10 Ways To Hack Your Renovation Budget

Sometimes I think everyone knows these things and then I learn they do not and it's not right! We must rectify the situation. Let me fill you in on few things I think might help you with your upcoming (or never ending) renovation!

1. Paint

Did you know you can buy whatever color you want at almost any paint store? Let's say you have a Home Depot gift card or coupon, but you like a Sherwin Williams color. No sweat. Just tell the paint mixer the brand, name and if you have it, the code that goes with the color. The same goes if you want a Behr color but want to buy at Benjamin Moore, etc. This is also convenient if you like a color from a brand that isn't nearby. If you are in the midwest but want a Dunn Edwards or Farrow and Ball color. Samesies. Depending where you are shopping they may not have EVERY brand but it's likely they have the majors. Also, pay careful attention to not just throw out a paint color and hope for the best. For instance, "Yo, I want Whisper White." Well guess what? Behr makes Whisper White and Dunn Edwards makes Whisper. Be careful.

2. Warehouse Deals

Did you know that Amazon Warehouse Deals exists? This doesn't just apply to renovation stuff, but I use it often for things like faucets and furnishings. Amazon Warehouse is where all the open box and return items go to be reincarnated. They even tell you in the description the condition of the item. Here is an example using one of my favorites, the Delta Trinsic kitchen faucet.

New

Warehouse Deal

You can see there is a $46 price difference only one is brand new and the other is "like new". Often times people open them and don't like the color or something but the item is fine. I would expect that happens a lot with the Delta Trinsic Champagne Bronze line. It is sort of an unusual brass, which I love, but I'm sure there are a lot of people out there that find it to be not what they were expecting. That's when I swoop in and pounce on those bad boys. After they've returned them. To search for deals just look for the "Buy used" under the Add to Cart button. I used to think that meant someone was selling their old crusty faucet. Bahahhaa. Nope. You can also go straight to the warehouse by choosing "Amazon Warehouse Deals" in the drop down box next to the search bar. 

3. Trade Discount

If you are a flipper or designer in the business of doing renovations, you can apply for a trade discount with many retailers. Designers typically know this but flippers never consider themselves designers or contractors, so they don't act on opportunities like this. Flippers can get trade/designer/contractor discounts at a lot of places. Plumbing, lighting and decor stores will often throw you a bone if you show some semblance of owning a business that does renovation type things. Just ask.

Homeowners: If you are working with a contractor, but you are in charge of getting the finish materials, see if you can order under their account. They normally purchase these things and charge you for it but having you get the materials takes a lot off their plate. They may be willing. This really depends on who you are working with and what you have agreed to, though. Don't expect this with higher end full service contractors, obviously.

4. Freight

If you're ordering something pretty bulky or heavy and it has to be delivered by freight, it's going to be a pretty pricey delivery charge. For instance, cement tile (and other tile) is heavy and comes on a palette. Ain't no Fedex dude carrying that to your doorway. My first time ordering cement tile I was purchasing very little because that was all I could afford. Then I discovered that the shipping was just as much as the tile, doubling the cost! DOH! The trick is....if you or someone you know has a truck and can go pick it up at the freight company's site instead of them coming to you, you will save BIG TIME. I just picked some up and it was easy peasy. They called me, I drove over, they forklifted that shiznit into my truck bed, I drove away without breaking even the slightest bit of sweat! My client just did the same. She also decided to add more tile for another bathroom because shipping it with the original order wasn't much more, but ordering them separate would have been. Good deal.

5. Use Schlueter Strip Edges

I spoke about this in a previous post about tile edging, but let's revisit because this is potentially big savings. Some people choose pencil tiles and bullnose to make some fancy borders and edging. That's great if you are doing a fancy bathroom, but people on a budget can't play those reindeer games. Enter Schlueter strips or tile edging & trim as they are really called. Us people in the biz just call them Schlueter strips. Anyway, they are metal strips used to edge the side of cut tile. For instance they are often used on the side of a shower, around a shower niche or on a backsplash. Basically wherever a cut tile edge might be seen. Some people may turn their nose up to these strips saying they are not cool or fancy but I say SHUT IT. I'll decide if it is cool or not. And sometimes it is. My wallet always thinks it is cool. They come in many colors and finishes. I like to use white often because you can't even see it is there when used with subway tile. It also gives the design a little more of a modern feel than the traditional style of the bullnose. I also like to sometimes use it as a part of the design. If you used black in a black and white design, it would make a nice little black frame around a shower niche with subway tile. Below is a nickel finish strip used in a kitchen (before white was an option).

