FIELD TRIP – July 2013
By Veronique Mcaree | Photography Amanda Kowalski
If you’re planning on incorporating tile into your kitchen design, add Portland’s Distinctive Tile and Design to your blueprint.
I’ve passed Distinctive Tile and Design’sshowroom in Portland dozens of times. But it wasn’t until this recent field trip that I checked out the dizzying inventory inside. After perusing the striking contemporary and traditional tile and mosaic collections, the wide spectrum of colors and shapes, it was easy to walk away with a tile obsession.
Taking a tour with the company’s owner, Larry Stoddard, and handling the cool, polished surfaces of porcelain, glass, travertine, limestone, and so on, one can’t help hatching a renovation project on the spot.
Located on Forest Avenue, Distinctive Tile and Design is a 3,500-square-foot, high-end tile showroom featuring tiles in everything from ceramic and stone to metal and glass.
With an additional showroom in Rockland as well as a full flooring store in Yarmouth, Stoddard is one of a few local tile merchants competing against both big-box stores and Boston design resources.
“I’m really proud of our heritage as one of Maine’s oldest tile design showrooms and am thrilled to have presence across Maine,” says Stoddard. “We used to have design clients going down to Boston for tiles they couldn’t get here in Maine—but that’s changed tremendously, and we’re now a go-to resource for the state.”
Distinctive Tile and Design offers designers, architects, builders, and do-it-yourselfers thousands of design and material combinations. Plus, Stoddard’s team offers design services to help clients map out their plans, from concept through install. “We design for any room—from commercial spaces to floors, custom showers, and backsplashes,” notes Stoddard. “We handle everything from small-scale home renovation projects to large, complex design jobs for restaurants and hotels.” The company ships all across the country and has a growing Canadian clientele as well.
The business engages clients by showcasing products in practical, livable settings. Lifestyle displays throughout the showroom present the latest in tile, stone, and glass and make it easy for designers with clients to shop the collections. A quarter of the showroom’s inventory is exclusive to Distinctive Tile and Design, and customers will find such industry innovators as Artistic Designs, Appomattox, Elon, Five Elements, and Terra Firma, to name a few.
Stoddard also features a few collections made by Maine producers such as Antiquity Tile and Heirloom Tileworks.
“We have exceptional knowledge of tiles and trends in the industry and offer a wide variety of styles hard to find anywhere in Maine,” notes Stoddard. The company accommodates every budget too: prices start at $1 per square foot and rise to $200 per square foot. What’s more, the creative team loves finding solutions to renovation conundrums, from how to match new tiles with existing ones to tiling the interior of a boat.
Stoddard’s team is consistently up to the job of catering to any need, even if it means handing over the keys to the place—which he frequently does so clients can work, uninterrupted, over the weekend. “It’s all about great service,” says Stoddard. “We work hard to make sure clients find what they need.”