Some of you may recall an earlier post of mine sharing some background on the classic Greek Key, Clash of The Titans.  I continue to love the motif and know that it’s trending hot right now in the design world.  You are seeing it on fabrics,  area rugs, and as always in tile design.  I really love the wall finish in the above photo from House Beautiful magazine.

Johnathan Adler Area Rug with Greek Key Border

Photo Courtesy of Traditional Home – Greek Key Drapery Trim

I snapped this floor on a recent trip to New York City.  Guess where?  In one of the exam rooms on Ellis Island.  Lovely in a haunting sort of way……

So now the real reason for this post — I finished my outdoor patio table.  Complete with a Greek Key-embellished-mosaic-top.   For years my family huddled around a small 48″ glass table when we’ve dined outside, even when we’ve entertained.  I looked everywhere for just the right fit, style and budget to no avail, so I did what every good interior designer does, I designed one myself.  Oh yes, and I built it as well, along with help from my family and handful of experienced tradesmen.  Here are a few pictures of the nearly 10 month process.

My Table Base Design Sketches and Specifications

I studied, studied, researched and studied some more and then worked with my local metal worker to refine the design.  Among many elements, he brilliantly suggested the adjustable feet and the use of an epoxy to glue the concrete backer boards into the top frame.

Critical to the metal table base design was the top tile structure.  I labored over the layout and specific tile selection as tile width, height and length would affect the critical dimensions for the table base top.  And where to source the tiles?   I found no local resources for these type of tiles and after many weeks and sample-shipping charges I was still unsatisfied with my options: too thick, too large, not the right colors.

I stumbled on a perfect collection of colors and specifications at a tile shop in Santa Fe last fall and after a struggle to commit to the final color and quantity calculations I placed my order.  In doing so I committed the entire project to production.

It was raining the day I went to the powder coat shop to make the finish selection and to see my table base coming to life.  I originally thought I would finish it a dark black/brown (classic) but when I saw the base I fell in love with the unfinished industrial look of the metal and opted for a more contemporary clean, matte-silver finish.

The table base arrives and my son and his friend lay in the concrete backer boards for safe storage until I’m ready to assemble.   The finish was perfect, the fit and scale to the patio were even more so.

Building the mosaic tile sheets was fun and quite straight forward after all of the design and planning work.  30 square feet of hand-assembled loveliness.  On my mind and unresolved still at this point was the grout and glue selection.  I found relief and confidence when my research took me to the local Tom Duffy Supply where the team there and I agreed on the final specifications: epoxy grout to withstand the outdoor elements and inevitable entertaining-red-wine-mishaps and a thin-set just for glass tiles.

Me and the Cute Staff at the Local Tom Duffy Supply

My sister Debi flew out to help me with the final table assembly and tiling.  She knows how to do everything, just like Barbie, really: horses, motorcycles, fundraising, beef jerky, haute couture, jewelry making, and yes, tile work.  So I was relieved and emboldened by her hands and mind working alongside mine through the final critical stretch.

The rainy weather forced us indoors which proved to be a blessing as we had a few late nights of assembly and fine tuning.  Not to be daunted, we fortified our bodies and spirits with wine and music. The kids got no sleep that weekend.

Finally!  The thinset process began and continued throughout a quick morning.   We rested and headed to San Francisco for shopping like most tile setters and table makers do when a break and much-needed-drying-time is in order.

My sister Debi and I are all smiles.

Epoxy grout was not as much trouble as folks said it would be so we were relieved and delighted with the final table.   My family and friends are now thrilled that the 48″ round is replaced with this substantial 3’x10′ table that accommodates 12 people, lots of food, drink and fun.

I selected contemporary all-weather wicker chairs from a Spanish vendor.

A touch of gold sprinkled throughout was a last-minute switch during the tile laying that makes me smile whenever I see it.

Related Posts:  Clash of the Titans, Moroccan Tile

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