Shuleter Strip on kitchen backsplash

6. Two Singles

Instead of buying a double vanity, buy two singles. For instance instead of buying a 60" double vanity buy two 27" or 30" singles. For whatever reason the total size ends up being nearly the same but the cost is sometimes dramatically different. Most styles you'll want to separate the two vanities a little to make it look like two stand alone pieces of furniture. Be sure to plan for that extra space. 

Another idea is to take two vanity cabinets and butt them up against each other, but span one counter across the top. The vanity in the photo below was done this way.

7. Custom Island

How in the world this is possible is beyond my comprehension, but it's true. If you have a custom island table built, it will be hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars cheaper than a standard cabinet island. I had the island below made for around $700. To build an island of equal size with cabinetry would have cost that much before adding the counter. We'd also have to add electric to the island which in some cases can be very expensive (trenching up concrete is not fun if your home is on a slab). Assuming we would have used the same marble on the island, we're looking at a total price of more than twice the custom farmhouse table.

Space was tight in this kitchen. By designing the custom table I was able to fit a bit of storage underneath, as well as allow seating for two. Cabinetry would not have been so forgiving.

I just finished a design for a client that included a vanity done in a similar way. We had room for 2 sinks but the budget was tight. So, I had the same person make a farmhouse style table which we will convert to a double vanity. The table cost around $700, but a vanity with counters would be reaching $1,200 plus. Not only that, there's no way a vanity off the shelf is as cool as that custom made table.

8. Steal From Another Room

If you are having a photo shoot, or even just having company over, don't go buying something for every corner of your room. There are a few things I use in rooms in order to make them feel complete. Those things are usually blankets, pillows, plants, rugs and curtains. But, I can't afford to buy everything for every room. Especially if I'm staging a home, but this also works in your own home. If you're having company over, steal things like extra pillows or rugs from other rooms to fill in some holes. Maybe an extra plant would make it feel better, but having it there all the time would be cumbersome. For staging, I have a few plants that I bring from home for photo shoots that I move around the house. If I bought one for every room I'd have a heck of a time getting them all there and not damaging them. When the photographer arrives I am there to work one room ahead of them. I move plants, blankets, curtains and pillows from one room to another to get what I feel is the best look I can get. The plant below literally made it to each room in this house for the photo shoot. Why buy more when you can borrow from yourself?

9. You Don't Have To Be In Love

This is a funny one. No you don't have to love everything in your house! What I mean is not every freaking item has to be the best, cutest, loveliest version. For instance, when I'm designing a room, I don't choose all of the coolest looking tiles. I may choose one that is my favorite for the space and then the other 1 or 2 tile choices can just be a standard style that can fade into the back or complement the highlighted tile. I might choose the coolest lights known to man, but let the faucets be a less expensive version. They don't get to steal the show this time around. I love this game because it actually allows me to fall in love with something that is out of my price range or budget. I might go for the light I've been longing for even though it is $$$$, but I'll save a little on the cabinet hardware or tile floor by choosing less fancy versions. It balances out in the end.

10. Get Out

Living in a major renovation is THE WORST IDEA. I have so many points here so stick with me. I mean you gotta do what you gotta do sometimes. But, if you are going through a major renovation, try to find somewhere else to stay. Obviously the major concern here is you might be living without a kitchen or bath for some time. You might have to heat your pizza up in the microwave in the garage. You'll have to share a bathroom with your kids. This will get old.

