Thursday 29 August 2013

Your Guide To Choosing The Perfect Grout....

It's so easy to spend all your effort picking out the perfect tile but remember to give equal emphasis to which grout you're going to use. The grout colour is immediately noticeable and becomes a very definite part of the character of the end look. 

Although the tiles you choose will, of course, go a long way in creating the look you love, hex tiles are so small that the choice of grout is particularly important. Don't be overwhelmed by the dazzling array of options. Think of it as three basic choices....

The white grout route...yes, pale grouts initially look classic and light....

...but, even with the best of intentions, little bits of, ahem, dirt, will gradually darken the grout...especially in high traffic areas. Don't be fooled by pretty pictures!

The dark grout...

classic white bungalow bathroom!  I want the tile in matte white with dark grey or black grout to make it look like this!

...which, on the plus side, should hide the build-up of inevitable dirt and grime, but may fade over time, particularly if you use strong bathroom cleaners.

The last choice, and my own favourite, is the mid-colour range, notably shades of grey, greige and brown.

White subway tile with honeycomb floor tile - want taupe/chocolate grout

These grouts are dark enough to hide dirt but light enough to resist fading. Try any of Mapei's Ultracolour Plus Grey shades.

*Due to limitations in the printing process and computer screen variations, colours should be taken as merely indicative of the of the shades of the actual product

Grouting is not a step to skimp on because cheap grout can considerably lessen the length of the floor's life. Regrouting is not a pleasant job, which is why we went with Mapei grout. 

However, grout should also have an aesthetic function: to frame and enhance your tile. If you prefer to highlight individual tiles then pick out a contrasting grout, just like this next image. 

marble hex tile floor

If you want your eye to focus on the floor as a cohesive whole, choose a grout that matches the colour of your tiles. See how the tiles below have become the central feature?


We have a marble hex tile in our shower room, and used Mapei Ultracolour Plus Grout in Manhattan. (You can follow Mapei on twitter @mapeiukltd and Facebook. More product information can be found at

Manhattan is a subtle grey with hints of greige, it highlights the gentle veining of the marble, and draws the whole floor together.


Images: Mine, Sound Tile Installation, Old House Online, Houzz, Mapei, For The Love Of Brooklyn, Houzz, Mine

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Friday 23 August 2013

How To Source Great Products At A Great Price!

Here, as promised, is my checklist to help you source the loveliest products at the best prices.

It's NOT as easy as just picking the very cheapest. No, my friends, that would be the oldest trick in the book. Sometimes, sometimes, you'll hit jackpot, and the cheapest company will also be the best. But, it can be a complete minefield so I thought I'd put together a little checklist to help you track down the best buys for your home.

1) Do a Google Search for your product, using their Shopping tab. This will compare the prices of the same product from loads of different retailers and does a lot of the hard work for you. In this case, I was looking for our gorgeous Burlington High Level WC.

2) There are often a few shops who are selling at similarly low prices. Be warned. Some of these are cowboys. There are horror-stories a-plenty about customers who have been sent faulty goods with ne'er a comeback. Lots of retailers came up in my search but this helped to narrow down the better prices.

3) PHONE their customer services number. This is essential. Mistakes happen, and if the worst comes to the worst and you need to sort out an issue (which happens with even the best of intentions) then you need quick, easy and efficient human contact. Some of the companies didn't even have a telephone number but I was most impressed with Victorian Plumbing, who answered promptly, were helpful and offered good advice. They've got a large range of lovely traditional toilets, including the exact Burlington High-Level Traditional Toilet I was looking for.

4) Google the name of the company. Very often, forums will throw up some interesting conversations about certain companies to avoid, and conversely, companies to leap aboard! Review sites like Trustpilot are also worth checking out.

5) Buy with confidence! Our products arrived quickly 
and in perfect condition. In fact, we were so pleased that we ordered the taps and sink from Victorian Plumbing too. Hurrah! 

Can you think of any more points to add to this list? 
Add them in the comments box, or join in over on Facebook.

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Wednesday 21 August 2013

Our Gorgeous Hexagonal Marble Mosaic Floor

I'll be honest: when we were first planning the shower room, I had concerns about how I was going to persuade Mr Modern Country to agree to the installation of the floor of my dreams. 

As I was saying in my last post, my grandmother had hexagonal mosaic floor tiles in her bathroom, and I've always longed for some of my own. In keeping with the luxurious hotel-spa feel that I wanted for this room, the marble option was whispering my name.

However, 'quality marble' and 'very cheap indeed' aren't phrases you hear together very often. In fact, despite their enormous popularity in the US, small marble hexagonal tiles are pretty tricky to track down in the UK. Believe me, I searched high and low and then some!

