Why I Adore Classic Subway Tile
classic subway tile (n.) – tile defined as the proportion of 1:2, most commonly in a 3″x6″ format.
As this is my first post, I thought I’d start with one of the most classic and timeless of tiles. A little history: this tile first appeared in the New York City subway system in 1904 (hence the nickname “Subway” tile) in it’s most well-recognized form: a white ceramic 3″x6″ installed in an off-set joint (staggered) pattern.
There’s a reason we keep seeing this tile around. It’s a beautiful pattern that adds a bit of linear and brick-like interest to a backsplash or bathroom tile, without looking trendy. It’s pretty safe to say it will never look “dated” either, considering it’s been around for more than 100 years.
That being said, trendy subway tile does exist, as evidenced by the up-and-coming eco-friendly company Art of Board, which recycles old skateboard decks into boldly graphic tile and furniture.
Subway tile is always my go-to field tile when designing a backsplash. It’s more contemporary than the traditional 4″x4″ field, and generally on the same price-point (disclaimer: this is only true for ceramics). It’s also generally quite easy to incorporate a spendier accent tile for that extra punch of flavor.
Being the tile addict that I am, here are some subway styles that I really lust over (if only I had a use for all of them!):
I like to picture myself as an elegant European woman dressed in a silk gown, taking drags from a long cigarette and drinking from a glass of white wine when I see this tile. It’s pure luxury.
And the grand finale…what I consider to be one of the most beautiful subway tiles ever to be used for residential purposes: natural green onyx tile. I have had many a love affair with this particular stone, (which will be covered in following posts) but until then, eat your heart out:
Sigh. Makes you wish you had double the rooms to renovate in your house, doesn’t it?
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