Crista Boston From The Tile Shop Returns To Discuss Trends In Tile Work

Crista Boston From The Tile Shop Returns To Discuss Trends In Tile Work

Greg:    Welcome to this edition of the Louisville Custom Home Builder Podcast Series brought to you by Louisville’s leading luxury construction team, Artisan Signature Homes. I’m Greg, your host, and for today’s episode we are joined by Louisville’s best known and most accomplished custom and luxury home builder, Jason Black. Jason, good to see you, I see you’ve brought someone back to the studio today…

Jason:    Greg, thanks for coming back once again and yeah we’ve got Christa Boston from the Tile Shop joining us again. We enjoying having her back, she was a great guest a little while back. I thought maybe we talk today about some of the trends we’re seeing with tile these days and maybe Christa you can give us a little overview on what people are asking for when they are coming into the tile shop? What they are looking for these days?

Crista:    Sure, well we do live in Louisville so therefore most people are typically traditional, the white marble, the subway tile, those things are huge around here and really across the country because they’ve always been in style. Some other things might be faux woods, ceramic and porcelain tiles that are made to look like and feel like hardwood. You can use these in place of hardwood in places that you typically can’t use hardwoods so outside or in a basement or in a bathroom. Some other things might be porcelains that look like marble, large format pieces, people are really into that. The porcelain that looks like marble is a great …

Jason:    Is that a new … not to interrupt,  I know we were in the showroom just the other day and you guys were renovating and you were showing me some new porcelain that looked just like Carrera marble.

Crista:    Right.

Jason:    Are people going for that or I guess is that a good budget choice for somebody maybe who doesn’t have the budget for marble?

Crista:    Sure. It’s definitely less expensive than a marble and a lot of the pieces come very large which is a little more modern looking so people do prefer that.

Greg:    When you’re talking sizes, what do you consider large? What’s a standard tile and what’s a large tile?

Crista:    A standard tile used to be 12 inches by 12 inches. Now we have tiles up to 45 inches so they can be a square, they could be a rectangle, anything over a 12 by 12 or 16 by 16 is considered a large format tile.

Greg:    Does that just give you more, the both of you, does that give you more artistic creativity in the design that you can do on a floor or wall or wherever you’re going to put it? Is that one of the benefits of having a large scale tile?

Crista:    Yes, that is one of them and then also of course it looks a little more updated, it looks more modern if you use bigger pieces. Also you have less grout, nobody likes grout.

Jason:    Well it’s interesting, I know we talk about traditional and we’re building in a traditional neighborhood of Norton Commons and we do a lot of subway tile, a lot of marble, but I do see a trend with a lot of our clientele wanting a little bit more modern finishes. I think the larger tiles are definitely becoming more popular these days.

Crista:    Definitely. I do think another trend is to update your old traditional look with a little bit of modern. People are mixing their styles and they are becoming a little more creative in that aspect. A larger piece of an old typical marble just looks like an updated version.

Jason:    When we say modern I think a lot of people sometimes jump to the conclusion that modern is super contemporary looking. That’s not what we’re talking about here. I think we’re, I guess maybe the style is Transitional where modern meets traditional and just a little bit more updated traditional looks. What else would fall in that category? I know it seems like a lot of our clients are taking maybe a standard tile and maybe laying it on a herringbone in the master seems to be popular. What else would be classified in that modern category?

Crista:    Well again, I think that you are right, modern is a little strong of a word. It’s just an update to something that’s traditional, so a few more of those things might be laying a rectangular tile in a different pattern. Like you said a herringbone or horizontally like a brick. Some of those other things might be penny rounds. Penny rounds used to be cool 50 years ago but all of a sudden they are the new hot thing.

Jason:    Where do you … I know Gretchen, we had her on a couple weeks ago talking about interior design and she helps me and she loves the penny rounds and she likes them in the laundry room. Do you see them anywhere else or could you use them anywhere else?

Greg:     Before we, sorry to interrupt, before you answer, what’s a penny round?

Crista:    It is a …

Greg:    It’s what I’m here for, I’m the uneducated one.

Crista:    It is a small round tile the size of a penny. It comes on sheet so it’s installed 12 inches at a time not one piece at a time.

Greg:    Okay, thank you.

Crista:    Yeah, you do see penny rounds in other locations. I love them in a laundry room as well. We started that together probably 10 years ago.

Jason:    Yeah, wow.

Crista:    Just because it’s kinda fun so therefore another fun location might be a mudroom, it might be a craft room, a children’s bath is very nice and people also put them on backsplashes and use them as accents in their shower. We put them on shower floors, they are just fun.

Jason:    Okay, great. What types of tiles do you see and in what location? Are people putting marble in kid’s bath or is it reserved for the master? What would you put in a kid’s bath or say a basement floor?

