Our humble beginning began when a world-famous rock star and his wife were building their house in Malibu, CA. His wife hired the services of Gilbert and Chang to do the construction. When it was time to do the inside of the house, she had a hard time deciding what materials to use. She then asked Gilbert & Chang to bring her “all the best tiles in the world” that they can find.Image They brought in samples from all over the world the next time they met. She narrowed down her choices each time they would meet. It took hundreds of tiles before she finally realized she wanted tile that was beautiful and super high quality not currently found on the market. One day, Gilbert & Chang came for one of their meetings and saw that the huge picnic table where they laid all the tiles out was empty. She stopped them and said that she remembered seeing these beautiful tiles in an auction in NY once. That same week, she showed Gilbert & Chang a box filled with high fired Chinese ceramic tiles she had found. They realized that none of the samples in the yard was even close to what she showed them.
They then realized they needed to figure out a way to make exquisite custom high-fired tile that needed to be handmade and handcrafted with expertise. They finally decided to change their thinking and look for a ceramicist instead to make the “custom” tile. That way the lady of the house could get closer to what she really wanted, which was handcrafted tile. Almost around the same time Gilbert & Chang was introduced by one of their friends to this young lady named Betty Busby who just got out of college armed with a degree in ceramics and was eager to apply everything that she learned. They discussed with her their project and she saw what they wanted and she was up for the challenge. Needless to say, she did not have her own studio, so they all decided that they will bring a kiln on the property where they were building the house. She literally made all the tiles on site. It totally made sense, why do it anywhere else? As it became available, they installed the tiles.
When the project was over, that was the beginning of what is now known today as Busby-Gilbert Tile. The company continued from there to make tile for high-end residential use and some restaurant projects. At that time we had one size of field tile (4.5” x 4.5”) a handful of trim pieces, huge sea creatures and made it available in glossy colors. Since then the company has added a large color pallet that includes glossy and matte finish with an extensive library of custom colors that we have supplied to various projects for the last 40+ years. The tile line has expanded to a wide variety of sizes and unique interlocking shapes, moldings and decorative pieces. We have grown over the years still doing dream homes with the added addition of being able to do large hospitality projects all over the world.