Modern kitchens are some of the most unique looking places around. Homeowners creating a modern kitchen often choose extremely avant garde materials to create some of the most interesting styles available. This use of innovative materials extends right to the flooring, which must match the rest of the style of the kitchen to help complete the design.
Tile is one of the best materials for use in a kitchen simply because it’s so durable and easy to care for. You can drop a jar of spaghetti sauce on it and it’s unlikely to get hurt. That said, not every type of tile is going to be right for a modern kitchen. In fact most types of tile would look completely out of place, so what to use instead? Here are a couple different tiles to consider in order to complement your space.
Porcelain tile is made of compressed clay dust that has been fired to extremely high temperatures making it extremely durable. It is highly resistant to stains, scratches and chips. It also comes in a wide range of styles, many of which are perfect for modern kitchens.
Look for large format porcelain tile of at least 18-inches in size to make the most of the space with relatively few grout lines. Porcelain that is designed to look like metal, concrete and glass are all great choices for the modern kitchen because their clean lines and unique surface textures complement the space around them.
You’ve probably seen quartz and recycled glass countertops, but did you know you can get this same material in a tile? Many of these tiles have bold colors and complex textures that are perfect for use in a modern kitchen
Modern kitchens demand floors that can keep up with their low-maintenance, high-style needs. Consider these options for your modern kitchen to bring out the best in the space.
Jack and Jill bathrooms sit between two bedrooms and are meant to be shared by two occupants. This means that these shared bathrooms often have more design considerations than other spaces. They need to reflect the style of the two bedrooms on either side, and they need to be functional enough for two users. When designing the space, keep those points in mind to ensure a blended, usable space.
Whenever possible in a Jack and Jill bathroom, it helps to ensure that both users have their own space. This helps cut down on clutter as well as arguments, and helps speed up time spent in the bathroom in the mornings. To that end, fitting in two sinks whenever possible is a good idea.
When laying out the bathroom, consider doing away with swinging doors and install pocket doors instead. The pocket doors will free up valuable floor space so you can fit in an extra sink or longer vanity cabinet.
If you have the room, you may also want to consider moving the toilet into a separate closet or room of its own to help facilitate use of the space.
Jack and Jill bathrooms are primarily used by kids, so make sure that the materials you use are easily cleaned and cared for. Look for porcelain, ceramic, and glass floor and wall tiles that resist staining. Mosaics make a nice floor choice because the grout lines help the floors remain slip free, while the many patterns and colors available can help make the bathroom more fun for the kids.
Whenever possible try to pick up colors from both bedrooms and tie them to the bathroom. If the colors work well together, use them both as accents by running a strip of color around the whole room at wainscot height. If they don’t work well together, try to find a third, coordinating color and make it the main color of the bathroom.
A Blended Room
The ultimate goal for a Jack and Jill bathroom is to blend the two styles and personalities of the users into one functional space. Take the time to consider the users in every decision to ensure a workable bathroom for all.
If you’re designing a classic bathroom to mirror any era from Victorian to Art Deco, chances are you’ll end up considering a mosaic tile floor. Mosaics were used primarily as flooring in these older bathrooms simply because the floors weren’t even enough to support a larger tile without producing cracks. There are many different classic mosaic tile patterns available, each in a wide range of colors. Learn more about them to make a better decision for your bathroom flooring.
The basketweave pattern is one of the more decorative patterns, particularly when used with a very bright or colorful dot. The pattern is made up of rectangular tiles, often 1- by 2-inches in size with a very small 3/8-inch “dot” lined up with each of the four corners of the rectangles. The result makes it look as though the rectangles are weaving themselves in and out of the floor. The colors of this pattern can vary, but primarily the rectangle is white; the dot can be black, cobalt, white, or cream and still fit in with the classic design.
The oct-and-dot or octagon-and-dot pattern is made up of two sizes and colors of tile like the basketweave. A larger, often 2-inch octagon tile in white with a ½-inch or 5/8-inch dot in a contrasting color like black or cobalt. This pattern works the best when the white tile is matte in finish to make the polished dot stand out further.
