Saltillo floors + white kitchen = ?

fatherdowlingAugust 1, 2014

So we're starting to plan our renovation of a guest house. In my other thread about funny walls I said it's spanish style, built in 1930s, was originally a changing bath house for after the beach. It has original Malibu tile details and mostly the floors are saltillo (terra cotta?) tiles even in the bathrooms. Except where the kitchen is going currently has nothing.

We want to do a white kitchen, subway tiles, marble counters, the works. And all along I've always thought we would do saltillo in the kitchen floor too, but somehow now I'm worried it wont go with the white kitchen.

I've scoured these forums and houzz looking for examples and found a few. Some love them, some hate them, I do love them, have grown up in a house with them. But this is about form now. And our goal for style is to really make the kitchen look like it's been there from the beginning.

-Should I go with my original instincts a keep it consistent with saltillo floor?
-go with another flooring? but what?
-Is crazy second guessing yourself the normal part of the process?

Thanks so much!

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I think you have to decide whether it's actually the white kitchen that will look original. White subway and marble are sort of East Coast. You may really want Malibu tile in that kitchen. The saltillo is original so that would definitely *look original. So maybe the final kitchen finishes need to be selected with the floors and other original elements in mind.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 8:19AM
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Thanks. Yeah I've thought about that a lot. Been leaning away from going in the direction of full spanish tile kitchen direction. (Maybe a nice behind the range Malibu tile accent?)
I think probably because the main house's interiors are very traditional and not spanish and the original kitchen is all white.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 8:45AM
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We're in a 1929 So Cal Spanish eclectic home. Our kitchen is brand new square footage. We used Arto tile as many directed us away from Saltillo. In your case, I would ignore that advice.

Personally I prefer "pattern" over "print" and tried to keep the pattern in a sympathetic style and find things like Malibu tiles too busy. While we didn't do white cabinets, here's an example of our kitchen which is located in new square footage.

1 Like    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 9:31AM
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I think the kitchen could be white, sure. I am not sure that a lot of original kitchens in historic houses were all that detailed--the full-on Spanish kitchen may be a later thing. But you may want to acknowledge the other original details in some small but significant ways.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 9:32AM
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Here's a close up of the backsplash for more pattern.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 9:33AM
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1929Spanish - I really love your kitchen. It looks classic and clean but with really great details. That backsplash looks lovely.

palimset - That kind of what I was thinking. right now I'm more inclined to go white with the saltillo floors. but I do find it tricky to strike that balance of staying historically accurate and staying away from too cliched. Even if I think some of the tile work is absolutely gorgeous, it's not really right for inside of this house.

Although I keep changing my mind everytime I look though the Malibu Ceramics Works website.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 10:28AM
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A gorgeous Spanish Colonial Revival remodel was done by a GW member here.

1930 Spanish Colonial Revival

It includes white cabinets and white subway tiles with a detailed inset over the range. I think this same kitchen could work really well with saltillo floors. I think the dark countertops and the detailing on the cabinetry really make this kitchen work. Would you consider dark countertops or are you set on marble?

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 11:41AM
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Thanks pricklypearcactus. I've had that kitchen in my bookmarks. it's so gorgeous. If I did a detail over the range I would definitely want it to be something like that.

I like the dark soapstone counters but I think my mom, ultimately to whom the house belongs, is set on marble.

She has a weird policy with her rentals, she doesn't want anything that she herself couldnt live with, in case if in the future she has to live there.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 12:31PM
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Well, I'm not sure I would put marble in a rental kitchen.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 12:55PM
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You've browsed houzz for your combo, I'm sure. If you like the look go for it, but I'll tell you honestly, once you put those floors in you'll be designing around them forever more, not that there's anything wrong with that. They are a strong design statement, and if you're trying to ease away from the full-on Spanish style kitchen, I'd look for other options. Consider wood. Also, if you have more of an east coast eye, consider brick. It can be gorgeous. The image below is from whitehaven interiors.

