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Design Stories | Avery Coonley Inspired Fireplace

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Design Stories | Avery Coonley Inspired Fireplace
By Nawal Motawi
Posted: 2017-08-01T15:45:00Z

If you’ve ever been to a Motawi Mega Sale, or any Motawi event for that matter, chances are, you’ve seen Pam Brown. She has also attended our free public tour several times and has brought friends with her, only then to take them to the Ann Arbor District Library to show them the Motawi mural installed there. When it came time for Pam to add some tile into her family room, she knew she wanted Motawi. Here, in her own words, is her Design Story.

It is hard to recall exactly how I first heard about Motawi Tileworks. It was likely at the Art Fair or some other art show. At the time, I was not familiar with decorative tiles, and I found them interesting and unique. But, I became more enthralled with the company when there was an exhibit at the Downtown Ann Arbor Public Library several years ago. I was able to attend a talk given by Nawal Motawi, which included a slide show. The slide show of her work was impressive. Most particularly, people seemed to be WOW’ed with her guest bathroom shower with the Tapestry tile, (and how could she ever have sold the house where THAT was built).

I was also impressed with how Nawal was able to build such a strong and respected company in what seemed like a short time. She was very dynamic and legitimately proud of her accomplishments including her recognition in business circles. Since I first heard her talk, I thought that Motawi must be fabulous place to work since it sounded like employees were “family”.

Around the time of the AADL exhibit, I had realized that I needed to replace my fireplace hearth since some of the marble was cracked. I had been dragging my feet because I didn’t know what I wanted. But, whatever I chose had to be special because I spend most of my time in the family room in front of the fireplace.

I had my “eureka” moment on hearing Nawal’s talk a second time at the Holiday Mega Sale that year. The slide show included several fireplace designs. I prefer to support local artists and artisans, and decided that I would further discuss options at Motawi after the holidays. I also have been a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright designs as there is something relaxing about the order of these geometric designs. I discussed options with one of Motawi’s in-house designers in January.

She presented me with an initial design that was tweaked with my input. There is a wet-bar located on the opposite wall from the fireplace. The wet bar was made of the same marble. A design complementary to the fireplace was developed for the wet-bar. When I heard that the design needed to be approved by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, I was initially concerned that the approval would take a long time and that installation would be delayed. BUT, the design had already been approved when I was informed of the need. It was exciting to realize that I would be the only person in the world with this fireplace!

Regarding the installation process, I was given the names of two people who routinely did installation for Motawi. I interviewed both, and went with Hershey Card who was available sooner. But, it still was a few months later until the project was completed. I remember really liking Hershey and feeling totally comfortable having him do work when I was away from home. I don’t remember details of the installation process itself. The work was confined to one room, and there was minimal impact on other areas of the house.

I have a modern house that is two stories with a 2-story entryway and 2-story great room. The fireplace and wet bar are situated in my “family room” which is at the back of the house. It is immediately adjacent to my kitchen in an open floor plan. The great room runs off the opposite side of the kitchen. I can see the fireplace from the dining room side of the great room, the kitchen, or the family room. I spend almost all of my time at home in either the family room or kitchen. I just love the fireplace and wet bar.

Wet bar

Guests who visit love the fireplace. We haven’t discussed in detail what they feel. But, the expression is generally “wow!” Guests typically want to learn more about Motawi Tileworks. I have brought different friends to the Motawi Tileworks tour at least twice. The Pittsfield Township library is between my house and Motawi; so we typically stop there to see the “Boy Reading” mural.

Ann Arbor is a fabulous town. I never cease to be impressed with the talented artists and artisans making it easy to be a strong ambassador for them. It is exciting to find tiles from Motawi at gift shops when I am travelling. I love to give gifts that are unique and supportive of local artists and artisans. So, I am thrilled to have Motawi Tileworks in my community.

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