31 May 2012

Tiles are no longer the mainstay of just the kitchen and bathroom


You’ll be floored by the stylish appeal of tiles … in any room in the house, as Helen Carson reports

For a really polished finish, tiles have gone flat out to impress for many years. Previously though they were the mainstay of the kitchen and bathroom, due to their practical and functional nature, and of course, they are really easy to keep clean. Now, though, tiles are becoming an ultra-modern and stylish addition to many rooms in the house from the hall to the living room and more.

Former BBC House of the Year winner David Scott, of David Scott Tiles in Belfast, knows a thing or two about the immense variety of tiling now available. His stunning cliffside home in Newcastle ‘Scotts on the Rocks’ is also something of a showpiece for his range of tiles, with trendy wet rooms resplendent in the latest textures available in tile technology.

David explains how tiling has evolved into a style-must for the sophisticated home. So, what are fashionable home-owners going for? “Most people prefer a honed or semi-polished finish. New technology in manufacturing has greatly increased the size of tiles available too, in recent years, some as large as 10ftx5ft. And we are now regularly supplying four ft sq floor tiles, which look particularly well in a large room. In terms of colour, many designers recommend neutral-coloured floors which contrast with strong multi-coloured fabrics and cushions which are now widely available.”

As more new homes in the province have a modern spacious design, it’s not surprising that US style is filtering here from the other side of the pond.

David continued: “There are more design trends coming here from America where big, open space living is the norm, and this still continues to be the case. We tend to spend more on kitchens and living rooms than bedrooms and bathrooms but, in the US, bathrooms have become the status symbol room. And every home must have en-suite facilities for every bedroom as well as everyday toilet facilities. Then, of course, the mandatory pool, hot-tub and sauna backed-up with its own showering facility.”

People in Northern Ireland have their own style quirks too, according to David: “We have seen a tremendous demand for mosaic tiles in recent years, and I’m pleased to say it’s now something which we can do well. For a long time, mosaic tiles have tended to discourage people from using them as they were ‘more difficult to fit,’ but having shown people the amazing effects that can be achieved by just using a small quantity of mosaics, and training tilers in how to fit them correctly, we have changed peoples’ attitudes to their use.”

It’s not just inside that local home-owners are tempted by the practical and goodlooking tiling.

“More people are choosing tiles for a lounge or conservatory and continuing with the same tile, but with a roughened texture out onto a terrace or patio. This has the effect of making the internal room seem much bigger. Porcelain tiles perform much better than concrete pavers, particularly in our wet climate. They are much less likely to go green, are easy to clear, hold their colour well in sunlight and are virtually indestructible with regard to wear and tear.” Meanwhile, indoors, it seems, our taste for tiling is not as traditional as previously.

As David said: “In the bathroom, it’s a case of tiling with a twist. “The shower is tiled, with a wet room created using mosaics on the floor, while walls are the same as next door’s bedroom with a feature wall behind the sink, often in coloured mosaic tiles.”

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