When you first see a house designed by Ryan Hines, you won’t necessarily know what’s original and what’s been added. That’s the goal. “My personal aesthetic is to have an invisible hand,” says the Los Angeles-based architect. His choice of materials—which frequently includes Heath tile—is all about creating a natural conversation between old and new.
Ryan grew up in Stillwater, Oklahoma. “I was one of the only non-white kids in a very conservative place. Being a minority in that space helped me want to consider what exists outside of the world I was growing up in. I think that’s why a lot of people become creative. They want to create a universe that’s different from the one they are living in.”
After high school, Ryan headed to USC for a degree in architecture, where he studied the famous modernists of Southern California. After graduating, he stayed in LA to build his own practice, which is now thriving, drawing admiration from local clients and far-flung followers (like ourselves), who marvel at his sense of composition, color, and balance.
Ryan is a believer in the dynamic longevity of good materials. “For some reason, as a society, we just continually reach toward material that stays new forever, lasts forever,” he observes, “But nothing does. I want to move toward materials that are going to wear beautifully.”
He also thinks deeply about the interplay of each. “A lot of people think, If I pick my favorite of each, it’ll be great. But it’s like casting a film. You can’t cast a million stars.” In a bathroom project where he used Heath’s M27 Olive #3 field tile, for example, brick floors and maple cabinetry play supporting roles. If you look closely, you’ll see that those tiles vary in size, thanks to the client’s unplanned acquisition of overstock direct from Heath’s Sausalito Tile Shed.
“My client drove up north and bought it without telling me,” Ryan recounts with amusement. They had different sizes and quantities, so Ryan unpacked every box and created a bespoke pattern. What initially caused frustration ended up delighting him. “It was an interesting way to arrive at a design result,” he says, “Now I’d love to do something like that again.”
It may be true that necessity is the mother of invention, but not everyone invents like Ryan Hines. His creative responses to the constraints of historic conditions or client whims are truly inspired.
“People forget that there’s more to any design project than just the hard surface you’re installing,” Ryan reflects, “There’s also the items from your life that come in and out, like the books on your shelves, the dishes you might update or add to. When you create spaces, you’re creating a set for your life’s objects to exist in.”
Functional as it is beautiful. Keep your dishes warm, serve in style, and store leftovers in one fell swoop. Unconventional use: flip the lid over and use it as a cake plate! Expect lovely variation in our Moonstone and Redwood glazes.