Marble Subway Tile Help -- Pics!

erinctJuly 10, 2011

After visiting a number of tile showrooms this weekend, I'm thinking that a simple, white marble subway might look best with our cabinets (off white) and granite (White Fantasy/Super White), but the problem is that the marble has to be very "clean" with minimal (if any) veining. One of the tile stores had something called afyon marble tiles which was a perfect color match but they only come in square tiles (4x4 or 12x12) and I really like the look of the subway better. I tried a bunch of solid white non-marble subway tiles but they all looked too solid in color and the color was usually off in some way. The marble tiles just have a depth and texture that looks perfect with the granite. Plus I found a few design tiles for behind the range that I think might look nice with our granite and they were marble. The designer at the tile store thought a larger design would work best since our range is 48" and our mantle hood above it will be 60". I'm attaching a few pictures to show what I've found, and to see if anyone has any thoughts about the main tile and design insert -- please?!?

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Those arabesques are gorgeous!! I would do that everywhere.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 10:55PM
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I used Jeffrey Court Nob Hill subways in Huntington White in my old MBA. Honed white marble.

I bought them on line at what I thought was a good price ( I think 8 sq ft vs 16 for the same thing at the local tile store).

With all of these tiles, you need to make sure you get plenty of extra as the variation within a box can be material.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 10:55PM
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FYI, you can also try Thassos marble if (as i think your say i your post) you are looking for a very plain marble with little veining.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 11:00PM
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I really love the arabesque tile too. The darker gray parts really pick up on the gray of the granite. It give the illusion of the darker tile in the BS and the granite being the same material.

Is there any info on what the arabesques are made of? Maybe there is a subway or square tile size in the same material. Is that what the square is in the picture?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 11:18PM
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The arabesque is very pretty, but I'd have to see it against a bigger slice of your stone to really know. Have you thought about buying the tiles you like and having them cut down to a more subway-type size?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 1:01AM
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I think the marble tiles you showed are beautiful. I also agree with the above comment about cutting the tiles. I've seen a beautiful kitchen in a local showroom, done with large marble subway tiles. I asked the designer, and she said that he had her tile guy cut 12x12 tiles into 6x12's and lay them in a brick pattern. That was the only way to get her chosen tile. I'm sure you could cut them into smaller sizes as well. Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 1:07AM
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Thanks everyone!

mtnrdredux: Thanks so much for the other options! I'll try to check them out today. I would love something very plain with little veining, so maybe that second one will be the winner!!

celineike: I really love the arabesque too, but at $100+ a square foot we can only use it as an accent! Before I knew the price though I was a little worried that it could overwhelm the space. It could also be beautiful. I just couldn't visualize it.

avadoone: The arabesque is made by Raffi Glass (WaterJet Series - Marble Arabesque). For some reason I can't find anything about this tile on their web site. It looks like they only sell glass tile, but I'm surprised that they wouldn't offer something to go with that beautiful arabesque. If anyone has any ideas on how to find more info (I was looking for pictures of it somewhere), please let me know!! The small square in the picture is a 4x4 alyon white honed tile and it looks lovely with both but they don't make a subway.

Breezy and Abbeys: I thought about cutting the 12x12 tile into smaller pieces but when I searched on this site last night a few people cautioned that the edges may not look right and that the finished edges would defnitely look different than the ones we had cut. So I didn't think that was an option. Maybe I should talk to our tile installer to get his thoughts. Also, I can try to take a better picture today so you can see the two accents against the granite better. I would love thoughts on which one people think might look better, if either. I love the shape and design of the arabesque but the square one seems to blend better. I don't want a big rectangle to jump out at you when you look at that wall. I'm in the breezy camp where I want the backsplash to accent the granite and not steal the show! I was actually proud of myself for realizing that although I love the arabesque it may not work well all over the kitchen backsplash (and then the price helped me move on!).

Thanks again for all the help and ideas!!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 6:51AM
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I was going to suggest White Thassos as well. FYI, Select WT will be "cleaner" than some others. Our MB mosaic tile has some faint and some not-so-faint streaks of grey here and there (still gorgeous though!), while the Select tile that was used for our tub surround border and our niche shelves/walls, is as white as can be, and streak-free.

If you're near Long Island NY, K&K Marble has a nice selection of White Thassos tile (that's where we got ours, the mosaic is from Porcelanosa)

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 10:28AM
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I had my tile guy cut my 12x12 crema marfil marble into 3x12's. Worked great!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 12:05PM
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I forgot that i actually have Thassos subway in my new mba shower. The whole shower is shiny white Thassos. I was replacing all the hardware so I had to retile that one wall, but I wanted it to blend with the rest (no reason to get rid of white Thassos).

So I had them make a white/shiny thassos mosaic, and that is bordered by white thassos subway. No vein, no color, they look like sugar.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 12:08PM
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mtnrdredux: That's exactly the look I was picturing in my head -- thanks for posting that! Do you think that would look ok with off white cabinets (Simply White is closest) and White Fantasy/Super White countertops? What color grout did you use? And which accent tile do you think would look best in the insert? Or do you think neither would go well? Thanks so much for your help!!!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 11:04PM
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I think the arabesque looks great.

