Subway Tile: Will It Become the Next Great Trend?

Until last week I had never heard of subway tile. (No, I don’t live under a rock.) While perusing a kitchen remodeling magazine, I came across the mention of subway tile used as a kitchen backsplash in a renovated 1930s home. So I did a little research and found that these primarily brick-shaped tiles were used for manysubway-2.jpg years as wall covering in subway stations, as well as in kitchens and bathrooms in Victorian homes. Their use began around 1895 and lasted for over 40 years, until they fell out of popularity in the 1940s. Unlike standard modern tile with the subtle rolled edge and rounded corners, these subway tiles are completely flat with squared edges. While the standard size is a 3″ x 6″ rectangular tile, square, round, and hexagonal tiles of different sizes are also available, and your color choices are numerous. You can find subway tiles online at, American Restoration Tile, and Luxe Tile, or recycled subway tiles at Natural Built Home (see photo below).

So, today’s Daily Stat leader, an upscale remodeled Edwardian with a seemingly primo address in an alley in Hayes Valley (San Francisco), mentioned that the “luxury bath” had subway tile. Unfortunately you cannot see it very well, as it is in the shower and completely white. But sure enough, there it is. While this one bedroom, one bath flat TIC has been completely renovated, the one area that is lacking, in my cook’s estimation, is the kitchen. In fact, I have a hard time even calling this a kitchen. It looks like an upscale kitchenette at a resort or hotel. Barely enough counter space to roll out my cinnamon rolls or for my KitchenAid mixer and cupcake ingredients. But if you aren’t into that sort of thing, then this is a very nice option. At $439,000, it is in move-in condition,subway.jpg complete with subway tiled shower enclosure.

So what do you think about subway tile? Overpriced? Not flashy enough? Incongruent with ranch-style homes? The next great thing in home remodeling?

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