pondering combo of ceramic subway & marble

melissastarOctober 11, 2013

I'm adding a small 5 X 10 guest bathroom to my old (1907) home. I'd like it to play well with the old feeling of the house but I'm not into historical accuracy. Something that suggests the right era more than mimics it.

The givens so far are a Kohlers Memoirs tub (with shower) and toilet and an American Standard Retrospect console sink...white fireclay on a chrome console. I had been contemplating a calacatta marble hex floor and white 3X6 subway tile with pale or medium gray grout all around the room to chair height, with a white ceramic chair rail. In the bath/shower surround I would take the tile to the ceiling. I'd use the calacatta marble for a shelf above the sink and for a niche in the shower/tub area.

But for a variety of reasons, I'm contemplating using marble above the white subways and chair rail in the tub/shower surround. I've seen a very few pictures on Houzz of mixed ceramic and marble tile walls and I'm just not sure about them.
I think it's possible that I haven't seen a tile size combination I like. Possibilities include using large format 12X12 marble, 1X1 or 2X2 hex, 1X2's in a diagonal herringbone or 2X4 rectangles (mini subways). I'd love some feedback about whether the whole combo ceramic subway/marble walls work and if so, which format marble sounds right.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes it will work :) here is mine:

It's not perfect but I did it, and I know it is done right. The first picture is in the corner behind the door and now has a free standing cupboard in front of it. I had to pick where I ended my base board to work out other areas correctly and this was the corner.

This is the finished wall on the other side with my beautiful vanity that my carpenter made to my concept plan, (I made the sink, and never tire of showing this puppy off:)

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 11:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Enduring! Your amazing work doesn't end with your herringbone backsplash. That sink is a show-stopper. I love the marble and plain subway together.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 1:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Enduring, your bathroom is beautiful! We also are hoping to use plain ceramic or porcelain with marble. I like your floor too...what kind of tile is it?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 2:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks you guys!

Linelle, I did 4x4 instead of subway, as that was what was embossed into the plaster of this room that was added on to our little house in the 30's when it got moved to the farm. So I up graded to real 4x4's.

Eljays, the floor is a black Brazilian slate called Montauk. I cut it down from 12x12 to 6x12 approx, a grout width needed to be accounted for. I reenforced the floor joist system to accommodate the stone. Stone takes a stiffer floor.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 5:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks Enduring! What do you mean you made the sink? Is it soapstone? I'm really impressed! It's lovely.

Do you think it would work in my bath/shower area to use 3X^ white ceramic subways up to a white ceramic chair rail (maybe with a marble pencil between the second to last row of subways and the chair rail?) topped with 2X4 marble tiles?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 9:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What I would do is look at layouts that you like, draw some layouts up, get samples from nearby suppliers, and lay them out on your floor and see what you like. Thats how I came up with my layout, though it is rather typical.

The marble is thicker than the ceramic field tile, so the pencil helped make that transition. I had to build the pencil out a little too, because I wanted the marble and the face of the pencil to be on the same plane. The pencil I have is the same shape as the bottom of the chair rail and the top of the base board tile. It is hard to see in the pictures because there isn't much of a shadow to help it stand out.

Yes, I made the sink, the backsplash/counter, and nearby counter at the tub. These were remnant pieces that where limited in size. It was a very soft and dramatic stone. I have it sanded to a fairly rough texture and I love it. It never shows any scratches but it scratches easily. Here is a picture of the room overall:

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 10:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hmmm, lost a post.

Of course Enduring, your field tiles are 4x4, which I love in the bathroom. It just goes to show that whether 4x4 or 3x6, when the overall tilework looks good and cohesive, the actual dimensions don't matter so much. Or maybe they do, but it looks pulled together, not a bunch of separate elements.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 4:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sorry, melissastar, I don't mean to hijack, but enduring-when you mention you sanded the soapstone to a fairly rough texture, do you remember the grit you used? I just love that sink and counter (and bathroom).

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 6:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Melissastar, how is it coming. Here are examples of how I drew my schemes up in Adobe Illustrator. It was time consuming but I enjoyed the process. The ultimate size for my installed design was what I could get that I liked. I bought my tile local and I am glad I did because I got to see what I was getting. There have been some posters here that have ordered online and their marble looks different from the sample they reviewed. I don't know what percent of GWebers have had this problem but too many for me to feel comfortable.

I used a marble mosaic in 2x4" size pieces, but I cut the mosaic apart to install the running bond because I couldn't get the 12x12 mass to work for me in a consistant manner. I did all my tile work, and I'm a novice. There are some areas that are not perfect, but I don't take pictures of those :)

Leela4, I think the grit was around 120 or maybe even as course as 80. But the color is spectacular on this stone. I have another, harder soapstone that looks like a block of cement when rough - not pretty at all.

This counter is the same stone as the sink and it is 2 strips epoxied together down the long side because all my pieces except for the sink bottom where about 11" wide.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 8:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh enduring-that counter is so beautiful.

And thanks for the drawings of how you did your tile work.
Melissastar, have you decided on a design?

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 11:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Enduring, your bathroom has been my inspiration as I plan my bathroom remodel. I am not so sure I like subway tile, and your square tiles "free" me to think about them for my room. I love the touch of marble. It adds that timeless beauty to the classic white tile room, and plays very well with the soapstone (also timeless) and the stone floor.

My room will be a gut, converting a tub to a curbless shower. The materials I am considering for the shower walls resemble carrara. That led me to think about using carrara or faux carrara for the base molding, the pencil line above the white tile, and the chair rail tile above a border. This would tie the carrara-like shower to the rest of the room, plus free me to use either a nice carrara-based border like Enduring's, or to add a more colorful border. I ran into these New Ravenna mosaics, some of which take my breath away. Here is a simple one in carrara:
Nimbus 3 1/2"

Flower and Ribbon: a traditional mosaic style with lavender, blue and white

Jacqueline 4", a subtle floral design

Here is a link that might be useful: Oasis

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 3:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks, enduring and others. Just an update...I've concluded it will look fine to combine the two, but still not sure I like that option the best. So still pondering.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 3:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ponder away :) We will be here awaiting your decision.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 7:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Absolutely beautiful room with outstanding tile work. Wow!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 10:13AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Contractor messed up shower pan. Fixable?
My contractor who I'm firing tomorrow messed up my...
Shower door for neo-angle
If you have a neo-angle shower where the tiled walls...
shower pan worries. Is any of his method correct?
Unsure about my plumber's method. Could I get some...
TIGHT Space for Mirrors (Between the Light Fixture and Backsplash) :(
We are coming into the home stretch. Although there...
Monrovia Mom
Date on thinset
Someone mentioned they would help homeowners decode...
Sponsored Products
Kraus Square White Ceramic Vessel Bathroom Sink
Limoncello Ruffled Bowl
$90.00 | FRONTGATE
$3,999.00 | Horchow
Tom Dixon | Stone Chopping Board
$120.00 | YLighting
Sands of India Rug
$876.99 | Dot & Bo
Aging Eye Glass Shade Table Lamp
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™