Every day you will come home to see what they worked on and you'll see maybe NOTHING was done. Maybe you'll see a crooked tile or what looks like a mistake (maybe it is, but maybe it just hasn't been completed yet). You'll become irate at their ignorance, but you haven't really given them a chance to fix the item or explain why the heck it was done that way.

Most importantly though, if you are are there in the morning getting ready, the contractor can't be there. If you come home from work at 4 or 5, the contractor will feel like they need to get out. They might leave at 4 because you'll be home soon and they might as well not start anything else. Stay somewhere else and they can show up at 7am and stay until 7pm to get things done. THEY CAN MOVE FASTER IF YOU ARE NOT THERE.

Then there is the construction debris. I don't care how they tape off a space, dust will get through. Paint will smell. It will be noisy. It will suck. You will be bitter. Trust me. Get Out.

These were just 10 off the top of my head. I know I have more! I'll post a follow up if I can gather some juicy ones. Comment with some other hacks if you have them!

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Camper Update: Paint and Getting Away With Wild

It's about time I start updating you on the progress of my camper! If you recall in my intro post I mentioned that I chose this camper because it did not need to be gutted or have major work done to it. By major I mean ripping anything out or rebuilding any of it. It will, however, receive MAJOR cosmetic updating. MAJOR. As in this will be unrecognizable as the original camper soon. 

Apologies for the crappy iPhone pics. I wasn't about to take the fancy camera to the camper with paint covered hands.

Painted Camper Walls

The first thing I did was attack this thing with a coat of paint. After being totally bummed about spending hours upon hours of gutting my last camper, I was determined to get something changed on this thing right away. I started painting immediately. It was important (FOR ME) that I felt like progress was happening right away. I didn't want this camper to turn out like the last one where I clear it all out and then quit. I probably should have prepped the walls more by sanding them a bit. I probably should have also used an oil based paint or something a little more suitable for paneling than just a paint and primer combo. BUT OH WELL. It's just paint and it can be touched up. 

Already the thing feels bigger and cleaner. The ceiling feels higher. The space feels wider. The place feels....BORING. 

About this time I would typically start freaking out thinking OMG this white is too much white. It's so boring! I have done enough white walls now though to know to keep moving forward. The details I will be adding will fill in the space visually. These plain boring white walls will act as a nice backdrop to the other fun things I have planned for this space. 

White walls in camper renovation

In fact, I have some CRAZY things planned for this camper. I feel like since this is mine and because it is a recreation vehicle, I can let loose a A LOT. The conversations I've been having with my friends and family about this camper reno have been pretty comical. I text them saying, "Hey what do to you think about doing THIS for a backsplash?" and their response is like, "ummmmm seriously? No." You see they are thinking about this in a sensible, let's make this space beautiful kind of way where as I am full on LET'S BUST OUT SOME CRAZY SHIT UP IN HERE mode.

This is a place to experiment.

I'm doing A TON of experimenting on this camper. I'm going to try some things I couldn't likely get away with in a flip house. So, here we go with some seriously weird stuff and not just in the decor department.

  1. I am mixing super fun patterns and finishes. I'm going WILD just for the fun of it. This isn't a house, it's a fun vacation vehicle. I'm treating it as such.
  2. I'm doing a majority of the renovations on this camper BY MYSELF. I haven't done much in the way of DIY projects in a very long time and I like the idea of making this thing newer with my own two hands. My husband has his own business to run so pulling him away from it to work on the camper with me doesn't make sense financially. There is one project I'll need his help on so he's in on that. Otherwise I'm on my own. I've actually turned down some offers to help me just because I'm stubborn that way. I'm committed to solitude.

    2. I don't have many tools at my disposal. I do have a saw and sander, but you see, my camper is at a storage lot so I can't plug anything in there. I'm doing most of the projects that require power tools at home. Otherwise, I'm trying to find ways to get things done with out a bunch of fancy tools, expense or even electricity.

