Grout: A Design Element?

Sept. 15, 2015
<p><em>Sponsored by Bostik</em></p>

Sponsored by Bostik

One architectural designer thinks so, and has incorporated it as a major component on her firm's projects.

Over the last two decades, Dee Dee Taylor Eustace certainly has earned her stripes. The Toronto-based, certified architect/interior designer/builder not only creates award-winning projects ranging from contemporary hospitality resorts to classic custom homes, but also makes it a point to be on-site from the initial groundbreaking right up until owners are delivered their new buildings’ keys. “I like to be hands-on,” she said.

Her work, which includes a hardcore commitment to making sure absolutely nothing is ever less than outstanding, has not gone unnoticed. A regular on Canadian television, she has also been featured stateside on episodes of HGTV, and as a guest on Oprah. Additionally, she is the author of Dee Dee’s Rules, an e-book offering 366 interior design and architectural rules, one for each day of the year.

Her philosophy is very straightforward. Prior to any project, Eustace looks to the task, studies the history of both the area and the building (if it is a renovation), and then considers proportion and scale. She wants her subsequent work to exude timeless elegance, but also to be iconic and re-define style.

A recent project mirroring this philosophy was the renovation of a stately 7,000-square-foot brownstone, located in Yorkville, Toronto’s upscale district. Adjacent to the “Mink Mile,” (one of the world’s ten most exclusive shopping locales) the architect/designer was able to put her personal stamp on every phase of this major construction makeover. This included beaucoup creativity using the larger format, high-end tile and stone material that was specified.

“The overall design theme for the interior consisted of a classic black-and-white palette that was used throughout the home, which was originally built in the 1930s,” said Eustace.

For certain living areas, the tiles selected were black 24” x 24” Black Absolute Granite, combined with the same-sized white Caesarstone Mini Crystal, an exquisite engineered stone material.

“The overall effect of bringing these two materials together at first glance was outstanding. But, I wanted something even more. In particular, to show depth. This ‘something more’ was achieved by using Bostik’s grey Dimension RapidCure Grout. The product consists of 60% recycled micro glass bead content. So even though the floor’s grout joints are very thin, by bringing this product together with the black-and-white tile combination, something very nouveau has happened,” explained Dee Dee. “The stone floor material is sleek and gleaming to begin with. Dimension, because it is glass-filled, allows light to pass though it. This contributes an additional brightening sparkle, creating the rare illusion of a floor that appears to float right to the wall.”

Eustace added that too many people within the A&D community view grout as a commodity product, a tile installation necessity taken for granted to be readily available from the back of a contractor’s truck. “Dimension is different as not only does it offer unbelievable performance characteristics,” she said, “it provides designers the autonomy to create beautiful, shimmering, and translucent, one-of-a-kind interior surfaces.”

The vibrant black-and-white checkerboard design treatment continued through all bathrooms throughout the brownstone. The same large format tiles were installed on the showers’ floors, walls, and even ceilings.

For the kitchen, rugged porcelain tile with a white ‘wood look’ was specified. “My rationale was to create a connection with the past, and a salute to the future,” Eustace said. "Dimension Grout was used for all the tile work. I truly believe this product has given me a fantastic opportunity to showcase my skill set."

Mike Jenkins, business director, and Scott Banda, director of marketing for Bostik’s consumer and construction business unit, traveled together to Toronto, meeting with Dee Dee Taylor Eustace to see some of her projects firsthand. “Her work is very professional, right down to the most finite detail,” said Jenkins. “We are delighted with the highly creative ways Dee Dee is using Dimension and can’t wait to see how she incorporates it for more of her inspired ventures moving forward.”

“Top architects and designers are now referring to Dimension as 'another great design component.’ Up until now, this was unheard of in the grout world,” added Banda. “Equally important, contractors love it. Dimension gives them an opportunity to up-sell, while cutting grouting time by one-third to one-half and ultimately delivering true works of tile art. With Dimension RapidCure, everybody wins."

Dee Dee Taylor Eustace has a very specific recipe for her principles of design. It includes the mixing together of three basic ingredients: pure joy, aesthetics, and old fashioned rigor. “I have a great passion for the way my architectural designs look,” she said. “But how they function and how they endure the test of time, are just as important to me. What goes under the floor is just as essential as what is seen on the surface. Design-enhancing grout now positively affects today’s designs. That’s why I’m a firm believer that grout is indeed a necessary design element.”

Sponsored Recommendations

Kirei releases 5 new PET colors that embrace authenticity and radiate positivity

Kirei's latest innovation is five new PET colors: Butter, Cayenne, Dusk, Mint and Nutmeg.

Gallery: i+s Shares 7 of the Best Collaborations in Product Design

Matches made in heaven. These are some of the best collaborative masterpieces we've seen for 2024, thus far.

More Experts Sound Off on the EC3

As a follow-up to our Jan/Feb feature, here are two professionals offering up their own how-tos on using the EC3 calculator to understand your project’s footprint and climate ...

Exploring Digital Design Tools with Armstrong's Nate Baxter

In this episode, Armstrong's Nate Baxter discusses how digital tools like 3D Revit models and digital twins can help project teams overcome pain points to collaboration.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of I+S Design, create an account today!