Tile Selections For Your Custom Home With Crista Boston From The Tile Shop

Tile Selections For Your Custom Home With Crista Boston From The Tile Shop

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’m pretty excited to meet your guest today…

Jason:    Greg, it’s good to have you back. I’m excited to introduce you guys to Crista Boston today, with The Tile Shop. We’ve had a long relationship with her, going on 10 years, and happy to have you here. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Crista:    Nice to be here, Jason. Thank you for having me. A little bit about me, I’m from Indianapolis. That’s where I started with The Tile Shop. I’ve been there about 11 years. I moved to Louisville about 10 years ago.

Greg:    How did the two of you meet? Was this, Jason, you happened into the shop, or did you all have a relationship already established? How did that start?

Jason:    We just stumbled upon The Tile Shop, first getting started, well over 10 years ago. I always liked the displays at The Tile Shop. A lot of the tile stores have just 1 or 2 tiles sitting in a drawer, and it’s really tough to visualize. One of the appealing things to me about The Tile Shop was, they’ve got some nice sized displays, and that’s where we met, and gosh, going on 10 years now. It’s been a great relationship for us.

Greg:    Crista, what do you do at The Tile Shop that you would have been the person Jason talked to when he was looking at tiles for home? How did that get started, I guess?

Crista:    At the time, I was the store manager. I still do manage that store. Of course, any home builder is important to us, so therefore I took it upon myself to try to create a great relationship.

Greg:    It looks like success, right?

Jason:    It has been. One of the things I think might be helpful for us today is, home building for some people can be a daunting task, and especially when it comes to tile, I think people get overwhelmed by that part of the selection process. Maybe you can give folks some ideas of what they should do prior to their first meeting with you that could help them be prepared for the meeting and maybe make a successful tile selection day.

Crista:    Sure. Some of the things that I think are very important when it comes to selecting tile are just considering the whole picture. A lot of people like to use Pinterest, or Houzz, or do little research before they actually come into the store. That is definitely helpful. I do believe that the permanents are the most important decision, so I am perfectly fine if you come in with no decisions made. That is why we have all of our displays. That is why we greet you at the door and try to ask you the right questions, and try to lead you to what fits your personality and your lifestyle.

Greg:    It probably is important to do a little homework. Can you describe what your store looks like, for somebody that hasn’t been there? You can get lost. People can wander. I’m sure… I have before.

Jason:    One of the good things about The Tile Shop, I was in just the other day, and you guys are going through a little renovation right now.

Crista:    Yes, we are. It’s a huge renovation, actually. It’s taken a couple of months. We do have all new displays, and when you walk in the front door of The Tile Shop, we try to make it look like a home. We have about 45 different displays of kitchens, and bathrooms, and other areas. We try to display a large portion of our products so that people don’t have to imagine what it looks like. They can actually visualize it and see what the end result is going to be.

Bathroom tile work in Artisan Signature Homes Custom Property

Jason:    The process, if somebody comes to you and, say, they don’t have anything prepared, you could help them? I guess you could drive all their selections really off the tile, and they could pick cabinet colors off of that, or do people have cabinet colors when they come to you? What have you seen?

Crista:    Both. They do both. I always tell people to find something you love. It can be a piece of artwork. It can be a cabinet color. It can be a photo from a magazine. If you have something that inspires you, that makes all of the rest of the selections easier. That can be important. It’s not necessary, though. Like I said, the permanents are very important, so tile is very permanent. Hard wood is very permanent. Vanities and counter tops and things can change over time, so I feel like if you don’t find something you love, that starting with your permanents is a great idea.

Greg:    Can I follow up on that word you’re using? The permanents? The more and more I talk to Jason, it seems some things that are trends, that sort of come and sort of go, and there are other items that are classic forever. In your mind, when you look at tile, can you tell, “That’s a forever tile, and this one you get 5 or 10 years out of, and you’re probably going to want to switch them up”? Is there, like, a classic? Subway tile seems to be huge, right? Is that one of those things that is always in style?

Crista:    It is, actually. There are many classic pieces that you can put in your home that will stay in style forever. Subway tile is one of those things. White marble is one of those things.

Greg:    Jason. I’ve heard that a few times from Jason.

Crista:    That is something that’s been in style for, you know, you go into a house that’s 150 years old and they have white marble and subway tile. You build a new home today, same thing. It’s always beautiful.

Greg:    Are you saying, has there been over the past few years a big boom or explosion in different tiles, or different kinds of tiles that are available, or am I just more exposed to the market now and it seems like there are more and more tile varieties available to the general public?

Crista:    Absolutely. I think that natural stone is a big deal. It’s something that we didn’t have at least available to us at all times, 10, 20 years ago, but is something that’s beautiful and becoming more present, not only in stores but in people’s homes. I think that there is definitely a higher demand for tile, because, again, of its kind of permanence. Of course, you can change tile. That’s not really that big of a deal, but you want something that is going to last somewhat of the lifetime of your home. Therefore, there are more options.