I'm putting these restrictions on myself in order to foster more creativity. Some of it, like the need for power tools, can be beaten by simply moving the camper to somewhere where I can use electric. I'm pretty stuck to my restrictions, though. When you're forced to stay within certain constraints, you can come up with some pretty interesting ideas. I'll be thinking pretty far outside the box in some cases. It's honestly keeping me up at night as I ride this freight train from one idea to the next. SO MANY IDEAS. Last night I was borderline having nightmares in a haze of half consciously hashing out backsplash ideas. The only thing that kept the constant swirling of ideas from being a nightmare is that it was about backsplashes and thus cannot be anything but a dream.

So, I hope this creativity ride will be as fun for you as it has been for me so far. I'll try to share each project and the thought process behind it. It won't always make sense, but that's ok. Sometimes I like to do things just because. It's fun to see where it takes me.

And a renovation cannot be complete without a before and after (middle?) pic so here is the space since painting everything white.

Before and After Camper Painted white

Coming up next will be the stove which has been painted, as well as the banquette table project I completed. Stay tuned!

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Before & After: Clarendon Project Master Bath

I have so many rooms to post Before & After's for it's not even funny. I'll just start plugging away at it, though! Today I'll be talking about the master bath at my Clarendon Project. This house, if you recall, had an addition put on so technically this new bathroom is in the old master bedroom. The master closet, located beyond the door pictured above is the old master bath. Here's what that bathroom looked like before. A hot mess of yellow black and green.

Clarendon Project before photo of master bathroom

Even though this was a small bathroom, it does NOT equate to a small closet! Quite large in fact! But enough about the closet. Back to the bathroom. Here is the old master bedroom before it became a bathroom. Take note of that window's location.

Clarendon Project Master Bedroom before becoming a bathroom

Remember, I typically renovate smaller, older (and sometimes historic) homes. Renovating in these somewhat larger and higher end homes was newer to me a year ago. Since then I have done many more but this bathroom was planned more than a year ago before I became comfortable with the higher price range. So, I had to get used to remodeling a bathroom this large with soaking tubs and all that fanciness. To my surprise it's quite a bit more expensive! Soaking tubs and their plumbing fixtures are not cheap, yo. This house sold for around $600,000. Fanciness required!

So, without further ado, here is the after!

Master bathroom with marble herringbone shower and wall tile, black soaking tub and brass and nickel fixture finishes

To get your bearings, the window in the before bedroom photo, it is the same placement as the one above the tub. Obviously in the after it is larger and well...new. Still, same general location. Hard to believe someone's old bedroom became a bathroom, isn't it?

Let's Talk Design

I teamed up with The Builder Depot for the shower in this bathroom and if you know anything about them you know that they have ALL THE MARBLE. Yaaaassss. I had my heart set on a herringbone pattern so I jumped on their Carrara Bianco Polished 4x12 subway tile. I wanted the tile to be laid in a "WM" herringbone pattern (I just made that up) where the tile opening (like Pac-man) would face up and down, but when I walked in they had already started laying it like this. Is this called Pac-man herringbone pattern? I think so.

I was totally fine with this. In renovations sometimes you go with the "mistakes" because "fixing" it would've cost time and the result would not have been any better than what was already on the wall. This way looks great, too! Next time I'll be sure to write on the wall the direction the tile should go. Lesson learned. Or relearned I should say. I know this. It's hard to remember everything! So many details. I STILL MAKE MISTAKES!

Next was the tub. My first soaking tub order! Man was I delusional about how much this would add to the cost. Not only do you have to buy the tub, obviously there is a faucet needed and that is not cheap either. Add to that the cost and process of putting it there in the first place. Here in Phoenix we don't have basements. So, you have to bust up the concrete and create a trench for the new plumbing to run through. Not cheap.

From the beginning I had my heart set on this Signature Hardware tub. With that decided, I had to figure out the faucet. I was set on Delta's champagne bronze fixtures for the entire bath, but with the tub faucet being priced over $1,000, I couldn't bring myself to do it. So, it was time to mix finishes. I chose the Signature Hardware Carissa Freestanding Tub Filler which was a tolerable $629. The look was just about the same as the Delta so I went for it.

