The Cool House: tiles
Showing posts with label tiles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tiles. Show all posts

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Backsplash Options

I can't believe we are thinking about this already. Originally I wanted to panel this whole wall in the same walnut colored oak veneer as the cabinets but it made the room too dark - it seems there is such a thing as too much wood after all - so we started to look at tiles. From left to right:Venis Dados Crema, Firenze Antracita and Trento Moka porcelain wall tiles all via Porcelanosa. A close-up of my two favorites:

Trento Moka - I'd use the silver grout to lighten contrast with the browns.

Firenze Ambar It comes in Nacar, Oceano and Antracita - all glass-look and a couple marble-look options -Carrara Blanco and Negro Marquina. Click to see all at this gorgeous Romanian site.

Similar glass mosaic tile Erin Adams' Facet by Ann Sacks.
Do any scream "gotta have that" at you?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Quick reno update

Before I left for Palm Springs we had a few house issues - tree in pool, missing tile and snow up to my armpits but as of today we have resolved most of those. Steady rain is taking carre of the snow; a man with a chainsaw and a truck came, happily declared "Let's make a mess", chopped down the tree and hauled away the debris. Bonus: more light at the back of the pool so the hollies I'm planning should do well; potential problem - more weeds.

The tile came in, the floor is finished and grouting has begun. We used half a bag of anthracite grout on the shower and floor tiles and two bags of grey (gris) grout on the mosaic walls. Quick pic above of the grout drying before they washed it off the tiles. Got a big thumbs up design-wise from the plumber who came to check it out before he returns tomorrow to attach the faucets, shower fixtures and WC. He wanted to know how we made it bigger! Shower door ordered and should be here in less than "tweaks"*.

Painters already have one coat on master bedroom walls, ceiling and trim and the closet. Today the bath and dressing room get their turn. We also ordered the new bed/furniture and the Awesome Designer is waiting patiently to install the upholstered window valances.

Still to do: Fit vanities (scheduled for Thursday); measure and install counters and re-fit saddle (marble guy will be here asap after vanities go in - turnaround is one week); plumber to fit basins, faucets; electricians to finish lighting and carpenter to attach all the pretty hardware to the wall. I'm still hopeful we can make it so The Guy can take his first shower in there on his birthday but at this stage I'm just happy we're making progress.
*The official supplier/contractor delivery estimator - supposed to equate to two weeks, rarely meets that timeframe.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Inspiration after the fact

Shower walls: 8 x 13 porcelain tiles
I think the hiatus on the master bathroom renovation while I went to Palm Springs Modernism Week reinvigorated everyone. By late afternoon yesterday the shower was covered in anthracite Talis in a running bond pattern (the iphone camera makes it look brown) and half the bath walls were tiled in mosaic Eidos Grafito (both by Porcelanosa); perfectly positioned against the vertical Carrera marble slabs.

Master bath walls: 8 x 13 ceramic mosaic tiles
To tell the truth I was a little worried about the marble edge but it seemed the most creative way to solve the dilemma of joining two tiles with differing patterns and thicknesses. I'd never seen it done before - not in real life, not in a modern setting - and I wanted to ensure it looked neither obnoxious nor like the entrance to a mausoleum. After lots of research on the vanity top option I had decided marble would be the best way to keep within the grey/black palette; it also repeats the counter in the powder room and the credenzas in the great room and dining room, and I want to maintain continuity throughout the house. Once I'd settled on that for the horizontal planes it seemed fussy to add another element - wood - for the vertical.

Second floor Women's Restrooms, Gettty Villa: black marble mosaic tile
It's funny how you can worry about the details - even though the tiler, the contractor, the carpenter, the painter and most importantly The Guy assured me it was the simplest solution. I really seconded guessed myself for days and several sleepless night in Palm Springs until I found tranquility and validation in the restrooms of the Getty villa in Los Angeles. Mosaic and marble - classic but uniquely modern.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Elemental, Organic Mosaics

Designer Ellen Blakeley's singular vision allowed her to see how the vandalised glass of a bus shelter could be repurposed into a thing of beauty and elegance. She takes recycled tempered glass, mixes it with eco-friendly pigment and resin to produce custom tiles and panels of mosaic glass that can be used as a stunning backsplash, shower walls or even windows. Here are a few of my favourites:

Rich, red Pompeii from her latest collection, Elements- reinterpreting Earth, Water, Wind and here, Fire. It speaks to me an a primordial level.

