Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Tile Trauma!

The Headlines:

I love to remodel.

Sometimes I make mistakes.

It's fixing them that's the challenge!

Hold on… let me catch my breath.   I've been breathing in a bag off and on ever since we did the tile in our kids bathrooms last week.

Okay, got it… enough air to tell the story.  Remodeling is tough.  It's a lot of time, work and money.  SO screwing it up is not really an option.  If you have done it or are doing it, you know exactly what I mean.  Here's the thing: if you don't hire a decorator and it doesn't come out right, then you have no one to blame but yourself.  That's exactly what happened to me last week.

I had an idea of how I wanted the bathroom floors to look.  But since I do not have access to European Old World brick… I went to our local Daltile and they showed me their closest option.  I thought it would work.  It did not.  This is what my son's and daughter's bathrooms looked like before.


You know the look, that old white, creamy large 90's type tile.  That ship sailed a loooong time ago.  We were due into a new dock!

Sticking with my "Desert Cottage" style… I have wood floors in the rest of the house… however, I thought, for kids bathrooms, we need tile.  When I saw the tile I was concerned right away… it was darker than the samples.  The contrast was vast.  Not the look I hoped to accomplish.  Now, I  have had experience with this situation many times.  But I always forget: the samples rarely look like the actual product.  Why?  I don't know, time, different dye lots.  Whatever.  It's annoying.  In my first house I actually got complimentary garage cabinets out of the deal.  The kitchen cabinets were so non-representative of the sample I was ready to have them taken out.  Until they did full garage cabinets for me - for free.  I knew I wasn't going to die in that kitchen - I'd get the cabinets right in my next house  (and yay - I did)!

Anyhow, so back to the tile… I just said, go for it… maybe it will look better when it's on the floor.  I then started on my busy day.  On this day, I had multiple things, on many levels to do, classroom Mother's Day Party, exercise walk (priorities… better bootie!), grab my husband's car from the shop, pick up my son from school, grocery shop (this was imperative)… and all the while I was thinking… I need to get back to take a look at that floor!!!  When I did, I saw this:


my stomach sank to the top of my toes.
This was not at all how I wanted it to look.  Just as I suspected, there was too much contrast.  It was like a checker board on steroids.  I felt like I was in the middle of one of those Million Dollar Decorator shows.  Not that my remodeling is costing that much but they always have major traumas on that show.  It's a good one by the way, I hope they come back for another season.

So what was I to do?  I called the owner of the flooring company and he tried to talk me off the ledge saying whenever people put 4 colors together it always looks really cool.  Yea, I wasn't buying that.  I had made a mistake and I knew it.  Even though the tile/brick you see above was affixed to the concrete - I had to do something.  Myself and the lead guy went to work.  Using more, but not all, of the dark tile in one bathroom… and more of the light tile in the other.   We came up with this...

Middle Part 2
Middle Part 2

It was better but still not there.  Meantime, by the way, I was bugging BP (the husband) as he was swinging some sticks on a major golf course in North Carolina… thankfully he was being kind, helpful and calming.  But I was still walking around my house like a caged animal.

Until I made this decision… put all the dark tiles in the boy bathroom and all the light tiles in the girl bathroom.  That would work.  Especially since I have plans to get the rest of the bathrooms (cabinets, fixtures and countertops) installed… next year, I think?  Yes, the floors were first.  I held my breath, they scraped the tiles off the concrete and away we went.

Almost Finished

Almost Finished 

I knew, even though it wasn't finished, it was the right decision.  It went well with the dark woods floors just outside the boy bathroom and the light floors outside the girls.  Phew.  I started pacing less.

After the grout was put in and the baseboard went up.  I was happy.  It was going to be okay.  My plans are to do dark cabinets in here… (boy bathroom)

 White cabinets in here, girl bathroom.  It will all come together then...

Crisis averted.  But just barely.  If I had stayed away a little longer, it may have been too late to re-work anything!  Lesson learned.  Watch the work being done.  Make sure it looks like you want it to and if it doesn't SPEAK UP!  And don't EVER EVER screw up again.  Ever.


  1. I suck at decorating, which is why my house is basically empty more than a year after we moved in. I would have NEVER been able to come up with this alternative if I was in that situation. The way it turned out looks so good! Very impressive!!

    1. you have to put the time in… and you HAVE to know your style (I call it "defining your style") and after that - it's a breeze!


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