Keep It Simple with Tile Too - Page 2

CA-Modern story lays out expert advice on tile projects in mid-century modern homes
Keep It Simple with Tile Too
Keep It Simple with Tile Too
Keep It Simple with Tile Too
Different ways of keeping things simple: from Heath Ceramics (top), Crossville (middle), Porcelanosa (bottom).

Both Secret and Glessner are French born and raised, and both admit to being more inclined to dramatic statements with color than many clients.

"I find that with my American clients, it is sometimes best to do it in touches," Glessner says of using brighter colors.

"If you are afraid of color, keep neutrals, whites, beiges, or greys in architectural finishes [like tile]; and accessorize with color by adding them in your towels, toothbrush holders, a plant, art, et cetera, which you can change easily when tired of it," recommends Secret.

Glessner stresses that tile plays a different role in bathrooms than in kitchens.

"In a bathroom, tile is going to be the first thing you look at," she notes, explaining that this may give it somewhat greater importance there than in the kitchen. "Generally in a kitchen, the cabinets are the main event."

When striving for modernist simplicity in your tile work, creating patterns with tile can be an important element. As Kern herself points out in her story, "How you lay out your tile can change the look and feel of the room. Straight patterns work well because it helps simple tile blend into the background instead of clashing with other design elements in the room."

Patterns are one reason for the popularity of subway station-style tiles, according to two decorators, especially laid out in the classic linear patterns that jibe so well with modern architecture.

Glessner also points out that special glazes can also distinguish simpler tile designs and patterns, such as handmade spackled glaze to liven up a backsplash. That can be key, because our experts recommend economizing on an inexpensive 'field tile'—the tile on walls and shower floors—and relying on the backsplash for your design statement.

"You should splurge on a backsplash, because it can be a great focal point, and you need very little of it. Just a few square feet can make a great impact," says Secret. Most important of all, though, is to pick tile you can live with for a while.

"I always say there are no rules," the designer told us. "Do what makes you happy and it will all make sense."

For more such sage advice, about tile and perhaps about life itself, check out 'Tile with Style,' a sneak preview of the new Spring issue of CA-Modern.

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