(Floor) tile patterns

We're laying tile throughout most of the living areas (not bedrooms, carpet is warmer on bare feet!). I think the tiles are 14 or 16" square (not keen on unwrapping a pallet to measure).
I'll be laying them "diagonally" so the grout lines are at 45 degree angles to the walls (regardless of *which* wall!).
As the house will effectively be one continuous stretch of tile, where you *start* plays a key role in what the final result is like!
We have a bedroom hallway down the center of the house that is a couple/three feet wide. I suspect having the tiles *centered* in that hallway will be the most visually appealing -- it would be too noticeable if they were offset in any way (small space means small discrepancies are very noticeable).
we have two other major "sight lines" perpendicular to this hallway. One is a "virtual hallway" (a view through several doorways/walkspaces -- even though there is a wall on only one side of this virtual space) of similar dimension. The other is a larger, "open" hallway (again, with only one wall but much wider space).
My thinking is to create a centerline down the bedroom hallway and another centerline for this "virtual hallway". Where they intersect, lay the "key" tile. So, eventually, a "row of diamonds" travels directly down the center of each of these "narrow" hallways/sightlines.
Everything else will just end up whereever the tiles end up laying (can't interrupt the pattern).
This makes the wide hallway a little less than ideal (the "diamonds" wouldn't be exactly centered owing to the dimensions of walls/rooms). But, it's a much wider space so hopefully not as noticeable "off center" as it would be in the narrower hallways.
It also makes the front entrance a bit wonky; the tiles again not lining up nicely in that space, centered on the doors, etc.
I've been playing with alternatives using a CAD model of the house floorplan (so, I can move the "grid" of tiles around and see what they will look like relative to the walls and openings) which is how I've discovered these compromises.
Is there some rule of thumb that governs how folks pick the point for the "first" tile (even if it is not laid first)? Or, do they just start anywhere and not worry about the outcome? (cover it with a throw rug!)
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Don Y wrote:

Yes and lay it first. One tries to make the edge (cut) tiles as large as possible. One first lays out horizontal and vertical centerlines (or, in your case, 90 degree diagonals), then dry lays to determine the starting point (which should be center out) for both directions. The possibilities for both directions are tile center on line or tile edge on line; it is entirely possible that tiles along the horizontal line will be one choice and the vertical the other.
That means that one treats each area as a separate entity which is not what you want to do and which is IME and IMO a HUGE mistake. It is virtually assured that you will wind up with untenable, unworkable situations. Much better to treat each area as separate and lay the tiles to conform to that area, using some sort of transition between areas.
In my case, the whole house is 12x12 Saltillo. I used two types of transitions...one was square layed against diagonal but most were small pieces (2" x 6") at the opening of one room to another, regardless of whether there was a door at that opening or not..
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On 2/11/2016 5:57 AM, dadiOH wrote:

"vertical" and "horizontal" being "front to back" (of house) and "side to side", etc.

In my case, I can do all of that "thinking" on paper/CAD so I know how the tiles will lay *throughout* the house, based on an "initial tile placement".

I don't understand. You seem to be saying two different things: "treats each area as a separate entity which is not what you want to do and which is IME and IMO a HUGE mistake" suggests I want to treat the *entire* floor as a single entity (that just happens to have an odd shape) "treat each area as separate and lay the tiles to conform to that area, using some sort of transition between areas" suggests that I'm NOT treating the entire floor as a single "area"/entity but, rather, treating the kitchen as one, family room (which flows into the kitchen) as another, dining room (which flows into kitchen from the *other* side) as yet another, living room (which opens into dining room) as still another, along with the hallways that border each of these "areas".
[House is very "open". E.g., I can stand on the spot where I've proposed locating this "key tile" and see into all of the rooms that will be tiled -- with the exception of the guest bathroom (the front door wouldn't be visible but the entry foyer would!). I.e., there are no thresholds anywhere.]