Hexagon tile patterns come in many different forms. You have one size and shape of tile throughout the floor, but with the potential for many different color patterns. The floors can be a solid color such as white or black, they may be a checkerboard of white and black or they may have a flower pattern with a mixture of white or light background tile with a color tile forming circles on the floor. The hexagons can come in several sizes from ½-inch up to 3-inches in size.
The most fun option among the classic mosaics is the penny tile. Measuring about ½-inch in size, these perfectly round tiles come in a wide variety of colors and sometimes color blends. It isn’t uncommon to find these tiles in a bold cobalt or seafoam green to brighten up a bathroom floor.
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One more rustic-looking natural stone that gets a lot of use these days is travertine. There is also a lot of confusion amongst homeowners about travertine is and how to use it well. Like with any flooring material, the more you learn about it, the better suited you are to deciding if it’s right for your home.
Formed in Natural Springs
Chemically speaking, travertine is actually a limestone. This means that it is a sedimentary stone made up primarily of calcite. But while most limestone formed on shell reefs, travertine formed inside cooling hot springs.
When the mud of the hot springs began to cool, the remaining water vapor pushed its way up and out of the forming stone. This left behind hundreds of tiny channels behind in the rock. When travertine is cut into tile, the channels present themselves as holes in the surface of the material.
Filling Up the Holes
The many holes in travertine help to give it its naturally rustic appearance, but they also make the stone weaker than other types of limestone. Therefore, the holes need to be filled either with epoxy or grout to help strengthen the stone. This can be done at the factory for honed and polished stones, or at the time of installation for more rustic styles. Leaving a few holes uncovered will not damage the stone, but it could cause it to attract dirt and stains.
Remember that travertine is limestone, so while it looks like a harder rock, it’s actually one of the softer stone tile options around. Rustic, tumbled travertine often hides scratches and stains fairly well because of its texture. Honed and polished varieties are very easily scratched and stained, however, so care should always be taken when using travertine in high traffic or wet areas.
To help protect the travertine from staining, it should be sealed with an impregnating, silicone-based sealer on a regular basis. This will help fill up any unseen holes and prevent the stone from absorbing moisture.
If you want a naturally rustic stone that will eventually patina and soften to a beautiful finish, consider travertine for your next installation.
As more exotic natural stones begin to gain in popularity for floors, walls, and countertop installations, many homeowners are beginning to give onyx a second look. This wild and translucent stone has some very unique characteristics that make it desirable in a number of situations.
Chemically speaking onyx is actually a type of marble, a metamorphic stone made up primarily of calcite. Therefore you may find some crossover in how the onyx is labeled, either as onyx or onyx marble, and in the case of some stones such as Alba Chiara, the onyx may be labeled simply as marble.
One of the things that make onyx so unique is the fact that it is completely translucent. If you hold a piece to the light, you can see shadows and shapes right through it. Therefore, onyx is often installed as counters and columns that can be backlit for a modern and dramatic presentation.
Even when it is being installed in non-lit area, the translucency of onyx needs to be considered. Because the stone is so fragile, it is often reinforced with a fiberglass backing that may be seen through the stone. Additionally, any color other than white mortar may show through the onyx, dulling its color. Ridges dragged through the mortar may also be seen through the onyx if they are not smoothed out as part of the installation process.
The other thing that makes onyx so unique and desirable is its incredibly wild color variation. Onyx can differ tremendously from piece to piece and even within one piece. Some onyx, such as Honey Onyx, merely displays its variation as different shades of the same color possibly mixed with white. Rainbow Onyx, or Red Multicolor Onyx, however may show several unusual colors within one piece. This can be challenging to blend during installation and a dry layout is recommended. Homeowners purchasing the stone should ask to see pictures of several pieces within one lot to get a good idea of the kind of variation they can expect so as not to be taken by surprise with the final installation.
If you’re a book lover you know how challenging it is sometimes to find a place in your home for the many books that you’ve collected over the years. Sure, standard book shelves work quite well. However, they only hold so much, and a bookshelf isn’t the most innovative way to showcase your book collection. Even if you only own a few books, there are many interesting ways to not only display you books, but also use them for practical purposes. Here are several ideas!
If you are using a book shelf:
- Rather than lining them all up in a perfect row, stack them both horizontally and vertically. Horizontal stacks create visual interest and break up the monotony of endless rows.