Signature Hardware soaking tub and tub filler faucet

We also carried the herringbone pattern across the wall under the window and below the tub as a backsplash of sorts (adding more to the cost of this bathroom).

Sorry I'm whining so much about the costs. If you do these sorts of bathrooms all the time then it is like YEAH DUH but for me this was a new layout and new price range... and a little overwhelming. I still design small bathrooms where the complete finish material cost is under $2,000 so to dish that out for just a tub and faucet was mind blowing. To be fair, Signature Hardware had great products and great prices in comparison to some others I was shopping. 

Moving on with the design, to balance out the nickel tub filler faucet I chose nickel vanity faucets. And can we talk about that marble counter!? OMG that marble is called Carrara Arrabescato and is basically the most beautiful counter I have over seen.

To keep the room balanced with the brass in the shower I put brass swing arm lights above the vanity. It's starting to sound like a circus of finishes but I think with the mostly white, gray color scheme, it's ok to mix the finishes a bit.

I had a bunch of tile leftover from another project so I used it here. Waste not want not! I was happy it kind of faded away to let the marble and tub shine! 

The only thing that I think would've made this bathroom better is some plants and other styling materials. But, when you are busting your ass to stage and get a house on the market, you forget these things. Or you forget to bring your smoke and mirrors in from the other rooms for the photos. :) I say smoke and mirrors but I hope you know I mean only in the styling for a photograph department. There are only so many plants and decor I can BUY, haul around, store and PAY to store. Maybe I need to do a post about this because nobody talks about it. NOBODY. I guess the lack of staging and styling really didn't matter, though, since this house was under contract in less than 6 hours!!!!

I was very happy with this bathroom and can only imagine how comfy that will be soaking in that tub! Let's finish this up with a good ole Before & After and the source list!

Colors and Finish Sources:

Doors: Dunn Edwards Novelty Navy DE6335

Doors: Dunn Edwards Novelty Navy DE6335

Walls: Behr Whisper White HDC-MD-08

Walls: Behr Whisper White HDC-MD-08


Camper Throwdown: Vintage Vs. Vanity

A Camper Throwdown of Epic Proportions

Vintage vs. Vanity. Mid-century modern vs. Glam. @FlippinWendy vs. @SonoranDesertLiving. It's on.

You may have seen us spouting off about our camper renovations over on Instagram and we've shared a bit in our stories. But, if you missed that here is a place where you can soak up all of the old before photos. 

Guys, I've been looking for a camper for YEARS. Seriously. I bought one a few years ago and thought oh it just needs some paint and it will be cool. Like an idiot instead of just patching and painting the water damaged areas I started pulling the interior skin off. Guess what. STUPID AF IDEA. The skin panels are installed behind the "furniture" in the camper so once you start taking one out, the furniture comes out and there really is no stopping point. So, I ended up gutting the whole thing and result was a box on wheels. I felt pretty defeated and decided to give up on that camper and sold it for a third of what I paid for it. I didn't have the energy for it anymore. Then we moved to Phoenix. So, camper purchasing was put on hold for a bit.

I started looking again on and off with nothing really striking my fancy. Too expensive, too beat up, not the right time to tackle a project like this, small beds, no toilet....reason after reason kept popping up to not commit. I wanted something that had a bed big enough to be comfortable and fit my husband and 4 year old daughter. I also wanted a kitchen and toilet. Getting up in the middle of the night to go outside to the toilet sounded pretty lame, especially with a kid. Anyway, sooner or later this camper showed up and it was like AHHHHHH! The skies parted and it revealed itself to me.

Funny thing was that Rachel of Sonoran Desert Living was looking for a camper as well. She also found the perfect one for her and on the same day even! The Camper Throwdown was on! Dual camper renovations commenced!

So, let me introduce you to my camper (which has no name as of yet)! I've got a 1971 Reddale Camper. It is 19' long and in decent condition. It definitely needs some cosmetic updating but all in all not bad. And I'm definitely not pulling out any skin panels this time! Big win. Here's the exterior. Not cute. But, it has potential.

