It's durable, colorful tile for a bathroom


February 28, 1993|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,Contributing Writer

Q: I'm tired of the peeling paint, sagging wallpaper and limp window curtains in my bathroom. Can you suggest more durable materials? The window, by the way, is near the shower-tub combination.

A: You should first consider redoing the room with ceramic tiles. They're easy to find, and they come in a wide array of colors, shapes and sizes. And in the long run, ceramic tiles will probably prove the most cost-effective option, given their durability and ease of maintenance.

All sorts of interesting effects and patterns are possible if you use two or more colors. But whatever selections you may make, don't skimp on the installation of the tiles. Apply them not only on the walls, but on some of the room's horizontal surfaces as well, including the floor and perhaps the sink counter.

Bathrooms are becoming bolder and bolder in their color combinations and patterns. White tiles used only next to the shower and tub are now considered quite boring -- and rightly so.

The bathroom is obviously a private space, so why not let it express your design fantasies? This is the perfect place to experiment with fabrics and other decorations that you might be reluctant to display elsewhere in the home.

At the same time, there is a danger of cluttering up what is often a rather small space. And because bathrooms are primarily functional, their design should not interfere with the various fixtures.

The bathroom shown in the photo achieves the right balance between striking appearance and straightforward function. In this setting, designed by McGregor Lanier Associates, the visual impact comes from the two-color pattern produced by standard-size Italian ceramic tiles. A checkerboard effect results from the striped side walls in bands of blue and white and the two staggered rows of colored tiles that wrap around the room just below the ceiling.

By contrast, the all-blue tile floor creates a monochromatic expanse. This effect is accentuated by the floor's reflection in a mirrored panel front that encloses the tub.

You'll note that this model does not include doors or curtains around the shower area. That's a fashionable omission these days. And it's also practical, since with a tile bathroom there's no need to worry about water damage. Improvements in grouting compounds, which fill the space between the tiles, guard against pitting.

Perhaps you prefer the option of privacy for the shower. In that case, a partial glass partition adjacent to the shower wall and extending half-way across the tub is all that's needed. This will also be sufficient to protect any vulnerable items in the room from the spray of the shower.

Metal mini-blinds in the same color as the window casing are a good substitute for limp curtains. They assure privacy while also affording optimal light control.

+ Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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