Cement Tiles

One color pattern of 4 tiles

One color pattern of 4 tiles

CEMENT tiles look cool with modern or antique furniture

CEMENT tiles look cool with modern or antique furniture

In our old palazzo we have beautiful cement tiles that we were able to preserve. For our new project we were thinking of having cement tiles too. But the ones we have are no longer produced anywhere. However, as one can observe, another kind of cement tiles are very popular nowadays, especially crazy tile mixes can be seen everywhere. The pattern that are popular are probably Moroccan origin and are very hip in America and Southeast Asia. There are factories in the States and in Spain that produce them, but not in Italy. Since we see them allover in Bangkok (in the newly opened EM Quatier I would say 1/3 of the restaurants use Mediterranean cement tiles and crazy tile mixes) we found a factory here that produces beautiful cement tiles with classic pattern. We went to an architects fair and were in heaven at the BEZZ booth.  

2 color 1 tile pattern

2 color 1 tile pattern

5 color 4 tile pattern 

5 color 4 tile pattern 

Should we really import for our project in Italy Mediterranean cement tiles made in Thailand? I was searching for producers in Sicily, but it does not seem that any Italian factory is still specialized in real cement tiles with a good choice of pattern. We were told that cement tiles are so delicate, even more than terracotta tiles, that customers turned to other products, porcelain tiles or wood. Cement tiles need constant care, mainly waxing and special cleaning products. Therefore cement tiles should not be used in wet area, not in bathrooms and even not in kitchens, we were told.

When we were in Italy, fake wood was allover the showrooms. It seems very popular and actually looks great. Should we use that in the kitchen? The only Sicilian company that offered products close to what we were looking for never replied to my email inquiry. Probably their hand made tiles would cost us a fortune anyway in comparison to the amazing Thailand tiles that are just 30 Euro per square meter! Sigh, I would really like to support Italian economy and have Sicilian tiles in my Calabrian home. 

After having visited the fair in Bangkok and having found the factory's showroom and discussing pattern and color, and finding out the amount of sqm we would need, and having confused Angelo about the floor preparation, two weeks later we finally came up with a decision for two patterns.

pattern for entrance and small bedroom

pattern for entrance and small bedroom

pattern for living room and other small bedroom

pattern for living room and other small bedroom

Then a day later, I visited the new EM Quarter in Bangkok and - what a coincidence - most tiles on the new restaurants' floors looked very familiar to me and indeed were by that factory we had discovered. Shockingly, in one restaurant they were in a terrible state. I had seen the same scratches and cracks in the showroom before, but ignored it as I thought it's impossible what I see. These tiles had black marks allover and cracks. Black shoes and moving chairs seemed to leave black scratches. A lot. I went home and told my husband, that I have made a new decision. No imported tiles. It is a total different quality from what we have in our 200 year old house. 

There must be another quality of tiles that you see allover Pinterest. They are used in shops, in restaurants, in highly frequented area, and they can't be that high maintenance. The Spanish factory is about three times the price and probably delivers more durable quality than the Thai production. But I need to see tiles and touch them before I can order. I have nothing to do with Spain. Thailand was just an option since we live here.

Why can't an Italian company just jump in and pick up the trend? But wait! Bisazza does now cement tiles! They are not the joyful elaborated Moroccan patterns and colors we were looking for. Bisazza's tiles have larger scale geometrical designs and mainly opaque colors. Cement tiles with a modern twist. And very Italian! 

bisazza cement tiles

bisazza cement tiles

bisazza cement tiles

bisazza cement tiles


Maybe we should stress the budget for those Bisazza tiles?!

I can't believe we are back to zero. Feeling kind of disappointed if we would go for the good old oak panels. At least that kind of floor would not distract from the stunning sea views!


Resource Links for Renovating and Decorating

For our references I collected resource links which can be helpful and inspring when renovating and decorating, including some local sources:

You might be interested in bathroom related posts on Palazzo Pizzo


You might also like all kitchen related posts on Palazzo Pizzo


You also might like Palazzo Pizzo's furniture posts.





You might be interested in all posts about flooring and tiles on Palazzo Pizzo


You might like lighting related posts on Palazzo Pizzo


Please note: this is my personal resource link list that I compiled during our project (I have not received any money from any company for any text link above, and there is no affiliate link in that list).

