Powder Room Pebbles

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“The beauty of Zen is found in simplicity and tranquility, in a sense of the all-embracing harmony of things.”

~ Thich Thien-An

Zen. Tranquil. Simple. This was the state I was trying to achieve when I remodeled our downstairs bathroom. Less was more, and I didn’t want to clutter the small room. However, I still desired a certain pop. A floor-to-ceiling pebble wall instead of a traditional tile backsplash achieved all of these goals.

Pebble tile is available at most tile stores and online as well. Pebble tile is sold as a mosaic, with individual pebble stones attached to a mesh backing, usually in 12×12 squares. The edges are patterned to fit together like interlocking puzzle pieces–what could be simpler? You can also simply use scissors to cut out stones if you need to fit the tile around something, say, a light fixture.

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Application of the pebble mosaic is simple, too. Using a notched trowel, spread thinset on the wall to cover enough area for a row of the 12×12 mosaics. Place the square of pebble tile, pressing it until the thinset oozes slightly through the mesh backing. Wipe off any thinset from the pebbles. Hold it there for a minute or two until it feels set. Then simply add the next mosaic, fitting it in like a puzzle piece.

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Allow the thinset to dry for at least 24 hours. Then, it’s time to grout. Use a rubber float to spread grout over the pebbles, making sure to push it completely in and around each individual stone. I won’t lie–this can be tedious! Use a damp cloth or sponge to remove excess grout from the face of the pebbles. A dry cloth works well to buff off any haze that forms as the grout begins to dry. Since my wall was functioning as a backsplash, I sealed it with a matte clear sealant a week later to protect it from water.  A waterfall faucet and sage green wall paint work in concert with the pebbles to mimic the harmony found in nature.  Zen.

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