Need help choosing tile and stone for new MBR

lotteryticketMarch 12, 2014

I'm in the final stages of remodeling the master bathroom and have finally met my Waterloo! I have had no problem picking out the tub, sink, vanity, lights, faucets, etc. But I am really stuck on the tile and stone.
So here are the details:

The floor will be American Cherry. We have enough leftover to do the room so this decision is final. Yay!

The shower is curbless and will have frameless glass. One wall will have a feature tile. I am leaning towards the vine mosaic below. But should I do it in Carrara or Calalcatta? There is only a small price difference. The Calacatta gold tones pick up the cherry floor nicely. But then the field tile should be Calacatta as well. There is a significant price difference between the two field tiles.

The shower floor will be a basketweave tile out of either Carrara or Calacatta. Again, not much price difference between the two.

There is a separate tub. I would like to use the vine tile as the backsplash around the tub between 9" and 18" high with a moulding to cap it.

Next is choosing the vanity counter and tub deck. I really like the look of soapstone or Jet Mist granite. Will that work with the marble? Especially on the tub where they will be right next to each other? Or should I go with Carrara to match? The Jet Mist seems like it might be a little too "energetic" but the Carrara might be a little bland. Calacatta as the counter top is a total show stopper. It's just too expensive.

Any thoughts (if you've read this far!) ? I've been going back and forth for weeks and I really need to decide in the next couple of days!


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Oh, that vine tile is gorgeous! Now, you've got me thinking...I still have one more BR to do! LOL

When you say marble tile in the shower, are you planning on using real stone? It's totally your decision of course, but after reading so many horror stories here on GW, and just from my own limited research, I didn't think using real stone, particularly marble was a good idea in the shower?

There was a fairly recent thread on how some marbles (I forget which, carrara or calacatta), develop rust stains as the iron oxide in the stone reacts to the water.

With so many beautiful porcelain look alikes, have you considered non-stone? Then I wonder if the tiles would be more similar in price, and you could make a decision based solely on which one you like better and not have to take different costs into consideration.

I don't think you can finalize the granite decision until you know which tiles you are going with. It is a juggling act!

Did I mention that I just LOVE that tile?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 5:42PM
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Hi Raehelen
I wasn't planning to use real stone either. But the vine tile is stunning and it's a combination of stone and glass. I can get it in other types of stone but I couldn't find any porcelain or ceramic that looked good with it. There was some "white" glass tiles that looked good as they had a blue/grey undertone. Since the Calacatta has some gold veining maybe any rust won't be noticeable.

I'll go look for that thread and see what people have experienced. Thanks for letting me know.

Oh, and I love that tile too. Since I am only using a bit of it as an accent it's a splurge but not as bad as it could be!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 6:42PM
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Pleasepleaseplease pleeeease tell me where to find that tile and others similar? I wish I could help you decide on tile choices, but it will be the hardest part of my own shower installation.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 10:51PM
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Hi Greenhaven,
The vine tile is a water jet mosaic from Artistic tile. There are many other manufacturers that also have water jet mosaics but they are really expensive. That is why I am only using it as an accent piece. New Ravenna also has some beautiful ones.

I think that it almost doesn't matter which material it's made out of, stone, marble or glass. The cost is mostly in the manufacturing process. And the more intricate it is the more expensive. Each piece is essentially custom although I think New Ravenna may have a "ready to ship" line.

This is my big splurge in our remodel. Everything else I bought on sale or kind of on the cheap. And I still haven't ordered it. I really have a hard time writing big checks. :-)

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 10:16AM
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Beautiful tile.

I would keep either with the carrara or the calacatta and not mix the 2. In other words what ever the mosaic marble is, i'd use that same in the other tiles. If you use a porcelain field tile than what ever works with the mosaic.

I would use a solid blackish counter for the soapstone or the granite. It might bring too many visual textures into the space. But only you can know for sure.

I used a fairly high variegated floor tile, with fairly vertical wood graining, and carrara counter and "calacatta" porcelain shower wall tile. The porcelain is not right next to the counter so it works. There is minimal gold in my porcelain yet the background white is ever so slightly warm and it shows when setting on my carrara counter.

for some fun I went to Ann Sacks last week when I was in Seattle and took a bunch of pictures. I hope you don't mind me posting some Ann Sacks tiles.

the bathroom:

very asian looking floral:

interesting visual mosaic:


    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 3:04PM
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Oh, the Ann Sacks tile is beautiful, so I don't mind! I think I'm getting closer to a decision. Thanks everyone for some suggestions!