(updated September 2013)

Before and After: How a tiny 2,6 m2 overhanging Toilet became a pretty Kids Bathroom

A bit over a year ago, I was planning the tiny overhanging bathroom that measures 1,4 m x 1,9 m (2,66 m2). Originally it was just an "outhouse" with a toilet, a bidet and a sink. But we wanted to install a shower - in order to have an "en suite bathroom" for our son's room.

And I have to say, I am really happy with the outcome!

tiny kids bathroom 2,6 m2

I had told Angelo (our "capo" and my father-in-law) that his grandson would like to have a "green" bathroom. And, that I like "subway" tiles. I designed the tiling for the floor and the walls. Angelo over exceeded our expectations by adding a stucco ceiling (that was not there originally)!

Since the sink is right below the window - where you have a nice view in the neighbours garden and over the sea - we needed to have the mirror installed beside the window.

Our young son does not use a mirror so far... So, I do not know whether this beauty mirror is too small or not. But it looks nice! It has the right size for this bathroom.

shower area 80 x 80 cm

If you wonder why we have a rain shower installed in such a small bathroom, then because we probably made a mistake when ordering the shower equipment back in China, where we were living at some point - a couple of years before this bath renovation.

But we were lucky, it just matches the height.

  small compact toilet
For the sink, I researched online the different sizes available for different models. At the end I choose a Duravit Strack 3 model, they have a lot of options. It is important for a small area to choose the largest possible sink - as it is a hassle to wash hands in a sink that is too small.

I even asked Angelo to sit down on the toilet (that was already delivered) and measure the space between his knees and the wall to make sure, there is still enough space between toilet and sink.

The two short blue tubes that stick out of the wall next to the toilet are the pre-installation for a water spray. In Italy it is common to use bidets in private bathrooms. But with the installation of the shower we really had no more space for a bidet. So we opted for the space saving water spray - yet to come.

The floor tiles are layed diagonally in order to optically strech the room.

"spider" shower curtain holder and "fish" hooks
In a shop in Vibo Valentia, we found these green "fish" hooks. There were only two left and I bought them. Angelo fixed them behind the bathroom door. In another shop I found the "spider" that is a space saving Italian solution for hanging the shower curtain.

And here is the old bathroom, BEFORE renovation, as we found it when we bought the house:

BEFORE toilet with bidet
The toilet itself was also very tiny before and squeezed into the left corner. The bidet was eliminated for our new bathroom layout. The sink was moved below the window to give space on the right corner for a small shower.

BEFORE renovation
The only thing that was bigger in this bathroom before the renovation and became smaller after the renovation, is the window! Strangely, the window frame is so massive that the new window is much tinier. Well, these are things you encounter when renovating, whether you are on site or thousand of miles away.

"outhouse" or overhanging bathroom
Our palazzo is over 200 years old, and at that time an outhouse toilet was common in European cities. You can still sea the remains on the side of many palazzi in Italy. But of course the toilets nowadays are linked to the public canalisation.

The Living Room is Coming

living area flooring done

The installation of the parquet (natural oak) is done for the piano terra (ground floor). Angelo handled it all by himself, day by day. Last night he sent me the picture with sofas without legs.

I just replied that the wooden flooring looks fantastic. Sofas look a bit bulky for our small living area ;-) and not too bad without legs. But legs can be found in the white Santa Fe tool box in the yellow guest room. It is coming along!

A Bathroom Vision in Blue

A dream of a bathroom! How colours can change the atmosphere! Actually it is not just painted blue walls, it is spatulato, a Venetian technique for making painted walls shine like marble.

a vision in blue

blue and pearl grey wall colour harmonizes two different pattern of Vietri tiles on wall and floor

the lighter blue of the ceiling matches one hue of the wall tiles

the wall paint reduces the strong contrast (see before here and here)

stucco borders frame the painted areas

view from above (while painting the ceiling)

beautiful perspective of a blue bathroom dream

A "specialist worker" waxing the surface of spatolato finish in order to obtain a surface similar to polished marble.

Bath room with spectacular sea view

I wish I could be there! I have not seen it in reality yet. I only have these photos for now and have to wait for summer. 

What a dream in blue!

Grazie Angelo!! You are becoming the new Michelangelo with this project! Thank you for choosing the right blue and for spending so much time on the spatulato technique.