Now that summer is here I’m in full design mode on multiple projects that mostly involve basic tile patterns. Since I’m back in major math mode, I thought I’d share a challenging design project I did a couple of years ago for a client in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I came up with the idea for a unique pattern on his dining room floor before I determined if I could pull it off. I was confident in my math but designs like this don’t come along very often.
When you look at this floor, you see a very large design with the dining table sitting in the middle of it. In previous articles, I’ve pointed out that you need to be aware of how big or small an image should be to fit the space correctly. It’s important to visualize what the final scene will look like and decide how the scale of your design fits into it. You never want to make a medallion so small that you can see it under a table.
Practice makes perfect
My initial drawing had a pattern that was way too small. Once I got into the layout phase I realized I needed to adjust the scale right away. That’s why it’s very helpful to sketch ideas out before the install.
Since this design has a pattern I decided to lay out a large tile pattern on the floor to use as a guide. I measured 6 feet on the diagonal of the tile. That means I measured the distance from corner to corner across the middle of the tile and came up with 6 feet as a good starting point.
Then I hand drew my first image. It took me a little longer that day to lay out each image in the pattern. Nowadays I can do this in half the time. Like I constantly say: Practice makes perfect! Although I’ve only done this design once, it’s still all basic math. Practicing math is just as important as practicing the actual designs.
Let’s look at the mock-up project and break down how I did this layout. First, I found the center of the room and started a tile pattern on a diagonal. For this demonstration I drew a 4-foot tile pattern (because that size worked best in the mock-up room). Then I drew one-eighth of my image.
Previously, I explained how I use the Cartesian coordinates as a method for most of my layouts. In this instance I took that theory and tweaked it to my advantage. Instead of measuring from the center of the room I used all four sides of the square for my measurements. As long as your tile is a perfect square you can use it to your advantage. I plotted all my points out from the first corner and duplicated the pattern on the other three corners.
Once I got those initial plot points down, I drew the outside edges of the image. At this point, I stopped and took a step back to make sure everything matched. Then I drew the inside lines and had to fine-tune some of my curves to ensure accuracy. Once I was satisfied with the look, I moved on to the next tile.
From here on out, you can use the same measurements from all the corners of the tiles you want the image on. I plot out each tile and then draw the pattern. After each one I step back to make sure the curves match. Then I repeat the steps on the next tile.
The corner tiles don’t have corners to measure from. So I use the center of the tile line and measure the reverse from there. At first it was confusing but once I got the initial one down the other three were easy.
The grand finale
Finally I remove all my tile pattern lines. The finished product is a unique fleur-de-lis tile pattern. The design looks incredibly hard to do but it just takes a little patience to see the bigger picture. It is a lot easier to produce than it looks.
Using a tile pattern to your advantage keeps everything square and accurate. I would never be able to draw a design like this without starting with a basic tile pattern. It’s amazing what the basics of all decorative concrete design can help you make.