Crista:    Sure, so typically in a new home or even a remodel, a master bath requires something a little more elegant. Elegance comes from typically a natural stone maybe even something shiny so therefore a marble fits very well there. You can also use again the porcelains that look like marble or if you don’t like shiny, a matte finish marble. In kid’s baths a lot of times we use more basic I guess tiles. Sometimes something fun like penny rounds or hexagons but other times something that’s just easy to clean.

© 2016 RealTourCast | Tim Furlong Jr.

Jason:    Gotcha, and one of the things we talked about a little bit last time was selections and people coming into you, do they need to come to you with ideas? One of the things I always like about working with you is I may have my own ideas but then you always challenge me with … You’re seeing the stuff everyday so you’re the expert and I defer to you but I think you guys always offer great recommendations on maybe how to lay a tile that I have not thought about.

Crista:    Sure, we try very hard to keep up on the trends. We do a lot of research on design so we also see a lot of tiles installed. We do have some very good recommendations just because of that. When you walk in the door of the Tile Shop, we try to make people feel comfortable, we try to ask them all the right questions so that we can show them what fits their style and also what looks good together. We do have opinions based on our experience.

Greg:    I have two questions which are totally unrelated, so Jason was teasing me that he’s going to go through some different rooms and ask about tiles or anything. He didn’t get to the kitchen which is one of my favorite rooms in the house. I’d love to hear your thoughts on tile in the kitchen? Then you were talking about trends in Louisville, do you keep up with the trends that are across the country and are there some trends that you get to see some of your peers doing that you’d really like to bring or maybe you’re like wow, I hope that never comes here? The difference between Kentucky and the rest of the country?

Crista:    Well there is a difference but only slight. It seems that the further west you go, the little more modern people are and the great thing about my position is that I can bring that here if I want to. I suggest certain things to certain people based on what I like and based on what I think you might like. Yeah, we pull those styles in from all over the place and I do see a lot of different things. We are across the entire country so we have a lot of cool different displays in a lot of different states and whatever I like I try to bring here. As far as kitchens go, what is your question on a kitchen?

Greg:    I’m just curious what you’re seeing as far as the tile or what is newish? You guys are talking about what’s a modern take on a kitchen or what tiles are we seeing going into the kitchen?

Jason:    On the floor, a backsplash or …

Greg:    You tell me, yeah.

Jason:    Okay.

Greg:    If I were starting from scratch, what would be a cool kitchen?

Crista:    That is definitely an opinion, but I see a cool kitchen as a very large format tile on the floor, probably not shiny, probably something a little more matte finish because it’s just it feels better and you don’t want to fall down. As far as in the color it’s to be determined based on the other things that you like.

Jason:    Could that be heated?

Crista:    Absolutely.

Greg:    Nice.

Crista:    That is nice. As far as the backsplash goes, there are so many different things you can do. We talked about the penny round tiles, they look really cute on a backsplash, but your typical backsplash is a subway tile. That’s just how it is, it’s very traditional, it goes with everything so you see that quite often. Using a small rectangle … For those of you who don’t know what a subway tile is, it is a three by six rectangular tile, three inch by six inch.

You can use a three inch by six inch subway tile in a lot of different ways. You can set it on a brick like a typical subway pattern or you can put it in a herringbone or you can stack it straight to make it look a little more modern. Those things that is what you would I guess typically start with. Then of course depending on your counter top, you could move to natural stones or a pattern or we could help you put all that together.

Greg:    Countless varieties of combinations?

Crista:    Yes.

Jason:    Well one of the things I’m amazed at is we build a fair amount of custom homes and primarily they are white kitchens. I don’t necessarily go to every tile appointment with the customer and the designer, they are making those selections. Every time the backsplash goes in, I’m always anxious to see what you guys have come up with and it never ceases to amaze me of the difference that our clients choose.

Artisan Signature Homes tile pictureAgain I was in the Tile Shop the other day and they were going through the renovation and had some great new … I think we picked some for our spec homes we were doing over on Moonseed, we’ve got a couple of houses there and you had some new tiles. Did you call those mosaics, were they waterjet or how would you describe those?

Crista:    Yes.

Jason:    I thought that might be a great backsplash.

Crista:    Yes, those are waterjet cut pieces of typically marble in very cool new patterns.

Jason:    Yeah, so we are just starting some installations of those so maybe we can get some of those installed and throw a couple of pictures up so you guys can see what we’re talking about on those. Those tiles I know are new to you guys, do you all have the opportunity to work with your other stores across the country to either brainstorm or collaborate as to what are the newest trends or who establishes those trends for the Tile Shop?

