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William Morris, William De Morgan ~ Victorian and Arts & Crafts Tiles

Custom and Bespoke Tile

William Morris, Membland border tiles

Above: Membland border tiles

Bespoke Tiles

At the end of our relationship, I want you to smile and be happy with how your project turned out. I like brainstorming with customers, and in most cases, this has worked out well. Several popular tiles here, such as the indigo ducks and the Carta Marina were the result of brainstorming with customers who wanted something that fit with their interests and lifestyle. I've created bespoke tiles for Gensler Architects in Chicago, the World Food Prize Foundation in Des Moines as well (see some installations).

I can usually tell you quickly if I can do something, or it may take a few days to find out. While this is a very Morris way to do business, we are in tile season now and I can't spend a week on a fishing expedition to hear "We've discussed it and we've decided to go in a different direction." We have to share the risk.

Fishing Licenses: New fishing expeditions incur a charge to see if there are indeed any fish. We will schedule a time to talk so I can find out about your tile project, scope, colors, visions, and answer any questions you have. Minor color changes that do not require matching an existing color are not bespoke tiles. Some possible outcomes of a fishing expedition are: 1. It's a minor change and we're done fishing and you send a deposit, 2. It is really a custom order, and I need to send you a Proof of Concept, It's not something I can do for you, or cannot do in a timely or cost-effective way, such as an exterior wall mural. In such cases, I'll give you recommendations of people who can help you get what you want.

Proof of Concept: A fishing license is sufficient for size changes or if you want tumbled tiles rather than ceramic. (Stone is more porous and the color may consequently be deeper, losing contrast.)

For entirely new projects, the next step is a Proof of Concept to ensure we are not talking past each other about what we're doing. A Proof of Concept is $250 for single tiles and $350-$500 for large tiles, panels and murals. You will get a mockup or photo of what we're making for your approval. Once I have a mock up and made an initial tile or two, I can quote you a price on the completed project. The price will be in line with similar tiles or panels I sell, not counting the fishing license and proof of concept charge.

So to recap, this is the path for Bespoke Tiles:

  1. Contact me and tell me what you have in mind. If it's an easy change or modification, you don't need a fishing license and ordering tile is the next step. I'll tell you if that's the case. If we'll have an ongoing dialog, then you need a fishing license for time we spend fishing.

  2. If you need a fishing license, we'll schedule a time to talk. If we agree to continue, and it isn't a minor change, I will send you a second invoice for a Proof of Concept and/or a sample tile. If we're working with a an existing pattern, we can probably get by with a Consultation.

  3. I get your approval on the Proof of Concept.

  4. Send a deposit. When we are ready to go, I will send you an invoice for the deposit. You can pay by check or e-invoice, which is good for 30 days. The deposit is usually 50%, after any discounts. Orders back up a bit during tile season, but once you've committed, I put your name on the board so it can move along in the queue while your deposit is enroute. I also order any odd-size blanks we may have decided on. When your deposit arrives, I will start your tiles when it comes to the top of the queue. I don't wait for your check to clear.


Membland tile backsplash

Discounts and Rebates

You can get discounts and rebates paying for your tiles by check (or bank transfer if you are international) and promising photos of your completed installation: 3% discount (up to $150 of your actual tile order).

Color Matching

It's important to know that I cannot match colors exactly to paint samples or fabric, although I can come close. There is natural variation between runs, and matching gets more difficult as time passes and the environmental conditions change. However, I can usually get a close approximation and some color variance is natural to tile so I don't think you'll be unhappy.

But... Fussing with colors is time-consuming and less fun than one would think. For both of these reasons, sometimes one more than the other, there is an extra charge per color, ranging from $0 for general requests of "I'd like that yellow flower to be just a little lighter" to $100 for more than one color change to $500 for paint color approximations, which could mean half a dozen samples sent back and forth.

For matching specific colors, it is helpful if you send me a knob, paint sample, or other item, and I will send you my best attempt for your approval until we get something you love. Do remember what I said about not matching colors exactly even between runs. But I promise it will come close. Remember tile is shiny and paint is not, no matter what the color.

Matching existing tiles is problematic in other ways than color. Are my blanks the same thickness, with the same corners? Probably not. For ceramic, if the original base white shows, well, the thousands of colors of white may highlight differences between the original tile and the replacement, even if everything else goes well. Complementary colors are likely to give a better result than matching.

Minimum Number of Custom Tiles

In most cases, the minimum number of tiles is 5. I set a minimum number of tiles because there's a point where the time and set-up for an order gets out of proportion. If you are getting multiple patterns, and only one is bespoke, I'll waive this.

How to Pay Deposits and Final Balances


  • Credit Card: I'll send you an e-invoice that will allow you to pay by credit card.

  • Pay by check: Send your deposit to

    William Morris Tile
    2850 SW Cedar Hills Blvd.,
    Suite 429
    Beaverton, Oregon 97005

When I receive your deposit, I'll send you an email confirmation with an estimated ship date on your tile.

Final Payment and Shipping: When your tiles are near ready to ship, I'll contact you so you can pay the balance and we can discuss shipping options. For domestic orders, I like FedEx Ground or Home Delivery with all the fancy tracking options. International orders ship most economically with USPS. But I'm open.

International Orders

I have shipped tiles throughout the U.S. and internationally. Because these are works of art that I make for you, they fall under the HS Code for works of art and additional import duties do not apply.

Additional Information

Change Orders: Having a better idea that builds on another idea, even one you committed to, is part of the creative process. You change change color and pattern up to the time your tiles are made.

Cancellations: You can cancel your order up until the time I start your tiles. Changes of heart do cost in time and materials so deposits are not refundable.

Replacement Tiles: Yes, I'll make you replacement tiles if something ever happens. Please save some broken pieces so that we can try to match the color.

Tiles Damaged in Shipping: This rarely happens. I send a few extra tiles just in case. Tiles are shipped insured, so if a package is lost or destroyed, we're covered.