Your bathroom is cool, comfortable, and clean. Your kitchen is stain-resistant, sleek, and stylish. Why? Tile, of course. “Tile is a good choice because it’s timeless, can complement any look, and has unmatched durability,” SariSand Tile’s Dawn Catlett said. According to Wayne Murphy of Wainwright Tile and Stone on Preston Avenue, tile is typically used as a less expensive alternative to slab materials like concrete, granite, or marble, but the seams between pieces limit its applications and make the grout almost as important as the tile itself. Murphy said selecting the right tile comes down to aesthetics and function—what do you want it to look like, and how much wear are you going to put on it? “A lot of people like tile because it is easy to keep clean, but they may not want it in their living room,” Murphy said. According to Murphy, tile goes up in quality and price the less porous it is. Less porous tile stains and wears less and requires less sealing than lower quality tile, though, justifying the expense for many applications. Modern porcelain tile and glass tile are the least porous products on the market, Murphy said. Good grout should also lack porosity; if the material is as airtight as a sieve, you’ll have just as many problems maintaining your floor. In the grout game, epoxy is the top of the line. Catlett said SariSand recently completed a project for a local customer who wanted to “update his bathroom and give it a more contemporary look while at the same time maintaining the traditional style of his home.” But tile can reach outside the bathroom. Pete Fenlon, CEO of Mayfair Games, which produces the popular board game Settlers of Catan, is using tile throughout the Belmont home he’s rehabbing, not only in its four bathrooms and kitchen, but also around its exterior windows and doorways. He’s using ceramic tile, glass tile, stone tile, tabarka tile, multi-colored tile, tile of all shapes and sizes. “You should think of tile as an alternative to virtually every type of building material,” Fenlon said. “I was inspired by looking at Gaudi’s house in Barcelona. He used an organic approach that you saw in that area of the world going all the way back to the Carthaginians.” Carthage, eh? Wonder how tile is doing in Catan. The price of tile Pricing tile isn’t easy. Because it comes in a range of sizes, shapes, and styles, the material can go from very inexpensive to exorbitant, according to Wayne Murphy of Wainwright Tile and Stone. “There is probably no limit to the cost of some types of tile,” he said. Other than highly designed art tiles that would be used sparingly, tile is for the most part a low cost material. Here’s a look at a few common tile forms, roughly ranked from least expensive to most expensive. Stone: Stone tile can be expensive, but the hugely popular travertine is a great low-end option for both its price and ease of installation. Ceramic: The most common class of tile, Murphy said most ceramic pieces will be in the $3-12 per square foot range. Porcelain: Porcelain tile, like other ceramics, starts around $3 per square foot. The dense tiles increase in price quickly, though, as Murphy said he’s seen backsplash pieces go for as much as $235 per square foot. Glass: Even more dense than porcelain, glass tile can range from $20-75 per square foot. Handmade tile: This is a class that includes terracotta, one of the oldest known forms of tile. Terracotta and similar types of tile require extensive sealing for many applications. Other: Tile is also available in cork, faux wood, metal, and other alternatives.—S.G.
