Monday, August 30, 2010

Tips on Keeping Tile Costs Down

The economy is in the forefront of everyone's mind these days, and it is no different in the design world. Designing economically with tile and stone is always a good strategy. It is important to respect today's often shrunken budgets by keeping tile costs down while not sacrificing design style and aesthetics. I would like to share with you some great tips to keep your tile budget in line.

Floor tile budget tips:
  • Select a tile or stone floor that is less expensive than the wall tile.
    • Keep higher cost items at eye level and in the more visible areas.
    • When you enter a room, you typically notice what is directly in your line of vision. Most people do not look down at the floor.
  • Use inserts to make the floor look more important for very little cost.
    • Place small inserts of tile that compliment a rug, wall paint or wall tiles in the floor.
    • This is a very effective design strategy to connect the floor with the walls or other design focal point.
Wall tile and decorative accents budget tips:
  • Avoid linear designs using moldings and liners.
  • Avoid linear designs by using tile inserts
    Avoid linear designs by using tile inserts.

    • Use "inserts" instead.
    • This allows design flexibility in placement which can keep costs down.
  • Always use the most economical field tile available from the line being designed with.
    • 4"x4"s and 6"x6"s are typically the most economical sizes.
    • Avoid small sizes and fancy shapes when budget is a consideration.
    • Consider mixing a well priced stone field tile with matte glazed ceramic accents and moldings.
  • Stone field can often be less expensive than handmade ceramic field tile.
  • The mix of stone and ceramic can create a dynamic textural design.
  • Only tile up to 36" on a wainscot, instead of 42" or higher (but always to the ceiling in the wet areas).
  • Create "feature areas" as follows:
    • With color and tile direction - don't use more costly sculpted or handpainted tile pieces.
    • Design using economically priced tile sizes in geometric patterns
      Lots of design interest using basic and economically priced tile sizes.

    • Create a small-scale, but dramatic, "feature area" where it will have the most design impact while keeping the field tile, trims and floor simple and inexpensive.
    • Simplified Bath with Feature
      Small-scale feature area (above sink), normal-height wainscot, & no molding or trim keep tile costs down.

  • Use color blocking and inexpensive tile or stone for lots of design drama with little cost.
  • Design using the same size tile in two colors
    Dramatic design statement using the same size tile in two colors

  • NEVER suggest eliminating tile on a bathroom wainscot as a cost-saving solution.
    • It will look like corners were cut and the design not well thought out.
    • Select a good-looking, less expensive line, perhaps machine-made rather than hand-made, rather than leave walls un-tiled.
Tile trim solutions Tile trims, whether ceramic, glass or stone, are often quite expensive, especially if they are shaped or highly decorative. Careful selection of tile trims is a successful budget solution.
  • Use bullnoses for trim and an inexpensive liner as décor instead of more expensive moldings.
  • Quarter rounds also can be quite inexpensive, use them to turn corners where needed.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Discover Your Dream Bath

When it comes to design, it helps to have a great idea. Turning dreams into reality does require hard work and starts by writing down what you want and what is important to you.

Before starting any project, define your goals. The best ways to do this is to discover what is important to you — even before you start tearing out magazine pictures of what you want your finished bath to look like. This step helps you and design professionals make the right decisions as they relate to cost, budget and material selection.

Here is a great worksheet to help you start discovering what's important to you. This checklist was designed by Sunny McLean and can be found in her very helpful workbook, The Basics, which is a great tool designed for folks in the tile and stone business.

Sunny McLean has been in the tile business for years and now provides consulting services to the tile trade. This checklist or questionnaire, was completed by one of our customers and resulted in the project we featured earlier this summer in our Designer's Sketchbook, Bath with Bordeaux Cement Floor Tile & Crackle Wall Tile.


What kind of experience do you want from your bath? Check those that apply and discuss with your family, designer or tile dealer so that can help guide you the best choices that will make you happy for as long as you use your bathroom.

I'm looking for:

The Basic Experience

  • Just want it to work
  • Get in, get clean, get out
  • Fast with no frills
  • Basic tile that serves as a sanitary background

Efficiency & practicality – maintenance primary, design secondary

  • Storage critical
  • Everything in its place and easy to clean
  • Tile must have a clean look and be easy to clean

Sensual – aesthetics more important than practicality

  • Beautiful personal items on display give pleasure
  • Good design, sensual surfaces and the right colors and textures very important to the optimum experience
  • Beautiful tile surfaces provide pleasure

Therapeutic – using water for health and well-being

  • The best and latest technology; whirlpool and/or air tub, steam shower, pulsating shower heads, spray bars
  • The bath is used for either stimulation or relaxation or both
  • Tile is nice, but mainly serves as a protective background for the water experience

A design/fashion statement – what it looks like is my priority, the rest is just details

  • I love the experience of showing off my bathroom to guests
  • What it looks like has to please more people than the just my family and me.
  • All items, plumbing, tile and accessories are chose with great care for design impact.

Stop talking! Take some time to discover your dream bath. This important, first step, will help ensure your dream comes true!  

Purchase the basics at:
Sunny McLean Contact Info

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Mosaic Tiled Tubs - Shaped like a Shoe

Our blog has taken a lower priority recently with summer vacation and longer days. So has the time spent with my friends on Facebook and Twitter. As I was trying to get back in the swing last week, I was reading blogs and twitter posts from friends. Nick Lovelady posted a comment to Paul Anater about "drag queen bathtubs." That caught my eye and I read Nick's blog, Cupboards, and Paul's Blog, Kitchen and Residential Design.

shoe tub

This started a flurry of comments and somehow by the end of the day I was responsible for a blog-off where several bloggers write about the same topic.

The tiled shoe bathtubs are made by SICIS (a well renowned mosaic tile company) and look like a ladies' pump in the size of a tub. I am sure the tiling is exquisite. The price: about $30,000.

I'm all for self-expression especially when using tile. These tubs do it! Are they ostentations and over the top? Absolutely! Do you really need one? No. But, if you do. Please let Nick know!

Your thoughts? Let us know. Leave a comment. Read the other blogs about this topic that are listed below.

shoe tub

"Shoe Tub" Bloggers
Read their blogs to get their unique perspective on this unusual product.

Becky Shankle
blog: Eco-Modernism
twitter: @ecomod

Alexandra Williams
blog: Fun and Fit
twitter: @Alexandrafunfit

Nick Lovelady
blog: Cupboards
twitter: @cupboards

Paul Anater
blog: Kitchen and Residential Design
twitter: @Paul_Anater

Rufus Dogg, AKC, PhD, DS
blog: Dog Walk Blog
twitter: @dogwalkblog

Madame Sunday
blog: Modern Sauce
twitter: @ModernSauce