When it comes to focal points in your home, there are none more grand or central than a fireplace. Just like any other fixture or piece of furniture in your home, the fireplace can be designed to fit into a particular style or design – made to be as eye-catching or seamless as you’d like. For those looking to deck out their hearth, Amy Popelka of Tac Tile Company in Bellingham creates one-of-a-kind pieces out of ceramic tile. Check out her process and learn more about her services below. – Anelyse Morris-Bohlke  

“A project begins with a phone call or an email! We discuss initial design thoughts over the phone and then schedule a time for me to come see their space. Seeing people in their homes allows me to get a good feel for the client’s taste and color preferences. I will take measurements while there and take lots of pictures for my own reference to make sketches off of.   

Next, I like having people come out to my studio to see all of my color options. I can bring or send color samples, but most people have really enjoyed coming out and seeing where ‘the magic’ happens. There you can see and touch a vast array of styles of tile.  

I have really enjoyed getting to know each of my clients, and delivering something for them that is just as special as they are. If this means a “Lord of the Rings” fireplace for a book lover, or a peaceful mountain scene for a nature lover, I am into it. It’s the relationships between people that fuel my inspiration for each project.  

I will usually offer a few different sketch-ups from all the information I have gathered from the client. I give a few options as well to show some price differences.  I have so many different styles I enjoy doing and they all vary in technical difficulty and how long they take to make.  

Once we have agreed on a price and design, I get to work. On average, a fireplace can take anywhere from two to four months depending on all the variables. The tiles get made and dry for a few weeks. They are then fired for the first time, then coated several times with glaze and fired for the final time. I then hand them off to the tile master, Rob Perham from Rob Rocks Tile and Stone, to do the install.” 

Tac Tile Company, 4395 Davis St., Bellingham, 360.441.3454, tactilecompany.com