The Spotlight collection, contains four sub-categories. Organic incorporates real leaves into the mosaic, here the cool, inspiring Silver Leaf - perfect for a spa bath.

Also from the Spotlight collection the sparkling Pop category in Mango colorway. I'd be happy every time I looked at this.

Finally appropriately named greens, blues and purples - Vineyard from the Core collection. It would fit right into The Cool House.

Intricate, dramatic, sustainable, unique - there is something for everyone in Blakeley's collections. You can order Ellen Blakely mosaic glass through Artistic Tile or via her showroom or you can just admire the images on her website and dream.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Fantasy Shower

I'm having a very girly fantasy. My master bath will be full of swirls and swags, light and

etched shower doors by Antonio Lupi

one of a kind Lightshape lighted tiles from GranitiFiandre

chandelier-inspired tactile Feel tiles at Iris Ceramica

Never mind that it won't go with the rest of the house. Never mind that I wouldn't normally give this flowery style a passing glance. On a cold, dark day in the middle of winter I'm craving something rococo; pearls and ribbons, flowers and dancing slippers.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Naming your new tile collection after a cult western TV show might evoke a retro vibe but it doesn't make it modern or stylish.
The Bonanza collection from Rako, via Trendir. A study in institutional peach.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Silver mosaic tiles

Porcelanosa Line Blanco wall tile with Mosaico Touch Silver accent (left)

While we were out shopping for floor tiles for the powder room last week-end I came across a new line from Porcelanosa that would work great as a backsplash in a modern kitchen or bathroom. Mosaic Touch, available in Silver or Graphite colorways, are 12"x8" ceramic mosaic tiles like the ones I put in the boys' bath last year, but these shiny beauties look like patterned stainless steel.

The advantages are the price, $6.50 per tile, and the ease of installation - just treat them like ordinary ceramic tiles, butter the back, stick them on the wall, pick a co-ordinating or contrasting grout, float it over, wipe it off and voila. It looks like mosaic but at half the cost and half the time.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Powder room: the fixtures

No gold tiles or bejeweled faucets but a splash of colour from the vessel sink amongst the sea of gray tones

Monday, March 17, 2008

24 carats too late

I just ordered the smokey grey veined tiles for the downstairs bath; special order so I have to use them. And now I see these 24-karat Gold & Platinum tiles from Design Tale Studio. If only I'd waited a day! And it would have gone beautifully with that gold and diamond Teknobili faucet I mentioned last month.
This is a limited edition of 150 and and according to the website it's priced at only 1,700 euros or $2,651 (the exchange rate is a killer right now). Do you think that's for a 12"x24" tile? I'm afraid to ask. Just imagine how impressed your guests will be when they see you used that one accent tile!
It's not happening in my little powder room, though. I prefer to wear my gold, not decorate my house with it.
via Trendir

Powder room tile choice

Saturday morning was spent running from one tile place to another to find the perfect floor for the powder room. First stop HD to look at the marble we could buff down and seal. It was Hopelessly Depressing. We did buy a $9 Carrara marble lintel but the only marble tiles they had left were Crema Beige, and these were chipped and horrible.
Then on to a "real" tile shop where 12"x12" honed Carrara was a staggering $12! Eeek. And the more I looked at it the more I thought it could turn into a bad 80s nightmare. So we chose six Porcelain tiles that would co-ordinate with the countertop to try at home. First contender was a light grey marble-like 13'x13" tile that unfortunately looked dirty in the powder room. Second a great stone-look cement-coloured tile but it was too modern for the space. Likewise two Urbatek tiles in grey-green and slate blue and a fifth that had sparkles in. Unfortunately that one did look like someone had missed the loo, so that left number six.

Kitten-approved final choice: grey porcelain tile with black and stone veins.

Oops. First casualty of the renovation - the brand new lintel. It didn't stand up to being trodden on.

