Intricate marble bathroom floors use large and small tiles to create durable and beautiful patterns.
Today’s marble bathroom floors lean on neutrals rather than flamboyant colors. When it comes to floors, white and gray – common stone colors — are both basics and designer favorites. Natural stone colors also are compatible with white-metal bath fittings made of chrome and nickel.
There are many ways to work stone tile. For me, the most glamorous floors have interesting varieties of size, pattern, special features or exceptional beautiful details. Sometimes floor patterns are still based on ancient mosaic designs and classical architectural motifs though that’s not always obvious. While slabs, tiles and mosaics can be mixed to produce the desired design effect, the key to a floor is, I believe, is getting the scale (tile and pattern size) right for the room and balancing the floor with other stone surfaces.
A scheme of dark gray and white marbles was used for a secondary bath [top] in one of the large and lavishly appointed Inspired Design Showhouse apartments where all the bathrooms featured some variation on gray and white.
Since the scale of the rooms is large, ceilings high and doors beefy, large-scale tiles were set to achieve a single color effect punctuated with a square and sphere medallion based on one of the most famous Roman floors in the world – that of the Pantheon. Extending the frame behind the legs of the sink console helps to center it on that area of the floor.
The double console vanity for a master bath designed by Phoebe Howard has the fabulous allure of a marble wainscot with custom marble basins and polished chrome legs, all delicately proportioned. Keeping the floor simple by using a small-scale variegated light gray tile mosaic adds texture that doesn’t challenge the slabs.
Marble bathroom floors with small-scale geometric patterns – particularly checkerboard – are created by dark-light contrast. In another Phoebe Howard bath, the field tile is medium-gray against white set off by a matching plain gray border composed of large rectangles. Framing the pattern emphasizes the floor over the vanity or walls though it ties in appropriately to the marble sink surround.
Another bathroom in the showhouse also made use of large-scale polished white marble tile set diagonally in the field. A white and light gray variegated marble mosaic is used for the border — a reversal of the usual arrangement.
Mosaics offer more surface traction so, when they get wet in a bath, they are considered less slippery than large tiles. However, the point here is decorative effect — in contrast to the size of the field tile, this mosaic is made of tiny, quarter-inch tesserae.
Calacatta marble plays a dominate role with tile on the walls of this California bathroom ( the vanity is painted in Farrow and Ball’s Slipper Satin white.) While the dark wood flooring might be an issue in a bathroom with a tub, it’s possible to glimpse a clever tile mini-floor inset under and around the tub, made of s small square ( 2” x 2”) calacatta tiles outlined by a white border. Think of it as a marble tile “bath mat.”
(Source: Phoebe Howard, Velvet and Linen)
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