Thursday, 27 December 2012

The hall tile conundrum

We've been procrastinating about making a decision on tiles for the front hallway. It's one of the last big decisions to make, and we just can't seem to pull the trigger on it. 

The hallway is quite long and narrow (13'6" x 4'), with an outer vestibule and an inner area that opens up into the living room. We used to have a solid wood door on the inside doorway that we had to keep closed in the winter as the old front door leaked so much cold air. With the new front door installed, we've been able to remove the inner door, freeing up space and letting in a lot more light in the winter.

We've decided to go with marble tile on the floor. I love the look of mosaics, and the most beautiful ones are always in marble. The plan is to use a 12x18 or 12x24 tile, something along the lines of Carrera, in the outer vestibule and then have a mat of the marble mosaic in the inner hallway with a border of Carrera around the outer edge. Similar to this floor done by Rambling Renovators.

I taped out an area on the floor corresponding to the size of the mat that I'm planning.

The giant air return in the floor is a bit of a pain, but it's just one of those things you have to work around in an old house. And it's pretty rusty right now, but that's nothing that a little elbow grease and a fresh coat of Tremclad can't fix.

This afternoon Alan and I went looking for tiles for the mat part of the floor. We went up to Saltillo Imports as they have a big selection of mosaics. Now the hard part is going to be deciding which one to choose.

My favourite was this one. 

but Alan liked this one best.

The other contenders are below.

I think that the top one is too swampy, the middle one is too disorienting (it's called illusion!), and the bottom one is the only real contender of the three. I think that I like it second best, ahead of the round pattern that Alan prefers.

Most of these mosaics are on back order, so we have a bit of time to make the decision. Which means that we probably won't give it much more thought until the end of January when I need to call and place the order. But at least for now I don't have to feel like I'm procrastinating about something that really needs to be done!


  1. Is marble durable enough for a high traffic hallway? I also prefer your favourite

    1. Lots of old houses have marble in their hallways - and I love the look of it, even (or especially) when it's worn. We will put a small area rug down in the outer vestibule to catch most of the dirt and water.

  2. I think simple geometrics are the most classic

  3. Your favourite is also my favourite, but I wonder if the scale might be a tad big for the narrowness of the hallway. The smaller scale of your #2 choice might work better for the "area rug" look you are trying to achieve. Do you need to seal marble from salt, water, etc in such a high traffic area? If so, how often?

    1. Yep, you have to seal it, every year or two. And unfortunately, the pictures aren't to scale - I just merrily snapped away in the tile store, not paying much attention to how far from the samples I was standing. I think that the scale of #1 is fine for the hallway and positioning the diamonds with the long dimension running the length of the hallway will visually expand the space.


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