A few high-end tiles create a big impact
Luxe look for less
Thomas J. Story
White subway tile is simple and economical, starting at about $3 per square foot.

What do you do when you fall in love with tile that doesn’t fit your budget? Sarah and Ren Chandler, who recently completed a renovation of their Seattle home, found a creative solution. Ren, who owns a residential contracting company, advises that even high-end tile can be affordable if you use it sparingly and install it in places that have the greatest impact.

The Chandlers designated their new guest bathroom (at top right) as the place to splurge on a favorite but expensive watery green glass tile. To fit it into their budget, Sarah and Ren interspersed it randomly ― placing one here and one there as they went ― within a field of economical white subway tile in their shower stall.

A glass door puts the pattern on display. The glass tile is also used on the small wall across from the shower, where the vanity and mirror are mounted. Although the wall is highly visible, it doesn’t have a lot of surface area, making it the ideal spot to showcase the colorful accent.

While not nearly as expensive as the green glass, the small mosaic tiles in the children’s bathroom were still pricey, so Ren and Sarah chose to limit their use, once again installing versatile subway tile as the bathtub’s background.

DESIGN: Ren Chandler, Dyna Contracting, Seattle (206/297-6369)