in a wide variety of books and magazines. And I continue to act as a consultant to architects and interior designers, and serve as a contributor, design resource, and writer for restoration, architectural trade, and major national shelter design publications.

After over three decades, we remain true to our original intent – to create a unique expression of art, ornament, and architecture in every installation. We continue to focus on detail in design, layout, and fabrication of every project.

Because of this attention, our installations appear effortless and magical. One client described the creation of her project, from concept to completion, as “the Cirque du Soleil of tile!”

That’s exactly my intention: to have every tile project “appear as if it was always there, fully integrated and inseparable from the context of the room.”

And when someone exclaims, “Oh, what a wonderful space!” upon first seeing the completed room – my deepest wish for my work is fulfilled.

Designs In Tile…
Transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary.