Consider these tile colors, patterns and installation methods to make your bathroom more interesting.
Homeowners’ request. A spare, clean-lined modern-farmhouse bath composed of traditional materials reinterpreted with a modern sensibility.
Tile. Large (18-by-36-inch) Belgian bluestone tile in a herringbone pattern with thin grout lines, and classic subway tile with dark grout. “While the Belgian bluestone is a very traditional material, the scale of the tiles, as well as the very thin grout lines, give it a more contemporary, clean-lined look,” architect James Crisp says. “The use of the dark grouting gives the often used subway tiles on the sink wall and shower a much more graphic look. It is also easily maintained, which is a bonus appreciated by the homeowners.”
Contractor: Structure Works Construction
Designer: Erica Bryen Design
Location: Huntington Beach, California
Homeowners’ request. A fun, inviting guest bathroom with the feel of a funky boutique hotel.
Tile. Yellow penny round backsplash tile against black grout, and larger-scale white porcelain subway tile in a stacked pattern. Geometric black-and-white concrete floor tile. “We were able to go outside the box with this space and use a black, white and yellow color palette,” designer Erica Bryen says. “Our goal for this project was to create a funky and fun space that you wouldn’t normally see in an everyday guest bath.”
Other features. Light wood vanity with matte black countertop. Oversize mirror. Modern three-light chandelier. “All of the elements mixed together helped create an unexpected, cool and different space,” Bryen says.
Designer tip. “I always tell people to not be afraid of using color and mixing patterns and tile,” Bryen says. “The best place to push the limit and maybe go outside your comfort zone is in the powder bath, because it’s a small space that benefits from big-impact design.”
Designer: Dorian Bolick of Red Door Living
Location: Long Beach, California
Size: 120 square feet (11 square meters); 10 by 12 feet
Homeowners’ request. Reorganize an awkward master bathroom layout to include dedicated areas for a vessel tub, a large shower and a separate water closet. “In remodeling the whole home, the client wanted a bathroom that was reflective of the age of the home but felt fresh and current for today’s use,” designer Dorian Bolick says. “The previous layout was dated and felt dark. Without a lot of natural light, the client wanted the new bath to feel as bright as possible without adding any windows.”
Tile. Porcelain tile that looks like marble (with less maintenance) covers the walls. Bolick changed the sizes and shapes to create a “textural play of tones for interest and a clearly custom detail,” he says. The arabesque mosaic trim and bullnose trim in the shower and above the custom vanity are real marble. “The combination of the two materials gives credit to the porcelain, making it feel even more like real marble,” Bolick says. “I had always wanted to do this herringbone floor and never found the right room to do it in. It takes a lot of work to lay it but [is] absolutely worth the cost. It is one of the details my client’s friends always comment on. The shower floor mosaic is a great scale for not slipping in the shower, and pulls all of the natural tones that are used in the different tiles together.”
Designer tip. “There are two key design details I always use in a bathroom, regardless of the size,” Bolick says. “One, a custom vanity. It allows me to maximize storage and scale for the room. It also isn’t much more money than a quality off-the-shelf model. Two, I use as big of a mirror in the space as possible and appropriate. The reflective quality makes any room feel bigger.”
“Uh-oh” moment. “We had planned for the shower to be a different shape and size, but when the demolition of the space was completed, we realized that the extra space we were going to take from a neighboring room wasn’t feasible,” Bolick says. “It also killed the original plans for the tile layout. You never really know what you are dealing with in an old home until to see what’s actually behind walls. Some quick thinking and teamwork with the contractor allowed us to come up with an alternative layout that still met the client’s wishes.”