An Architect’s Tile Pick

After years of designing my clients’ master bathrooms, I finally finished mine. I have learned a few things over the years that I wanted to try out in my own bath. First it is important to know I love tile! I like how it is permanent, durable, and easy to clean but especially I like how it feels and looks. There amazing options available today for grout choices that avoid cracking & staining plus the New Waterproofing systems can keep the substrate dry and worry free. Drains can be square or slots to fit with the tile size. It is a good time for tile!

I planned my bath around a tile I saw a few years ago and knew I wanted in my own home. The first time I saw this tile happened to be in the hatchback of a tile rep’s car on a bitter cold Kansas morning. She was so excited about this new Italian tile  she couldn’t even wait for me to help carry in the tile samples and opened the binder right there! This tile was the main design material I wanted to use. It is Area by Flor Gres color: grigio bedoni.  It has the wonderful quality of feeling soft even though it is a very hard Italian porcelain tile. It has deep rich color and subtle variations in pattern. It was actually an overstock item years later when I was ready to use it.  It was no longer in production when I saw on sale  so I bought it right away and it sat in my garage for a year, stacked nicely between the cars. Everyday I saw those boxes and dreamed about when they would be installed. I even recommended the tile to client who liked it so much she used throughout her home, entry, mud/laundry and baths!

For the overstock price it was only available in a square so I had the installer cut in half and hone the edges when it was installed to have it  be a rectangular 18″ x 9″ (approximately since it is a metric size). The outside corners were bullnosed locally by American Bullnose. My bath is  generously size but I wanted to make feel even larger by laying the tile in a direction. A square tile even staggered doesn’t have the same impact as a rectangular tile in a linear pattern does. I also wanted the tile to run along the floor and up the wall and floor tile in a continuous pattern to further emphasize the length of the room. I really like large vertical tile on a wall, think big subway pattern turned sideways.

To complement the grey tile I used a simple white Dal 2×2 in a non-directional grid pattern. The size, pattern and color offer a rich contrast to each other. The grey tile is the star but the white tile does a fine job as a supporting role! Both tiles have the same grout color although it seems darker next to the white and lighter next to the grey. Using the same color subtly ties the tile together visually. I like to think of it as a dialogue between the tiles.

As the grey tile rolls from floor to wall the white tiles does also at the shower and bench. The grey tile is at the back splash ledge so when looking in the mirror there is a nice jump between what is foreground versus what is in the mirror. The granite was carefully selected to gently enhance the tile color without overwhelming. (I will have a blog on selecting granite plus paint colors one day!) Once a decision has been made to celebrate one material (tile, or cabinets or granite or even a paint color) it makes it easy for me to select all the other design elements.. cabinets, lighting, and granite!

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