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Amethyst Artisan

36 West 21st Street
Amethyst Artisan 1 Tile Flatiron

A couple of years ago, while studying abroad in Spain, Molly, one of the members of our team, took a short trip to Morocco and was simply astounded by the overwhelming beauty of every space she saw. There were so many materials and patterns jumbled together, and yet somehow so seamlessly melting into one another to create a cohesive feeling. With the bright colors and intricate decorations, it felt a bit like living inside of a Matisse painting. Walking into Amethyst artisan, which is primarily a tile shop, Molly was immediately transported back to the chaotic yet graceful artistry of Moroccan courtyards. This makes sense, because almost everything in this shop comes from the North African country. Michele, the owner and an artist herself, explained that she and her partner, Michael, opened the shop in 2005 and although she does design some new pieces herself, most of the inventory comes from their scouting trips to Morocco. In addition to the gorgeous tiles, the store is filled with exquisite hanging lanterns and intricately carved furniture. Much of their business comes from outfitting restaurants and hotels, and as Molly said, "if a hotel looked anything like this shop, I would be thrilled to stay there."

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Amethyst Artisan 1 Tile Flatiron
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Amethyst Artisan 5 Tile Flatiron
Amethyst Artisan 6 Tile Flatiron
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Amethyst Artisan 8 Tile Flatiron

More Tile nearby

Lost Gem
Nemo Tile Company, Inc 1 Tile undefined

Nemo Tile - Contractor Warehouse

Nemo Tile’s beginnings date back to 1921 in Jamaica, Queens. Nemo Tile is responsible for lining and decorating many of New York’s most famed and frequently traveled spaces and landmarks: The Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, the original World Trade Center, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, the W Hotels, and “countless residences, ” according to their staff, all bear their unique tiles. The company specializes in usable, heavily trafficked tiles, of all colors, shapes, materials, and sizes, but Nemo also works on smaller, more decorative or intimate architectural and interior projects. I spoke to Charlotte Barnard, the head of marketing, who told me a bit about the the company’s history and the changes that Nemo has undergone since its inception. Jerry Karlin partnered with, and subsequently took over from, the original owner in the 1950s and since then, the company has been in the hands of three generations of this family run business. I think what struck me most, though, was when I put the pieces together and realized that I grew up in the same town as the Karlin's. One of their daughters was a childhood friend, and our parents were also very close. I even have fond memories of a trip that I took with the Karlins to Florida when I was about fifteen. All of a sudden, Nemo Tiles took on a whole new meaning for me. As I continued my conversation with Charlotte, she informed me that many things have not changed since 1921 - the original location is still operating in Queens and the Karlin family is still involved with MTA projects, including the new Fulton Street station, which features Nemo glass tiles. There have, however, been revolutionary inventions in the tile industry, especially thanks to advances in technology. 3D printing has made it possible to make porcelain look like stone, wood, and even metal. Charlotte proudly stated that Nemo Tile sees some of the most traffic of surrounding showrooms. She pointed out that they have a great location, and that similar companies have followed their lead in moving to the Gramercy area. The company finds most of their products at two major tile shows in Bologna and Florida, but they have wares from all over the world, from China to North America. They have an especially large Italian selection, and Charlotte told us that Nemo had been named “Distributor of the Year” by Confindustria Ceramica, the trade organization for Italian tile. I was deeply impressed with the showroom itself and the constant flow of people stopping by to browse and make purchases: the floor was a clever patchwork of different styles of tile, sliding pull-out displays were tucked into the walls, allowing the space to remain uncluttered, and props like shower heads and mirrors decorated the walls. Charlotte explained, “We are more than a typical tile store. We show tiles within the context of lifestyle. It is a new way to see space, and we are constantly updating the displays. ”

Lost Gem
ANN SACKS 1 Tile Stone undefined


In the early 1980s, a young woman was shopping for a Mexican wedding dress when she stumbled upon talavera tiles being shown as trivets. She was so drawn to the tiles that she entered the home decor world and never looked back. She instantly recognized the potential in tiles and returned home with the intention of starting a new company in Portland, Oregon. Today, Ann Sacks' company continues to manufacture artisan and handmade ceramic tiles in Ann’s hometown. Ted Chappell, the President of ANN SACKS, calls the main factory in Portland the “heart and soul of our business. ”Now owned by Kohler Company, ANN SACKS manufactures artisan, hand-crafted tiles that come in unique glazes, shapes, and sizes. According to Ted, “they are unlike anything on the market. ” In the store, the tiles are shown with entire bath and kitchen vignettes. Because of its connection with Kohler, ANN SACKS is able to offer designers and customers a complete decorative solution, including plumbing, cabinets, sinks, etc. An emphasis on innovation has kept the company going for all these years. Ted told me, “I think it’s our job to protect the history of the company. Timeless design really drives us forward. ”ANN SACKS has eighteen showrooms across the United States, London, and Vancouver, but the flagship showroom on 18th Street is the largest in the country. With two floors and a mezzanine staircase, this location stands above the rest. The emphasis on customer service ensures that the experience in the store is positively memorable. Interior designers are the core of the company's clients, and so the showroom is designed to capture their attention. As Ted expressed, “We want to be the leader and trendsetter and the place where designers come to find something new and different. ”

More places on 21st Street

Lost Gem
Merakia 1 Mediterranean Greek undefined


Merakia occupies the space that housed Kat & Theo from 2015-2017 - and while the restaurant maintains the same ownership as before, it also has a different mission. The modern Greek steakhouse prides itself on its meats and classic seafood items, while maintaining a classy, hip atmosphere in its cavernous space on 21st Street. “We built a new team… and a new vision, ” managing partner James Paloumbis shared with the Manhattan Sideways team when he spoke of the switch from Kat & Theo. He then went on to highlight Merakia’s differences from other Greek restaurants. “It’s not white and blue like every other place in New York City. Our menu is not the copy paste of any other place. ” The menu is heavy on steaks and seafood, boasting their signature lamb on the spit ("the only restaurant in the city to do so") while, surprisingly, offering some robust meat-free options as well. “Everything is farm to table, we use fresh ingredients, [and] we make everything from scratch on a daily basis. ” James told us that part of his mission is to bring back the adventure of going out to eat, a phenomenon he has noticed declining over the years. “People don’t like to go out anymore just to eat. You can eat at home, you can eat down the street, you can order your meal online. But to get an experience of nice service, some nice flavors, nice music, nice drinks - it’s worth your while to go out again. ” Husband and wife team behind Kat & Theo - Renee and Andreas Typaldos - seem to have orchestrated a smooth transition from their previous restaurant. As their past executive chef, Paras Shah, believed, "there should be a movie written about the couple's romantic backstory and that he “couldn’t have worked for better folks. ” Andy is originally from Greece, and the restaurant was named after his parents, Katerina and Theodosios. Andy came to New York on a scholarship from Columbia and met Renee, who is from the Bronx. He took her out on a first date “with holes in his shoes and with no winter jacket, ” according to Renee. She added, “The romantic, poetic way people get together. ” Today, they are paying homage to Andy's Greek heritage and according to James, “People have to trust their stomachs and their palates with a restaurant, so that’s what we’re trying to do here. Trust us - our food is fresh, our food is made with care, and we love what we do. ”