Adjacent to the Washington Convention Center and Marriott Marquis Convention Hotel in Washington, D.C. is a newly constructed 12-story, mixed-use development, consisting of a dual-brand convention center hotel, Marriott Residence Inn and Marriott Courtyard, and residential component. The project, which involved an extensive team of developers and design professionals, included the adaptive reuse of eight existing historic buildings.

A Civil War-era townhouse, dubbed “The 911 Building,” was moved along a 40-foot skate system and incorporated into the hotel as a high-end board meeting room. Six other row houses maintained their historical facades and were incorporated into the design as hospitality suites and restaurants.

The 422,000-square-foot hotel, which officially opened in November 2018, contains 504 guestrooms — 357 at the Courtyard and 147 at the Residence Inn — as well as various onsite amenities, including a ground floor terrace, rooftop terrace, indoor and outdoor recreation space, hardscape and landscape features, fitness center and bicycle storage.

While the main lobby and second level atrium’s floors are clad in Volakas marble from Greece, the remaining walls and floors in the hotel’s public spaces, restaurants and guestrooms feature porcelain, ceramic and glass tile from 15 different manufacturers — Architectural Ceramics, Atlas Concorde, Ceramiche Caesar, Crossville, Daltile, Emser Tile, Florida Tile, Iris Ceramica, Jasba Mosaic Tile, Mirage, Mutina, Refin Ceramiche, Roca Tile, SenecaCotto and 41zero42. In total, approximately 120,000 square feet of tile was utilized. Laticrete products were utilized for all aspects of the installation.


When it came time to tile the aforementioned areas, an experienced team of installers from David Allen Company’s Bristow, VA office was enlisted. With original plans to design all of the guestrooms’ bathrooms using composite shower walls, the installers convinced the owners that tile would better suit the moisture-prone areas and provide a more upscale look.

“Mock-ups completed a year in advance led the design team and owner to conclude that tile was a more desirable finish. Tile was considered an upgrade to the originally specified solid surface materials,” said Chris Walker, vice president at David Allen Co. “We worked with the owner and designer who selected a glazed 12- x 24-inch wall tile. That change added approximately 54,000 square feet of tile on the project,” added Cynthia Bendiksby, project manager at David Allen Co.

Bendiksby, who managed the project from start to finish, explained the process David Allen Co.’s field superintendents use to survey all wall and floor surfaces prior to tile installation, specifically in each of the 504 guestrooms. “Items that needed to be addressed were quickly identified by our surveys, then provided to the general contractor,” she said. “This becomes the detailed record of all surfaces receiving tile for the project. If any remediation was required, David Allen Company prepared the condition to meet the required tolerances.”

In the elevators and all adjoining lobby floors, 6- x 24-inch tiles from Daltile’s Elements collection were used. “The 6- x 24-inch tile patterns required great attention to detail and were not forgiving to any variations in the substrate,” said Bendiksby. “Again, our pre-installation surveys identified the best way to achieve the required tolerances, including limited bushhammering in areas or using a variety of Laticrete's flowable mortars and patching materials. The elevator lobbies were installed so that the pattern flowed from the lobby into the elevator when the door opened on each and every floor.”

For the restaurant floors, the thinset tile installations were “married into the wet-set stone elevations,” according to Walker. V-shaped tiles were custom-cut from Architectural Ceramics’ Elements collection in three neutral colors, “Ash Grey,” “Botticino” and “Crema Luna,” to create a one-of-a-kind pattern.

“One of the challenges we met was how to set tile on substrate from the Civil War era,” explained Bendiksby. “The substrate had just been relocated from its original foundation. The surfaces to receive tiles in the historical structures were evaluated for compatibility with dry-set mortars. Surfaces were primed and leveled. Laticrete’s Hydro Ban anti-fracture membrane was also used to protect the new installation.

“Toward the very end of the project, the schedule was tight,” she went on to say. “We performed the installation in the restaurant venues in a continuous operation over a single weekend. Stacking multiple mechanics on a line working in multiple directions, the field was installed with follow-up crews working perimeters using rapid-setting materials. All cuts at the perimeter were angle cuts on angled tile, which took some getting used to.” One of the tile vendors for the hospitality level sent different dye lots, which required the installation team to modify the original tile pattern in the field. “We modified the pattern to use the darker of the two lots vertically at the beginning of the pattern and made the color change look purposeful,” said Bendiksby. “This tile on the hospitality level was a three-color tile pattern with a 33% offset.”

David Allen Co. worked closely with the general contractor, Hensel Phelps, throughout the duration of the project, which spanned from April 2016 to November 2018. “We were onsite during the installation every day,” said Emerson Steele, project manager at Hensel Phelps in Greeley, CO. “We needed to make sure what was installed was going to meet the quality expectations of both the owner and clients.”

And that it did. Clients and visitors alike are enthralled with how it turned out, according to both parties. “Everyone is happy with the upscale look,” said Steele. “They’ve had some full-occupancy weeks already.”

Columbia Place

Washington, D.C.

GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Hensel Phelps, Greeley, CO

DEVELOPERS: Capstone Development, Chevy Chase, MD; Quadrangle Development, Washington, D.C.

ARCHITECTS: TVSDesign, Atlanta, GA; Cooper Carry, Atlanta, GA

TILE SUPPLIERS: Architectural Ceramics, Alexandria, VA (Florida Tile’s Aventis collection in “Nut,” Driftwood collection in “Crystalwood,” Elements collection in “Ash Grey,” “Botticino,” “Crema Luna” and Steel Grey”); Best Tile, Rockville, MD (Ceramiche Caesar’s Root collection in “Pepe”); Conestoga Tile, Sterling, VA (Iris Ceramica’s Desire collection in “Dark” and “White”); Daltile, Dallas, TX (Invoke collection in “Copper Haze ID03,” Parkway collection in “Cream PK95,” Quarry Tile collection in “Arid Gray OQ42,” Showscape collection in “Soft Gray SH11”); Emser Tile, Los Angeles, CA (Sculpture collection in “Sculpture White”); Mosaic Tile Company, Alexandria, VA (Atlas Concorde’s Ewall collection in “Ewall Red Stripes,” Crossville’s Buenos  Aires Mood collection in “Palermo,” Jasba Mosaic Tile’s Loop collection in “Steel Blue Circular Mosaic,” Mirage’s Oxy collection in “cornsilk OX05”); Stone Source, Washington, D.C. (41zero42’s U-color collection in “Biondo;” Mutina S.p.a.’s Ceramica collection in “Grigio Scuro” and “Marrone,” Pico collection in “Down Natural Blanc” and “Down Natural Gris,” Rombini collection in “Grey – Losange” and “White – Lasange;” Refin Ceramiche’s Cromie collection in “Polvere 01” and “Polvere 05;” Roca Tile’s Color Collection in “Biscuit Matte U274” and “Taupe Matte U289,” Downtown collection in “Blanco,” “Grey” and Marengo;” SenecaCotto’s SenecaCotto Metallic collection in “Aged Silver”)

TILE INSTALLER: David Allen Co., Bristow, VA

INSTALLATION PRODUCTS: Laticrete, Bethany, CT (4-XLT, 252 Silver, 253 Gold in “White,” Hydro Ban, NTX Level, NXT Primer, NXT Patch, Permacolor, Spectralock, Sure Set); U.S. Rubber, Colton, CA (QuietSound); Schluter-Systems, Plattsburgh, NY (Schluter®-Reno-U, Schluter®-Reno-TK, Schluter®-Schiene)