There were several details that made my recent shower project so much fun. Not only was the entire master bath a showplace, but the shower is likely one of the most-used fixtures of the home. It makes sense to make it attractive.
The homeowner had picked out some very nice tile. The walls would be a brick pattern using 12″ tiles with a mosaic stripe of decorative tiles mixed in around chest high. The walls would be capped with some 6″ bronze tiles and large crown pieces. It was my job to lay it all out so that these pieces looked correct and not awkward, especially at the ends.
Before I started laying any tile I spread them all out on the floor to get a sense of how it will work together. I had to measure all the pieces and then work backwards. The bottom piece needed to be cut to the correct height so that the crown at the top was at the right height.
I laid the mosaic tile out on the floor and measured several times until I figured out how to get it so that the ends looked right and I didn’t end up with a weird joint in the middle. I wanted it to look like the tile pattern goes continuously around the corner rather than have two disjointed pieces there. You can see in the picture (right) how I used some of the bottom border pieces to frame the end as well.
The crown and bronze piece at the top gave the entire shower a luxurious quality, though it posed an interesting dilemma for me. How was I going to grout it without filling all of the raised pattern with chunks of misplaced grout? The answer was to use a grout bag. If you’ve ever decorated a cake, your experience might help with this. It’s basically a bag filled with grout that is squeezed through the tip into the joint. It lets you ‘aim’ the grout and keep from getting it everywhere. It’s often used when filling large stone walkways or times when you need to be exact with where the grout ends up. It worked great for my shower cap as well.
I decided to ‘miter’ the top corners to make the crown more of a border to frame the bronze pieces. This also helped me to get the bronze pieces to lay out correctly. All of this has to be thought of ahead of time to make the layout work.
There are a couple more tricks to making this shower come together. I’ll cover that in my next post…