Tag Archives: tiles

Funky Floors

As an art history student, I spend my days examining exquisite ancient mosaic floors. But I must admit that when I consider the materials available to the modern home-owner, I tend to limit myself to the more mundane choices: hardwood, laminate, or tile. A few weeks ago, I received an email about a more unusual option: old leather belts.

Floor texture created by old leather belts(Photo: Ting)

Inghua Ting, a London- and Los Angeles-based designer, makes amazing bags and accessories using reclaimed leather. However, she has also branched out to unique home furnishings including custom flooring. I love how the example above mimics dark hardwood but with the added textural twist of the belts’ tooling. The effect looks equally awesome on stairs.

Tiled stairs(Photo: Ting)

I have never been a big fan of parquet floors but the Swedish design firm Tham and Videgård Arkitekter might have made me a convert. Their bold use of colour in parquet, which even travels up the walls, is a fanciful take on traditional flooring.

Dining room with colored parquet(Photo: Tham and Videgård Arkitekter)

They designed the client’s apartment to reflect the changing colours of the leaves in a nearby park, which makes quite the statement in the floorplan below.

Colorful floor plan(Photo: Tham and Videgård Arkitekter)

I’m not sure I could take a whole house of this though, even if the concept is spectacular. However, for those who would like to add a splash of colour to decorative wood flooring, the British company McKay Flooring offers a rainbow of hues to choose from, as well as special parquet graph paper on which to lay out your dream design.

Blue parquet(Photo: McKay Flooring)

By now, concrete has become almost old-hat as a modern flooring choice. I have always loved it in loft-like spaces but it can come off as cold and impersonal. However, there are many concrete dyes and stencils on the market now to help customize this material. In addition to all-over patterns, Modello Designs offers a series of stencils made to look like exotic antique rugs, such as their “Shanghai” shown below. Nothing cold and impersonal about that room!

Cement floor with an intricate stenciled design(Photo: Modello Designs)

I really do yearn for a mosaic floor though and there are companies out there that do reproductions, at a cost that better reflects a Roman Emperor’s budget than mine. New York Design Firm Roman and Williams took a slightly more creative (and frugal) approach when they laid the floor of the Standard Grill with a penny mosaic. The variegated pattern formed by the coins’ patina is stunning.

(Photo: Curbly)

While the material costs would be low, I cannot imagine the man-hours necessary to lay that floor. However, if you have a jar of pennies lying around and would like to try this technique, Laura at Happy Roost blogged a tutorial after transforming her bathroom floor with about a hundred dollars-worth of pennies.

Have you done something different with your floors? While I’m sticking to traditional for now, I’m eyeing our sad-looking laminate with whole new ideas for its eventual replacement.

Posted in Design | Tagged , ,

Fab Even When Wet

Jules's bathroom in the TV show Cougar Town. Screenshot by Hooked on Houses.

I have seen this episode in Cougar Town wherein Jules, the lead character, refused to leave her beautiful, newly made over bathroom. I can totally understand. Even the ugliest bathrooms are still sanctuaries of privacy and solace anybody can retreat to. So imagine the cocooning instinct a gorgeous bathroom can arouse!

A surefire way to give a bathroom a makeover is to upgrade the tiling. There are a lot of classic reinterpretations and fresh new innovations in bathroom tiles that can make your jaw drop from sheer sumptuousness.

Here are some of the coolest, most awesome things that ever happened to bathroom tiles.

Classic Lushness

Take the grand and glamorous elements from exotic places and eras past and bring them to the bath. You’ll certainly feel like royalty.

Victorian "quilted" tiles by Acer Petr.

Image from Fancy Cribs.

For a dose of Old World opulence, get these tiles from Ceramica Lord’s Via Veneto Collection.


These tiles by JSPR “dress up” your plumbing to incorporate it into your bathroom’s wall design, and amazingly come with their own shower fixtures too.

Cover tiles by Studio JSPR.


Green Pockets by Maruja Fuentes

Put plants in your tiles! These adorable and innovative tiles by the late Maruja Fuentes give gorgeous texture and visual interest to any room, as well as your greenery’s air-cleansing facilities.


Who says tiles have to be square? These tiles are anything but square! The “Passion” glass tiles by Evit and the circular tiles by Cube and Dot are just too cool for that.

Image from Trendir

Dots by Cube and Dot


You can’t put a painting in the bathroom. At least not a good one that you want to hand on to your grandchildren. Bathrooms demand an art medium that would be unfazed by moisture and humidity, and mosaics are just perfect. And these by Sonia King and Mercedes Austin and her team from Mercury Mosaics are just beautiful.

Exquisite work by mosaic artist Sonia King

Gorgeous tile work by Mercury Mosaics.

You don’t have to cover all your surfaces either. Mosaics work as fabulous accents too.

Also by Mercury Mosaic

Posted in Design, Kitchen & Bath | Tagged , , ,

Kitchen Backsplash Ideas

via Apartment Therapy

If you’re currently planning a full-scale kitchen reno or your kitchen just needs some freshening up, installing a backsplash can be a relatively easy project with a big impact. There are no shortage of great options available utilizing a wide range of materials. I’ve done my best to round up a few options you might want to consider, but I’ve only managed to scratch the surface of everything that’s out there. Now I’m dreaming of a kitchen remodelling of my own, and thanks to some simple ideas like the wallpaper and glass example above renters like myself don’t need to be left out of the fun!

Tiles in Ceramic, Glass, Stone and More

via Collection 17
via Apartment Therapy

Tiling is a traditional way to create a backsplash and you can choose between glass, ceramic and laminate options. The horizontal subway tile trend has been going strong for years now in both kitchens and bathrooms, but I like this take on it. Elongated horizontal tiles in natural stone creates a mosaic effect that is earthy and contemporary. There are numerous affordable options for tiles that are pre-assembled and easy to install, or if you’re like me and your handyman skills are less then amazing you can hire a pro to do it.

Stainless Steel

Why not take a cue from your appliances? Stainless steel backsplashes are practical because they are easy to clean and you don’t have all the mess to deal with when installing. The look is sleek and industrial which may not fit into a very traditional kitchen, but in a loft space or condo it could be stunning.

A Pop of Colour

A brightly hued backsplash can be a great way to add colour to your kitchen, making cabinetry and countertops really stand out. The red tiles in the picture above are eye-catching and really complete the overall look of this beautifully designed kitchen. The only disadvantage to tiling in a strong colour is that unlike painting it’s much more of a commitment (you don’t want to rip everything down and start over again). So make sure you take the time to pick out a colour you love and can live with for a long time.


via Style at Home

If you’re looking to splurge on your kitchen then a marble backsplash is a super-luxe touch. Marble creates a slightly more traditional look, but it can be made modern too like in the example above. I know we’re not talking about islands but this one is absolutely gorgeous.


If you’ve worked up the courage to try your hand at installing your own backsplash Buildepedia.com has a very helpful video. It will give you some idea of the work involved but also the extraordinary results that are possible.