Country Charm and the Appeal of a Metro Tile

Today, we’re excited to welcome the first in a series of fantastic guest contributors here on the Tile Mountain blog. Carole King is the creator of one of the UK’s most popular interior design blogs Dear Designer as well as the joint Editor in Chief of Heart Home Magazine and today she’s sharing her experience of creating country cottage style in her holiday home in Norfolk. 


It certainly wasn’t love at first sight of the cottage. It was structurally sound, but decoratively, it was sadly neglected. Every room was a sea of magnolia walls, grubby green carpet and cheap nasty pine. Then into the mix, add two broken and dated, black leather sofas. On the plus side, the rooms were a good size, the open-plan layout on the ground floor was perfect for a holiday bolt-hole, and it had a tidy and manageable back patio. But overall inside, it had all the charm of an ex local authority high-rise.

But the view! Even in March, with barren, bare branches, dead weeds, and torrential rain over grey murky water, there was no getting away from it. That view was magnetic. Already in my head I was sitting with my feet up, sipping Prosecco and watching the sun go down over the lake. Swans were drifting by, there was the soft drone of bees and the birds were singing. What could be more relaxing?

Fast forward one year (and a bit) and the fantasy is now a reality. Once I had visualised the outside, the inside became a tangible project-in-the-head too. I had in mind a restful palette of neutrals. Grey, soft white, beige, and sand. Like pebbles on a beach. Comfort was key. Even with a limited budget, it was essential to create an interior that would be as welcoming in winter as it was in the summer months. I wanted to enjoy the inside too, and had yet more visions of curling up on the sofa with a book, or enjoying a hot bubble bath before sinking into a comfy bed. And yet it was a cottage and the look had to be in keeping. Step forward the metro wall tile.


The name of the metro tile of course, originates from the tiles that decorated the walls of the London and New York Undergrounds in the early 1900s. Now very much back in vogue for all types of interiors; from contemporary new-builds, to factory conversions that emphasise their industrial roots, to elegant Georgian rectories. And perfect for a simple country cottage that has no pretensions of being anything else. With its humble beginnings, the glossy, bevelled edged metro tile was always going to be the obvious choice.


But we are in the twentieth century, so grey was chosen for the kitchen – to bring some warmth into the scheme – with contrasting white grout. They perfectly complement the white cupboards, chunky wooden work-top and country-style ceramic sink. Accessories include wooden boards and boxes, wire trays, tin jugs and simple white tableware. All befitting a country kitchen that has been brought up to date.


For the bathroom it had to be white. The colour of cleanliness. The metro tiles were contrasted this time with a dark grey grout that emphasises the brick shape, and ties in with the painted grey panelling and grey shower curtain. Accessories include white French-style ceramics, fluffy towels and black and white checks on the floor.


All designed to tempt the user into a tub full of bubbles before they sink into a comfy bed.


If you love the look of a beautiful and classic metro tile as shown in Carole’s country cottage, why not order a free cut sample from our huge range of colours?

Carole King is an Interior Designer and author of Dear Designer’s Blog where she writes about current trends, shopping tips and anything else that inspires her. She will occasionally share a personal project too. She is also the co-founder and joint EIC of Heart Home Magazine. In her spare time she likes to decorate her own house and country cottage, walk her big dog and re-arrange her friends’ bookcases.

All images copyright Carole King and used with kind permission.