With such a myriad of design possibilities, a step into the showroom may seem a bit overwhelming, but experts like Wastrom are there, waiting to greet the customer and help them through the process step by step. Wastrom is quick to emphasize the collaborative nature of the design process. His number-one job is to first listen to what the customer is looking for, whether seeking to match wallpaper or wall-paint color samples, finding tiles for a set of architectural plans, duplicating a cut-out magazine photo, or simply bringing to life a vision in their head. For each customer, he’ll pull samples and educate the homeowner about their options.
Porcelain ($2 to $9 per square foot) is the easiest material to maintain—frost-proof, resistant to moisture, and relatively stain-proof—and tends to be the most popular selection for Cape Codders. “For someone looking to install a worry-free floor in a second home that will look identical to the day it was installed 20 years later, porcelain is the ticket,” Wastrom explains.
Traditional, glazed ceramic tiles ($2-$5 per square foot) are a staple—adorning people’s bathrooms for generations now, Wastrom notes. “While ceramic tile is made from the same clay as porcelain, it is fired at a lower temperature, making the material more prone to moisture collection on the edges.” The tiles are generally sold exclusively in the form of wall tiles, but some are sold as floor tiles for areas with light, residential foot traffic. Tree’s Place also offers locally, hand-painted ceramic tiles ($42 per six inch tile) that can be sent out to a New England painter, who will recreate a family portrait, or unique Cape landscapes for personalized custom orders.