Laird Plumleigh: a worthy addition to one’s home

Laird Plumleigh makes beautiful tile perfect for historic arts and crafts or Spanish-styled homes but also perfect to add a touch of singularity to new homes.

 

One of my favorite tiles, there are many, is this blue parrot with white cactus flowers.

One of my favorite tiles, there are many, is this blue parrot with white cactus flowers.

Laird Plumleigh is a talented artist choosing tile as his medium. There are numerous people with their own backyard kilns doing work similar to his own. Even high schoolers, he says, learn to make and glaze pottery and tiles in school these days. He was one of the first however. His work took off in the 1980’s.

Ernest Batchelder fireplace in his personal home in Pasadena.

Ernest Batchelder fireplace in his personal home in Pasadena.

One of his early influences was Ernest Batchelder who was responsible for many a tiled fireplace in California and allover the US. Interestingly, one of Laird’s clients recently purchased Batchelder’s personal home and is currently renovating it with Plumleigh’s tiles where needed.

Beyond Batchelder

Laird makes various plaques in the Batchelder style yet he has extended far beyond that arena.

Some of his tiles are simple squares in varying sizes with incredible color range. Using a field of squares is not ordinary when they are by LP.

He also makes large moldings to edge fireplaces and create mantels and even columns.

One of my favorite items of his are the triangular-shaped baseboard tiles. They are thick terracotta with the impressed design painted in varying shades. I have used this tile for two different projects as well as a cobalt moorish base tile. So long wood baseboards.

This turquoise frieze was made for a project in South Florida.

This turquoise frieze was made for a project in South Florida.

As talented as he is, naturally he has been hired for various exciting projects. Plumleigh has recreated tile for the fountain at Balboa Park in San Diego. He created an enormous full-story fireplace similar to Batchelder’s own, (pictured earlier) using ten different colors. Once he created a large white art deco frieze for a building in Los Angeles. A most memorable job was for a client who loved Lord of the Rings and themed his house accordingly. In one area he was hired to create large painted panels to resemble a misty forest of sorts. The panels were to cover an entire wall that would be the backdrop for a life-size version of one of the LOR characters.

Those panels were like abstract canvases, a departure from his previous work. My mother loved them and bought one for herself. He installed another as the central piece of his own fireplace, seen above.

Bet you have never seen a baseboard such as this. Tile in the Plumleigh home.

Bet you have never seen a baseboard such as this. Tile in the Plumleigh home.

He likes to experiment and try out new ideas. Recently he made these Dutch-inspired tiles to see how they would look. His bird feeders are hugely popular with visitors. Similarly, they are popular with my own backyard birds.

Living the artistic life.

Artists have the most interesting homes in my opinion. The reason being that care is taken with every item. They aren’t content with something unless it is just right. That does not mean perfect or expensive. They may make something themselves if they cannot find it or maybe they just arrange items differently than would others. There is always a fresh approach in an artist’s home which is exciting.

Laird Plumleigh’s house is no exception. Everything was made by hand or is antique. The pictures speak for themselves.

The master bathroom, Plumleigh house.

The master bathroom, Plumleigh house.

The Florida frieze in white for his Encinitas home.

The Florida frieze in white for his Encinitas home.

This Laird piece blends right into the cactus landscape.

This Laird piece blends right into the cactus landscape.

Madagascar Ocotillo is one of my favorites.

Madagascar Ocotillo is one of my favorites.

The artist in his newly renovated kitchen.

The artist in his newly renovated kitchen.

He made these long tiles specifically for this purpose with bull-nosed edges finishing the countertop.

He made these long tiles specifically for this purpose with bull-nosed edges finishing the countertop.

His house sits on a large piece of property in Encinitas that hosts a far off ocean view. Honestly though, while at Laird’s I never once think about the ocean. His abode is a world unto itself. There are countless fruit trees – lemon, pomegranate, apple, and plum. He is very generous with his fruit when you go for a working visit. Laying out a recent project took me four hours just to get it started. He brought jugs of water and the best Santa Rosa plum I have ever eaten. Hanging from rafters and stands are his hummingbird feeders with their sugar water. His glazed bird feeders hang all over the property. He has to fill them twice a day to feed his ravenous guests.

A beautiful expansive aviary holds six doves that provide a soothing background noise. I love their soft cooing as it evokes memories of my grandmother’s house in Phoenix.

LP and Casa V

Plumleigh tiles have added significantly to some of my projects that were a match for his work. They add just what I like to see in a house – a touch of one’s hand not seen anywhere else. Below are some of my projects featuring LP tile art.

A family room in a recently completed renovation to an historic Winter Park home.

A family room in a recently completed renovation to an historic Winter Park home.

