ONE ROOM CHALLENGE | WEEK 4 - 14 TIPS FOR selecting BATHROOM TILE YOU’LL LOVE FOR YEARS
It’s full on One Room Challenge crunch time at the Ranchalow. I have 9 days until I am photographing the project with Nicole Mason! And so much to finish. Tiling has been incredibly tedious and taken twice as long as I had planned. Unfortunately, everything waits for the tile. A bathroom is all about tile.
Since the bathroom is all about the tile, the plan is to finish tiling the walls and floors this weekend. Then Mike at Rose City Plumbing can get in and finish the plumbing work. So basically, I am behind and have very little time left to do a lot of work, which includes running a full time design studio, with it’s own deadlines! The good news is, I’m still on budget, the bad news, I have to cram 3 weeks of work into just over a week. Send help!
SELECTING TILE COLOR
Let’s talk about fun stuff and forget I should be painting my walls. Selecting tile is fun! Without a plan, selecting tile can be daunting. There are so many options out there and tile is expensive. When labor is factored in, tile is an investment and one you can’t change without making another big investment and sending a lot of waste to the landfill. Aside from lights and paint, everything rests on top of the tile. Because of this, you want to make the right decision the first time that will work for your lifestyle. Ideally for years to come.
There are many different types of tile, from ceramic to natural stone. For this post, I’m focusing on ceramic tile because that’s what I chose for my remodel. I’m also a big proponent of honest materials. I like when materials are what they are, not masquerading as another material look alike. I don’t like quartz that is supposed to look like marble - to me it looks like a knock off handbag. I don’t like porcelain tile that looks like wood. It won’t sound like wood when you walk on it and it won’t feel like wood when you touch it, but from a distance, it looks like wood. You’ll be tired of it in less than 2 years because you won’t see it from a distance. You’ll touch and see it up close every single day.
When it comes to selecting tile for clients, I typically stay away from too much pattern or color. I’m drawn towards neutrals because neutrals have a longer lifespan than say, a bright blue. If you want color, choose a color you’re going to love, don’t choose an on trend color. Again, tile is an investment and you want to like it for years to come. I also select tile colors that look clean and crisp because I like my bathrooms to have the illusion of being clean, whether they are, or not.
Since this is my home and I wanted to break from safe colors and simple shapes. I decided to do something a bit more bold. Enter Pratt and Larson! A Portland, Oregon based tile manufacturer handcrafting tile locally since 1982.
P&L has hundreds of simple to highly detailed tile patterns and their color palette is expansive. Everything is made in house just a few blocks from our own design studio. The Pratt and Larson colors range from classic Craftsman to contemporary and they have the ability to customize glaze colors as well as a custom blend of colors like the one I selected for my floor tile (shown left). For the floor, I chose a mix of the matte Craftsman color palette - C50 - 50%, C350 - 25%, C60 - 25% in the 5” diamond shape. Because these tiles are hand glazed, there is a subtle variation that makes each piece feel unique.
If you are looking for a perfectly uniform tile with no variation, this is not the tile for you. This tile has so much personality and character. It adds a rich layer which P&L calls rustic but when used with a contemporary shape the combination is that perfect blend of old and new.
Tips for Selecting Tile Color
Not all glazes are created equal. What works for a backsplash may not work for your shower floor or surround. Communicate to your rep where you want to use the tile to be sure the tile you invest in will work for your use.
Consider the room. If it’s a powder bath - do something unexpected. If it’s your master, find something you’ll love for years to come.
Don’t forget about the rest of your home. Ask yourself - do the tile colors you want to use work with the rest of your home? They don’t have to match, they can contrast but it should make sense. I like to create a palette for the home.
White and charcoal (I don’t love black gloss ceramic tile unless you’re trying to go deco or mid century) tiles are typically safe. The next level is looking at tiles that have a bit of variation, like soft whites, off-white or even cream. At Pratt and Larson, the glaze thins at the perimeter of the tile and there is a lovely ring of the clay body peeking through that adds a gorgeous natural layer to a neutral color.
Gloss tile is easier to clean than a matte tile.
SELECTING A SHAPE AND SIZE
Now that you know what color you want to use, the shape of a tile can add another layer of texture. If you plan to use a few different tile sizes, be sure the sizes are multiples of each other and factor in the grout thickness. For example, if you use 6x6 tile on the floor, opt for a 2x6 or 3x6 on the walls. If grout lines don’t line up, that will drive even a non perfectionist crazy.
TIPS FOR SELECTING TILE SHAPE AND SIZE
Use a 4“x4” or smaller sized tile in the shower floor. The additional texture created from grout helps the shower floor from being too slick and a safety issue
Large format tiles (larger than 12”x12”) can look cheap in a small bathroom so I usually steer clear of them unless I’m working on a large space where the scale makes sense or a very contemporary project.
Stacking tiles vertically or horizontally is more modern than running bond
Mix a modern color with a traditional shape or vice versa for a spin on tradition.
Grout plays a big role in tile. You can either choose grout that is the same color as the tile for a monolithic look. Opt for contrasting grout if your grout lines are perfect and you want a visual pattern.
If you are on a budget, use a larger tile in a simple shape and pattern. You’ll save significantly in the cost of labor.
Cutting tile adds a ton of time which equals more labor costs. The more intricate the pattern the more expensive the installation. Same goes for tiny tiles they are tedious to lay and cut.
Don’t forget about trim pieces like bullnose tiles and pieces for shower niches or caps to add a finished layer to your tile.
If quality doesn’t sell you on Pratt & Larson, you should know, the entire process was just as lovely. From color and shape selection to picking up my order at Will Call, each step was friendly and easy. I worked with people who confidently answered my questions, not automation. They helped guide my through my decision making process and into prep for installation. This truly is a special company and I’m lucky as a designer to have them just a few blocks away. From the thought they take in packaging the tile to the way a mosaic is set in mesh, every piece is handled by people with attention and care.
SCHEDULE - TO BE COMPLETE BY 5/2 END OF DAY
finish the wall tile
grout the wall tile and shower surround
skim coat the walls - 3 of 3 coats
prime and paint the walls
paint the trim and doors
hang the door and install the door hardware
level the sub floor
tile the floor
grout the floor
install the vanity and plumbing
install the toilet and shower plumbing fixtures
install the light fixtures and change out the outlets and switches
hang the mirror and shelves
install the glass shower doors
hang art work, put in plants, soft goods and accessories
create a shot list
photograph - May 3
WEEK 4 ONE ROOM CHALLENGE FEATURED DESIGNERS
At Home With Ashley | Casey Keasler | Dorsey Designs | The Farmhouse Project | Home Made by Carmona | House of Funk | House of Jade Interiors | House Seven Design | House That Lars Built | Inspired by Charm | Jana Bek | Jessica Brigham | Kelly Golightly | Murphy Deesign | The Pink Pagoda | Sarah Gunn | Sherry Hart Designs | Sugar & Cloth | Veronica Solomon | Vintage Revivals |