2.19.2011

I Love You, Tile Samples

We had the best Valentine's date to a couple of tile stores last week followed by some take-out Chinese (I'm a cheap date). We walked out with eleven samples from one store and five from the other, super eager to see what worked with our kitchen. As we held each sample up to our freshly painted walls we were able to eliminate all but four of the tile samples immediately. One natural stone pencil tile (all the way to the right) was too warm and just brought out the yellow in the cabinets. Several had different colors and grays, which reaffirmed that we want to go as all-white as possible.
These few shades-of-white and clear samples made the final cut:
We both agreed that the center sample is our favorite, the large tiles on the right our second favorite (but we wish the tiles were smaller though), and the frosted square tiles on the left our third favorite. The center sample has a mixture of natural stone, clear glass and frosted glass:
The natural stone in the mosaic makes the tile blend well with the cabinets and kind of takes the warmer cabinet white and cools it down a bit with the glass tiles. We seem to be drawn to cooler shades of tile and having the warm and cool mix blends what we like with what we have really well. What's not to love is the price, at nearly $50 per square foot it's five times more than our ideal price. We know $10 a square foot is a long-shot, but $50 per square foot is tough to swallow when we're gearing up for a basement reno and want new windows. However, the tile store has a similar option where the clear tiles are textured wavy glass, which I love, for $30 per square foot. Better, but still not great.

Our second favorite, the larger tiles has the varied textures that we like, but the tiles feel a little too big for the small kitchen. Plus, we've figured out that we would need to cut A LOT of tiles if we go with the larger tile option. On the plus side, they're under $15 a square foot.
Our final option, the small one inch squares are the least expensive, and are remarkably similar to the only sample we liked from store number two. They also seem to be similar to styles available on a lot of discount tile shops online. But, I'm just not in love. They're great, they'd look nice, but I don't get the "those are perfect!" feeling like I do with the first one. S says he'd be happy with any of the tiles and as the more frugal one in our frugal couple, he'd just like to go with the least expensive option that will make me happy.

I think we're going to do some serious hunting online to see if we can find our favorites at a more affordable price. We'll also go back to the tile shop to ask for their best possible price. We've found that a lot of independent shops will extend their contractor's price as a military discount, which we always really appreciate. It never hurts to ask what a shop's best price is before laying down the cash, so it looks like we might be gearing up for some negotiations or at least for several hours of googling.

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5 comments:

  1. Super gorgeous samples. I love your whole kitchen and can't wait to see what you pick.

    Also, LOVE your paint on the back of the built-ins, it looks great!

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  2. Thanks, Shellie! We think we found the #1 tile for waaaay less money online last night. Sample ordered and fingers crossed!

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  3. Anonymous2/21/2011

    Hey if it were me, i wld chose the larger ones. Small ones are a pain to clean as over time, the gaps btw the tiles turn brown and cleaning mould is time consuming and expensive (all the strong detergents reqd). Plus brown, green stuff looks bad btw white tiles.

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  4. I love your top choice, but I agree - $50 is ridiculous! YHL has an ad for an online tile store, and I think there's a discount code there as well. Good luck finding something you love!

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  5. Great choices! FYI, if you choose the mixed type, we had to use different types of tools to cut the glass and stone...perhaps this would not be the case if you use a tile saw, but we did ours by hand.

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