Of course, what's great about white subways is that you can use a toothbrush and some bleach to scrub out any remaining bits of individuality that accidentally get stuck in the grout.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 11:23PM
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I'm in the same dilemma as you! I'm actually closing on my house in 2 weeks, and once I do, I'm going with the same idea. Except I have kashmir white granite - dark cabs perimiter and light island. I think that arabesque would be a spectacular choice for your range backsplash! Esp when the rest is tiled with some gorgeous marble! Love to see what you'll end up with! I also tried googling the arabesque tile with no luck! Let me know what you find!!
good luck!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 12:48PM
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Weighing in to say I am a sucker for that arabesque, especially with the gray border. It manages to have so much character while remaining so neutral - and it coordinates beautifully with your granite. Stunning.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 12:55PM
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Thanks everyone! I just spoke to Raffi Glass, the manufacturer of the tile, and the reason we can't find it on their web site is that it's too new! I explained that I was thinking about using it as an accent behind a range and he seemed a bit concerned that using it as an accent like that might not allow you to see the full effect of the tile unless you have a minimum of four rows (the top and bottom row would have to get cut off to make the straight edges for the outline, so you'd only have two full rows). We have a 48" range and a 60" hood over it, but he thought it should be centered over the range and in at least 3" from each side and down 6" on top and bottom so you can see the subway around it. Does that sound right? Does anyone know how I could do a mock up to see what it would look like? Any thoughts are appreciated!!!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 3:00PM
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Why does it have to be 6" on the top and bottom? Wouldn't it just be one row of subway surrounding the top and bottom? I agree, I hope there is some way to visualize it so that the decision may be easier. It is such a gorgeous tile - I hope you can use it! Or, another idea is to do the arabesque on the entire open area and also surrounding the vent hood, going to the ceiling.. what do you think of that idea?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 6:15PM
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Can't you just color photocopy multiple sheets and tape it up?

I'd mention that you're posting about this on GW and see if you can get a deal. Tell him some tile manufacturers give away new tile to get it displayed (cf. beekeeperswife's arabesque).

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 6:50PM
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HomeNoobie: I love that idea, but the arabesque tile is $100+ a square foot and not in the budget (we would need 60+ square feet)! Even before I found out the price though I was a bit concerned that it would become the focal point or be too busy for our granite. The reason he said 6" on the top and bottom is so you could have at least two rows of subways on top and bottom to give it a nice border. He thought one row would look too small. But he thought 3" would be fine on the sides because you see so much of the tile on the sides already. I should check out some other backsplashes to see how much space is typically left around that center insert.

marcolo: You're a genius!!! I'll definitely try the photocopy idea (way easier than drawing it out like I was going to do!), and I'll mention the site to them when I call back but the guy I spoke to today didn't seem like he would go for that type of deal! It never hurts to try!!!

Thanks again everyone!!!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 8:37PM
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Oh my! I saw that Arabesque tile in a recent mag and begged my friend to tile her whole house in it. Love love love it. But I understand the expense.

Have you considered 2" hex? They do make it in statuary.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 9:55PM
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alabamamommy: I have considered the hex, but the designer at the tile store thought a larger design would look better/less busy over the larger range. I'm horrible at picturing things (I tend to love an individual element but can't see how it would/wouldn't work in the whole), so I tend to trust other people's judgment, but maybe I should mock that up too! The tile store had some really cool hex with a border of small mosaic type pieces around it (similar to the square one posted above), so maybe I should bring that home. BTW, I LOVE what I've seen of your kitchen - it's stunning!!!!!

Also, I wanted to let everyone know how awesome Jerusalem Heights was when I spoke to them about the square tile. Within an hour the guy had laid out some mock ups of what the square tile would look like in a box over the range and e-mailed them to me, and then he must have thought about my project some more because he e-mailed me a few different things to go along with it. They have a ton of really beautiful mosaics/accent tiles coming out, so if anyone is interested in something like that I would definitely call them! They are wonderful!!!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 6:40AM
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Just an update to let you all know how helpful Raffi Glass has been as well! I e-mailed them asking for a mock up of what the arabesque tile would look like in a box over the range and they e-mailed me a picture showing them linked togehter very quickly. Lots to think about! If anyone is interested in seeing the mockups let me know. They're in a PDF attachement and I wasn't sure how to do it, but I'd be more than happy to try if someone wants to see it!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 10:50PM
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hey erin! I'd LOVE to see it!! if you could post it, that would be awesome. if not, i'll give u my email!!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 10:46AM
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HomeNoobie: I tried to convert it to a JPEG per the instructions on this site, but the image is larger than 1 MG so it wouldn't let me. I'll see if my husband can figure out another way, otherwise I'll have to e-mail it to you . . .

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 5:03PM
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Hi ErinCT,

I am praying you get this message. I'm renovating my kitchen now and came across your thread by googling a tile I've fallen in love with. I've purchased Vermont White/Super White granite countertops (the same as you) for our kitchen, and am trying to decide on the backsplash "field" and "focal point" under the hood.

I found a gorgeous mosaic tile by Jerusalem Heights that I love, here:

I'm trying to decide whether it's the right color for the countertop, and if so, what tile to do everywhere else aka the field.

What did you decide to do for your kitchen? Do you have photos? Did you keep the pdf's that you got from Jerusalem Heights?

Thanks in advance. Btw, I'm also in CT, I assume from your handle you are too?!


    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 9:17PM
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This might have too much grey in it for you, but this is my white marble tile from The Tile Shop. It's called Meram Blanc. I have Silestone Lagoon countertops.

Here is the splash pictured between my 48" range and 54" hood.


Ps. Below is a link to my kitchen on

Here is a link that might be useful: My kitchen on

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 1:40PM
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