Another unstyled amateur photo of the same house. This fireplace is in the master bedroom.

Another unstyled amateur photo of the same house. This fireplace is in the master bedroom.

Another Winter Park fireplace.

Another Winter Park fireplace.

A beautiful lagoon green tile by Laird Plumleigh gives this Winter Park fireplace new life.

Seen up close. The green is just beautiful like a welcoming lagoon.

Baseboard tiles by Laird Plumleigh.

No boring wood baseboard for this master suite hallway.

If you can see past the handsome weimaraner, the blue moorish baseboard tiles add zip to this master bedroom.

If you can see past the handsome weimaraner, the blue moorish baseboard tiles add zip to this master bedroom.

The "boneyard" lies behind the studio where one can find treasure such as these cows and sheep.

The “boneyard” lies behind the studio where one can find treasure such as these cows and sheep.

Purchasing from Laird can be tricky as everything is handmade and hand-glazed. No two pieces are alike. The best way to create something for yourself or a client is to visit his home workshop. There are racks and racks of tile grouped by color. He has surfaces where you can draw out your dimensions and then begin arranging. The possibilities overwhelm, but when you leave you will have a unique Laird Plumleigh creation, seen a few birds, and maybe even eaten the most delicious plum of your life.

To learn about Ernest Balchelder see here and here. View Laird Plumleigh’s work here.

Casa V can bring a bit of Laird Plumleigh to add a unique touch to your home.

California summer

California summer means surfing, sunsets, margaritas, tacos, skateboarding, rollerskating, hot sand, and the cold Pacific.

 

At least to me. Many think lobster rolls, sea glass, ferries, and clam bakes. It would be much easier to drive up the East coast for summer vacation. While that must be wonderful to many, summer will never be Cape Cod, Nantucket, or Maine to me. The West Coast always beckons. Summer just doesn’t feel complete unless it is a California summer. The Mexican influence and Spanish architecture set the perfect backdrop for our beloved activities.

The images below depict the perfect California summer as they appear in my mind.

A surfer in Montecito. (Photo: C Magazine)

A surfer in Montecito. (Photo: C Magazine)

Serape bathrobes.

Serape bathrobes.

The first thing to love about a California summer is the Spanish architecture.

Richard Hallberg's Montecito home. (Photo: Max Kim-Bee)

Richard Hallberg’s Montecito home. (Photo: Max Kim-Bee)

My dream house could be found in just about any California town. It would have old tile floors, wooden beamed ceilings, and white plaster walls. Charming windows and french doors allow cool winds to blow through the house.

House designed by Lutah Maria Riggs. Now owned by Richard Hallberg. (Photo: Art Design and Architecture Museum)

House designed by Lutah Maria Riggs. Now owned by Richard Hallberg. (Photo: Art Design and Architecture Museum)

Richard Hallberg's Montecito home. (Photo: Max Kim-Bee)

Richard Hallberg’s Montecito home. (Photo: Max Kim-Bee)

Hardware detail from Richard Hallberg's house. (Photo: Max Kim-Bee)

Hardware detail from Richard Hallberg’s house. (Photo: Max Kim-Bee)

Side entrance to Casa del Herrero by George Washington Smith, Montecito. (Photo: C magazine)

Side entrance to Casa del Herrero by George Washington Smith, Montecito. (Photo: C magazine)

The second is that everything grows in California.

Pelargoniums hate the Florida humidity. Everything grows beautifully in California.

Pelargoniums hate the Florida humidity. Everything grows beautifully in California.

The home of a fabulously creative man, Encinitas.

The home of a fabulously creative man, Encinitas.

Admiring the view from La Valencia, La Jolla.

Admiring the view from La Valencia, La Jolla.

Natural materials always seem right in California. (Photo: Pinterest)

Natural materials always seem right in California. (Photo: Pinterest)

Mary Queen of the Sea, Catholic Church, La Jolla.

Mary Queen of the Sea, Catholic Church, La Jolla.

White walls, saltillo floors, and a dutch door make a perfect kitchen. (Photo: Pinterest)

White walls, saltillo floors, and a dutch door make a perfect kitchen. (Photo: Pinterest)

Most significant, however, is the natural beauty that recharges the soul.

The morning's bounty from a few years ago. I love the brown and white striped ones the most.

The morning’s bounty from a few years ago. I love the brown and white striped ones the most.

(Photo: Slabs of the Sunburnt West)

(Photo: Slabs of the Sunburnt West)

Mornings are overcast until eleven or so when the sun burns off the clouds.

Mornings are overcast until eleven or so when the sun burns off the clouds.

Perfect end to another amazing California beach day.

The perfect end to another amazing California beach day.

Casa V Interiors can bring California beauty to your home.