To evoke American athletic clubs of an era past, Alesch and Standefer sought tile that looked like it had been soaking up steam for a century — not the typical glossy, looks-new subway tile. So the designers worked with Waterworks to create a custom tile with an aged patina. "It's a surface that looks a little like bone or stained teeth," Alesch said of the variations in the tile. "The fire really caramelizes the glaze." They also designed a decorative tile that avoided the "pregnant molding" syndrome of so many tile collections. "We wanted the decorative tile to lie flat, not bulge out like cake frosting," he said. The tile is now available to consumers as a new line called District at Waterworks.