1929 bathroom floor choice

agwifeJuly 13, 2014

Help! We are about to remodel the bathroom in our farmhouse. It was built in 1929 by my husband's grandmother, and except for paint, nothing has been changed since it was built. We are going to bump out the alcove where the tub sits by two feet, so the bathroom will grow from 5 x 9 feet to 5x 11 feet--still a very small space. I am planning to have white glossy subway tiles on the walls, with white or possibly light gray grout. I thought that I wanted the floor tiles to be the 18" x 18" porcelain tiles that look like Carrera (sp?) marble, since I think it would make the space look bigger. Now I'm wondering if it would look too "fancy" for our simple farmhouse. Should I go with something like small hexagonal tiles instead, even though it will be a "busier" look? I would appreciate any input. Thanks!

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I vote for the small hex tiles. I don't think it will look too busy, and it's very period-appropriate.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 3:40PM
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A second for hex tiles.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 3:58PM
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Thank you so much, bowbat and palimpsest for your tile opinions. I really appreciate it. The more I think about it, the more I think that I should go with the hexagon tiles. Just seems more fitting for our humble farmhouse. I do have one more question; well, maybe more than that, but just one for now:
Do you think I should use a light gray or a white grout with the subway wall tiles. (The subway tiles will go about 5' up the walls, and all the way to the ceiling in the combination tub/shower area.). Again, I worry about the gray grout making a five foot wide bathroom look too small. On the other hand, I love the look of light gray grout with white subway tile, and also like not having to worry so much about grout discoloration in the tub/shower area that I might have with the white grout. Thank you in advance.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 5:29PM
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I'm building a "1930's" bathroom in my basement at the moment in our 1884 home -

In my opinion, HEX is the way to go.

Always ;-)

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 8:07PM
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gray grout would be appropriate

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 11:20PM
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Well, I'm about to do white subway tiles with gray grout on my shower walls & behind the vanity, so that's my vote. :)

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 3:56PM
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Hi bowbat,
Love the look of white subway tile with gray grout. But I'm still concerned about too much "pattern" in a small space. What is the size of your bathroom in which you will be putting the white subway and gray gout? My five foot wide bathroom seems a little tight in which to use gray grout. Do you think I should just go for it anyway?

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 7:35PM
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Concerning discoloration: consider using Fusion Pro grout. It's a polymer of some sort that doesn't discolor, grow mold, or exhibit other unpleasant features of traditional grouts. It does, however, cost a fortune compared to bagged grouts. All things considered, I'd do it anyway - actually we did. I was thinking of all the grout lines in a hex floor, which is a great choice for this particular bath, and thinking how much I'd not like to scrub those. This stuff also never needs sealing.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fusion Pro at HD

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 5:56PM
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If you are concerned about the pattern overwhelming the floor, then consider a border of tile around the perimeter of the room.

It could also be mosaic but in a contrasting pattern/color:

Or the border could compliment, or be similar to the marble-like hex, but in a larger tile:

Or continue the mosaic theme but with a different stone. Casey's bathroom, one of my all time favorites:

Or you could contrast with something earthy like a honed charcoal slate border.

And if you think the small hex might be too busy, there are larger hex available as shown in one of the photos above.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 6:05PM
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Hex for sure (or basketweave), with grey grout.

White grout on the subway tiles on the walls.

I can't wait to see photos!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 12:49PM
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Hi agwife,

I am in a similar situation with a 1920s kit home. About to remodel the one and only small bathroom. I'm using inexpensive white subway tile (Lowes) and I splurged on hexagon marble tile for the floor. The floor tiles will get dark gray grout, but I am undecided on the white subway tiles - either white or light gray grout.

For what it's worth, my vote is hex tiles. :) Good luck on your reno!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 1:11AM
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Thank you all for your input! What a great site; I so appreciate that you took the time to give me your opinions and insight. Well, hex tiles with gray grout are definitely my choice now for the floor. Thank you, thank you.
Bepeace, it's kind of nice knowing that someone else is having the same dilemma as I am having regarding white or gray grout for the subway wall tile. I think the consensus on this site is that gray grout would be more appropriate, and aesthetically, that is my choice as well. However, when I started asking people who are familiar with my tiny bathroom (when one is sitting on the toilet, the opposite wall is only about 2 1/2 feet away), they vote for the white grout. I'm now leaning in that direction. You said you purchased your subway tiles at Lowe's. I went and checked them out, and it turns out that I like them as well as, and the matching chair rail tile better than, the ones I picked out at a tile/carpet store. Plus, Lowe's was 1/4 to 1/3 of the price of the tile store! Ditto for the porcelain hex floor tiles. The problem is the installation. We live in the "boonies", and finding an installer may be difficult. We are beginning to think that it will be worth the effort to try to find someone more local, since the installation cost from the tile store was extremely high, plus cost of mileage to and from our farm. Good luck with your bathroom. Your choices sound lovely.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 11:52AM
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I like the first hex tiles. I like the pattern. Pretty simple but not totally plain. I worry that totally plain looks institutional.

And I worry about finding a tiler that will do a good job.

I've been wondering about grout color. I saw this:

but I think it might be too dark.

I'm trying to get a 20s feel. I attached a PDF of pics I've collected over time (it's very large).

I'm thinking a lot about the cabinet design. I like the look of free standing cabs with feet.

Here is a link that might be useful: A PDF of a bunch of my favorites; very large

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 9:44PM
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I would go with the thin grout lines for the subway tile, and maybe a silver gray grout.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 12:52AM
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Hi agwife! I finally decided on a light gray grout for the subway tiles (keeping the dark gray for the marble hex floor). I'll post a pic in a few weeks. Regarding finding an installer - have you tried Angie's List? Good luck and post pics when you're done!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 5:31PM
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So glad you made your decision for the grout. I know it will be beautiful. Can't wait to see the pictures. Unfortunately, I have a while longer to agonize, since the contractor has postponed the date to begin construction. I will post pictures when it is done.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 11:33AM
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