The exterior has some peeling and worn paint but that'll all come off when I strip it down to the metal. I'll need to address the door knob and the front awning. It's all wonky and broken in one corner. 

Front of 1971 Red dale Camper

Ok enough of that, let's get to the good stuff. The inside! Here she is! So much wood.

To get your bearings, see the entry door to the left behind the dinette. Behind me is the front where that awning lives. This camper is quite spacious without being obnoxiously long to pull behind our truck. The ceiling is around 7' high so it's very comfortable for me to walk around in. The door with the mirror on it is a closet. A closet! How can that even fit? The door directly center in the photo is the bathroom, but we'll get that in a minute. To the right you can see the kitchen with a working gas fridge, the furnace below it and everything that kitchens have. IT ALL WORKS. I saw it with my own eyes.

Guys this shit is almost pristine. Seriously. It's too bad it's so ugly that I have to change it. 

The stove top and oven front panel, as well as the range hood, are already off to the powder coater's where they await total transformation. The rest of the kitchen will get a coat of white paint. Counters and backsplash are still being decided on. 

Let's look at the other side of the camper.

The benches are nice and long and have an expandable table in between them. They also convert into a LARGER than king bed! What what!? That was a major deciding factor for buying this camper. It seems all smaller vintage campers have beds no larger than full size, if even that. Also notice all of the storage. There are cabinets right above that table, as well as cabinets under each bench. There are even more under the dinette benches and some above it. So many. It has so much storage that it can be completely open above the benches where I get the opportunity to install some awesome lighting. It's like a small miracle has happened.

Camper kitchen and bench in vintage 1971 Red Dale

Let's head over to that bathroom now. See it here at the back of the camper.

Let's talk about this bathroom bc OMG. It's olive green. You guys it literally took me 100 attempts to get this shot. So appreciate!

I posted about this bathroom in my stories and to my surprise, when I declared I was keeping it, there was an outpouring of agreement. AGREEMENT ON OLIVE GREEN BATHROOM. What has this world come to? And way to let me down guys. I was really hoping to be a rebel here! But seriously though, I'm glad this won't be a big to-do if olive green is in fact now in. Maybe WE (those of you who agreed with me and I) are trend setters. That's probably what it is. 

I'm not sure that I'm IN LOVE with this olive green bathroom but I don't hate it enough to rip it out. Remember, bad memories of the last camper stripping it down and not building it back up so I'm trying to salvage what I can here. Since I decided to commit to this bathroom, I'm using it as THE source of inspiration for the design. I"m going green in this here camper. There will be several greens. 

Anyway, these campers are an entire house in one small footprint so it has been tricky making sure I remember all the things. Every time I walk into the camper I see something else to add to my list. Things like the furnace grate that need to be painted or oh yeah I broke one of the stove knobs so I have to find those. It's a long list that includes renovating but also outfitting it to make us happy. We need sheets and bedding that are easy to put away. We need cushions that are comfortable to sleep on bc if they aren't WHAT IS EVEN THE POINT? This whole camper idea is so we can travel and not stay in hotels. It has to be something we want to use or else it just becomes a showpiece. I'm not about showpieces. 

So back to the Throwdown bit. Rachel and I are pretty much opposites. She likes all the new fluffy glam style stuff while I like vintage and mid century modern. She's square legs. I'm round legs. Furniture. Not real legs. In the end we'll have a side by side reveal and it will be epic AF.  I'll also try to update you as we go! I love your suggestions over on IG, btw! Have any other ideas? Feel free to comment below. Keep watching my stories for updates or subscribe to get posts emailed directly to you!

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10 Ways To Use Subway Tile That Aren't Boring AF

I still love subway tile. Sue me. I know there are people out there that are so over it but I'm not one of them. It's neutral. It's inexpensive. It's timeless. What's not to love? I know it is all the rage to use cement tile, mosaic tiles and colored tiles and I'm down with that, too. But, there comes a time and place that you might want to use subway, whether it's to tone down a room a bit to balance out busy tile or you might simply like to have that classic subway look. Maybe you want to use subway tile for its nice price tag. That doesn't mean it has to be boring. Let's look at some bathrooms to see how subway can save the day.

