Herringbone Design Patterns - The Real Skinny
Lets talk turkey for a minute - well not turkey but fish. We have all heard the phrase herringbone before in the design world but very few of us actually know what in the world we are alluding to when we use it. It is conjured that the herringbone pattern was named after the fish skeleton. Not exactly anything that any of us want to celebrate or would associate with high fashion or design. The original herringbone pattern was actually found in the old roman empire. The original latin for this pattern was “Opus spicatum”. It was the pattern that the Romans used to help give structure to the Viae Publicae - or the old roman road system around 500 B.C. The latin actually translates to spiked work - but who's really scrutinizing translations of Latin these days? The pattern actually made its way into clothing first. It was a woven pattern in wool that many people referred to as tweed. Ol Blue Eyes helped bring the pattern into fashion and it enjoyed a nice seat at the top of the fashion chain for a great number of years. Architecturally the herringbone pattern was popularized in the Mission and Bungalow aesthetic of the early 20th century. Often used in bricks and fired tiles as sidewalk pavers or entryway features the herringbone was showcased as it had been in the Roman Empire - on horizontal surfaces.
So What does that Have to Do with HGTV?
I get it…History of tiles and textiles probably isn't all that fascinating. The reality of the herringbone pattern is much more about its application to todays designs than whether its named after fish or was used in Rome. Herringbone started to make a real resurgence as a pattern in the early 2000’s. This time however, it wasn't just for floors. It was used on ceilings, walls, and in other non traditional areas that gave a wow factor to the designs it was used in. Today the herringbone pattern finds itself at the top of popularity and is a spectacular add to any design. At Everitt & Schilling, we saw early on that there was immeasurable beauty in the pattern, especially when we used our reclaimed wood as the material to make it in. We built our Breckwood Pattern as our signature tile in our barnwood series. We wanted to create a beautiful mosaics that would also save on the intensity of labor that the herringbone demands. Our interlocking mosaic was an instant hit. We found ourselves being used on some fantastic projects all around the world and the response was almost immediate. The intricacy and beauty of reclaimed wood in our three dimensional tile was not only a huge savings in labor, but the beauty left behind was unmatched.
The Suburban Bees Kitchen Redo
One of our favorite projects was a kitchen that we helped work out with a designer from the blog Suburban Bees. She had already used our tile in the living room and wanted a compliment in her kitchen. She loved the herringbone pattern but wanted to brighten the kitchen up. We suggested our whitewash tile and the results spoke for themselves. She installed the white Mulberry and she fell in love with the look. So much so that a few years later she remodeled her kitchen again and the only thing she kept was our tile. The ceramic coating on our tile allowed her to use it in this space and create one of the more dramatic kitchens anywhere. The elegance of the pattern paired with the rustic edge of the material created an interesting tension in the design that set the entire kitchen apart from other designs that just use the pattern in a traditional tile. This kitchen also showcased our consistency as a company. The original remodel happened almost two years prior to the full renovation. We were able to match the tile from the original install because of our factory procedures and our dedication to consistency. Take a look at a few of these photos and see the incredible transformation.
A Beach House by Brooke Wagner
Another of our favorite designers found our tile at one of our Southern California dealerships and immediately found an incredible use for it. This time, instead of using our Breckwood white in a small application, Ms. Wagner decided to use it as the feature in the master bedroom. The outcome is simply breath taking. Her use of reclaimed beams along with grey and blue overtones in the design make this one of the most inviting rooms we have ever seen. The full results of the herringbone are on complete display in this room. I love showing this series of photos to people - not only does it showcase the beauty of our tile and the incredible design, but when we boil down the actual method that would have been required to create this wall without the use of our tile the conclusions are overwhelmingly realized. To create a textural wall, with two inch by six inch tiles, all in a beautiful white rustic color and then assembled in this intricate pattern without a single nail - the realization of labor savings becomes laughable. The herringbone pattern can be a monstrous installation challenge to work with, but our tile system that interlocks in alternating pattern sheets is as simple as it can get to utilize this pattern. Take a look at the photos of this amazing room!
High Craft Remodel
A wonderful company in Colorado decided to use our herringbone pattern tiles in a powder bath application. We worked with them to help demonstrate how beautiful the pattern could be and demonstrated that how our sealed pre-finished coating could give them peace of mind to use it in this moderately wet setting. This is also one of my favorite installation stories - to see the results of this room and to know that it was installed relatively quickly and easily with such dramatic results is really a fine example of how leveraging the labor of a factory can give this beautiful aesthetic without overwhelming those installing it.
Love it or List It
When we were contacted by the Eco Floor Store in Vancouver, British Columbia about being a feature in the design of Jillian Harris on the HGTV show Love it or List it we were ecstatic! Not only was the show a fun one to watch, her design talents always utilized creativity in interesting ways to make a space come alive. This remains one of our favorite installations - not only for the results but for the way that a small amount of our material made an instant impact and became a favorite feature of the owners in the renovated space. The total material used was just under 70 feet and the outcome is still a standard bearing example of how our herringbone pattern can add dramatic impact and beauty to any space.
all photos courtesy of the Eco Floor Store in British Columbia
Lakota Rawhide Flats Bar
Another of our very favorite projects was one by Springhaus Designs in a parade of homes. This beautiful design was a cool merger of a need for the intricate herringbone pattern at a good price. Our Breckwood Natural material was the perfect solution! Not only did the bar become an oft talked about space of the home, it worked well for the builder to offer it as a signature material and design in other builds they were working on. Our Breckwood has a beautiful color way - that features the stone grey of weathered wood while having a mix of colored wood to help create a dynamic look and warm beauty.
Is There a Difference Between Chevron and Herringbone ?
You better believe there is! The quick breakdown of the difference is that herringbone is traditionally an interlocking pattern, where Chevron is a cut pattern that uses 45 degree angles to create its look. While at first glance it may be hard to distinguish, the two patterns are truly unique to themselves. The subtlety in the pattern actually has significant results in the final design. Here are a few photos side by side of the materials so that you can see the interesting difference between the two.
Where Can I Use Woodwol's Herringbone Tile?
We have shown you a few examples of some of our favorite installations but many people ask us what different kind of locations can our herringbone tile be used. Here is a pictorial appendix of some of the often used places that our tiles are used as a feature.
- note that this is on a radius because of our flexible backing system.
From History to Showstopper
The history of the herringbone is significant to our love of the pattern today. Its historic significance means that it has been visualized and utilized by centuries worth of humanity. This actually means that it is somewhere in our collective consciousness because of our familiarity with it. There is something timeless and classic about the herringbone pattern that we love and are drawn to. Woodwol's use of reclaimed material in this pattern adds a new twist on the idea and utilizes elements of the expansionist story of the West in this familiar and beautiful pattern of western civilization. We would love to help you design your next space. Contact us today and our team of experts can help you create a beautiful feature in your next design.