Greg:    You’re saying that it’s being requested more. What is it taking the place of? What would have been in a person’s house that they now say, “I want tile”? What would have been there before?

Crista:    Well, it could have been linoleum. Linoleum is something that you have to replace over time. Tile is something you don’t. It could be hard wood. People love the look of hard wood in a basement, but it’s not necessarily the perfect product for a basement, so therefore there is tile that now looks like hard wood and feels like hard wood, and they’re replacing their hard wood that maybe doesn’t look so good after it’s seen some moisture, and they put tile in its place. Therefore, they don’t have to replace it again.

Jason:    One of the things I guess we know The Tile Shop has is new construction, and that’s all we specialize in at Artisan. I guess you do a fair amount of remodeling work, and do it yourself-er type work, is that correct?

Crista:    Absolutely.

Jason:    What percentage are you doing, I guess, you appeal … I guess you appeal to everybody, so that’s a good thing. You all have a great location. Are most people, do they install the tile themselves, or do they go with a professional installation?

Crista:    Most people go with a professional installation. People can tile themselves. It does save you a lot of money, but it’s not easy. It’s physical labor. It’s heavy, and it’s a lot of work, and it takes a long time. It doesn’t happen like it does on the DIY Channel.

Bathroom flooring tile design Lousiville custom home

Jason:    When I first started, I thought, you know, “I’m going to try laying my kitchen back splash,” and we tried to lay a few bathrooms, and it does look easy on TV, and when you get that wet saw out, or that porcelain, and you start to grind it or saw cut it, it just doesn’t quite look as well as the professionals. I second that. I think it’s always left best for a professional to install, to make your product look better.

Crista:    I agree, but I will say this. It is very satisfying when you spend a long time doing your project correctly, and it turns out beautiful.

Jason:    If somebody comes into The Tile Shop and they don’t have a contractor, do you guys have folks that you recommend, or do you all install it yourselves? How does that work?

Crista:    We do not do installations. We have referred contractors that we’ve vetted very thoroughly.

Jason:    Good to know.

Greg:    You’re talking about professional installation, and the material itself, and I’m curious, from a new construction, Jason, do you find that some people sort of balk at the price of tile, but once they have it in, everyone loves it, right? You had this Homearama and people are walking through, and they’re just gaga over all the tile that you saw. Is that one of those things that you kind of get what you pay for, so if you want the nice one, let’s budget accordingly?

Jason:    You know, one of the I think unique things about Artisan is when we build a house, I think we usually give a generous tile budget for our customers. We’re usually allowing, like, the master bath, you can have a nice marble or natural stone in the bath and shower. We step it down a little bit in some of the auxiliary bathrooms or guest bathrooms, with a porcelain or a mosaic or something like that.

I think we usually give a nice allowance, but then Crista and her team can really come up with some great designs, and I think that’s where their showroom comes in handy, is they can show people you can take a nice, normal subway tile, and maybe lay it on a herringbone, or an angle, or diamond, or something like that, and really give it a different look, and take an inexpensive tile and make it look good.

Crista:    Exactly. I think that tile is expensive, but there are lots of ways to incorporate beautiful pieces with less expensive pieces, and fit it into your budget.

Greg:    I’m hoping you might be able to share a picture, too, from your showroom on the blog post here? On the podcast?

Crista:    Absolutely.

Greg:    Wonderful.

Jason:    What is, I guess, I don’t want to get too detailed on the pricing, but in your all’s showroom, what do you have, like, from a dollar to $50? What do the price of tiles range from in your showroom?

Crista:    Well, that’s a good question. We try to have something to fit every budget. We have a few things that are low priced, in the $2 to $4 range.

Greg:    You have to help us out here. For those of us who aren’t in the tile business, $2 to $4 per …?

Crista:    Per square foot.

Greg:    Per square foot. Thank you.

Crista:    Most of the nice porcelain tiles are somewhere around $6 a square foot, and then moving into natural stone is somewhere around $10 a square foot.

Jason:    That’s just material you would need to add on to that. What else would you need?

Crista:    There are setting materials. It ranges in price depending on what you are installing, but we can tell you exactly what you need and how much it’s going to cost.

Jason:    Somebody’s looking to do a project, you can kind of give them a nice estimate on, “Hey, if you want to do a marble, that’s going to be X, but if you don’t want to do that, it’s going to be Y”?

Crista:    Exactly.

Jason:    Good to know.

Greg:    If someone’s listening, should they contact you if they want to talk to someone at The Tile Shop? Should they call in just sort of a general number? What’s the best way to reach out and find you?

Crista:    You can always drop by our showroom. We’re at 4515 Shelbyville Road, and we’re open weeknights until 9, Saturdays and Sundays until 6. That’s a great way. You can call and make an appointment. Our phone number is 502-895-5205, or you can send me an e-mail. My e-mail is Crista.Boston@TileShop.com.

Greg:    Wonderful. Thanks so much for coming in today.

Crista:    Thank you for having me.