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Using Stick Tiles to Create the Traditional Made Modern Look

By November 7, 2017 January 20th, 2019 No Comments
Closeup, angled view of stick tile back splash | Eastern Shore residence designed by Denise Perkins for Jamie Merida

If you love tile as I do, this is an exciting time to be a designer! The options are endless. Advances in technology, production techniques, and printing have produced new colors, textures, and patterns. Tile can also be used in more applications than ever before. All of this is exciting, but it can be overwhelming too. I’m going to break it all down for you in a series of posts about how to use different types of tile in different ways. First up:

How to Use Stick Tiles

to Create the Traditional Made Modern Look

Most of our clients live in beautiful, traditional homes. The Maryland, Washington D.C., and Delaware areas are known for colonials, Greek revivals, Georgian architecture, Cape Cods, and Federal architecture. Think symmetry, columns, dormers and gables, brick, cedar shingles, and white stucco. Very stately, very traditional.

The challenge is that our clients don’t always want the interior spaces to be quite so traditional as the exterior architecture. This is where material and product choices make all the difference. The key to successful design is choosing materials that respect the architecture of the home while also reflecting the tastes and lifestyles of its owners.

Stick tiles are a great choice to achieve the “traditional made modern” look. Stick tiles are long, thin tiles, usually in varying lengths and assembled on sheets for easier installation. I love them as a modern update to their more traditional cousin, the subway tile.

This stunning kitchen designed by Denise Perkins for a recent project on the Eastern Shore is a perfect example of traditional made modern:

When you view the kitchen from the open living room, you can see how it ties in perfectly with the overall transitional style and design of the home.

The backsplash tile from Jeffrey Court was the perfect choice for this space. A traditional subway tile would have been lovely, but the stick tiles are much more dynamic. They offer a modern update without going too far.

The color and texture variations in the tile help create a sense of movement. This is a great trick to keep in mind if you want to create a space that feels energetic and fresh. A mixture of colors and textures attracts the eye and keeps it moving around the space.

The linear nature of stick tiles naturally creates a more modern aesthetic. You can see how the tile complements the modern, linear drawer pulls used in the cabinetry.

The colors in the tile, ranging from soft blues and grays to deep navy, are also perfect for the space. The colors themselves are traditional, but the combination is modern. The cool tones also pop with the cool chrome and stainless steel throughout the kitchen.

This illustrates one of the biggest challenges in choosing the right tile… It’s not enough to simply choose a tile you love. You also have to think about how it will play against other elements in the design. When you visit a store to choose your tile, it’s always a good idea to bring samples and photos of other products that will be in the space. The design experts on staff will take all of this into consideration to help you find just the right tile.

There are fabulous stick tile products available from some of our favorite vendors for Bountiful Flooring. This Ann Sacks Lava Calda tile is an earthy, natural stone that is just beautiful:

These glass stick tiles from Dal Tile offer a bit of shine and sparkle. This tile is available in solid colors, which is a great choice if you aren’t ready to make the leap into mixing colors and textures. The linear shape still lends itself to a sense of movement, but the effect is subtler. The tile becomes more of a backdrop to the rest of your design, and less of a focal point.

A close cousin to stick tiles is herringbone tile. Herringbone tile can (and will!) be a post unto itself, but I wanted to mention it here because it offers some of the same design benefits as stick tile. The herringbone pattern is very traditional, but it can look quite modern depending on the material, colors, and textures used. Its zigzag pattern also creates movement and energy within a space.

This American Olean herringbone tile tips toward the modern end of the scale thanks to its combination of materials (stone and glass), textures, and colors:

This tile from Architectural Ceramics shows how herringbone tile can be more traditional when just a single material is used:

If you need to choose tile for your home, consider using stick tiles (or herringbone) as an alternative to more traditional subway tiles and square tiles. The nearly limitless options of materials, textures, and colors will let you dial in on just the right balance of traditional and modern.

Need design help? The team at Bountiful Flooring offers great advice and is always eager to help!

P.S. Do you love the kitchen featured at the top of this post as much as I do? Good news! The project is featured in the latest issue of Chesapeake Views from Home & Design Magazine! The article covers the entire project, including the kitchen, living room, sun room, bedrooms, and outdoor spaces. Be sure to check it out!

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