subway tile splurge for vintage character restoration
Photo: Timothy Bell; (tiles) Wendell T. Webber
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Subway Tile: Splurge

Lining station walls in 1904, when New York City subway trains made their maiden voyage, the easy-to-clean, 3-by-6-inch white tile became an instant must-have finish for bathroom walls.

Subway tile has become so ubiquitous that its original appearance has almost been forgotten. The historically accurate ones from Subway Ceramics are inch thick with a flat surface, a square edge, and a glossy white glaze. Coupled with pencil-thin grout lines, they're a dead ringer for vintage subways.

36FT00 3x6 field tile, about $16 per square foot; Subway Ceramics for dealers
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