Miles of Tile

Although I wrote yesterday about being surprised that my memory of tile color was way off, we are pleased with how the construction process is going. They  did a nice job of laying down the tile. We are doing several things that are different than our India team is used to doing — we’re laying the tiles diagonally across the rooms, and instead of tile skirting we will install wide wood moldings. We are using bigger 2-foot by 2-foot tiles. Here are shots of some of the living/dining area:

So you can see we ran the same tile out onto the balconies to maintain some visual consistency. I thought it would look “choppy” if we used a different tile outdoors that you could see from the indoors. Fenesta french doors with wood frames will be installed in a few weeks, so you’ll see the indoor tile flow outdoors through the glass doors.

We wanted some grout lines to show between tiles, but not too big and not too small. This looks about right to me. Shades of Cinderella! The grout color will be matched to the tiles (they’re not grouted yet in these photos) so the color will blend in across the room. In the Millimeters Count post, I wrote about the visual impact of grout line choices. In fact I live in parallel worlds right now — at the same time we’re doing work in the Chennai apartment, this is finally the year we’re replacing old cracked tile in our Chicago sunroom. Just tonight we were in Home Depot choosing grout color and placing a tile order. (Yes I will post before & after pics of that project here too!)

Our team is paying such attention to detail that this is how they laid the tiles where the different colors meet at the bedroom and bathroom doors:

Surely there will be door thresholds there, but the grout lines will be well-aligned on either side of the thresholds. Look how they even did cuts where needed so the tiles fit close:

I have to admit, I was apprehensive about how this would go, based on our previous experiences with renovations and contractors, in the house we live in while we were here and we met with the contractors personally every morning. And now we’re working from the near complete opposite side of the planet. However it’s been going well. One key is, my husband is working with the architect to ensure that we receive detailed mock-ups of how everything will be laid out, every step of the way. We carefully review it and through email and scanned images, communicate back and forth until all details are correct. The architect doesn’t proceed until we sign approval.

We provide pictures to help communicate what we’re looking for as clearly as possible. For example, we sent pictures to the architect of a bathroom in our Chicago house to show how we’d like raised tile to separate the showers from the rest of the bathrooms:

This is travertine tile skirting from The Tile Shop in the U.S. — we won’t be doing anything this fancy in the Chennai apartment. They will cut standard tiles to fit the step. In fact we haven’t yet seen bullnosed tile there and are wondering if it’s available because it would make nicer edges. We are also installing glass shower doors and sent photos to show examples of that:

So eventually the Chennai showers will look somewhat like this. The master bath is tiny, so the shower will be a straight glass wall with a hinge to open a glass door. The guest and public bathroom is much bigger and will have a three-wall shower somewhat like the shower above, which is in our Chicago home. It was so difficult to get to this result when we renovated this bathroom — we had to fight each step of the way and I don’t know why it had to be so difficult with contractors. It was a strain on many areas of life at the time, thank goodness it lasted only 8 weeks. I cannot even rehash all the stories — I just want to forget them. The process is going much, much smoother with our team in Chennai and we really appreciate that!

Next the Chennai team is installing the bathroom wall and floor tiles. Excited to see this! Here are photos from the store display (Vaigai Sanitation in Chennai) of the master bath tile:

The mosaic feature will be on two opposite walls of the bathroom — behind the toilet as shown here, and also repeated in the shower. The remainder of the walls will have the beige tile shown here. I hope on our next trip to India to find an old small wood cabinet to revamp as a sink vanity. I think that would go nice with this natural tile.

And here’s the guest bath tile (all tile in the whole apartment is from Vaigai Sanitation in Chennai):

Looking forward to following up soon with photos of the tile installed in the bathrooms!

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