The upside of tile is that it can be really beautiful. So the appearance of the tile itself wasn't an issue. But that grout! So when I went to tile stores, I asked around: What products were there that could make tile more user friendly? Less rough? Less prone to staining? Easier to clean? I got several answers. The first was, make your tile joints a lot smaller. Back in the day, people used these giant 1/4" grout joints. But for almost all tile, you can get away with 1/8" or sometimes even 1/16". Done! Then, as for grout products, I was told: 1) Epoxy. This is a combination of grout and epoxy. It has a more smooth plastic feel. It doesn't stain at all so it stays looking nice and it's easy to clean. BUT it was a nightmare to work with, I was told. And at almost $200 a bucket, doing 5 bathrooms, a laundry room, and a mud room was out of the question. 2) Polyurethane grout. Same idea. Made of polymers mixed with grout. Smooth, stain free. But about half the price. Still, at $100 a bucket I was looking at a fortune just for grout. 3) Finally, on the advice of a very knowledgeable tile guy at my tile store, we found that mixing the sealant in WITH the grout, and some other special additive, made the grout really even in color without the usual staining caused by sealing it, and it responds way better to cleaning. I had my doubts. I still do. I still think I may end up tearing my hair out over this amount of tile I just put in. But he seemed pretty sure I'd like the result so....I went tile shopping.
For the master bathroom tile, Big Daddy and I chose a cream colored, shiny modern tile. 13x35, so pretty big slabs. It has a sort of bamboo-ish stripe pattern to it. I love it! It will go on the bottom half of the shower and the tub skirt.
We paired that with 3x6 sea glass subway tile for the top half of the shower, the tub backsplash and the vanity backsplash, 1x1" sea glass mosaic tile for the shower floor, and Big Daddy chose a dark brown slightly linen striped 12x24" for the floor.
The tile in the master bath is all finished. Do you want a sneak peak?? (The walls are still not painted and the floor is dusty, so obviously it'll look better than this when it's all finished and clean.)
Pippa's bathroom upstairs got a retro look with black and white hex tile. I need to pick out a fun, whimsical towel/shower curtain design that won't be too busy for this polka dot look. Any ideas?
Daphne and Beck's bathroom got a very modern 24x24" beige linen tile. It was on sale for $2/square foot! And because it was such a deal, we splurged and bought this absolutely gorgeous aqua hex tile for the backsplash.
The upstairs laundry I chose black and white checkered 12x12" tile just like in my laundry currently. Only it turns out that the one I bought is SUPER smooth and shiny. I'm a little afraid of the cleaning prospects. Just see how dusty it is now! However, since no one else ever does laundry but me, once the construction is over and the floor is carpeted, it will probably stay a lot cleaner.
The main floor powder room and mud room both got a really cool grey 12x24 inch tile with a glossy stripe pattern in it. It has a little bit of brown tones in the stripes, which will go well with the brown hardwood floors just outside the mudroom and powder room.
And then on a whim we decided to tile the entire back wall of the powder room with a gorgeous lantern patterned tile. It will be so amazing when the lights are in and the shiny red vanity is installed!
The only room remaining untouched is the basement bath. Big Daddy chose a wood-look tile called Eclipse Olive. It looks like this...
And the general look of the room we're trying to achieve is this. Very spa-like. (Only minus all the fancy shower heads and steam thingies. This is a GUEST bath not an actual spa! Sheesh.)
Unfortunately, we've fun out of money to finish this bathroom so it'll have to wait until some future date when money shows up again. Probably 2019.
The fireplaces, also, will have to wait. They had these horrible faux marble and faux granite surrounds, both mauve! So those got ripped out and will be replaced with a lovely herringbone pattern, maybe like this (but probably not limestone = EXPENSIVE!) Someday....
Of course, the kitchen backspash will be tile too. I'm pretty set on a penny tile or an oval penny tile. But since the kitchen doesn't exist yet (supposedly its going in on Thursday), I just haven't gotten my brain that far. I'll update on that later.
Anyway, that, my friends, is how tile came back into my life. I will report back later on whether the measures we took to make my life less plagued by grout were successful or not!