Tiles matter

I’ve been given the go-ahead to redo our master bathroom and bedroom, something we’ve put off forever, as other rooms always seemed to be more pressing. I am looking for some kind of tile design that will be fresh, but not just boring white. Also, I’d like the bath and bedroom to work together.

Shower and bathroom walls are livened up with the newest in floral tiles. While floral patterns are back

Question: I’ve been given the go-ahead to redo our master bathroom and bedroom, something we’ve put off forever, as other rooms always seemed to be more pressing. I am looking for some kind of tile design that will be fresh, but not just boring white. Also, I’d like the bath and bedroom to work together.

Answer: There is exciting news on the tile scene today. The variety in size and color alone will inspire you, but along with ceramic, you will also find porcelain tiles that look like marble, luminous glass tiles and even glamorous metals.

When you are starting fresh, it’s worth pricing out your options. You might want to go with a plain ceramic for the background, but then punch it up with a shimmery glass-tile border in a jewel tone, or create a silver metallic geometric motif in a focal area such as the backsplash or shower area.

Ceramics have exploded into patterns as well. You can have the practicality of tile along with the decorative panache of a pattern that looks like wallpaper.

The floral tiles shown here transform the room. You will be shopping for a new sink and faucet, too, as well as a vanity. A mix of modern and traditional works well here. The white vessel sink has a streamlined single-handle faucet in brushed nickel, and the vanity is finished in ebony.

Black and white has never looked so good, and you can continue the theme in your bedroom. Soften the palette with a mix of grays, and why not use a little colour as an accent? Pink appears in this bathroom, but if that’s a little too girly, red would make a great dramatic complement.

Alternately, clear blue or lilac would be more tranquil. Your new bedroom and en suite will be anything but boring. Enjoy the adventure.

Question: My white kitchen cabinets have a high-gloss oil paint on them. I want to paint over them using beige, with stain in the corners and trim for an Old World finish. I’ve seen you do this and would like to know how to proceed.

Answer: I suggest you change to the more environmentally friendly water-based paint products. To do this, wash the glossy cabinets with a heavy duty detergent or sand to rough up the surface, and then prime with a good quality, high-adhesion primer.

For the Old World patina, base-coat with off-white latex. Mix a brown glaze — equal parts brown latex paint and water-based glazing liquid — and apply over the base coat.

While the glaze is still wet, wipe it back with a clean, soft rag, leaving the colored glaze behind in the corners, indentations and trim.

Question: We plan to convert the kitchen cabinets from stain to white, but want to leave the wood grain visible. Can I mix paint and water and brush it over the stain?

Answer: If you are sure that the stain is water-based, then you can do a whitewash with paint and water, half and half.

But if it is an oil-based stain, then you will have to prime for proper adherence. In this case, use a high-adhesion primer thinned down with water for the wash, and then top-coat with varnish for durability.

A coat of solid paint or primer will cover up the grain.

Debbie Travis’s House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Please e-mail your questions to house2home@debbietravis.com

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