<frown> I think that would chop up the spaces too much, visually. E.g., as I stand in the dining room and look towards the kitchen, my eye wants to keep traveling along that "virtual hallway" *through* the kitchen, past the peninsula and into the family room. Putting artificial "transitions" seems like it cuts everything into rooms when the "space" doesn't really suggest it.
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On 02/11/2016 8:47 AM, Don Y wrote: ...

You elided the part that ended the first sentence of the paragraph, had an intermediary one and then began the last with "Much better to..." as the alternative.

It all depends on how open really is "open" and what happens in the areas that "aren't so much". We don't have the floorplan, only can suggest what general guidelines there are.
The message from dadiOH is to be very cautious in trying to do the entire house including transition areas and what hallways and smaller areas there are as a single unit. That it _can_ be done, sure, but there's a pretty good likelihood there will be some areas that just don't work really well on that layout irregardless of the starting location.
But, you'll have to judge on the specifics of the precise floorplan as it exists. At least you are attempt to model it although i'd also _strongly_ recommend for these odd areas you actually do some layout of the proposed arrangement before committing as well, even if you think it looks ok from the CAD perspective drawings...
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Don Y wrote:

That's what you said you wanted to do..."As the house will effectively be one continuous stretch of tile,..."

I am suggesting that treating each area (room) as a separate entity and laying the tile in that area in a manner that conforms to that particular area.

I can stand in the western most room in my house and see almost 100' to the most eastern room. There are no thresholds anywhere except at the entry doors. Nevertheless, there are demising walls between the rooms, some of which have passage doors and some of which do not.

You have two choices...
1. Treat each room/corridor as separate and lay the tile as best suits that space using some sort of transition between areas..
2. Do as you suggest and live with the areas that have teensy-tiny tiles along one edge, very large ones along the opposite edge. You would also most likely have to enjoy wobbly grout lines; the longer the course the more difficult it is to keep spacing between tiles the same and straight.
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On 2/11/2016 9:04 AM, dadiOH wrote:

Yes.

Yes, understood (long day yesterday: pulling wirer, hanging wallboard, juicing oranges and preparing for a furniture delivery. Should have taken a nap somewhere in all that. Sorry!)

In our case, dining room and living room are effectively the same room (the demarcation is a step DOWN into the living room as it is sunken). The ~15 ft "wall" between the dining room and living room does not exist. Likewise, the ~20 ft wall separating the living room from the adjoining WIDE hallway does not exist. Nor the wall that would separate it from the entry foyer.
The kitchen and family room are separated by a (counter) "peninsula". So, no wall there, either. (living+dining = kitchen+family in terms of sizes). The bedroom hall juts off perpendicular to these (LR/DR/K/FR fill the western half of the house with the bedrooms along the east side; narrow bedroom hallway protruding into them).
The "key tile" in my description lies where these come together: at the border of the dining and living rooms (alongwhich the wide hallway rides) but where the (narrow) hallway juts off.

The CAD drawing shows that there aren't any "teensy-tiny" tiles in the layout. For the most part, the sizes of the "triangular tiles" on one wall are roughly the same as on the opposite walls (in those areas that have opposing walls). The area with the most pronounced "small tiles" is the narrow hallway -- simply because it is narrow and setting the tiles on a diagonal, CENTERED forces the edges to have smaller pieces; setting the tiles SQUARE (aligned with the walls) would have made the area look like there are fewer *pieces*.
[Tiles are 18"; I "asked" the CAD drawing. So, diagonal is a bit more than 25 inches across -- only leaves ~12 inches to *split* between the two sides]

I was going to use the little spacers between them, fitted dry. I can put chalk snaplines on the concrete floor to keep the opposing CORNERS on line.
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Don Y wrote:

What happens to the chalk lines when you put down the thinset? Get a few layed correctly, then use a long straight edge.
BTW, I didn't mention it but you need to mind lippage too.
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On 2/11/2016 12:52 PM, dadiOH wrote:

I don't intend on applying more than a few tiles at a time. So, easy to sight from those laid to the chalk line just up ahead: this corner goes here, the next corner goes in line with the chalkline EXPOSED some ~27 inches away.
Can likewise use my laser to replicate the chalk line 1 inch above the floor...

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