Bathroom Progress and a Tile Dilemma

As we’ve mentioned, our current major design project is our upstairs guest bathroom, and we wanted to share some updates. We spent two weekends ago knocking out all the walls, removing tile, and taking out fixtures.

From the labels we found on things and the general style, it looks like the bathroom was redesigned some time in the 90’s. Much of this redesign seems to have been the floor and wall tile, medicine cabinet, and fixtures. The walls around the tub had been insulated and replaced with drywall, but everything else was plaster that was wallpapered over at some point.

We found this fun plaster design after removing the wallpaper. While it broke my heart a little to remove the plaster walls, it needed to be done for a few reasons. Primarily, we plan on staying in this house for quite some time, and we needed easy access to plumbing and electrical for updates.

Once the walls were removed, we saw that the plumbing was quite corroded and in need of replacement. Replacing this now will hopefully help us prevent future water leaks. Our wiring was also quite old. Removing the walls allowed us not only to update the bathroom wiring and wire in sconces, but it also allowed us easy access to the guest bedroom on each side to add a much needed outlet in each of those rooms. Old house problems.

The only major hiccup was this pipe that runs EXACTLY where one of our wall sconces needs to go. Of course. We thought the problem was solved when the electrician put in this shallow box. However, our sconces are unusually narrow (a little over two inches), making the boxes visible on each side. After long debate, we think that the sconces are more similar to fluorescent light panels where the back plate serves as the box and a round electrical box isn’t needed. All that to say, I think we figured it out. Fingers crossed.

We were able to keep the ceiling, windows, and cast iron tub. Not much else was original to the house, and we wanted to bring back a bit more of an old-world look than that of the previous 1990’s renovation. In addition to the classic wallpaper and fixtures, we’re also trying to bring in classic elements with the floor tile, which brings us to our current dilemma: which tile to choose?!

We’re between a 5 x 5 marble hexagonal tile and marble basketweave with green marble accent pieces. Both beautiful. Both pretty classic. Here are our thoughts on each. The hexagon is classic while being a bit more fun and playful with its larger scale pattern. Something about that tile paired with the ornate Gracie wallpaper feels like it would be a fun juxtaposition while not competing. A hesitation with this tile is that, as with most marbles, the color from tile to tile varies a lot. This particular sample piece is the whitest they had. However, as you can see from the photo below there is quite a bit of grey, which we don’t love in the space.

Thoughts on the basketweave- it’s very classic and consistent with minimal variation in the white marble. We also love the pop of green as another way to bring in color and pull out the green in the wallpaper. Adam actually thinks this is the more fun of the two options. Our biggest hesitation is that while it complements the wallpaper, we don’t want it to detract. However, the space is so tiny and will be covered partially with a sink, toilet, and bathmat, which shouldn’t make it feel overpowering.

For a frame of reference of the scale of each, here they are in the space. As you can see, the bathroom is quite small, which means not much tile of either. We love both, and I go back and forth on my favorite every time we sit down to look at them. Fortunately, this should mean we’ll ultimately be happy with either, but it’s a big decision that sets much of the tone of the bathroom. I think we may have made a final decision this weekend, but before we share, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Basketweave or hexagonal?

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  • Basketweave! All the way. I agree with all of your pros about it and there’s no way it could take away from the bold wallpaper. The small green tiles are colorful enough to compliment the wallpaper, but they don’t create a stark contrast with the white tiles that would maybe make the tile stand out too much.

    And I also agree that the grays in the hexagonal tile wouldn’t be great with the wallpaper.

    Can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  • If you use the basketweave pattern I wonder if all you will see are the tiny green pieces. Will you always have the same wallpaper. I guess I prefer the hexagon , maybe just pick through each piece looking for the whitest?