Local Business: Family Tiles

story by Ariela Rose | photo by David SchrottJason Ferraro was born to lay tile. His grandfather taught his father and two uncles the trade; then they taught him. When Jason met and married Tiffany, a former interior designer, their overlapping skills inspired an idea. The result is Earthstone Tile Works, a boutique tile shop in South Philadelphia specializing in responsibly-made, long-lasting tile.

The Ferraros’ business is a combination of Tiffany’s design expertise and Jason’s 12-year experience as a local tile installer. The 300-square-foot storefront opened in June. Tiffany, along with the couple’s baby Sylvie, spends her days at the shop, meeting with clients to discuss tile options and aesthetics. Jason does the majority of his work in the field, working with his hands, just the way his grandfather did.

“It’s a good marriage because Tiffany has design experience; she went to art school,” says Jason. “So, for her to be in the shop, having her design sensibility and an eye for color that I don’t have, is a good pairing.”

The couple’s collaboration ensures that no detail is overlooked, especially when selecting their inventory. Every piece is hand-picked using criteria that includes handmade, locally- or domestically-manufactured and incorporation of recycled content. The result is a wide selection of sustainably-produced tile, featuring favorites like 90 percent recycled glass tile, or sleek slate tiles crafted by a small business in upstate New York.

“It’s really cool to get to know all the tile manufacturers personally,” says Jason, motioning to a mosaic tile in a variety of intricate shapes and pastel colors. “That tile on the wall, a husband and wife made it all by hand.”
“It’s made one hour away,” adds Tiffany. “The only electricity they use is their kiln and the light in their garage.”

All of Earthstone’s tile is displayed on in-house-produced concept boards covering the shop’s far wall. Customers can walk into the store, point to a concept board and say, “That’s what I want.” While many only purchase the tiles, others employ Earthstone for their entire design and installation process.

“You don’t have to have us do everything,” says Tiffany, “but I feel like it’s better for the customer because we can come from all ends and make it a really smooth project from beginning to end.”

Earthstone specializes in products with a long lifespan. Once, while out on a walk, Tiffany discovered the remains of a demolished home—all that remained of the building was a tile foyer constructed in 1890. The same tile is now for sale in the shop.

“That’s the thing that’s really cool about tile,” says Jason. “If it’s properly installed, it can last generations.”

1224 Tasker St., 267-251-8274, noon – 6 p.m. Wed. – Fri., noon – 5 p.m. Sat., earthstonetileworks.com