subway tile

Before & After: Eclectic Spanish Modern Bathroom

Ok dudes. Today I'm talking Before and After of my Almeria project bathroom. I don't know if you remember....but this house was cute AF and straight up my alley. Like seriously the most perfect project. It was in the Coronado Historic District here in Phoenix. It had all the small closets, arches and REAL hardwood floors your heart desires. Swap out the Spanish style to traditional and this might as well have been one of my Cincinnati flips. To give you an idea of the style of the house, check out the exterior below.

The bathroom in question was very interesting when I got it. Very.

Clearly this was all coming out, but nothing much was going to change as far as the layout was concerned. It's a small bathroom and the only one in the house. The only thing to do here was to max it out design-wise. I also wanted to make sure it was light and bright. Here is the design I put together.

Almeria bathroom design board

Obviously that dresser was not going to fit in there. It was just a place holder. I had to go out and find the right vintage dresser that would fit which I found at Zinnias At Melrose almost immediately. Next up was deciding on the focal point of the room. I found the ogee pattern tile at Floor & Decor and decided to put that on the back wall of the room, the window wall in the shower. In order to keep the rest of the shower from competing with the accent wall, I chose a regular ole subway tile with white grout. With white walls in this bathroom, the subway should fade away. And it did. 

Ogee tile accent in bathroom

For the flooring I decided to do marble, also from Floor & Decor, in a herringbone pattern. The finishes I decided was going to be brass. I could have gone with my go to Delta Trinsic shower faucet, but found a different style I thought played a little better with the ogee tile. I liked the subtle details on the shower head. Something different!

Next, the lighting! Oh that light. I love it. I love how it is so dramatic. It really brought your eye line upward and filled out the higher ceilings.

And let's get to our favorite.... the Before and After!!!

Spanish style Phoenix home bathroom before and after

I think this bathroom turned out nice and bright, just how I wanted it. If you want to know where any of the items I used in this bathroom are from, just check the source list below!


GET THE LOOK

Tile Floor - Sahara Carrara - FLOOR & DECOR

Tile Shower - Subway Tile - FLOOR & DECOR

Tile Shower Accent - Villa Heirloom Arabesque - FLOOR & DECOR

Toilet - Glacier Bay - HOME DEPOT

Towel - HOME GOODS

Towel Hook - Liberty - HOME DEPOT 

Shower Curtain - Fieldcrest - TARGET

Vanity - Vintage - ZINNIAS AT MELROSE

Counter - Sparkling White Quartz - ARACRUZ

Door + Doorknob - Original

Faucet Shower - Delta Addison - AMAZON

Faucet Vanity - Delta Trinsic - AMAZON

Mirror - Project 62 - TARGET

Plant Pots - Thrift

Sconce - LightCookie Parato - ETSY

Sink - Decor Star - AMAZON


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


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!

 
 

Before & After: Client Retro @Rnchhouse

Hygge & West Justina Blakeney Wallpaper and Floating Shelves in a white kitchen

Oh. My. Gosh. This kitchen. It was right up my alley. Well, I knew it was going to be the minute I walked in their door and saw all of their mid-century modern and boho treasures. SO MUCH YES. I was so excited when Client Retro @Rnchhouse gave me the go ahead to plan away. Here was their initial request:

Describe Your Project: We just bought a 1957 fixer in Central Phoenix. The kitchen got a mini-facelift in 1986. It's been untouched since then. It's a great space but feels cramped due to a peninsula. It's a full gut and will require reconfiguring.

Wish List: Clean lines mixed with boho touches (wood, color, textiles). An industrial-style range. Some open shelving without sacrificing too much storage. I really want a kitchen that reflects my personality while complimenting the character of the home. I'm not afraid to take risks with design but I don't want it to be dated quickly.

Here's what we were working with. I mean it sure was retro but not in a cool way. Also, does anyone else think this feels like a cabinet jail cell?

Before Kitchen Retro
Retro Peninsula

 My client wanted just what I wanted. It was a match made in heaven. A couple after my own heart! They wanted a nice clean, bright kitchen with fun and funky boho, retro and mid-century modern accents. We got right to it. First with the floor plan.

Obviously we were going to remove the cabinets hanging down over the peninsula. That alone would make this kitchen so much more open. We also expanded the footprint of the cabinetry a bit. Below the window (where the arrow is pointing), there was nothing but a few feet of empty space. The walkway to the exterior door was here but it didn't need to be that wide. 

Expand the Peninsula

Expanding toward the door allowed us to move the dishwasher to the right side of the sink to accommodate a lazy susan and cabinet on the left side. We could also add an overhang for seating at the peninsula. Another tweak was rearranging the other appliances to make more sense. I like the tall things to all be together if possible, so we stole a little bit of extra space from the hall to accommodate a new counter depth fridge and pantry cabinet. Removing the pantry and fridge from the current wall allowed us to have a longer more symmetrical cabinet layout that could highlight a range and chimney hood.

