Shreveport’s housing market is full of gems, and those with a careful eye can find historical homes, often of architectural note, with some significant Shreveport history attached.
Updating a historical home while keeping the architectural integrity is a bit of a challenge, especially when building materials that were once available can no longer be found. Homeowners then have to decide if they want to tear out or live with the original.
Molly McInnis lives in a historic home in South Highlands that has the original 1939 powder blue tile in a bathroom. She has considered replacing the tile, however, the project will not be an easy one. With several inches of mortar under the tile, the floor will have to be jackhammered to remove – a major undertaking.
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The bathroom has a small missing piece of tile, and the original toilet, but replacing the toilet will require McInnis to lose tile no longer in production and possibly have a newer, larger toilet not fit correctly which will in turn will require her to do something with her current tile flooring.
“I’ve worked the powder blue, which really is charming, into my color scheme,” said McInnis. She used bead board on top of wall tile and retiled white subway tiles in the bath/shower in order to update the look. McInnis said she would consider updating the bathroom flooring if she did not have to replace the whole floor.
A company in Little Rock, Arkansas, manufacturers custom historical tile. According to their website, www.restorationtile.com, American Restoration Tile specializes in the reproduction of tiles from the past to facilitate restoration of historically significant buildings and residences. Using modern manufacturing technology and decades of ceramic engineering experience, the team at American Restoration Tile can exactly duplicate the sizes and colors of old ceramic tile installations as well as duplicate patterns, borders, corners, and medallions for new construction meant to recreate the feel of the past.
Sisters Erin Byrd Oliver and Rachel Byrd Silvestri are successfully continuing their father’s legacy of his tile tradition with the company he began 17 years ago.
Erin Oliver explained the tile process, “We make the tile just like they used to. The tile we manufacture is the same tile that was produced from 1810 to 1950. It’s not a replica, or a match, it is the same tile.”
With a staff of seven at American Restoration Tile to create tile from raw materials sourced primarily from Alabama, the team prepares the body, press, fire, and assembles the tile on site at the plant in Little Rock.