Also, the floor went in today and we will be templating for the stone this weekend. I think I see an end in sight!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 6:46PM
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Thanks for chiming in. I believe I have finally nailed it down:

tub deck and vanity counter: honed Minas soapstone. I found a slab yesterday that is a few shades lighter than the Jet Mist granite and the gray/blue coloring will work well with the rest of the tile. Will use the soapstone as the backsplash as well.

main shower wall - Super White glass subway

feature shower wall - the vine patterned tile pictured above in Calacatta Gold with blue/green glass in the vine and leaves

shower floor - basketweave with blue/green dots

surround for the tub - vine patterned tile topped with Calacatta molding on top.

This was by far the hardest decision to make in all of this whole remodeling process. Phew.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 5:12PM
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That sounds Fantabulous! When you say Feature you mean the WHOLE wall, or a featured niche/section?

I know you said your floor will be cherry, what will the vanity be? I can hardly wait to see it...

You are now actually getting me excited to start on final BR reno #3. I thought I was reno-weary...but seeing the end in sight with BR #2 has sort of invigorated me... and I just love that vine tile of I'm kind of anxious to start looking at tiles again!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 6:29PM
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Hi Raehelen- The feature wall is the narrowest one in the shower. The tile will go from floor to celiing and across 36" of the 42" width. That extra 6 inches will be the field tile as that is where the glass door will be hinged.

The vanity is white. DH is a finish carpenter so I sketched out the design and he built it. We moved it up from his basement workshop so we could do the counter template. So the doors and drawers aren't on but that is the trough sink sitting in it's spot. The top drawers are tiltouts not actual drawers. I think we will have the soapstone in sometime next week and then we'll be ready to tile.

The floor went in on Friday but I didn't get around to taking a picture of it.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 10:32AM
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Wow! Looks like you have quite a big Master BR! Is that a tub in a bay to the right of the pic?

My DH is an engineer, which means he fancies himself capable of every job, tiler, carpenter, plumber, electrician, etc. Truth be told, he actually is, but thank God I'm not paying him by the hour, or we'd be in the poorhouse, well I guess we wouldn't really as I'd be robbing Peter to pay Paul... Weekend was spent getting drawer fronts installed on drawers, not easy, as the drawers are 40" long and even using double sided tape it was hard to get the bottom deep drawer front to stay in place long enough to get the screws in... I'm sure there must have been a better way?

Then the GFCI outlet wasn't working (the little light was on, but appliances wouldn't work). At first he thought the plug was defective and was going to go buy a new one. He took offense to my suggestion that perhaps he hadn't wired it correctly...turns out he hadn't... at least he did check, though he would never admit to making a mistake...LOL

Plugging away (pun intended), though you may be finished before me...

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 2:01PM
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It's actually not that big. It's about 8' X 13'. It started as a standard 8' x 8' ish. We took out an old closet that was dark, dingy and unheated. That gave us the extra room.

That is a separate tub to the right of the vanity. To the left will be the toilet. I took this picture from the doorway and to my immediate left is a pony wall that encloses the shower. The shower is about 50" x 42".

So far, the layout seems to be working just as it did on my graph paper. I guess that's why it's good to plan it all out.

DH won't do the electrical and prefers to not do the plumbing. But both of us have tiled so we're good with that.

Using the pros hasn't always worked out the best for us. Attached is a picture of the crossed water lines I found when I moved a sheet of drywall that was leaning. I knew they were crossed somewhere. This was done by a plumber with 35 years of experience. He's been the biggest hold up so far. We'd have been done weeks ago if not for him. We had to give him the heave ho and then wait for another one to free up.

We took the room down to the studs last Labor Day weekend. So we are 6+ months into this. So you may beat us to the finish line!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 2:42PM
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That is some vanity and sink. Tell your DH that it looks great! I am looking forward to seeing that shower too. So you will be doing your own soapstone. I love the stuff.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 10:52PM
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Hi enduring,

The soapstone might be delivered by this weekend. I hope we can get it in before next Monday but DD is home from college for spring break. I'd like to spend as much time with her as I can. She is a junior so she may well leave the nest for good in the not too distant future.

