Thoroughly Modern Tile

Artistic Tile’s Founder and CEO Nancy Epstein walks us through the company’s latest innovations inspired by art, technology and the Roaring ‘20s.

It all started with a bathroom cabinet. When Nancy Epstein founded Artistic Tile (which has a showroom located in Manhasset) in 1987, it was out of necessity; her vision for just the right cabinet for her son’s bathroom landed her a job working with a NJ-based cabinet maker. Fueled by her passion for design and business, Epstein quickly expanded the business on her own, offering its customers premium tile, stone and bath and kitchen fixtures as Artistic Tile.

“I love this industry,” says Epstein. “The items that we choose for our homes are so important. They are such a reflection of you and what makes us happy.” A mother and grandmother, it’s evident when speaking with Epstein that family plays a big role in her life and work.

“Home is where family memories are made,” she says. “The thought and effort that we put into our homes is the basis for building those memories. When your surroundings reflect you, it’s so much more calming and exciting.” Epstein and her team have worked for years to make top-of-the-line luxury tile available to clients to enhance their homes.

“If you look back, it’s evident that we’ve progressed and changed as a society,” she says. “Our homes are now places of refuge, which is why I think customization has become so important to our customers. They want what they want and they want it their way and fast too.” All of these demands point to a change in how Artistic Tile does business.

image“As opposed to 10 years ago, most of our time now is spent designing products and having those products made for us,” she says. “We find our inspiration and make it ours. At our factory in New Jersey, we can take any stone and cut it into any pattern a customer wants.”

The latest trend? Sculpted, three-dimensional tile. Inspired by a hotel trip overseas, Epstein and her team came up with the Ziva line of tile. “We were sitting in a hotel in Tunisia and the wall panel behind us was beautifully three-dimensional. That right there was the whole start of our quest for dimensional designs.”

Available in Lotus and Leaves, the tiles are hand carved in India and polished to bring out the details. Done in shades of white and grey (another huge trend Epstein points out), the Lotus for example, looks as if the flowers themselves are blooming right in front of you.

“Our design process takes a lot of playing around,” she explains. “We can have three or four designers working on something at one time and they in turn work with the artisans to create many samples. At times, we’ve reviewed 300 pieces until we got it just right.”

Another trend the company is bringing to its clientele is the use of metallics. This time, rather than just using them as accents, the company is creating field tiles in matted gold, bronze, copper and rose gold.
“My favorite new thing is copper and rose gold,” says Epstein. Both are beautiful in glass. Getting that metallic into glass allows it to be beautifully subtle.”

imageThe use of the metallics comes from Epstein’s passion for Art Deco. “I am an Art Deco addict! The designs, shapes and materials from that time are both contemporary and classic at the same time. Everything that is old is new again—it’s just been reformulated and reinvented to feel fresh.”

Current technology also has a heavy role in Artistic Tile’s lineup of luxury offerings. The company recently added a water jet machine to help experiment with different placements of colors and ideas. “We’ve been playing with combinations such as stone and glass and stone and ceramic and different patterns too,” says Epstein. “It’s amazing how the same patterns in different colors will look totally different.”

And what might the future hold? Epstein forecasts a lot more customization and a continued focus on textures and dimensional offerings. In fact, Epstein and her team are patiently waiting for a form of 3D Internet access to come around so her customers can touch and feel the tiles while browsing online. “We’ll be ready! It’ll be a great time for our products. They’ll be full of texture and intricacy and the fact that they can reach out and touch samples will really wow our customers.”

Artistic Tile has a Long Island-based showroom located at 1500 Northern Blvd. in Manhasset. (516) 365-1259.

lauren debellis

A former magazine editor, Lauren DeBellis has been writing and producing stories about home decorating and design for nearly ten years. She resides in East Northport with her husband.