Click any of the photos shown below to see more about that room.

1. Disappearing Act

Why not start this subway tile list with why I use it so I can't see it! Yeah it's like that. This might seem boring but actually it's PERFECT in helping the other tile STAND OUT. For instance, in the bathroom below, you can see the arabesque tile on the accent wall. You may not even be able to tell that the shower faucet wall has subway tile. THAT IS THE ENTIRE POINT. I wanted the back wall of this tiny bathroom to stand out. Had I used that arabesque tile in the whole shower, it would have been quite overwhelming. Now, your eye goes straight to the back of the room making it feel larger, while the subway tile sits back and keeps that wall from getting in the way. To make sure the subway pattern didn't compete with the focus tile, I used white grout so it would all fade away. This is also a good with cement tile and busy mosaics.

2. Go Vertical

Subway tile doesn't have to be laid in the classic brick pattern. I've tried every pattern known to man in my renovations. Here is one where I did a vertical subway pattern with a 4" x 10" subway tile. The larger tile and the vertical spin makes this bathroom just a little different. 

3. Vertical In A Brick Pattern 

Want a modern spin but like the traditional look of subway tile? Turn it vertical and do a brick pattern on its long ends. For some reason vertical just feels modern. Pair it with a modern shower head and curtain. 

Pro Tip: When describing how you want your tile laid to contractor, be sure to draw it out on paper or on the wall! As you can see with this example and the one before it that we can call them both "vertical brick" but they are two different patterns! Don't assume they can read your mind.

4. Herringbone VERSION ONE

In the next kitchen we wanted to have a fun pattern but not get too crazy. There is a bold accent wall in the adjoining dining area, so we needed to stay a little low key. We chose to lay the subway tile in a herringbone pattern. To be sure the pattern stood out, we used a darker charcoal grout.

5. Herringbone VERSION TWO

While this isn't your classic white subway tile, here is another herringbone pattern example that could be done with subway tile.

Pro Tip: Again be sure you draw out how you want the herringbone pattern to go. I don't even know what this is called but I showed up to the house and this is how it had been installed. What I really wanted was a W pattern but I didn't draw it out. I thought W was enough words. It was not. I still like this way, too though! So, you can now see there is a third herringbone pattern which would be where it looks like W's or M's.

6. Modern Stack

Go ultra modern with this vertically stacked version. To make sure any subway tile pattern stands out, use a darker grout color.

7. Stick With The Classic 

Sometimes you just want that regular ole brick subway pattern! The master bath in this home got a wow-ing shiplap shower, so I felt like I needed to tone it down a little here as well as stick to a tight budget. So, instead of blowing my budget, I decided to stick with the classic but punch up the wow factor somewhere else. THE CEILING. The fun doesn't have to be all tile related. If on a tight budget, find your focal point outside of tile.

8. Go Casual

Using a more unusual subway tile can help add texture to your room. This tile from Floor & Decor adds texture to the walls without being too busy and taking away from the fun wallpaper accent. The tile has a wavy, wonky edge to it that gives it a more boho-relaxed vibe.

9. Go Formal

On the flip side of the casual tile, choose to go more traditional with a beveled tile. A bevel tile adds texture to your wall and an air of classic formality. I choose to let the bevel do the talking, not the grout. Keep the grout white to enhance that 3D effect.

10. Random AF

You could just throw them up there and they land where they land. That said this was not random. Ok it is but it isn't. My tile installer spent much much time laying these out on the floor so we had just the right look. I used this ombre pattern to represent the nearby mountains here in Phoenix. I used different colors to achieve an ombre look, but you can use just plain ole white tiles if you like. You could use a bunch of different colors. Break all the rules. It's your shower, dude

I know this is not an exhaustive list so I will be working diligently to tile more bathrooms and kitchens so I can post about them. :) Get with me if you need help designing yours! Maybe you'll make the next list!