The general consensus of friends and family was that the marble on the left, or the hexagons were the best options. However, I wasn't over the moon about either, they were just the best options I could find in the showroom. I have to keep reminding myself that tile looks so much better once installed and grouted.
Later, I came across the following photo in my Western Living magazine. I LOVED the tile and noticed that the kitchen had a lot of similarities to our kitchen. We also have white cabinets, an open shelf above the sink, clear glass pendant lights over the island, and bookshelves in our island. And we practically have the same faucet, just in chrome rather than a brushed finish. We were even wondering if we should continue the tile above our open shelf or not. This photo sealed the deal for me - I wanted a similar stacked rectangle marble tile, and I wanted it to continue above the open shelf, as it's not a busy pattern.
I tried to track down the source and emailed the designer though Houzz, but didn't get a response so I just started Googling "stacked marble tile." I eventually found a blog (Rambling Renovators) with the photo below, taken at a Saltillo showroom in Toronto.
I asked a local tile distributor to see if they had it. They didn't carry Saltillo, but said they could bring it in for $29/sq. foot. They offered a more affordable substitute - seen below - for $11.95/sq. foot. So much more affordable, but not quite what I had in mind as they were longer rectangles Yes, I'm very particular when I have a vision.
I ended up shopping around to get a few more quotes, (a friend told me that the company that quoted $29/sq. foot is infamous for overcharging) and a local Saltillo distributor was able to bring in the same Saltillo tiles for $17/sq. foot. A significant savings compared to my $29 quote at the other store. Here's one of the samples they gave me - it's Carrera marble.
It turned out that the showroom photo from Rambling Renovators was a picture of Saltillo's Oriental White version of the pattern (the tile at the bottom, below). You can't really see from this photo, but Oriental White turned out to have yellow tones in it, so we decided on the classic Carrera (top of photo). It'll be a nice match with the grey in our island, and the white counters around the perimeter.
So the order has been placed and I've just been told that our shipment has arrived. Our tile guy will be doing some work in the basement early next week, and then he'll tackle the backsplash. I hadn't realized that the kitchen uppers have to be removed to do the tile work, so it's more of an ordeal than I thought. Once it's done, I'll add some photos.
Next up - basement lighting! Most of our fixtures are installed now, I'm just waiting for a shipment from CB2 as the two flush mounts were on back order. I clearly have a knack for choosing out-of-stock items.