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.”
Euro recently quoted an Ottawa client $30,000 for a bathtub shaped like a shoe that will be clad in mosaic tile. “Anything you want, let the imagination go,” says Colasanti.
To play it safer, Barkhouse suggests using tile on a smaller scale by adding an accent tile or a backsplash that can be easily removed if you get tired of it. Or keep a neutral tile as your base “then put the design colour and the impact into banding,” says Euro’s general manager, John Newland.
So what drives tile trends? Colasanti, who has been in the tile business for about 30 years, calls it a case of back to the future: manufacturers running out of fresh ideas and recycling old ones.
The retro look that’s in style in home decor is another big influence, adds his wife and partner, Sandra Colasanti, as well as the hot new looks coming off the fashion runways. “Tile manufacturers need to come up with colours and styles that will fit that as well.”
And with myriad textures, colours, shapes, sizes and patterns available, “it’s hard to keep up with the bouncing ball,” says Newland.
Here’s a look at some of the latest trends in tile:
Bigger is better
Tile, in general, is getting larger, says Suzanne St-Pierre, manager of the Ceragres Ottawa showroom. Technological advances in the industry have influenced the designs and sizes of tiles, making it possible to make them bigger. And when they’re larger “it reads more as a surface” and plays down the lines, especially grout lines, she says.
At one time, 12- by 12-inch tiles were considered very large, she notes, while today 24- by 24-inch is considered standard.
And it’s not unusual for clients to consider 30- by 30-inch or 40- by 40-inch tiles, adds designer Anne-Marie Brunet of Sheridan Interiors.
Just like wood
There’s a growing shift toward tile that looks like hardwood, particularly as a solution for wet and high humidity areas where you want the durability of a tile, but the warm look of wood. Think kitchens, bathrooms and basements.
Ben Colasanti says customers who had put hardwood in their kitchen are coming back regretting it because it doesn’t hold up as well to kitchen wear and tear and requires frequent refinishing. They’re opting instead for wood-look tile, even going so far as to try to match it to hardwood elsewhere in their home.
Tile options now include porcelain planks so realistic that “to the naked eye, you wouldn’t tell the difference,” says St-Pierre.
Or you can “kick it up a notch with texts and stamps,” says decorator Kelly James of JAX Decor & Design. “These tiles would look great on either a wall or the floor in a kitchen or a mud room or entry area.”
Getting in shape
Three-dimensional, textured, hexagon and other geometric shapes are popping up everywhere, especially for feature walls, says Colasanti.
“The new geometric shapes will lead to unique wall characteristic that depart from the linear or grid pattern of typical tiles,” adds Friedemann Weinhardt of Design First Interiors. “Most interesting is the sculptural quality of some tiles that, when combined, give walls an incredible look of sophistication.”
Finding the pattern
James is loving the trend toward patterned tiles. “They’re like pieces of art on the floor or wall,” she says. “They need to be used carefully and aren’t suitable for just any application, but in the right setting, they create a unique and funky look that’s a huge and welcome change from subway tiles and mosaics.”
Or the pattern could just be in how the tile is laid. Back in vogue, for instance, is the traditional herringbone pattern, particularly for backsplashes, notes Brunet.
Mix and match
Along with seeing more geometric shapes, it’s a natural progression to extend to mixing patterns, says St-Pierre, who adds that mixing patterns works when colours are consistent.
“You just have to be bold,” adds Olga-Sofia Marques of Ceragres. The company’s new Link line has fun mixing either tones or colours. The enamelled glass mosaics, which are made from 100-per-cent recycled materials, are particularly effective when the matte and gloss finish options are combined.
“It gives it another dimension,” says St-Pierre.
Both Ceragres and Euro are noticing more mixing of materials such as stone, concrete and wood or glass, stone and metal.
Bold is beautiful, says Marques, who is anxiously awaiting the new U-Color line coming out this fall. It will offer virtually every colour of the rainbow in a three-inch by 12-inch tile, from bright reds and greens to bold blues and more.
Over at Euro, Colasanti points to glass tile by Hirsch with a marbled look in a variety of hues. “You won’t see two pieces alike,” he says. “It’s not the glass you’ll find down the aisle of Home Depot.”
He sees warmer tones on the horizon such as rustics and terra cottas. “Rustics with a twist,” adds Sandra Colasanti. “We’re seeing it again, but I don’t think Ottawa’s ready (yet).”
Source : http://ottawacitizen.com/life/homes/tile-trends-whats-hot-and-whats-coming2713