Stone World

A statement of modern elegance

July 13, 2011
Carrara marble thin "bricks"
When it came time to furnish the master bath of a newly constructed 5,000-square-foot home in the Upper Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, CA, it was important that the materials were reflective of the high-quality residential design. After careful review, owner John Schrader of Nova Designs + Builds chose thin strips of Carrara marble with varying splitface and smooth surface finishes — manufactured by Voguebay of San Leandro, CA, and supplied by Galleria Tile of San Francisco — to achieve a luxurious bathroom retreat.

“It is an extremely large bathroom with a lot of windows with mirrors facing them,” said Schrader. “We had a lot of visual complexity going on in the room with those elements already. This was the hardest room in the house to deal with.

“I wanted to do a completely covered wall look in tile or stone since it is a high-end home, but I also wanted it to feel calm and inviting,” Schrader went on to say. “I kept looking for material that would be interesting visually. I was looking to break up the large walls with texture instead of different materials. I literally searched the market for months.”

Another challenge of the 300-square-foot master bath design was that the material needed to complement a large, round, cement, soaking tub. “It’s a spectacular piece, but it didn’t lend itself to matching.”

Schrader’s search led him to Carrara marble thin “bricks” by Voguebay that come on mesh-mounted backing. “I’ve used Voguebay glass tiles several times before, but I really liked the look of the marble,” he said. “Voguebay does interesting things with the stone tiles. They are always looking for ways to be innovative and do something different.”

The Carrara marble pieces originally measured 24 x 6 inches, and were pre-matted and fabricated with delicate ½- x 12-inch tiles. They were also given alternating splitfaced and honed finishes. “It really gives the tile motion and movement,” said Schrader.

In total, the entire house was built in seven months. “Everything in the master bath came together, and it became a visual centerpiece,” said Schrader. “The tile helped subdued the tub, and it also helped that we kept everything monochromatic.”