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clé tile Installation Feature: Sarah Sherman Samuel Shares Her Bathroom Renovation

When clé's founder Deborah Osburn first started in the design world 30 years ago, she knew experimentation and pushing the boundaries of tile was necessary for creating something special.  

Fast forward to today, where designing and curating the most creative tile collections is only half of clé Tile's design goals. At clé, we push ourselves to imagine and create tile surfaces beyond the standard vision of tiles. This is always at the forefront of our thinking. Inspiring and providing the creative impetus for some of the best design minds out there is important to us. 

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


Samuels’ bathroom floor uses clé natural zellige made only of earth and water, making an organic connection to the great outdoors on view

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. What followed was a response she never expected, particularly because of the project’s seeming simplicity (note: there’s quite a difference between “simple” and “simplicity”). Sarah’s Instagram post was flooded with questions, wondering about the project. Within a month she saw three other bathroom renovations that mimicked the layout.

We say to forget the tile “rules” and get creative. the results of such creativity? one of the most requested, commented and coveted installs we have ever seen


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. 

Simple Idea with Room to Grow

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.


Without the use of color, Samuels created a dramatic space full of texture and interest by using tile as the key design element of the space


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. 

To read Sarah’s full blog, visit her Stories page.


Both close-up and from a distance, Samuels’ unique wall tile installation goes beyond grout joint size, creating a grid that fills the entire space with subtle pattern


shop modern farmhouse brick



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