REtro kitchen with appliances in all the wrong places

Here's the new floor plan:

Even with removing the cabinets hanging over the peninsula and on the window wall, there is still way more storage in this kitchen than before. Client Retro @Rnchhouse still have empty cabinets they have't filled yet. Goes to show how making an efficiently laid out kitchen is so important.

And of course the new design: 

*Links to these items at the bottom. Some may include affiliate links

I wanted the one empty wall by the exterior door to be an accent wall. My client was obsessed with Justina Blakeney's Cosmic Desert wallpaper from Hygge & West. So that was easy. Done. We balanced the awesomeness of the wallpaper with a more classic style kitchen. Having a more traditional cabinet and simple subway backsplash helped to not compete with the wallpaper, as well as tick that box of having a kitchen that wouldn't date itself too quickly. It would be simple and bright in this kitchen with punches of fun in the wallpaper, lighting and my client's awesome and ever changing collection of vintage items. We allowed for one area to be open shelving for her to place these special pieces.

Floating Shelves, White shaker kitchen with marble and Hygge & West Justina Blakeney Cosmic Desert Wallpaper.jpg
Retro White Shaker Kitchen with Black and Stainless Appliances, floating shelves, mid century modern lighting and long subway tile backsplash

Some things did change during the process, though. In the original design we had the same tile but in gray. This is one of those things that can wait toward the end to really commit to since it's one of the last thing to be installed. In the end we opted for the white version. The tile has a little wonkiness to its edges so that helped in making it a little less formal and a little more boho. I like how it maintains the nice bright atmosphere, but adds a little texture to the walls.

The appliance color also changed. The white Kitchenaid appliances looked super cool and we loved the idea of them, but with no floor samples to look at and Kitchenaid not offering any sample chips, we decided to be safe and get the stainless versions. We weren't sure if the white appliances would clash with the other whites in the room. Unfortunately, the white hood did a little. It came in damaged so when replacing it my client swapped it out for the black version. This really helped tie in the wallpaper on the opposite side of the room.

As you can see by the decor, my @rnchhouse client has great taste and had a lot of input in this design from the get go. My role was to help them decide which items would work and which ones to let go (cement tile). With some very fun picks like the lighting and wallpaper, we needed to make sure we let those things stand out while keeping a more neutral backdrop. This is very common that a big portion of my job is centered around the decision making. My clients often have many ideas great ideas flowing that they need help sorting through them all and be able to visualize the end result. 

Sometimes my role is to "give permission" to use certain things...like marble countertops. We're all told that it wears over time and that it will stain. "We don't recommend it" THEY say. HOGWASH. So long as you know what you're in for, then go for it. I've never met an old stained marble I didn't like. So, I am unafraid to use it in a kitchen. If stains will bother you, then you know what to do. Don't use it. Simple as that. They went for marble. I secretly fist pumped. YESSSSSS.

And here are the all to popular before and after shots. My fave! The now much more open, way less cabinet jail feeling kitchen.

And a punch wallpapered accent wall to turn it up a notch.

And a much more symmetrical cooking area more pleasing to the eye and the chef.  

I had so much fun with this one and I know Client Retro @Rnchhouse is loving their new kitchen. Check out the rest of their house projects on Instagram!

Check out all of the finishes we used (and didn't use) in this kitchen listed below.


Colors:

Door: Dunn Edwards Barrier Reef

Door: Dunn Edwards Barrier Reef

Walls: Behr Ultra Pure White

Walls: Behr Ultra Pure White


Shop This Kitchen:


Before & After: Client Abstract Gets A New Kitchen

Gray Kitchen with Subway Herringbone Tile and Quartz counter tops

Client Abstract had been living with her blah oak laden kitchen for years. Not only were her oak cabinets a seriously depressing shade of....oak, the brown floors and the beige walls were just not helping matters. She tried everything she could to give it some life by infusing some decor and a bit of her own bold artwork. Wasn't working. Nothing could overcome the beige!

Beautifying it was only have the battle. You can see in the photos that the room is quite large, but the layout of the old kitchen was ridic. The sliding glass doors are placed right in the middle of the room separating the kitchen and dining area. Now the kitchen is all squished into one side making the center of the room useless. The appliances are all sitting on top of each other, meanwhile there is a dance floor size space going unused. Unless you're dancing of course.

Oak Cabinet Kitchen Beige with Dance Floor

I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that this one was a tricky floor plan to overcome. It was a big room, but very long and not very wide if you're going to try to squeeze an island in. Also, the length of the room was becoming an issue because we needed to include a way to allow the dogs to get out to that section of the yard. The doggie access point was right in the middle of where we wanted the new kitchen.

