Leah Wynn couldn’t have guessed that a research assignment about decorative tile would lead to a lifelong passion. “I worked as an intern during my senior year of college for a designer trade showroom,” she says. “One day, someone from a company specializing in tile and fireplace parts came in to ask if we could help his company properly price its three-dimensional cast tiles.”
No one at her firm had answers, so, in the grand tradition of internships, Leah was assigned to slog through heaps of information in order to correctly price the tile. “I did so much research on it that I decided to make it my school project,” she says. “But in the process, I came to really love the artistic beauty of tile and recognized its boundless creative possibilities.”
During Leah’s digging two decades ago, she found it hard to find a showroom in Utah dedicated to handcrafted tile—although so many tile artisans were creating lovely pieces. At the same time, demand for specialized tile was increasing as historically accurate home renovations in Salt Lake’s older neighborhoods—especially among arts-and-crafts style homes, became commonplace. She convinced the owners of the firm to bring in two arts-and-crafts lines and pursue other interesting tiles as well as customization options.
By the time the owners retired in 2007 and left their business to Leah, Inside Out Architecturals (IOA) was best known as a decorative tile showroom, pushing tile’s usual boundaries well beyond backsplashes, fireplaces and showers—thanks, in many ways, to Leah’s expertise. Under her direction, Leah transformed IOA into a retail showroom, with a team that not only advises clients but often creates layouts and tile compositions for everything from impactful focal points to finishes to space delineation.
“The tile world has changed so much in the last 20 years,” says Leah, who has pioneered work in tile layout design, becoming an artist in her own right. “I have been very fortunate to see tile go from simple and sterile to exciting and innovative.”
The company is a playground of creativity, boasting over 40 exclusive tile lines ranging from handmade ceramics to glass, leather, metals and porcelain. It also showcases multidimensional elements such as 3D designs, hand-carved and inlaid tile and offers a wide selection of other architecturals from metal screens to corbels.
“The showroom at IOA is more like an art gallery,” Leah says. “You might find you want to wander for a while. It’s pretty fascinating to take in all the possibilities.”
3410 S. 300 West, SLC