- Display those that have fantastic covers. Face them outward. You can do this in the middle or at the end of rows. You can place them on a small stack of horizontal books. Or, you can reserve one whole shelf for them and display a tier of covers.
- Buy fabulous book-ends and fill only 2/3 of the shelf with books so that the book-ends can clearly be seen and appreciated.
- Purchase a display stand intended for collectible plates and showcase just a few books on the shelves
If you are not using a book shelf:
- Stack larger books in a pile high enough to use as an end/side table. It works well to lay a small, flat piece on top – such as heavy wood or glass.
- Buy decorative plate hangers and use them to mount the books to the wall
- Buy a rack intended to hold recipe magazines in the kitchen, and instead display one of your books open to a favorite page.
- Attach large gauge wire to the wall by securing it at each end, then hang the books spine up, with the wire set in the center
If you are okay with deconstructing some books:
- Cut out your favorite pages and images and frame them
- Cut out your favorite pages and images and create a collage and frame it.
- Cut our your favorite pages and glue them to the back panel, inside your bookshelf, to create a wallpaper affect as a backdrop to the intact books sitting on the shelves.
See, displaying and storing books beautifully is a cinch!
The ultimate in Zen bathroom designs often make use of pebble tiles on the floors or walls. These tiles have a smooth surface that provide a massage to the feet as you walk on them. They also present a soothing and tranquil appearance that complements spa bathroom styles. Get to know these tiles as potential flooring for your bath.
Origins and Appearance
Pebble tiles can come from anywhere, but most come from Indonesia, where they are gathered from beaches. The stones may vary in size, and most people find that the larger stones make better floor installations due to the way they feel underfoot.
The pebbles are usually sorted by color, with colors ranging from bright white to black, with many shades of gray, green, and tan available as well. Most pebbles come on mesh sheets of 12 or 16 inches with borders in 3, 4, and 6 inch widths as well.
The sheets of pebbles are usually meant to interlock with one another like puzzle pieces. This creates the most seamless installation; when installed properly, you should not be able to see the outline of the various sheets.
The pebbles are installed like any stone mosaic in a bed of white latex-additive thinset mortar that has had the ridges smoothed out. The sheets are beaten into the bed for a uniform installation.
The difference in the installation of the pebbles versus other mosaics is in the grouting. The pebbles require usually twice as much grout as other mosaics because the grout needs to settle slightly below the pebbles, as well as around them. The finished installation should have the grout extending to just below the curve of the pebbles to allow them to be felt underfoot.
Like most natural stone, the pebbles to need to be sealed to protect them from staining. If desired, a color enhancing sealer can also be used to deepen their color. Otherwise, the colors will deepen in color when wet, and lighten again when dry.
Consider using pebble tiles on your bathroom floor or walls. Whether you use them everywhere or sparingly, the effect is always striking.
When two rooms abut one another, it’s common to use different flooring materials in each one, such as a hallway or bedroom or a living room and bathroom. When this occurs, there needs to be a transition between the two different floors. This can help even out differences in height between the two, or merely make a nice looking shift from one type of flooring to the next. There are several different types of thresholds you can use for transitions depending on the area, doorway size, and flooring choices. One of these may suit your purposes.
Marble thresholds make great transitions from bathrooms and other small rooms with tile floors out into the main area of your home. They come in many colors, and are usually between 4 and 6 inches wide. They have a very soft edge that creates a subtle transition between the two floors.
If one of the two floors is made of wood, you can use a matching threshold made of the same wood for a smooth transition between the two rooms. Wood thresholds come in a variety of different widths and lengths, so you can use this in nearly any size doorway.
If one or both of the rooms has a tiled floor, consider developing a tile transition. This is done by the installer who cuts down one of the floor tiles to fit the space. The edges may need to be bullnosed on site if one of the floors is higher than the other for a nicer shift.
Metal Transition Strip
Metal transition strips are an excellent choice for carpets, tile, wood floors, and for very modern homes. These thin transition strips are designed to protect the edges of the two floors from rubbing against one another, so the effect is subtle. The metal strips come in several different widths as well as different metal finishes and powder coats so you can make them as decorative or unobtrusive as you like.
Thresholds are important to make the transition from one floor to the next as simple and clean as possible. To get the best results, it pays to give the same level of attention to your thresholds as you do to your other flooring choices.