And here, my friends, is where I struck gold! The other retailer I tracked down with a similar product sold them at over £18 per sheet!
Our Blanco Hexagon tiles from Walls and Floors were a total snip at £6.45 per 29cm x 28.5 sheet.


I am besotted with these marble lovelies. They bring character to this new area of our house in absolute spades. From the moment they arrived, I couldn't stop staring at their deliciously varied surface. 
I chose a matt white colour but each individual tile has a slight shift in tone.

And I'll let you into a secret, this makes having a very pale floor a dream to keep looking sparkling. {I can hear you breathing a collective sigh of relief!}

They bring so much light in to the room. The brightness and the very slight variation in level of the small tiles bounces the light around at almost miraculous levels. 

I'm often asked how to source good quality products at great prices, so I'm putting together a checklist for you....coming up soon!

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Monday 19 August 2013

MCS loves.....hexagonal mosaic tiles

I've had a thing for hexagonal mosaic floor tiles since I was a little girl. My grandmother had them on the floor of her bathroom, and I always thought they looked the height of period sophistication. {Though you'll be glad to know that I didn't speak like that when I was 3.}

Take a look at these gorgeous images of bathrooms using different kinds of hexagonal mosaic tiles, and try and tell me you don't agree!

Tiled floor

Carrara Bathroom

#carrara #marble #bathroom

#bathroom remodel inspiration. This East Village bath by Own Entity features a classic New York charm, from the subway-tiled walls to the hexagon tile floors. Photo by Sean Karns.

Absolutely love the bath and hexagonal tiled blue floor, the brick feature on the back wall and beige shower curtains work so well together

bathrooms - claw foot tub beveled mirror porcelain sink chrome base white carrara marble hexagon tiles floors polished chrome faucet sconces wainscoting mirrored table bathroom

Suzie: LA Times - Bianco carrara marble hexagon tile bathroom floor and white and black bath ...

Bathroom Tile

There's huge variations possible as carefully chosen mosaic materials, as well as grout colours make a big different to the final look. 

I can't wait to share our new floor in the shower room. 
You'll see why it makes my li'l Modern Country heart sing!

Images via Nicety, unknown, HomeDecorLab, OpulentMinimalistLifestyler, Sara Di Maio, TileShop, Remodelista, DecorPad, A Whole Lotta Love, LA Times, Houzz

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Thursday 15 August 2013

What to wear: My favourite wellies!

Welcome to another Modern Country Style fashion post
....with a very practical twist!

These Pink Heart wellies by Emma Bridgewater are exactly what I've been after for our trips out, where we often need to cross fields. Never an easy task in stilletos!

Top: Next; Hat: Monsoon; Short: H and M; Belt: Debenhams; Boots: Emma Bridgewater; Sunglasses: Beach Shop
I've been on the look out for pretty wellington boots (still necessary even in this hotter weather to protect ankles and shins from brambles) that can be worn with flirty summer skirts or, somewhat more practical to sit on the grass and make daisy chains, these denim shorts. 

It's one of the things I adore about the summer holidays, spending masses of time outdoors, particularly with this unfathomably warm weather we've been having.

My Emma Bridgewater Pink Hearts welly boots will be accompanying me on a regular basis. 
I'm absolutely crazy about them....Perfectly Modern Country!

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Monday 12 August 2013

What To Wear: Relaxing Outside

Isn't this ongoing weather amazing? I do believe it calls for a Modern Country Fashion post...or two...about spending the last of these summer days outside!

Rain Coat: Emma Bridgewater; Top: New Look; Jeans: Next; Boots: Clarks; Sunglasses: Boots

I'm just loving the long golden rays of mellow evening sunlight. And I can think of nothing nicer to celebrate those same rays than sitting al fresco in the garden, with a gang of besties, a jug of chilled Pimms, or steaming mugs of chai, and gossiping the night away.

Now its August (can you believe it? Where has this year gone already?), the nights are starting to creep inexorably towards darker, cooler evenings, which means no more sitting out in little vest tops.

Yes, the later hours might be chillier but I still want to stay outside and chat till the wee hours, which is where this Emma Bridgewater Black Toast raincoat takes centre-stage. Several people have asked recently which are my favourite Emma Bridgewater designs. Black Toast is definitely right up there. Classic and timeless, I'm hoping this rain coat will still look good when I'm ninety!

It folds up into a li'l pocket - old-school cagoule-style - but whips out at a moment's notice to create a rather lovely Mary Quant-esque look., and, with its ingenious drawstring round the waist, gone are the shapeless and hideously unflattering macs of the past.

Now, who's for another glass of Pimm's?

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