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January 25, 2024

Vintage Details: Batchelder Fireplace Tiles

Batchelder Fireplace

Architectural and design details are wide ranging in San Francisco. We have it all—Victorians, Edwardians, mid-centuries, Tudor, Arts and Crafts, to name just a few.  All have their own interesting and appealing design features, and one of my favorite things to see is when homeowners retain those features and their authentic charm.

Take fireplace tiles, for example. My clients recently purchased an Arts and Crafts-style home in Ingleside Terraces that has a fireplace with what we believe are Batchelder tiles. They’re named after Ernest Batchelder, an artist and educator based in southern California who started a business creating hand-crafted art tiles. His work popped up all over the United States by the 1920s, and homes in San Francisco neighborhoods like Westwood Park often have fireplaces with Batchelder tiles. His tiles often had nature themes, with some Viking and medieval stuff thrown in. And the tiles were frequently of a matte finish with muted colors.

My clients’ fireplace above is a classic example of Batchelder tile. Here are some close-ups of their more ornate tiles:

Batchelder DetailBatchelder Tile Close-up 2


Do you have Batchelder tiles around your fireplace? I’d love to see photos. Send them along to me at

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