In this month’s Abode, we talk with homebuilder Noah Bradley about his 40-year career, learn why a homeowner shouldn’t be bound by their lot size, take a look inside an Ivy cottage and more. Here’s what you’ll find inside this issue: Scarpa‘s smart reno for
When Justin Rood went house-hunting in Charlottesville, he looked really hard. Many dozens of properties into his search, he still hadn’t found just the right place—but not because he was picky. Intending to create a vacation rental in an older house, he needed to find a rare combination of
If your house sits on a small city lot, it may seem as though there’s little room to expand. After all, city regulations limit how much of your lot may be developed, plus the height of secondary structures relative to your house. But don’t give up hope. One recent project by Alloy Workshop
While attending the New York School of Interior Design, designer Chris Coggins embarked on an independent project: review 40 famous houses in 40 days. “I visited significant homes all along the East Coast,” says Coggins, “so I experienced a full range of styles.” But it was Biltmore, the Gilded
There are a few iconic local retailers in Charlottesville, and Amy Gardner’s store, Scarpa, is one of them. The women’s boutique—which started out selling shoes nearly 23 years ago and recently expanded into clothing—has been a mainstay in the north wing of Barracks Road Shopping Center, and in
If you’re the type of person who’d like to drop five grand on a toilet, you are living in the right age indeed. Toilets have come a long way, and these days features include advanced water-saving flushing systems, hands-free flushing, self-opening and closing lids, self-cleaning bidets, drying
Previously in this column, we’ve explored a graduate student’s perspective on architecture’s trajectory—one that leverages architects’ unique skill sets to address, through the built environment, uncertainties facing society today. This semester at UVA engaged this topic directly through
When Noah Bradley was 15, his insurance agent father announced that the two of them would spend their summer building a house by hand, from the ground up. “I believe I swore at that particular stage of my life,” Bradley says, “that I would do anything I could to avoid building houses ever
When Bonnie Bond bought her condo in the Lewis and Clark Building downtown in 2012, she faced an unusual situation. Not only was the two-bedroom unit due for routine updates—the building was built in 1989, and the flooring and cabinetry reflected their age—the condo bore the marks of its
Deck the garden with half a dozen stars to ornament the darkest days of winter. In the pared-down landscape between first and last freezes, when contrasts are sharp, displays of flower, form and color take on a significance lost in the lushness of summer. If you don’t already have these
In urban design, decisions about road lanes, sidewalk widths and shade trees affect the rhythm of use in outdoor spaces—transportation and commerce, social activity, traffic, safety, recreation and even public health are determined by these choices. Urban planners have long been using the
Practice makes perfect. It’s an adage for a reason—the more you do something, the more comfortable with it and adept at it you become. That was architect Bob Anderson’s thinking, anyway, when, as an 8-year-old, he saw an illustration of Albrecht Dürer’s wood carving of a rhinoceros from 1515.
Heated floors are less popular than they used to be, according to local builders, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still have their place. “In this climate it’s not economically real feasible as a primary heat source,” says Wayne Stinnette, vice president of Abrahamse & Company Builders.
It’s a special opportunity to hear a luminary speak in person, but for Kat Imhoff, president of James Madison’s Montpelier, it’s a shame to hear those words evaporate without being captured in a recording. Like, say, when Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve as a Supreme Court justice,
When it comes to designing a room, often the advice is to start with something you love (a rug, a piece of art—anything) and work from there, layering pattern and texture to achieve a dynamic space. But every project is different, says Nina Crawford, and no two clients are the same. “My
There are upsides and downsides to having a barn as the starting point for a house. Upside: that great barn shape. In the case of the Red Barn project, on the grounds of Castle Hill Cidery in Keswick, that form makes for an iconic and historic statement in the landscape. Downside: Iconic and
The farm was inspiring, in part because of what wasn’t there anymore. Roxanne Sherbeck and Jon Jackson bought a 19-acre property near Charlottesville in 2010, and as they got to know it, they started to realize that it was dotted with the decomposing stumps and logs of oak trees. The absence of
Reclaimed wood has been a hot item for years now. Most people are familiar with the idea of giving old wood, from barns or other sources, new life. Most often, the salvaged stuff ends up as flooring, though cabinetry, furniture and ceilings are also big. But the folks at Mountain Lumber, the
Every new restaurant looks like a factory. Or, so says a recent NPR article. Reclaimed wood, brick walls and exposed beams, the piece asserted, have become so popular in interior design that new furniture is being treated to look weathered, and new apartments are being built loft-style with
Customers at a small local brewery might enjoy seeing how their lagers and pale ales are actually brewed. That’s what the folks behind Random Row Brewing Co. were betting on when they designed their tasting room on Preston Avenue, which opened in mid-September. Gleaming metal tanks are a major