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Help - gloss white tile layout

Sam Biller
last month

It’s Monday and SO is panicking over the tile layout. Due to our pie shape lot, we have an oddly shaped great room and the guest and master wings are on different angles. The floor tiling process is starting this week and we spend about an hour with the tile installer discussing how to handle the situation. Below is the suggested layout from the architect. The tile company felt like the angles should not change at the entrance to the guest wing. SO feels like the diagonal tile in the guest area is more traditional than modern. We’ve discussed using a transition material like marble at the entry ways to the guest area or at the guest bedroom doorways. SO is also concerned about the weird angles going into the kitchen island. Thoughts?

Comments (81)

  • J Sk
    last month
    last modified: last month

    @Sam Biller, Everything is looking great! You are going to have a beautiful house,! What I learned building my house: go with your instincs, don't second guess yourself and don't stress out so much about everything but make sure it is executed properly. (After building a house and stressing out about everything for last 2 years I can see how much it impacted my health.

  • chispa
    last month

    @Sam Biller, don't go crazy second guessing everything!

    It should all work out great ... unless you have a SO and dog(s) that shed long black hair ... then you'll grow to hate the white tile 😁 😉

    I picked my rustic medium brown wood floors to camouflage the 2 shedding shepherd mixes, one tan and the other black.

    Can you believe you are already at this point in the build, after all the issues early on?

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  • Sam Biller
    Original Author
    last month

    Some in progress photos…






  • chispa
    last month

    Once they get going, they move along pretty quickly! Looking good!

  • barncatz
    last month

    After reading this very interesting thread, does anyone else get the feeling the OP's architect might break OP's thumbs, or at least smash his phone, in the near future?

    I love seeing the photos, so hope OP keeps managing to evade his architect, if I'm correct.

  • Sam Biller
    Original Author
    last month

    @barncatz LOL… you have no idea. My architect is my ex-GC’s brother. We didn’t actually connect with him for quite some time after we parted ways with our first GC. He’s actually a super nice guy and has a lot of experience designing modern homes. The house hasn’t changed a heck of a lot from his original vision.

  • cpartist
    last month

    It actually is looking quite good.

  • Sam Biller
    Original Author
    last month

    Thanks @cpartist. SO is freaking out that the color of the tile… I know it may be a lot thing… isn’t the white she was expecting.


    Here is the white in the room next to a white wall tile we were planning on using on the fire place wall.




    And here are some photos from the manufacturers website of the same tile.






    It doesn’t look as white to me as the pictures but I don’t think its a big deal. We may need to select a different wall tile. The other concern is the tile isn’t as white as the kitchen cabinets and the walls (chantilly lace).




  • scout
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I don't know that it's such a big deal. You could explore other wall tiles though, if you want. I also freaked out about my white floor tile in the bathrooms being adjacent to shower tiles that are white ceramic, (really white ceramic). I spent a lot of money on colored bathroom floor tile just so I wouldnt have to run the white floor tiles against the really white shower tiles. In the end, though, I mentally gave up. In the rooms where it is against white cabinets and white shower tile, it looks great and you don't even notice. I kind of wish I hadnt spent the money on that one bathroom floor tile, but it's done and over with now.

  • J Sk
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I like the color of floor tile. It has some warmth, not hospital white ( on your first picture you could actually see, that the coffee table and TV stand are much whiter than the floor and it looks good. For the wall tile, maybe I would choose something different. Are you set on the idea for the wall tile to be white? Would you consider something darker? Here is darker at my fireplace


  • Sam Biller
    Original Author
    last month

    J Sk… no we aren’t set on the white wall tiles… probably something to warm up the room.

  • Sam Biller
    Original Author
    last month

    @scout Thank you for the comparison. I think I just need to talk her off the ledge.

  • chispa
    last month

    I think most of this is a lighting issues. The floor tiles in the fireplace photo are reflecting that drab colored cement board.

    Can you wait on the fireplace tile until you have lights installed and painting done? That would give you a much better chance of picking the perfect tile.

  • chispa
    last month

    Never make a choice based on marketing photos! These days they are probably not even real photos, but computer generated images.

    Do you have a sample tile to compare it to? Or take one of your tiles back to the store and compare to their display board to see if you did get a very different dye lot.

  • RTHawk
    last month

    I think chispa is right that the floor tiles are reflecting the cement board color. If you look closely at the picture with the fireplace tile, the area immediately below the white fireplace tile is whiter than the rest of the tiles.



