Tile Trends: What's Hot And What's Coming

Michael MacKay knew he wanted something different when he remodelled the bathroom in his Centretown condo. But it took the guidance of decorator Sarah Kidder to lead him to the giant tile mosaic of the Parliament Buildings that now stretches across the nine-foot wall.

The custom mural was MacKay’s way of creating “something iconic, something Ottawa” using thousands of tiny tiles.

“It was pretty easy to come up with the image,” says the 50-year-old computer instructor, who has made Ottawa his home for the past 35 years. “The view of Parliament Hill from the Quebec side is the classic.”

Based on the famous Malak Karsh photo that used to grace the $1 bill, the mosaic took five months to create using Italian tile from Euro Tile & Stone on Hawthorne Road. Black and white with a splash of red for the flag, the oversized postcard cost about $10,000.

MacKay’s reaction to seeing it for the first time? “It was just jaw-dropping ‘wow’ … I was so happy with the result. It impresses everyone who sees it.”

The mosaic is just one example — albeit an extreme one — of Ottawa’s emerging willingness to embrace tile to create unique spaces.

“Ottawa is changing,” says Ben Colasanti, president of Euro Tile & Stone. “Years ago, we used to buy 12 shades of beige (and now) it’s opened up.” He attributes the shift to younger generations travelling more and being inspired by European trends, which are typically years ahead of us.

Steve Barkhouse of Amsted Design/Build agrees, saying tile is like the new wallpaper.

“Clients overall are much more open to and much more educated in the possibilities,” he says. “They feel more comfortable being bold, and I think bold in the sense that they’re making it more personal.”

Tile Trends: What's Hot And What's Coming


Tile Trends: What's Hot And What's Coming