clé tile installation feature: sarah sherman samuel

by clé tile | published: Jun 13, 2024

since clé founder deborah osburn first got her foothold in the design world 30 years ago, she knew she needed to push the boundaries of tile. fast forward to today, and clé is designing and curating some of the most creative tile collections available online. at clé, we push ourselves to imagine and create tile surfaces beyond the standard and expected, and inspiring joy among those who design with our tile is extremely important to us.

while we hope to inspire others with our tile offerings, we have been equally inspired by the creative vision of others.

a tile installation experiment gone right

recently, sarah sherman samuel, a multidisciplinary designer in los angeles, california, (and sometimes grand rapids, michigan) highlighted one of our tile collections that she had used for her own home’s bathroom renovation.

sarah’s first reveal of the design was on instagram last year, where she was flooded with questions about the project. within a month, she saw three other bathroom renovations that mimicked the layout.

using our modern farmhouse brick in white matte, sarah installed an extra-large one-inch grout line horizontally, and a 1/8-inch grout line vertically. she went with tec power grout in “bright white” (a grout known for its stain-resistance and ability to hold form during the application process).

to create the spacing, sarah used one-inch strips of leftover pieces of the terrazzo she had used in other parts of the house. the strips were removed as the thinset cured.

she also used clé tile unglazed zellige 2×2 tiles in natural on the floor, bringing another texture into the mix and creating balance with a warm, neutral tone.

experimentation in action

as any designer knows, a new approach to a tile installation usually gets tested out in their own spaces. for sarah, she wanted to be sure that the tile held up before fully sharing the installation.

the tile layout was an experiment, it is something i had never seen done before. an idea i had that i would only dare try out on my own house, so if it was a failure it would only be my own mess to clean up,” she wrote. “after a year of living with it and the shower getting daily use, i can now speak to how it has held up.

there was no mess to clean up — just accolades to embrace.

inspire. aspire. experiment.

while this design turned out beautifully, sarah also recognized the potential for branching out — while still retaining that simplicity she so endeared.

the idea couldn’t be more simple. another thing i love about this idea is that it could be applied in a million different ways to get drastically different results. it can be applied to different colored tiles, different shapes, different grout ratios, different colored grout (you get the picture) to create entirely new layouts,” she shared. “overall, i am extremely happy with how it turned out and has held up. i hope this helps to inspire new ways of using traditional tile shapes.

inspire. aspire. experiment. it’s the mantra we hope all of our designers revisit when imagining their next project.