  • J Sk
    last month

    This is the reflection from white tile



  • chispa
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I googled the tile and found some photos from a tile reseller in the UK. The tile did not look bright white next to their bright white baseboard and walls. Two views of that kitchen:

    https://www.tilemountain.co.uk/img/2300/2300/resize/catalog/product/a/l/alaska_white.jpg

    https://www.tilemountain.co.uk/img/2300/2300/resize/catalog/product/a/l/alaska_white_1_.jpg

  • chispa
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Sam, what made you guys think that the tile was bright white?

    Did you not see a difference before between the floor tile and the fireplace tile you were considering?

    Yes, it isn't bright white, but I think that is a good thing in your space. I think once all the walls/trim are painted white and lighting is in, it will make the floor tile appear whiter.

  • Sam Biller
    Original Author
    last month

    Hi Chispa - yes. Thank you for finding that! We are contemplating changing to hardwood in the main living areas and bedrooms and leaving the tile in the bathrooms and master closet. It’s a costly change but my wife hates the tile.

  • chispa
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Oh no!

    I think you guys are having a panic attack!

    Go back up the thread and even the rendering you posted had the tile as off white, compared to the very white walls/trim.

    Changing to wood will be a whole mind blower, because everything else has been designed based on having "white" floor tiles.

    I would stay the course ... tell your wife that if she still hates the tile a year after you move in, you can look at options to change. I replaced a large area of saltillo tile in my previous house. Yes, it is dusty/messy but no worse than many other renovation projects.

    I think you will regret any major changes before the space is even finished.

  • Sam Biller
    Original Author
    last month

    Any thoughts on these floors?

  • chispa
    last month

    Go back and look at your color renderings. You will lose all that sleek high contrast design you worked so hard to achieve and seemed to really love ...

    Do I need to drive up there to take a look and give my vote 😄

  • scout
    last month

    Sam, you are panicking! Whites are never the same! My tiles are not pure white, more of a white-taupe, yet they look white now that everything is in. Once, you get the grout in, and things on the walls, the cabinets in, etc. it will look great. You won't even notice the difference because you will have cabinets, furniture, windows with view, etc. The floors will be in the background, but I think they will look white. Go back and look at my photos. At first glance, it looks like a fabulous white floor, but if you look at the walls where the tile meets, they are not pure white, but nobody looks at that. I also have very white cabinets in my laundry. I was really worried about the contrast with the floor. I don't even notice it.

  • Sam Biller
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    @chispa @scout You don’t need to convince me. I’m fine with the off-white gloss tile. My wife isn’t and in this case, she is the one making the decision. This is/was her department where I’m in charge of MEP, etc. We brought in an expert (Pro Designer with high-end clients and years of experience) and she backed my wife’s decision to change to hardwood in the main living area, hallways and bedrooms. She convinced Tania to keep the high gloss flooring in all of the bathrooms and master closet (which is the size of a bedroom). We are sticking with the Happy Floors Alaska White (Matte) outside in the front and back.

    I can’t really do anything at this point to convince her to stay with the current choice. I’m really thinking about that saying, ”happy wife happy life.” It’s a tough (and expensive) pill to swallow but that’s pretty much the story of the last 2.5 years of this build process. I really appreciate everyone’s input, suggestions and perspectives on this mess! I’ll find out the cost of this mess in the next few days.

  • chispa
    last month

    It took me a year to find the perfect engineered wood floor ... no way would I make such a big decision change in a few days to meet a schedule.

    You are just asking for further disappointment ...

  • chispa
    last month
    last modified: last month

    To be honest, I wasn't on team "white tile" when you started out with the design, but the recent installed photos made me a believer that it would look amazing.

    Not as sleek, seamless and high contrast when you substitute with engineered wood floors ...

    London bridge apartment · More Info



    Piano White · More Info


  • cpartist
    last month
    last modified: last month

    It doesn’t look as white to me as the pictures but I don’t think its a big deal. We may need to select a different wall tile. The other concern is the tile isn’t as white as the kitchen cabinets and the walls (chantilly lace).

    I purposely chose 2 different whites in my kitchen. One for all the woodwork in the house and a different white with a slightly green tone for my cabinets. It's a falacy that all whites have to match. They work together, but don't match.



    Another example? In my upstairs guest bath, the toilet and sink are from 2 different manufacturers and the whites are slightly different. In 3 years, no one has noticed.