Crista:    Well of course we have a group of people who do that. We have a purchasing department, we have a design department but the great thing about our company is that they listen. If we have a great idea they will go research it and see how it works across the country and make a determination whether or not we should bring it on.

Jason:    Where, I guess I should know this, but where is your corporate headquarters located?

Crista:    Plymouth, Minnesota.

Jason:    Okay, wow, I was hoping it was somewhere South but all right.

Greg:    I also have two more questions where in again they are not very related so I seem to be asking questions in cuplets today. With so many options, I think is where I would fall, do you find that people might walk in and they can’t make a decision? What do you do if they’re stuck? Then the second, I think you mentioned in the last podcast you were here, you talked about some tile for outside on a patio or something like that. I’d be interested to hear a little bit more about that if that’s okay?

Crista:    Sure, so it hard to choose one tile out of 5,000 tiles. That is something that we do deal with on a daily basis but it’s our job to talk to you and ask you the right questions to get again what you want and what you need ,so we do that for you. It is a little overwhelming so as far as outside goes …

Jason:    I want to interrupt real quick and just reiterate that when you pick tile, tile is probably I think it’s one of the hardest selections to make when building a house and I just built my own personal house so I can attest to that. It was a little bit of a struggle but having a professional help you and that’s one of the great things that we do at Artisan, is we team you with one of our designers and Christa. If you get overwhelmed, I tell people, why don’t you have them provide you three options. When you go into The Tile Shop a lot of times I’ll call ahead of time and say, “Hey, I’m coming in to pick out tile for this house. This is my colors and what I’m thinking.” They’ll already have laid out preselected tiles and groupings for the bathroom and the shower, other bathrooms and I walk in and … I can pick out a whole house in, I don’t know, less than an hour which is probably not common for somebody that’s building their dream home. You can really simplify the process for folks.

Crista:    We try very hard, we know that it’s overwhelming. There are lots of decisions to make when it comes to building a home and this one is very important, it’s also expensive so we try to understand that.

Jason:    Well that’s again why we try to work with professionals that have great opinions and great expertise, it really simplifies and we want people to enjoy the process. That’s one of the reasons we’ve stayed with you guys for gosh going on 10 years as you do make it a wonderful experience for our customers and we do appreciate that.

© 2016 RealTourCast | Tim Furlong Jr.Crista:    Thank you.

Jason:    All right, not to steal the microphone. Greg, what was your question again?

Greg:    We were going to talk about patio tiles or outdoor tiles?

Crista:    Sure, so really when you are talking about using a tile on the exterior, you have to consider quite a few things. Really there are only three options when it comes to going outside and those are granite, quartzite and porcelain. Those are the three most dense tile therefore they do not absorb moisture. A tile absorbs moisture, water freezes, expands, cracks a tile so that’s something you have to consider.

As far as granites go, there are a few options that you can use, quartzite, there are a few options but porcelains there are hundreds of options that you can use. Again if you wanted a wood look on the exterior of your house, you could use a porcelain wood plank tile. If you wanted a modern look then you could use maybe a large format porcelain tile and there are many, many of those to choose from.

Jason:    Do you just lay that right over the concrete or can you put it over a deck or what’s the best way to… I guess have a long term successful tile installation on the exterior?

Crista:    Really it’s similar to any tile installation. It is always best to lay tile over concrete, so yes you can lay it directly on concrete. If you have a deck or a structure, you have to take the proper precautions, you have to put down a concrete board, you have to put down a water… or a waterproofer of some sort. You can pretty much lay tile anywhere as long as you plan for it.

Greg:    Okay, so I know the last time you were here you gave people your email and your phone number but in case they don’t have that on a little notepad right next to them right now, you want to let people know how they can get a hold of you?

Crista:    Sure, you can stop in our showroom anytime, we’re open till 9 on week nights and 6 o’clock on Saturday and Sundays. We are at 4515 Shelbyville Road in St. Matthews or you can give us a call and set an appointment. It’s (502) 895-5205.

Jason:    One of the things too that… I follow the Tile Shop on Instagram so I’ve always liked when they regram some of our work. You can check them out on Instagram and also they have a great website. What is your all corporate website?

Crista:    It is

Jason:    You can go there and see tons of different ideas of displays or you can go in the showroom.

Greg:    Awesome, I look forward to hanging out for hours and hours in the showroom. I promise not to bother you too much though. Thanks for coming in today.

Crista:    Thank you.

Thank you for joining us on this episode of the Louisville Custom Home Builder Podcast. If you are looking to build a home and would like to reach our to Jason with any questions about the process or maybe just your individual needs and desires, please the website at That’s We appreciate your time with us today and look forward to bringing you another episode next week.