This post was edited by EAM44 on Fri, Aug 1, 14 at 13:03

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 1:02PM
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Yeah I know. But we've done it already in a kitchenette of another rental. It's been in two years and it's fine.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 1:10PM
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EAM44 - Yeah that's a bit what I'm worried about. I really love that brick though! Luckily the kitchen is in it's own room so we could do something different. Thanks for the ideas.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 1:12PM
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As someone with a white kitchen (not Spanish Colonial) and Saltillo floor, I say nix the Saltillo. If only I'd known the eternal time and trouble it takes to keep it cleaned, the everlasting need for resealing, etc., etc. Yes, I have Saltillo in the rest of the house and it abuts the kitchen. Still, I'd have chosen a different floor that blended in or complemented the Saltillo.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 1:23PM
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1929Spanish- I love your backslash in your kitchen. Where are they from?

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 2:13AM
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I'll be completely honest here. When I close my eyes and picture a Spanish style, original 1930s house and then try to put a "modern" (current style kitchen) into it with white cabs, subway tiles and marble counters, it does not work.

If you've got your heart set on white/marble/subway, then do it. Just know that, regardless of flooring, it will not match the rest of the house.

Not a problem if you never intend to sell, do what you like. However, if you do intend, or even think its a possibility to sell in the future, then stick with a kitchen that is more period/style accurate.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 2:30AM
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White subway tiles and marble are very old school and traditional. They happen to be very on trend right now but they certainly aren't trendy. The combination has been around for a long time. I'd suggest going with a rustic wood floor. It will look good with the adjoining tile and your other finishes.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 5:54AM
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Thanks Christina222 (my name is Christina too), I like the idea of a rustic wood floor. That might work.

Thanks Texas Gem. I totally get what you're saying. We are never selling this house, so I'm not so worried about that. My grandmother bought it in 1958 and now it belongs to my mother. We're absolutely in love.

Its interesting because the main house's kitchen is white with white square tiles to the ceiling, it was built in a time when the owners of the house never would have gone in there. It originally had very nice battleship linoleum flooring though.

tomatofreak - Thats interesting, even with Saltillo in the rest of your house you'd get rid of it? Do you just find it particular hard to clean in the kitchen?

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 6:46AM
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I know I'm treading on rocky ground here but the age, faults, or "patina" of an old satillo floor is what is so GOOD about them. They are handmade and old world. They are not supposed to look pristine or perfect. They look best when they look like they've been there forever. The house we bought a year ago has satillo tile and I love the look. With anything, 50% of the people will love it and 50% will hate it.

If you are going to go with satillo tile I think you could do white cabinets but with a dark countertop. I'd go with a dark gray quartz that is about the same shade as the dark grout on the floor. If your set on marble is there a dark gray marble or something white with a lot of gray in it?

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 2:20PM
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Bridget Helm

we moved into a house 9 months ago that has saltillo tile. (we are moving again in a couple of weeks. we knew we were only staying in this house for about a year while we shopped around for the perfect house to renovate or build)

anyhow, we didn't want to spend too much on updating the kitchen, so we left the existing granite tile counters and travertine backsplash, but we painted the kitchen cabinets a pale gray green blue by Martha Stewart called pudding mold. this looks really nice with the tile, so I think white cabs will as well. you may want to add some warmth with a beige grout line in your subway tile to tie in the warmth of the floors.

also, there are some white macuabas slabs that have some goldish peach veining in them that would tie in the terra cotta of the saltillo. you can make a beautiful kitchen, but don't choose ALL white. carrara, for example wouldn't look good with saltillo. but there are plenty of white marbles if you shop around that will have some orangey veins to tie in the floors. there's one called calacatta michaelangelo that i think has some honey veining.

also, you might want to use pewter hardware or even black to add some warmth. pewter seems raw and organic and looks really nice with the saltillo.

here is what we did with the kitchen in the temp house. keep in mind that we left countertops and backsplash and appliances knowing that it was temporary. but painted the walls a cream color and the cabinets pudding mold made a huge difference.

Here is a link that might be useful: our house listing

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 1:41AM
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    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 2:25AM
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Your temporary kitchen is very nice.

We're obviously very far from picking slabs, but I'm not inclined to rule out carrara yet. For example I really love this kitchen. I think the white and marble works with the flooring. I do like what they've done with the brass hardware too.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 4:07PM
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