Why Hatch Works Chose Clay Tiles

A thoughtful insight with the design/builder duo

By Clay Imports

Hatch Works has everything we love to work with; they are an incredible design team, a professional builder and are fellow Austinites! Their instagram feed is something we can doom scroll all day, so we felt very honored when they decided to use one of our tiles for their newest project. We had the chance to talk with Adam and Ashley about their work and how to find inspiration while working in a highly creative environment.

The foundations of Hatch Works

The first thing they discussed with us was that it was never their original idea to make a house building company in the first place. Back in 2002, Adam Talianchich wanted to buy a house, but the only one he could afford on a low-tier state salary job was a condemned house in East Austin. According to them “He somehow thought it was reasonable to do a 53 square foot hand cut mosaic tile floor by himself!” (Hey, if you’re going to do a tile floor, at least try to make it interesting and unique!) They still own this house today and continue to admire the floor.

By 2004 Adam embarked on fixing up another house, but this time he had a little help. Ashley Menger had a degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design and a masters in Product Design. Her mom Caron is an incredible interior designer up in the Northeast and the principal inspiration for Ashley. So, when Adam and Ashey started dating, she was able to teach Adam a ton on how to refine design and how essential planning and crafting a vision are to truly create something memorable.

Adam Talianchich and Ashley Menger from Hatch Works
Ashley and Adam of Hatch Works

With both houses finished, they couldn’t help themselves by wondering “if we had just started with an empty lot, could we have created something better?" So that’s precisely what they did in 2009. They decided to give the idea of ground up construction a go, and just in case, they also officially formed a company: Hatch Works. The house they started building from scratch was meant to be for them but midway through construction another couple offered to purchase it. They both said “hey, you know, we do have this company and we could build you your very own home!” And so they did. And they continue to do so 14 years later with the same philosophy: a mixture of craft and whimsy combined with durable construction techniques, making each house last for generations to come.

About design

According to Adam and Ashley, “there are way too many poorly designed homes being built in Austin and that makes us sad”. They are very aware that good design takes time and is the sum of a lot of good decisions. “It is layers upon layers of little micro-decisions that slowly and incrementally add up to something really significant. The way in which those elements are combined and constructed makes all the difference”.

For them, the key behind a good design is thoughtfulness. Good design feels and looks effortless, but requires countless hours and a whole lot of toil to get there. And that’s their advice for aspiring designers: keep working, experimenting and finding when to add or restrain a little bit.

“Don’t be afraid to fail. We fail all the time! Just try not to make the same mistake twice (but it will still be ok if it does)”

The Hatch Works - Clay Imports combo

The bathroom featured in the Casa Cava Project was a challenge. The design-build couple were really trying to impart a sense of style and personality into a bathroom that had to be built on a limited budget. And according to them, “When working with a limited budget (or honestly any budget, but especially a limited budget) using shape and form to define a space instead of just a big pile of expensive materials can really work wonders!"

So they have to come up with a theme. The theme for this bathroom became arcs because arcs are soft and inviting.. So many of our spaces that we live and work in are rectilinear: squares, rectangles, cubes, hard right angles… Yet, nature is all about curves.

Quarter circle black and white tile by Clay Imports

When we found the Clay Imports quarter circle tile and how it would complete this bathroom’s look there were a lot of internal high fives and “nailed it” thoughts dancing through our brains.

This arc theme repeats all along the bathroom space because, as a musical enthusiast, Adam wanted to introduce the idea of a leitmotif into physical spaces. A leitmotif is a repeating melodic phrase in music that is used to represent a character, setting, emotion, or - like in this case, a theme.
As Adam says: “It starts with the vanity. It is a fairly straightforward paint grade vanity…until we added a nice big sweeping arc to it, with another nod to natural elements in the open wood shelf below the sink. Above the vanity is a capsule shaped mirror, introducing two more arcs to the party. And then the real element that ties it all together and anchors the room…the Clay Imports quarter circle tile, which of course, we centered on the vanity when laying out this tile".
Modern bathroom design with black and white tiles

Design by Hatch Works | Photo by Robert Gomez

“We love to work with Clay Imports because they have such well curated artisanal lines of tiles. We want our homes to have their own unique voices and personality. A large part of that comes from the material choices we make and nothing really quite beats the unique personality of a handmade tile. From tiles that have an occasional cat paw imprint to just being a little rough around the edges and not the same size as their neighbor, it’s that individuality and character that makes them so attractive”.

Why to use clay tiles?

Hatch Works has been working with clay and cement tiles from the very beginning, so they can recognize when is best to use one type of material from another. In general, they advise people to use clay tiles for heavily trafficked floors or for any inside walls.

Ashley suggests to use clay tiles if you love solid colors and use tile placement to make a pattern, and Adam recommends clay tiles if you want your tile to look eternally new and if you “lean into quirks, uniqueness and imperfection. But, you have to buy from an artisanal vendor like Clay Imports!”

Hatch Works is based in Austin and they are making waves in the design and building industry. If you want to get in touch with them, don’t hesitate to reach them on their website or their instagram profile. And remember, if you have any questions or require more information, reach out to us at contact@clayimports.com or chat with us here.