My Secret Addiction: Herringbone Tile

 

Well, it’s a secret until you step foot in my house: Like hoarding, or a deep love of curry, this addiction is kind of hard to hide from your houseguests. Unlike those weirdos on TLC, however, I don’t want to do anything disturbing to my herringbone tile—I just want to stare at it. And maybe kiss it from time to time, after the cleaners come.

It started in the master bathroom, circa 2013. My husband and I—well, our contractor, Arthur, and his team—were gutting our only bathroom and an adjacent closet to create one larger master bath. I knew I wanted a glass-enclosed shower, which would allow you see clear through to the far wall when entering the room. That meant we’d need a floor tile that would work both inside and outside the shower, because I didn't want to visually split the room by switching flooring materials halfway through. And I wanted a pattern that would help guide the eye forward and make the room feel as deep as possible. Sure, we were gaining several feet by taking over a closet, but we still live in the city. Every (perceived) inch counts. 

Enter herringbone. I fell in love with these babies at a local showroom, Tile Showcase, and that was that.

Each tile on the sheet is 1-inch by 2-inch polished white Carrara marble. Though polished tile is generally a no-no in showers due to the slipping hazard they create, mosaic tiles are the exception. Once they’re installed with grout, the floor has a nice grip to it. 

 Seven months pregnant and cozying up to the new bathroom tile sample.

Seven months pregnant and cozying up to the new bathroom tile sample.

Here's how they look in the master bath today. We went with a soft gray grout, which hides dirt a little better than white, but isn't so dark as to give things an industrial edge.

 Pleasant surprise: This pattern offers great camouflage for dirt. There are probably three lost contact lenses and an earring backing in this picture.

Pleasant surprise: This pattern offers great camouflage for dirt. There are probably three lost contact lenses and an earring backing in this picture.

But I couldn’t stop there. A year later, we were deep into our next project: outfitting our house’s garden level with a new bedroom, bath, hallway, and mudroom. (To those of you who don’t live like us groundhogs in Boston, a garden level is a half-sunken basement that usually walks out to a small garden in the back of the house.) It wasn’t long before herringbone began calling to me again.

 Meeeee. Pick meeee.  Image via  Pinterest

Meeeee. Pick meeee. Image via Pinterest

I loved the look above as a counterpoint to all the heart pine flooring in the house, and I love the idea of a dark tile in areas than can get a little grimy. I selected a similar tile size to the one shown, only instead of slate I opted for basalt, a hard volcanic stone. It has the same charcoal color as slate, but with a more consistent look from tile to tile.

We put it in the garden-level bathroom. We put it in the new mudroom. And now, another year later, it's getting installed in the kitchen, too:

 Stay tuned for the full kitchen reveal... in Kodachrome!

Stay tuned for the full kitchen reveal... in Kodachrome!

I think that's every surface of our home NOT already covered in hardwood. So I'm probably done putting herringbone on my floors.

Probably.