Friday, August 31, 2007

My hit tail

Floor tile
Originally uploaded by modernemama
Browsing a very useful web marketing tool the other day I was interested in seeing how people get to my blog, and more especially what they are looking for.
It seems that they overwhelmingly want to know about two things: Toto Nexus toilets and Porcelanosa Ferroker tiles.
Although they'll find photos and brief descriptions on the blog I've never given product reviews. Until now.
Firstly, I absolutely love the three Toto Nexus toilets we put in this year. I will take a detour in this house so I can use them rather than the flimsy Kohler we have in the master bath, or even the 38 year old solid as can be one-piece American Standard in the powder room that used to be my WC of choice.
Because it is a couple of inches higher than standard US toilets, I find the Nexus just more comfortable. And their elongated shape makes cleaning the outside a simple task. As for the inside, a wider trap means no clogs and the flush is well, really reassuring.
Of course I bought them for their sleek design, and being slimmer makes them less intrusive in the bathroom. Or it should, but every time I see the maple wood toilet seats, I stop and think to myself: Man that's a good-looking toilet. The only regret is that I bought one with the basic plastic softclose seat. It saved a whopping $100, but it's not nearly so handsome, nor as comfortable as the other two. I will remember this when we do the master bath makeover and I think we'll go for the new Eco version then.
The Ferroker Copper tile, which we used on the boys' bath floor has even more people googling it, and I'm not surprised. It is a thing of beauty. I worried it would be too dark, that it would be too heavy to install, that the large tiles would look weird in such a small space and mostly that they would crack if I stood on them in the wrong place. I could have saved myself a lot of sleepless nights because they have been a joy. They anchor the room, they were challenging but not really difficult to install, they actually make the room look larger than before and they seem to be steady on the mud base. The most lovely thing about them, apart from the amazing coppery tone, is that they feel warm underfoot. All the other tiled rooms in the house are definitely chilly in the morning but these never do, in fact they feel cozy, almost soft. Is that psychological or does Porcelanosa have a secret heat retaining porcelain process I don't know about?
Whatever it is I'd recommend them to any remodeler, and for designer tiles they were less expensive than we'd thought (although still more than the original budget allowed!).

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Downstairs Bathroom

The vanity is in, the ceiling has been patched, the old blind is gone. These are the positive things. Yippee.
On the less positive side, the shower has yet to be caulked, the new wood blind won't be here for "two weeks" and the tiling has hit a bit of a snageroo.
Although the tile showroom assured us we could build up the specially modified thinset to make it flush with the existing tiles, they didn't tell us it would take a few attempts, many hours to allow the thinset to set up and the patience of several saints to arrange the glass mosaic, watch it slide off, catch it, wash the thinset off, re-attach it, watch it slide off again and repeat these steps until you just want to rip off all the tiles and replace them with beadboard that you just staple to the walls.
The handy tiler guy says we are not defeated yet and he will attempt to fix it while we are vacationing in Tennessee. If he's successful he'll then grout it and finish the caulking. He didn't say what would happen if he wasn't........

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Original Style

Saturday was action-packed. We have a lot to do to finish off the bathrooms before we head abroad for a week at the end of the month. I'd planned a day that started with giving an extra coat of paint to the boy's bath ceiling. That has to be done this weekend as the guys are ready to install the frameless shower doors and I don't want anyone wielding a roller in there once those babies go in. Then we have to take the hard top off my Jeep, go pick up the teak shower base and then put the soft top on before it starts raining. We needed to go pick the tiles for the backsplash in the downstairs bathroom and make sure they were in stock or available within four weeks so that bath gets finished before the visitors arrive in late May. Once they start arriving there'll be no more construction, or demolition for that matter, until September.
Then Steven came home last night and broke it to me at dinner (his motto is: always break the bad news to your wife in a public place, and preferably when she's had a drink, that way she won't shout) that he'd invited a colleague over to solve a work problem. That threw the scheduling out a little, especially when I invited colleague and husband to dinner afterwards. And the house was covered in dust and dog hair as usual.
Basically we just hit the ground running this morning. Steven walked the dogs while I showered. We were at the tile store at 9am. and out by 9:50, which was pretty good as they didn't have the tile I'd chosen (discontinued), the second choice was paper backed and I wanted mesh, and the third choice we decided just didn't look right. Finally we settled on this coppery metallic glass mosaic by Original Style. I had to buy a box, but because it was my lucky day I got a huge discount and it wound up being cheaper than the stuff on ebay. Only drawback is that it's shipped from the UK so it'll be "two weeks" before we get it.
After that a quick run to the supermarket and the fishmonger, a dash aound with Glassex and the Dyson and we took the top off the car without damaging ourselves. All done by 1:30. Then some devil made me check out the teak base and despite the large "FRAGILE" label someone had dropped it and scuffed one end pretty badly. So that had to go back, and it will be "two weeks" before the replacement arrives.
Never mind, I got the glue of the shower base with Goo Gone, picked up the dry cleaning, walked and fed the dogs and I still have time to blog before dinner.
The boys' bath ceiling though, that will have to wait until tomorrow.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Downstairs bath remodel v3

