to tile or not to tile, that is the question


{photo: kate arends of wit & delight}

the time has come, the walrus said, to talk of many things. of shoes – and ships! – and sealing wax, of TILE FLOORS AND THINGS.

that’s right, folks, today, we are talking tile floors (and hardwood ones, too, for a hot second), in an effort to help me make a decision on what to do with my soon to be kitchen.

it used to be that funky patterned tile was reserved for scene-y restaurants like gracias madre in LA, but more and more, i’ve been spotting it in the homes of mere mortals like myself.

now, i know what you’re thinking. tile? for kitchens? groundbreaking.

i get it. kitchen tile, regular old boring kitchen tile, is nothing to write home about. it’s decidedly blah, and as my mother so kindly reminded me, causes anything you drop on it to shatter into a million little pieces.

but encaustic tile (the funky, patterned stuff you see above) is a whole different ballgame. encaustic tiles are ceramic pieces in which the pattern is not a product of the glaze, but instead, of different colors of clay. in other words, each tile is an art piece.

JHID-WhiteBrickMed-8872{photo: jessica helgerson}

encaustic tile adds an instant cool factor to any space it graces. check out another shot of kate arends’ kitchen, below. instant cool.


would regular hardwoods be pretty in this space? of course. but the tile makes the kitchen POP.

i’ve had my eye on encaustic tile (and specifically, the cement tile shop, where kate bought her tile) for months now, but i wasn’t totally sold until i came across this kitchen, designed by jessica helgerson, a badass portland designer who is the QUEEN OF FIERCE AND PRETTY.


not to sound all design nerd, but i DIE FOR THIS SPACE. i love this kitchen like joanna gaines loves shiplap. the marriage of that incredible tile with the BLACK AND GOLD STOVE, along with that insane window seat, vintage wooden island, gold pendants…ugh, all of it gives me heart palpitations.


here it is from another angle. can you IMAGINE cooking on that stove? MOVE OVER MARTHA. anything you make on that amazing range would be spectacular, i just know it. obviously, ovens like that one are gajillions of dollars and way out of my price range, but hey, a girl can dream!

so, back to the tile situation. between kate’s kitchen, and the helgerson beauty above, i am officially SOLD ON TILE. that is, until i see a kitchen like this, with ebony hardwood.


hello, my pretty. i want to be cooking in you!

white cabinets + open shelving = swoon city. but if i’m being honest, my hardwoods (which, by the way, are hidden under 3 layers of fuggggly linoleum) aren’t nearly as beautiful as the herringbone floors above. they’re just regular old hardwood floors. sure, they’re original to my 1929 building, but they’re not exactly special.

you know what’s special? this tile. it’s cement tile shop’s “star” and it’s modern and classic and moroccan inspired all at once.


it’s also, coincidentally, what kate arends used in her kitchen, which, in case you needed a refresher, can be seen below.


i’m torn between “star” (above) and “agadir white” (below), a decidedly more moroccan style that i’m worried might look a bit busy on the floor. star has the benefit of a simpler design, but adgadir is such a statement piece that i’m tempted to go for it.


so, tell me. which would YOU choose? i’ve ordered samples of both, and cannot WAIT to see what they look like in person.


  1. Holly Winner said:

    Hi! New follower here! I discovered your blog through your comments on Elements of Style and I am so happy I did. I don’t think you can go wring with “Star”! It’s beautiful.


  2. Holly Winner said:

    Hi! New follower here! I discovered your blog through your comments on Elements of Style and I’m so glad I did. I don’t think you can go wrong with “Star”! It’s beautiful.


    • hi holly! welcome! i’m so excited you’ve stumbled upon this little old blog. i am leaning towards star, and i agree – it somehow seems less busy, but just as beautiful.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: