Decorative Materials Supplies Colorado With Tiles From Around the World

From a trunk full of tile to a thriving business with five showrooms
Trade Secrets Portrait

Decorative Materials founder Margot Hampleman and current president and daughter Kirsten Schmit stand proudly in their new Basalt showroom.

In the late 1980s, Margot Hampleman could be found driving from Boulder to Aspen and every mountain town in between with a trunk full of tiles. After moving from Buffalo, New York, to the Centennial State, Hampleman planted roots and built a home, and during the design process she became fascinated with tile. She had found her calling and so set out on the Colorado tile frontier—freshly baked cookies and samples in tow. The entrepreneur fostered relationships with architects, interior designers and trade members, and the tile collection grew too large for her car. Her solution? Expand to a showroom under the fitting name of Decorative Materials.

Trade Secrets Billieombre

Using Billie ombre blue glass mosaic with the avento vanity, a vignette in the Denver showroom catches the eye. White acrylic panels and polished nickel finish the display. | Photo by Atigeh Sadeghi

Now 35 years later, with showrooms in Denver, Vail, Basalt, Telluride and Crested Butte, Decorative Materials has evolved from its humble beginnings. The business remains in the family, as Hampleman’s daughter Kirsten Schmit has since stepped in as company president. “Growing up, I always admired my mother’s drive and fearlessness,” says Schmit. “I’ve had the unique perspective of seeing the business since its inception.”

Trade Secrets Bw

A vignette from the Basalt showroom gives clients an idea of what the product will look like in their own homes. | Photo by Jeremy Swanson

Decorative Materials represents 65 vendors globally, the longest-standing being Artistic Tile. Among the other brands on display in the showrooms is New Ravenna, a custom stone, glass and mosaics brand. A current favorite product of Schmit’s is “Chinoiserie,” a hand-cut sea-glass mosaic from New Ravenna’s heritage collection depicting a colorful bird perched on a tree branch. The mosaic replicates what’s typically crafted in Ravenna, Italy, where artists hand-cut tiny pieces of glass before molding them together.

Trade Secrets Hydrangea

In the Edwards showroom, a vignette features hydrangea stone mosaic above the Edwin vanity in a custom colorway with polished nickel. The tasteful design is a subtle yet striking addition. | Photo by Kaitlyn Nannen

As for trends, the team at Decorative Materials predicts this year will continue to be filled with playfulness, whether it’s funky geometric shapes, handmade mosaic patterns or textured tile. “After COVID, everyone started using color again, and we see that continuing to blossom,” says Schmit. Her design team often looks to Europe for emerging ideas. “When new trends arrive in the U.S., they trickle in from the coasts. By the time they reach Colorado, we are already familiarized with what clients want,” says Schmit.

Trade Secrets Texture

Hand-carved by artisans, the ambra pattern mimics waves flowing atop a pond. The three-dimensional texture undergoes a unique, time-intensive process. | Photo courtesy Decorative Materials

In 2022, Decorative Materials opened its newest space in Basalt, located a few minutes’ drive from its original showroom in the Roaring Fork Valley. Bedecked with eye-catching tile, the showroom displays real-life vignettes and a kitchen made from New Ravenna’s “Chinoiserie” glass mosaic. Less than a year ago, the space was an unrecognizable gravel pit. “Tile is a heavy material,” says Schmit. “It was no joke creating a showroom of that caliber.”

Trade Secrets Inspo Wall

On shelf displays, hundreds of tiles are available to peruse. | Photo by Kaitlyn Nannen

From a trunk full of tile to a thriving business with five showrooms, Decorative Materials has continuously upped the ante for the Colorado market.

Categories: Furniture & Accessories