Shower Tile

Corner isn't as crooked as it looks.


I got a bunch of subway tile off craigslist from a nice couple in the process of moving. I thought all of it was white when I bought it. Turned out the subway was white and the base almond. craigslist pickups are retail stores. I get in, check the basics to make sure it's a craigslist price, and get out. In this case the field tile alone was worth the price. The seller just wants it all gone. Offering less for just the field tile is not what that type of seller is looking for. I heard it a lot, the seller bought stuff for a project that never happened and can't bring themselves to toss the material, kind of insult to injury I think. Then say "happy it's going to be used".

$40 for the lot, of which I only used a third in this bathroom.

Mixing Almond and White

There was a lot of the almond cove base, like 30 linear feet. Way more than I could ever use as actual base tile. So I noddled for awhile on a design that would use this material. Once again the material was pushing the design. I was very concerned about mixing almond and white, I'm sure it must be some kind of design third rail. But it worked nicely to my suprise.

Rock Tile

I ended up with a horizontal band, as is common to break up floor to ceiling tile. In between I mortared river rock from the backyard. I'd been trying to add river rock to a bathroom for years.

We live in a strange world. A person can buy river rock tile squares for about $15 a sq ft. Most are real stone epoxied to a mesh to reduce labor. I find them too uniform. They don't really look that easy to lay. Cutting? Seamless? I don't believe I would have saved any time at all with the mesh tile when including the time required to find the right tile in the first place. Plus I got just the look I wanted using materials at hand in the Craftsman tradition.


I cut strips out of 18" square Travertine, the thickest I had, for counter surfaces and the shower threshold. The threshold was 24", another design opportunity. I centered the Travertine and filled the edges with river rock to tie into the rock band.

This same Travertine was used on the floor.

$1 per sq ft swimming pool tile.

Shower Floor

I went out on a limb with the shower floor. Blue glass title normally used in swimming pools and spas. I liked the idea of being reminded of a spa and thought a bit of color would be good. It turned out OK, not great, color wise.

This was the worst tile laying I have ever question. These come on sheets and I didn't line up adjacent sheets. I thought it might end up as a random pattern, but really, very little thought was expended. The problem was a complete lack of experience using these mesh tiles, the uneven floor just reinforced the point.

I chalk it up as a learning experience. In the future I would make sure the subsurface was more uniform and tiles were aligned. Or I would remove the 1" square tiles from the mesh and lay them individually for a more random look.