Stone World

New fitness center design intertwines porcelain and granite

February 8, 2001
The reception counter at Lifestyle Fitness Center in Scarborough, ME, is clad with Dakota Mahogany granite tiles as well as 20- x 20-inch porcelain and granite "logo tiles."


The "logo tiles" were also used on the floor, which is porcelain tile from Crossville Ceramics. These were strategically placed on a different angle within the entryway field tiles.
When Dave and Jeff Ray, brothers/owners of Lifestyle Fitness Centers in Maine, looked to build a new facility in Scarborough, ME, they planned on a very typical material palette, including new counters clad with Corian, carpeted flooring, and basic ceramic tile for the entryway and locker rooms. But after input from a public relations firm in the area, the end result was a high-quality ceramic tile and stone installation using premium materials.

Communicators International, a Portland, ME-based marketing communications firm with a specialty niche in the natural stone and ceramic tile sectors, had been doing a small amount of consulting work for the fitness center's location in Portland. So when the owners sought to build a new 30,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility in nearby Scarborough, the firm recommended large-format porcelain, natural granite, waterjet cutting and high-performance installation materials all be used to create an ultra-modern, ultra-attractive facility.

Initially, the general contractor, Ernie Ray (an uncle), was leery of the waterjet process. To convince him, the Rays met with Randy Stertmeyer, director of sales and marketing of Creative Edge Corp. (now a division of Concept Flooring Group) and received a great deal of education relative to the technique.

The overall design called for large-format porcelain tiles to be installed in the club's entryway and to flow around the front reception/business counter. Empire, a large-format porcelain tile in Crossville's Veranda Stone Collection, was used in a 20- x 20-inch format in the color "Palais Taupe."

The counter was clad both on horizontal and vertical surfaces in 12- x 12-inch Dakota Mahogany tiles from Dakota Granite Co. The club's logo was subsequently waterjet-cut out of this same material by Creative Edge and then inset into the porcelain tiles. These "logo tiles" were then strategically placed on a different angle within the entryway field tiles. They were also set in repeat positions within the "walls" of the granite-clad front counter.

In the locker rooms, vanity/countertops are clad in Dakota Mahogany. All the floors and walls of the shower areas utilize 3- x 3-inch Cross-Colors Mosaics from Crossville in the color "Truffle."

Paul G. White Co. was the tile contractor; with Jonathan White as the project manager. All of the ceramic and stone tiles were installed using high-performance Laticrete installation system materials, including Floor N' Wall Thin-Set Mortar and Grout Admix Plus. "We don't always get the opportunity to work with the state-of-the-art materials and designs that were called for at Lifestyle Fitness Center," White stated. "In particular, we enjoyed combining the Dakota Mahogany and waterjet-cut porcelain tiles to give the front counter such a professional look."