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Your Home | Kitchens & Baths

Two homes, two tile floors that make the whole bathroom

Focusing on the floor, two designers do bathroom tile with very different, but very transformative, effects.

Using bold colors and charming patterns, Cecilia Casagrande created a kid’s bathroom in Brookline that makes a fun statement but doesn’t feel childish. “Solid neutral floor tile wouldn’t have provided the full-on playfulness we were going for,” the designer says.sean litchfield

Cecilia Casagrande is a maximalist. If this kids’ bath in a Brookline Victorian doesn’t prove it, nothing will. Still, amidst the revelry there’s a definite focal point: the mosaic penny tile floor. “That orange is the happiest color,” Casagrande says. “We kept it going with the Jaclo faucet, which was a splurge.”

It was the wallpaper however — Apothecary’s Garden by Arts & Crafts era designer C.F.A. Voysey — that was the starting point. “The kids love reading stories so I thought this paper, with its colorful flowers, birds, butterflies, and grasshoppers would spark their imagination,” Casagrande explains.

While the orange tile plays off the paper’s chipper feathered friends, Casagrande pulled the subdued trim color — Farrow & Ball’s Inchyra Blue — from the foliage. The tile in the shower, stacked vertically to draw the eye up and echo the linearity of the wallpaper pattern, is a bit brighter. “Using orange on the shower walls would have been too much,” Casagrande says. “This way, the floor stands out, providing the full-on playfulness we were going for.”

Meanwhile, in Weston, Kate Kelley finds inspiration of a very different sort. “The concept is modern Arts and Crafts,” says the designer, who is known for her crisp and clean approach. For the primary bath in this custom new build, Kelley paid homage to the Arts and Crafts movement’s principles of using authentic materials and simple forms. “These handmade cement tiles by Popham Design are not perfectly consistent; there’s a lot of depth,” Kelley says.


The pale green tile covers the floor, then runs up the shower wall where it feels like artwork. The sweeping expanse, made possible by the curbless shower design, makes the room feel even bigger. “The tile wraps up the wall giving the illusion that the space continues farther than it actually does,” Kelley says.


Sticking to a pared back palette but not wanting to leave the walls blank, Kelley lined them with shiplap. (The paneling is made from painted wood in the dry area and Corian in the shower.) The uninterrupted treatment melds the spaces and creates a unified backdrop. “Keeping everything else minimal,” she says, “leaves the focus on the tile and pattern.”

Responding to the clients’ request for some color in their Weston home, Kate Kelley introduced a pale, muted green in the primary bath for a spa-like feel with wow. “Color and pattern completely transformed this otherwise simple space,” she says.Greg Premru

RESOURCES / Casagrande

Design/build: Casagrande Studio, casagrandestudio.com


Interior designer: Kate Kelley Designs, katekelleydesigns.com

Architect: D. Michael Collins Architects, dmcarch.com

Contractor: Kistler & Knapp Builders, kistlerandknapp.com

Millwork: Crownpoint Cabinetry, crown-point.com

Marni Elyse Katz is a contributing editor to the Globe Magazine. Follow her on Instagram @StyleCarrot. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.