If the soapstone experiment goes well I'd love to have it in my kitchen some day. I used to live in a funky old apartment. It was run down but it had soapstone in the kitchen and an old piece of Carrara on the bathroom vanity. Neither was in the best of shape but I loved every ding and etching.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 12:40PM
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Wonderful :)

I am looking forward becoming familiar with my new marble vanity counter. I think it is wonderful.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 11:49PM
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just got back from the tile shop to look at the glass tiles. Below is the colors I am going with -

The small blue tiles are the same color as the leaves in the vine patterned tile. I hope to also use this color in the shower floor as the dot in a basketweave tile.

The big chunk is a piece of the soapstone. It's blue / gray and we will leave it "unoiled"

Below that is a couple of pieces of the cherry flooring that will be in the main part of the bathroom.

To the left of the flooring is the large format subway tile (6X12) "Wolfgang White". It has a blue/grey tint to it as well.

Seeing it side by side makes me much less concerned that it will be too busy. The woman at the tile shop was such a sweetheart. She is contacting the company to get a sample of the vine tile as she realized it was just about the only one from them she didn't have. If I can cross this off the list then I only have to wrestle with a paint color. Ugh.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 1:53PM
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Looking good, let's home the vine sample is as nice as you are anticipating! As far as paint colour, my immediate inclination is to go with a complementary beige/tan tone. ie I think orange is opposite blue on the colour wheel, so that warm tone should set off the blue. I would avoid doing a blue wall, as you want the blues in all your surfaces to shine/stand out.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 3:08PM
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That is an excellent idea! Maybe sort of a wheat color. I have light blue gray curtains in the bedroom with a sort of wicker shade in a wheat color. It's a nice combo so that might work in the bathroom. Thank you for the suggestion. I don't know if I would have come up with that one on my own!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 6:34PM
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could you post photo of this now that it is done
I am looking for ideas for white cabinets with soapstone counters for master bath I am doing in a "beach house" look...
My husband and I are favoring the basketweave or pinwheel tile for the flooring and maybe some trim tile around the bath and shower with white subway..

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 2:28PM
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Hi. I wish it was all done. Due to health issues we've gotten behind. This is how the vanity looks right now. But we are about 75% done with the tiling and will finish up the carpentry soon. When I get home tonight I'll (hopefully) get to take some more pictures that will give you a better idea. I really like how it's coming out so far and could definitely see it fitting with a beach house vibe. I'll be back to post later tonight.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 3:08PM
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I just took some pictures. Here's a closeup of the tub and the soapstone. I put a starfish there to see if it looked beachy. :-)

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 5:41PM
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Here's a closeup of the sink and the soapstone. This time I used a sand dollar.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 5:42PM
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This shot is not as closeup. Sorry it's still not all put together but I hope it gives you some sense of how it looks with white cabinetry - very fresh and clean.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 5:44PM
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The tile mosaic that is on one wall of the shower. The other walls will be light blue glass subway tile. The floor is still covered up but when I get a chance I will pull up the ram board and get a picture of the basketweave and the hardwood floor.

The room is very bright and the soapstone does not seem so dark that it draws your eye right to it.
Sorry I had to post these one at a time. flickr requires you to sign up for a yahoo id and I really don't want to bother with it!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 5:49PM
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The only qualm I have is that this bath is in late 70s era ranch in FL--
the area with the dual sinks is in a short hallway leading into the "wet" area w/shower, tub, and toilet--and there is no window w/the sinks---
the lighting in there is poor now and even when turned on the room isn't that bright--
I am just worried that the darker soapstone vs something like a Kashmire white granite or even a Corian white surface will be too dark...

thanks for posting your photos---I do love that look--
very New Englandish to me but would great for a beach bath I think

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 5:54PM
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It is kind of a New England look. We live in Massachusetts and our house is a classic Cape Cod so soapstone fits in pretty well here!

The room does have a double skylight and two full size windows so it's bright in there all day, every day.

We live on a lake so there are some beachy elements in the house. Our downstairs powder room is very beachy with whited beadboard, pale green walls and a pedestal sink.

If you go with a white countertop then you could have a painted vanity - maybe wedgewood blue or a grey/green. Add a sisal rug and you might get that beach vibe.

I know what you mean about the room being too dark. Our old bathroom had one very small window. I painted the walls in a deep blue/grey. It was a beautiful color but it really sucked the light right out of the room.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 10:25AM
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