downstairs bath remodel v3
Originally uploaded by modernemama.
When we went looking for trim tiles this weekend we were struck by the various possibilities, from metal listellos to stone chair rails, all of which would look ok with the new vanity and exisiting tiles. But the one we liked the most was a dark brown glass mosaic by Keraban, which would possibly also be the cheapest option: $18 a square foot or $120 to tile the backsplash. It will also be easier to fit the backsplash as it won't matter if it comes out at 4" or 4'5" high, we can just cut the mosaic to fit. If we bought the listellos we'd have to be much more precise about the measurements or possibly risk ending up with a lot of grout. The only thing that concerns me is the glass mosaic is much thinner than the ceramic tile and I think we might need a thin trim piece where the two meet, just to make it look neater. That, of course, would significantly add to the cost. Decisions, decisions.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Downstairs bath remodel

downstairs bath remodel
Originally uploaded by modernemama.
We ordered another wenge vanity from the people who made the one for the boys' bath but this time we went with a Caesarstone countertop in Copper Canyon. It seemed a better fit with the fawn tiles and the white ceramic vessel sink. But I didn't want a splashback so I spent a couple of hours yesterday playing with Appleworks to come up with ideas for a tiled backsplash. This one uses Daltile Modern Dimensions and Urban trims. The alternative below is with Crossville Mosaics, Metals and their Questech trim.

downstairs bath remodel 2
I guess we'll be spending this weekend checking out the trim tiles in the flesh and making sure we can remove the existing vanity without doing any damage to the wall tiles.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Lights, please

metro light
Originally uploaded by modernemama.
The tiler was totally in love with the Metro light from Tech Lighting. I hadn't seen it in real life even though the box has been sitting in the spare bedroom for a month, I'd resisted the temptation to peek. When they called me up to see it I was blown away. I'm so glad I didn't have to compromise and go with a satin nickel finish, the polished chrome is much punchier. And I'm even happier we kept the medicine cabinets. They look so much better than they did in the old bath. A little recycling is a good thing and probably saved us $500.

crazy tile

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Ferroker floor with Summer Wheat Grout

That's all that got accomplished today. Tomorrow: clean up; install lights and hardware; install medicine cabinets; install vanity in girls' bathroom, install GFCI sockets in girls' bath; patch ceilings and walls; caulk, caulk, caulk.
Then clean all the dust from the last couple of days.
That sounds like a long list for one day, especially a Friday.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


grout eidos ambar and area
Originally uploaded by modernemama.
We have grout on all the walls. The tiler was a little concerned and a wee bit confused because I told him the silver grout was for the walls but when he mixed it it didn't resemble anything silver at all - it's more like a sandy beige.
I don't pick the names, only the colours.
He's gonna have fun with the one for the floor tomorrow: summer wheat. Summer wheat? Toasted barley would be more like it.
As long as it matches the floor tiles I'm happy.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Floor Tiles Are In

boys' bath floor in
Originally uploaded by modernemama.
Just a little update. The floor is in. Hurrah. I worried it would be too dark but it's perfect. It echoes the tones in the redwood floor , the great room ceiling and those umbrella stand lamps.
The tiler did say that I was challenging him when he saw the 24"x17" Porcelanosa Ferroker floor tiles, and I have to say that I do not know how he managed to hold them and make the cuts necessary to go around the toilet wastepipe. Even carrying them upstairs was a challenge. Those babies are heavy.
On Monday he will finish the wall tiling, then grout and then the glass door guy can come and measure. He has me a little worried though; he isn't sure how they are going to drill through the wall tiles to hang the doors because the Area tiles are so hard. That doesn't bode well for the towel bar and robe hook either.
What kind of drill cuts through really hard tiles, anyone? Diamond, do you think? We went through this with Pete the Floor Guy and the redwood floor. He had to go buy a whole new blade for his saw. I guess this will be the same. I'm off to research drill bits.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Tiling 3/4 done

Just a quick update on the boys' bath. Tiling is about three-quarters complete. It's so pretty and light that I more relaxed already.
As you come up the stairs you can see the light flooding out of the room and then the trees reflected on the tiles. That's so cool and an unexpected bonus. Such a difference from the previous "crazy bat cave" theme we had going on before.