TUMBLING BLOCKS PATTERN
You may call it tumbling blocks, Louis cube, or rhombille tiling, but I call it the best pattern to grace my eyeballs. It is my long-time favorite, never gets old, always appropriate tumbling blocks, and one day I will have this pattern in my home. It may be in the form of a classic floor tile, a backsplash, or wallpaper. Doesn’t matter, as long as I can look upon it everyday.
For a pattern that can be easily used in the most contemporary of spaces, this geometric pattern was being applied to floors centuries ago. The mosaics and parquetry are a common design pattern that you can find in many old European buildings and churches. (The photo above of flooring found in a church in Lisbon.) If it’s good enough for Ancient Greece, it’s good enough for me. Its one design element that I feel safe in saying will never go out of style.
As I was brainstorming a few artwork ideas that included versions of this pattern, I thought it was time I created a roundup of my favorite spaces and finishes utilizing the tumbling block pattern. Floor tile is the most popular application. Historically the flooring was laid as mosaic tile in marble, which I’m sure was labor intensive. Now you can get precut mosaics and painted tile versions that give a similar look. I love these tiles paired with white, black, and reclaimed wood to offset the structured look of the tile.
The pattern also looks great applied vertically. Depending on the room use, you can opt for tile, wallpaper, or even paint for a more affordable version. I love the simplicity and subtle texture of the white and gray line wallpaper below. If a bold wall is more your style, this illustrated version by Brian Paquette is the way to go. For the non-committal there are fabric, furniture, rug, and accessory options to easily infuse it into your design scheme. I’ve been coveting these decorative boxes for a while now, but with that hefty price tag I don’t see them coming home with me anytime soon.
I started researching this post before my current trip to Lisbon, but I'm seeing this pattern all over the city and I'm loving it even more. For me it's a favorite classic that never gets old.