Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Choosing Tile

If you want to fall down a rabbit hole of seemingly endless options, shopping for tile is a good way to do it. There are so many really cool choices out there, and the style and design of tile that you choose can really change the overall feel of a room. Not only can you select from an almost infinite amount of colors, finishes, and shapes, but you can also spend a lot of time evaluating the installation design for all those tiles too, which can definitely change the impact your tile has. 

I began my search by spending lots of time on Pinterest and Houzz looking at installed tile in other people's homes. This was a good way to start narrowing down what I liked and then look for commonalities in the rooms that I chose as inspiration images. 

However, my hunt for the perfect tile really took off when I started visiting some tile showrooms and saw the tiles in person. I'm an online shopping pro, but there are some things that I really need to hold in my hands and see in person before I can pull the trigger on, and tile is one of those. I'd recommend this approach for anyone who is shopping for tile. Even if you don't plan to purchase from the showroom, it's still a great way to see what your options are and how the different tiles work together. 

With a large number of spaces in this house needing tile (kitchen, mudroom, master bath, E's bath, basement bathroom, basement bar), I had a fairly long list of styles I needed to select.

First, the kitchen. Despite being tempted by some gorgeous Walker Zanger tiles like these: 
granite counter top extended edge for stool to slide under

Walker Zanger tile - Apex Pattern in Calacata
Walker Zanger's Duquesa Alba Decorative Field in Mezzanote.

I decided to keep it simple. We have a lot of different finishes and design going on in the kitchen already, with a mix of marble and granite, painted and stained wood, brass, stainless steel, etc. So, although these tiles are certainly gorgeous, I decided they wouldn't really stand out in our kitchen like they should, and what a waste that would be. 

Ultimately I decided to go with a simple white subway tile with a dark grey grout:
Subway tiles with dark grout for definition - THIS for my kitchen (with open cabinets painted white, for sure.

laid out in a double-herringbone pattern to add a little interest, like the layout of the wall below on the left: 

Subway tile in Cloud white modern weave pattern for kitchen backsplash or bathroom tile ideas

Next, the mudroom. This is a small space attached to the kitchen, so it was important that whatever I choose here coordinated nicely with the kitchen colors. It will also be a very hard-working space since this will be our main entrance/exit to the house.  

I choose a medium grey wood-look tile that I think will work great here (I think the picture is my exact tiles), and it's going to be laid out in this right angle herringbone style:
Righy angle herringbone tile floor by Lindsay Redd Design

I'll probably go with a darker grout as I think the light grout will just get grimy fast in a mudroom. 

I've got kind of a French Vintage look going in E's bathroom, and I decided very early what tile I wanted for this room. I ended up selecting this cute vintage black and white tile, and I think it will look so great in her bathroom:

Merola Tile Metro Hex Matte White with Black Dot 10-1/4 in.x 11-3/4 in. x 5 mm Porcelain Mosaic Floor and Wall Tile (8.54 sq.ft./ca)-FDXMHMWD at The Home Depot
Making selections for the master bath was for some reason much, much harder for me than choosing tile for the rest of the house. Truth be told, I'm still waffling a little bit on what I choose, even at this late date. 

I think it's been so difficult because we have so many other big elements in the master bath. The shower, as you might recall, is a total showstopper:

We are spending a lot to recreate this amazing shower, so I want to be extra careful that the tile design doesn't compete with/detract from it, but also that the tile looks equally cool and designed, not just like an afterthought.

I'm also a little bit concerned about all the different finishes happening in this room, so want to be sure it doesn't look like too much when it's all put together.

My plan right now is to use the same white subway tile from the kitchen with dark grout. We'll tile the shower like seen in the picture above, as well as the full wall behind the vanity, like this (we'll go to the ceiling, rather than stopping below like the picture shows):

master vanity.

Then for a little more interest, I'm adding Carrara marble octagon tiles, like this:

Master bath tile, but with black pencil tile instead of marble.

These will be on the shower floor as well as inside the inset shelves in the shower. I'm also considering incorporating black pencil tile (similar to the picture above, but solid black), but I need to work on the design for that a little bit more.

Lastly, the master bath floor outside of the shower, I believe, is going to be these large format Cararra tiles:
marble squares

The vanity surface will be marble/quartzite, so I'm trying to tie together black, white and marble in a way that looks elegant and not too busy. 

Lastly, the basement tile. For the bar area, I decided to use the same tile as the mudroom tile above. It should work really well with the metal, stained wood and concrete finishes I'm planning for the bar. 

I've always been a fan of black and white checkerboard tile, so that's what we're going with for the basement bathroom. Sort of like this:

An open floor plan and fresh white walls add a sense of spaciousness, while checkerboard floors and a claw-foot soaker lend vintage charm. |  Photo: Jill Hunter | thisoldhouse.com

I think I'm going to incorporate apple green into this room, so I think the black and white will really set it off nicely. It's a dramatic look for sure, but if you can't do that in a basement bathroom, where can you? 

Now that I've selected all the tile, I can't wait to start seeing it get installed...hopefully in the next couple of weeks I'll have new pictures to share! 

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