Travel & Life Digest

The weekend runaround - Bathroom tiles and grub at the Butcher's

Marlow is proving to be a hotspot for all things to do with home renovation. Over the past month or so, we’ve been looking for bathroom tiles and we find ourselves returning to Marlow to visit Mandarin Stone.

Usually, after a Saturday adequately spent trying to reign in our artistic tendencies with a sobering dose of reality and the effects of financing, we reward ourselves at the Butcher’s Tap in Marlow for a pint, a glass of Malbec and good, old, pub grub.

Butcher's grub - lamb and mint pie with mash, pulled pork hot dog and beer stick. 

I’ve come to realise that tiles make all the difference when it comes to setting the tone for a bathroom. I never gave it much thought to be honest, until it came down to decomposing styles I’ve liked on Pinterest. Then, the world of tiles opened up.

Here are my favourite styles:

New York Concrete - concrete tiles sound harsh but I find them stylish and efficient. They can easily provide an interesting, New York loft look, with black taps and a black iron grid shower screen. Equally, they can be turned to a soft, minimalist canvas for a matching concrete sink, with warm driftwood supporting shelves. We liked the Cemento Light Grey Matt tile from Mandarin Stone.

Light wood effect tiles and concrete sink make for a light room, full of character. Image from via Pinterest. 

Art Deco - a bit more special, easily achieved with black and white floor tiles and white metro wall tiles, or simple dark paint on the wall. It’s elegant, grown up and shows character. We fell in love with it during our stay at the Refinery in New York. It can be easily accented with chrome or gold accessories, such as taps and in-frame vanity. We found a similar look at Topps Tiles (yes you heard that right) with the Carrara Basket Marble Mosaic.

Looking for inspiration - this was our bathroom floor during our stay at the Refinery, where the idea of a focal point, using tiles, was born. 

Scandi - that means different things to different people. In my case it means light, wood effect floor and clean, white tiles laid in staggered brick grid. Coupled with a freestanding sleeper tub, if you have the space, it’s a light and relaxing look. I've got this image of a light wood tripod stool in a corner that makes for the perfect set up for a bath-time chat between sisters, or mothers and daughters, or even end-of-day partner download. We fell in love with the Nomad light at Mandarin Stone.

Chevron with white grout - this is my favourite look, able to demonstrate the dramatic effect that tiles can have. Think of a longish bathroom, using dark chevron tiles on the floor, carrying on, on the facing wall, laid with white grout; then using simple, lighter, larger tiles for the remaining walls. Keywords: grout and chevron. Look for the Fusion Grey Matt Chevron from Mandarin Stone.

Chevron living. Image by Home Wow Decor via Pinterest. 

Here’s a shout out to the team at Topps Tiles in High Wycombe, they’ve been incredibly helpful, patient and a good laugh! Similarly, Mandarin Stone in Marlow have been very attentive and happy to answer our dozens of impromptu questions. We needed the guidance and the time to think out our choices, so thank you.

Saturday early evening comforts at the Butcher's Tap.

As for the Butcher's Tap - here's how immersed in tile-thinking I am at the moment - for someone who was raised in Greece, to walk in a butcher's shop and look at the floor tiles, instead of the gorgeous cuts of meat, translates to a major mental shift in priorities. You are probably laughing, it's true!
As for the grub, it's spot on what you need on an early Saturday evening. The black pudding scotch eggs with the vibrant yolks, the fulfilling porkie pie, the fresh, crunchy piccalilli, all so comforting, just like the black and white floors!

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