Moving on to the other side of the space was the dining area. Client Abstract wanted to put in a new slider to the pool deck here. We'd need to move the one in the middle of the room to make way for the new kitchen, so this was a good plan. But, space was already an issue. It was getting pretty tight as it was.

Dining Room Before with Red wall

I ask a ton of questions during design consultations. Through this questioning I want to know what people want, but I also try to discover what it is they REALLY want. Many of my clients hire me because they have so many ideas and need help making sense of and weeding through them all. It's my job to take those ideas, try to implement many of them but also make sure that the overall goal (what they REALLY want) is achieved. Client Abstract, for instance, wanted a bar area in the dining room. After some debate, we realized it was a fun idea, but in reality it would probably just collect dust and be in the way. Not only that, all of those bottles would really take away from the new uncluttered vibe we were going for which is what she REALLY wanted. So, instead of a bar we made sure there was a dedicated area in the kitchen cabinets for the booze, as well as a wine fridge to take care of the important stuff.

So, back in the kitchen I set to work trying to come up with a game plan for these cabinets. We originally thought a peninsula coming off the wall where the original sliding doors were was the best option since the room wasn't very wide. Only problem was that it eliminated the doggie door. There was just no way to fit the sink, the range, a peninsula and room for seating on the wall and still allow for the doggie door. We also didn't want to move the sink because we didn't want to move the plumbing or do new flooring. To move the plumbing, we would have had to jackhammer up the floor since houses here in Arizona are generally on a slab. No basement ceiling to run plumbing through. The flooring was in good shape and replacing the entire first floor would be a huge expense.* Long story short, a peninsula wouldn't work.

An island would work but could only be 2 feet deep to allow enough room to move around it. Also, we'd have to axe that arch that looked important but was just really in the way.  Client Abstract didn't mind losing the arch, but didn't like the idea of looking at the kitchen and seeing the side of an island. Hmmmm....then I discovered the answer. An angled island. It was weird, but good weird. AND it worked.

Long Skinny Island Floor Plan with Angle

In real life the island is not angled this much. We set the cabinets exactly where we wanted them to allow enough clearance all the way around. The red lines in the floor plan indicate countertop placement. We were able to angle the island because the counter on the range wall ends while the island continues. Normally you wouldn't have the island jut out longer than the cabinets on the opposite wall, but then again Client Abstract and I are not normal. The angle helps the longer island feel balanced in the room. We put 2' deep cabinets in the straight section of the island so it could house an trash bin cabinet and plenty of storage. The angled section we made 1' deep with an overhang to allow for seating. Here's the new and improved kitchen.

Angled long skinny island with gray cabinets
Gray Kitchen Cabinets with White Quartz Countertops, Sputnik chandelier and wire pendants

You may have noticed in the floor plan the area opposite the island that had a counter overhang. Also seen in the photo above where there is a counter but no cabinets below. Say hello to the doggie door!

Doggie door built into cabinetry

This is one of my favorite parts! I felt like a mad kitchen scientist when I came across this idea. Putting the doggie door "in" the cabinetry allowed the counter to extend under the new window replacing the slider. We wanted the width of the new window to match the existing window over the sink. The doggie door closes and locks if Client Abstract is away. If she or a new owner are no longer in need of a doggie door, they can frame in and drywall the area inside and slide a stool or a rolling cart under the counter. Shelves could even be made to fit the space.

On the other side of the room is where I put my client to work. Don't worry, she was game. We needed something on that far wall as an accent to break up all of the white paint and her husband wasn't feeling the whole wallpaper thing. I found in her Pinterest boards a piece of abstract art that looked like giant black brush strokes. I knew she could pull this off after seeing some of her work around the house. It would be perfect! Nice and bold, but yet would not detract from the monochromatic uncluttered feel of the room. She did a great job!

Abstract Black Brush Strokes Accent wall
Gray Kitchen with Abstract Art Accent Wall

My client was also gifted this great mirror that kept with the theme of uncluttered-ness, but also was useful in reflecting the light from the new patio sliding door, as well as a view of the pool. 

I'm very happy with how it turned out, not only in aesthetic but in how it worked for my client's needs.

Before and After: Oak to Gray Cabinet kitchen
Before and After: Dining room with abstract black and white accent wall
Gray Kitchen Cabinets, White Quartz, Herringbone Backsplash

Even though there are twice as many cabinets and added seating now, the new kitchen feels much more open and airy. I can only imagine the sort of buffet she could serve on that huge 12' island! She could even take the booze she was going to have in her bar and set up a mixing station with plenty of space left over. I see many parties in her future.

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*Side note: we did have to run electric in a small trench to the island but got lucky! The tiles popped up and we were able to replace them no problem.