    They should work together but don't have to match.


  • cpartist
    last month

    Additionally the same white horizontally will look different when placed vertically.

  • cpartist
    last month

    We brought in an expert (Pro Designer with high-end clients and years of experience) and she backed my wife’s decision to change to hardwood in the main living area, hallways and bedrooms. She convinced Tania to keep the high gloss flooring in all of the bathrooms and master closet (which is the size of a bedroom). We are sticking with the Happy Floors Alaska White (Matte) outside in the front and back.

    Of course she convinced your wife to do that because she's going to make a nice commission in doing so. Sorry for being so cynical but when the house is only half finished is not the time to second guess everything.

  • chispa
    last month
    last modified: last month

    No plans for the Holiday weekend as DH had surgery this past week, so I'm here stressing about Sam's problems!

    Here is the rendering you posted before:


    You are NOT going to get the same seamless indoor/outdoor design by adding wood floors.

    The island will lose most of its drama when sitting on wood floors. Your design will become transitional and not sleek modern.

  • Sam Biller
    Original Author
    last month

    @cpartist Thank you for all of the photos and your perspective. Regarding the pro-designer, she’s actually a friend and was previously trying to convince Tania to go with hardwood floors instead of tile quite some time ago. Her consultation today cost nothing and she isn’t involved in the switch to hardwood from a financial perspective.


    @chispa Sorry to hear about your DH… please don’t fret too much about this decision. I’m curious on your decision process related to engineered hardwood. Why was it so difficult and what did you ultimately decide? The product we’ve selected is a high end engineered hardwood and the color / look was approved by the designer. We did look at samples from 2 different manufacturers in the home.


    I’m not too concerned about the loss of drama… more concerned about my pocket-book being significantly lighter! The look she’s going for is something called ”modern organic”. Here is a photo of the style. She’s concerned about resale and livability of the white tile.





  • chispa
    last month

    I had the same thought that cpartist had about the designer!

  • V Lyn
    last month

    Obviously, it’s none of my business, but I’m sad to see you lose the large format tiles inside, too. I thought your design was fab. We moved into our new build last month. The seamless look achieved by using the same 24x48 tiles throughout the house, carrying through to all outside areas (anti-slip version outside), remains one of my favorite things about our house. The inside/outside flow through the large sliders is superb. Sorry to see you losing that. But yeah. Happy wife, happy life.

  • Sam Biller
    Original Author
    last month

    @V Lyn Would love to see some photos… not too late to change her mind but very low probability at this point.

  • dan1888
    last month
    last modified: last month

    If you're looking at hardwood bring samples a French or European Oak to your space. That species is different than N. American White Oak. It can be finished to show pale brown without a yellow cast.









    Naples Flooring Co. https://naplesflooring.com/collections/

    Sam Biller thanked dan1888
  • V Lyn
    last month

    Sam - Doubt these will help. Unless one is a pro photographer- and I’m clearly not - It’s difficult to capture in a photo the expansive feel experienced, in situ, through the use of a single flooring type. Nevertheless, I offer these. Two are months before move-in from LR & DR. LR shot is taken about mid-room, with entry behind me. First tile was aligned with the entry door, which defined the orientation from front to rear and side to side, in all areas but baths. Ignore the dirt. Landscaping begins next week. It’s been windy and dry.

  • cpartist
    last month

    Sam I've seen several houses here in Sarasota with white floors similar to what you were going to put in and all sold in no time. Resale will not be a problem.

  • just_janni
    last month

    That feels like a big / dramatic change to make when it feels like so much of your overall design aesthetic was more california modern.


    We're not moved in but having white floors in our entire house (and garage, and shop) and I wouldn't change a thing. A fluffy floor mop makes quick work of sweeping up.


    I've always thought that resale concerns were over rated. A well done high end space will sell. If you were going too far off the rails - you would have been met with resistance aleady from a lot of folks around you.


    Maybe she wasn't thrilled with the overall direction (and what other decisions the white floor would likely drive in furnishings, etc) and this is an excuse to take a path she's wanted.

  • cpartist
    last month

    I've always thought that resale concerns were over rated. A well done high end space will sell. If you were going too far off the rails

    This!

