Rame Hruska is the Principal designer at Intexure Architects, a residential and commercial design firm focused on creating environments for modern life. Last year, Rami and Intexure won the Coverings Installation & Design Award for Sustainable Residential Design with the Heijen-Kavelaaars Garden Residence in Houston, TX.

Rami recently connected with us to share how tile played a key role in the design of this home. For those interested in entering a project in the 2017 CID Awards, you can do so until January 23rd.


Heijnen-Kavelaars Garden Residence is designed to unite elements of landscape and architecture in everyday living and sustainable design. Set on a corner lot, the home wraps around a central modern pool and garden, opening up views to the garden throughout the house and connecting to terraces on the second floor. The garden and modern pool act as an oasis in the urban environment, a place of reflection and refuge from the occupant’s busy lives. The colors of water, plants and sky give life to the home and create a personal emotional connection in yellow-green, and blue accent colors throughout. The challenge in doing this was to keep the palette, cohesive and serene – giving individual areas character while maintaining a holistic design.

Beginning in the garden, shades of green porcelain tile form the modern pool deck and backdrop for outdoor living. The faux wood grain pattern brings a pop art quality and sense of humor for the decking, creating a focal point linking interior and exterior space. Glass tile selected for the powder bath is aptly named cloud, turned vertically it echo’s the lines of the mirror and window in the room. The two guest baths feature handmade American tile from Clayhaus, pairing the same colors of wheatgrass, brine, splash and milk – in different textures. The Master bath features a wall of 1”x1” blended mosaic glass combined with walls of 3”x6” glass tile which enhance the effect of a sunny light filled space.

The challenge with the tile design and installation for this home centered around the planning and precession required for everything to line up but appear effortlessly simple as part of the modern design. The tile and grout patterns were drawn to scale in Revit / BIM software along with accurate models of all the vanities and plumbing components as part of the design-build approach. Accent bands needed to line up perfectly with the top edge of the vanity countertop. In the Master, wall mounted double faucets each needed to align perfectly with the intersections in the 3”x6” glass tile. Actuator plates for wall-mounted toilets were integrated to align with accent bands in the bathrooms. Other elements such as tile niches, even window and mirror placements were designed to avoid cut tiles and planned in advance, and coordinated in the field through the design-build process. The use of tile contributed greatly to the design of the home – creating a modern home that feels like home.


Sustainability was a key factor in the design of the home. Undergoing LEED certification as as a design-build project, sustainable features include thermally broken Low E insulated windows, a high efficiency AC system, high performance insulation, low flow plumbing fixtures, energy star appliances, and drought tolerant landscaping. The home also features a solar array which provides over 30% of the energy for the home. As a two-story house it emphasizes horizontality keeping the home to a livable human scale. This configuration also maximizes the use of natural light through the space particularly from the northern façade, an advantage in the Houston climate. Long-term durability, ease of maintenance, and appropriate use of materials is a key factor in sustainability, leading to the selection of the tile materials. The tile also helped achieve the low VOC and indoor air quality goals.

Coverings has helped us connect with industry professionals and give us additional perspective. Our recommendation to those attending the show this year is to save time to walk the show floor and attend some conference sessions – they are not to be missed!

Rame Hruska is a member of AIA and an LEED Accredited Professional. Intexture Architects is based in Houston, TX. To learn more: www.intexure.com