    My condo was done in the same colors as my current house (I guess I like these colors) and I had one agent tell me that I needed to paint everything more neutral. I didn't listen to her and my condo sold quickly and for the second highest price ever at the time in the building and it sold more quickly than other condos in the building with better views. The only reason it didn't sell for the highest price was because we had an obstructed view of the bay. BTW: That second highest price held for almost 2 more years until the market started to really take off.

    If the house is well designed, it will sell.

  • Sam Biller
    Original Author
    last month

    @just_janni I think you hit the nail on the head! DW was freaking out that our house was going to look like this photo.





    From a resale perspective, it isn’t so much about not being able to sell the property. It was the size of the pool of buyers. With mostly hardwood, the pool is larger.


    If you browse very modern homes on Houzz and elsewhere, many have hardwood floors, many have tile floors, and some have concrete floors. I have no idea about the statistics but I think hardwood dominates for most of the modern homes.


    From a furnishings perspective, DW was concerned about the cost of the rugs she needed for much of the house. She was also concerned that some of our current furnishings which she love’s wasn’t going to work with the white gloss tile.

  • Sam Biller
    Original Author
    last month

    DW sent me these two photos.


    She wants less of this…




    And more like this…




    DW says, ”more warm and neutrals and less chrome and shiny”. Her designer was saying she couldn’t use sisal rugs with the white glossy floors.

  • chispa
    last month
    last modified: last month

    But ... then those should have been the inspiration photos you followed.

    I see those as quite different, the broad category would be Miami modern vs CA modern ... or maybe a better description would be classic modern vs modern farmhouse!

    I had about about 20 photos saved into a folder called "Building Project Design Theme" and I religiously followed that design. This was narrowed down over a couple of months after starting with hundreds of photos on Houzz. Our architect also got a copy of the folder before he started designing the house, so we were all on the same page as to how the finished house should look.

    What happened that you guys got so far into the process following the wrong design goals?

    You don't have to answer the questions ... but it might help someone else who is starting out, to understand how you came to the fork in the road and took the wrong turn!

  • Sam Biller
    Original Author
    last month

    @chispa I don’t think we are far off our design goals we established early-on with the architect. If you look at the renderings (done independently from the architect), we had white matte tiles that blended well with the other room elements. When DW saw the white gloss tile in the room, it felt much different than the renderings. She honestly believes that she could have lived with the Happy Floors Alaska in matte, not gloss.


    This was an early rendering with black window frames, white island, and stainless appliances with a wood floor.





    Posted previously but emphasizes the point about the floor being matte, not gloss.





  • barncatz
    last month

    Good for her. It's hard to turn away from "sunk costs" and really the resale argument here is just inserting capitalism as a justification for what is an unquantifiable decision: I will love this house more with wood floors.


    In 2005, we painted the exterior of our house red, even though I had already bought red windows that were supposed to stand out against the white exterior paint I envisioned and was talked out of. Don't get me wrong. The house was cute red, just as white floors seamlessly extending into the outside, etc. etc. would have been striking in your house. We just repainted the house white (after an interim red repainting) and there it is, what my heart wanted. Good for her.


    Can you resell the tile?

  • Sam Biller
    Original Author
    last month

    @barncatz We are using most of the remaining tile in the bathrooms and master closet. The remaining square feet of the gloss white will be returned to the supplier with a restocking fee plus freight.

  • Sam Biller
    Original Author
    last month

    Thought it might be useful to post the original program we provided to the architect…


    Character and Style of Home

    Modern, sleek lines, tall one‐story, as much light as possible ‐ light is of the essence. High ceilings throughout. All windows are BLACK frame (no brown). House is mostly white stucco. Anywhere there is windows and neighbors (North/South), we want to obscure views of the neighbors through the use of foliage or other means. From the moment you enter the wider than normal front‐door (i.e., double doors or other), we would like to see through the main living area out through the sliders out into our backyard area which includes a simple, sleek lines, pool. In addition to the pool, the outdoor living area includes a partially‐covered U‐Shaped area that somehow still allows light into the home (i.e., skylights, plexiglass, louvers, etc. to avoid the typical darkness that you might have from a covered outside area). The home has 3 ensuite bedrooms with the master bedroom separated from the other bedrooms. There is an office with glass doors and a IT/communications closet. There is a 1/2 bath powder room for guests near the great room. The kitchen should be open to the great room. There is no formal separate dining room but a space off the side of the kitchen for a sizeable table that seats up to 10 people. The modern sleek‐lined kitchen includes a large island (all one‐level), all pull‐out drawers and no cabinets above (sleek lined shelves ‐ Kat understands). There is one large nook where the oven and hidden vent hood resides. There is a separate coffee station area which can also be in an open nook. There is a sub‐zero wine fridge, fridge/freezer combo (industrial stainless) and a built‐in oven with warming drawer. Microwave can be with the oven or hidden somewhere else in the island. All bathrooms except the powder room must have open nooks for linens, towels, etc. Powder room has a floating sink / cabinet combo that will suffice for powder room toiletries. The other bathrooms also have floating sink/cabinet combos. All closets lighting automatically turns on and off when the occupent opens / closes the door and/or enters / leaves the space. Laundry / mud room has a closet(s) that has space for hanging coats, cubbies for bags, cubbies for shoe storage, etc. Master bedroom DOES NOT have to be enormous ‐ consistent with your other homes. Our current MBR is 16x18 and we find that adequate.

    We don't want a separate pool bath but we do want an outdoor rinse‐off shower that doesn't have to be a closed room. At the front of the house, we prefer to have a gradual step up with longer treads versus a standard stair. We would like to have the front of the house walled‐in for privacy and so we can let our small 10 lb dog out in the front and not worry that he runs into the road. The home has an oversized 2 car deep garage with plenty of storage in the rear. A propane tank is buried near the street to heat the pool, any gas fireplace features, and the outdoor weber grill. The home is very energy efficient maximizing the use of green technologies, etc. The outdoor U‐shaped area includes some Ipe hardwood decking.

  • sbpham
    last month

    How stressful! I do agree there seems to be a fairly significant switch in design direction. Is it possible for you to push pause for a few days so she can be certain? Obviously costly, but so are last minute changes. You both should ensure you get what you want, and I hate rushing $$& decisions! Has her designer created a floorplan and design board with your furniture/finishes/decor? If not, it would be helpful for each room to avoid these surprises. I would also avoid designing for resale - I agree with a PP that you seem to be heading in the direction of a vaguely modern farmhouse, which is a style many people like, but it has been around for quite a bit and the pendulum seems to be swinging back towards more/darker colors. Just design what you/she love! Good luck - so stressful, but so worth it!

  • chispa
    last month

    Why not change to the matte tile?


    Just be careful when picking light wood floors that you don't end up with "pink" floors.

    How much time do you have to make a decision?

    Are the wood floors on your short list even available right now?

    I would not order wood floors based on just those small sample boards.


    I had 2 finalists for my wood floor and ordered a box of each before making a final decision. I had about 4000 sq.ft of wood floors, so I had to be sure it was the right choice.

    When my floor supplier ordered the 2 boxes they had the manufacturer put a hold on 4000 sq.ft of each of those lots. I had a week to make my decision and we then ordered and paid for the lot we wanted and released the one we didn't want.

  • Sam Biller
    Original Author
    last month

    @chispa Your commentary prompted me to go back and look at my saved ideabook for this project. It contains 275 photos. I can’t tell you how many of the modern home pictures look like this…



    or this…




    Keep in mind that I was always pushing for hardwood and DW wanted tile. What I can’t tell from the ideabook is whether it was me or her saving each of the photos. I believe we were working within the same Houzz account for quite some time.

  • scout
    last month

    If you don’t like the tile, then change it. It’s clear from your posts that you are not happy with it. I think it is partly because of the high gloss/reflection. It is a significant cost, I am sure, but if you will not be happy with the current tile, then now is the time to do it. You invested so much into this house, that you don’t want any regrets. Personally, if it were me and I truly hated it, then I would change it. Things I might try first though are to have a few pieces grouted so you can see the true final product. Also, try to imagine the floor with furniture/rug etc. because it will make a huge difference.


    It does seem that that design has now completely changed course. With the beautiful black island, cabinets, white walls and lush green foliage, I personally think the white tile was the perfect choice. Maybe matte would have been better. But I’m sure wood will also look amazing, just not the same look.


    Can you contact the supplier of the tile and see if they can provide a discount on an alternative floor product?


    Be careful with wood floors and dogs. I have co-workers with wood floors that are completely scratched up from dog nails. Wood/engineered wood has it’s own set of issues. I had engineered wood in a modern condo I owned that I had to sand down a couple times - not cheap and hard to find someone to do it right. With engineered wood, there is a thinner portion to sand down, so essentially can have a finite life. Also, it is damaged by standing water, so keep this in mind with the pool nearby and kitchen.