Country Living...Island Dreaming

April 27, 2011

10 Helpful Tips for Tiling a Floor

Here are a few things I learned from our recent bathroom update...

10 Tips for Tiling a Floor

1.  Hire a professional!  Unless you are very skilled at tiling, I think hiring someone is the way to go.  There is no way I would ever imagine doing this job myself.  The demolition of the old tile alone is reason to hire someone.  Our guys did such a great job from start to finish!

2.  See if your tile store has their own installers.  We used the store's installers (after checking references) and it worked out really well.  They both work together to help you.  The owner of the store even stopped by to see how things were going. 

3.  Tile under the cabinet/vanity -(not just up to it).  Sure they could end the tile at the cabinet and not have to move it to go under it.  But if you want to replace the cabinet someday, you won't have to worry about buying one the exact same size or having to replace or repair tile underneath.

Guest Bathroom with new tiles - 10 tips for tiling a floor

4.  Keep bringing home new tile samples.  You really have to see the tiles in your own house.  At first, I thought I wanted a real contrast between the hall and the two rooms that we were tiling.  After bringing home many samples, I decided I wanted the new tile to blend with the hallway tile instead.

Gray Tiles - choosing tile samples
My gray phase...

Tan Tiles - Choosing between gray and tan
Maybe tan is the way to go...

Comparing Floor Tiles for bathroom renovation
The one on the left is the tile I chose.
The one on the right is the existing hallway.
(They blend better in person).

5.  Choose a darker grout.  I gave up trying to get the old white grout cleaned and I am constantly scrubbing my kitchen grout which is cream colored.  I didn't want to deal with that again!

Grout colors for tile floors - no more white for me!

6.  Pay extra for stain-resistant grout (in addition to getting a darker color.)  Okay - so I haven't actually had time to test if this is worth it in my house, but my sister-in-law has been happy with hers so I thought - why not give it  a try!

7.  You can change the saddle.  The saddle is the long piece of tile in the doorway separating the two rooms.  I didn't realize this could be changed when I started looking for tile.  I think that may have been part of the reason I started looking at gray tiles in the beginning - to match it!  Anyway, saddles come in a dozen or so colors to match the tile you are looking for.  I was told the gray ones are usually the "builder specials"!  What a surprise...
Tile Saddle - the divider piece between two tiled rooms.   Tips for re-tiling a bathroom
Here is the old gray one with a shot of how dirty the white grout was - yuck!

New Tile Saddle in place - tips on what to consider when tiling a room
Here is the new tan saddle.
The hall tile is on the left and the new tile is on the right.

8.  Choose a tile that is a little rough.  Our hallway/kitchen tiles are very smooth and when they get wet, they are as slippery as ice!  My new bathroom and laundry tiles have a little texture and don't get real slippery.

9It always costs more than you think!   When I first started tile shopping and would ask tile stores to give me a rough idea of how much it would cost, they would say it would be around $7.00 per square foot to install.  I was quite shocked when they came to my house to give me an estimate and it was WAY more than that.  Installation is only part of the cost - it's the DEMOLITION that costs so much!  That starts with ripping out all the old tile (and cleaning up the mess).  In my case, they also had to remove and reinstall both the toilet and cabinet in the bathroom, replace the saddles in both rooms in addition to the playroom across the hall so that all 3 matched, move out the washer, dryer and utility sink in the laundry room and hook them back up when finished and remove and reinstall the bottom of the moldings in both rooms!  Oh yeah, and we also had some water damage by the back door so they had to replace some of the sub-floor!
Bathroom Demolition - preparing for a new tile floor - 10 Tiling Tips

10.  Planning ahead makes a big difference!  Of course that is true for everything but if I had REALLY planned ahead way back when we built our house, I would have ordered the same tile for the kitchen, the hallway, the bathroom and the laundry room!  The flow would have been much better.  Oh well - live and learn!

New Tile Floor in Bathroom - Tiling Tips to make the job easier
At least it is done now!

Do you have any tiling tips to add to my list?

Thanks for stopping by!
I'd love for you to follow along so you don't miss a post!
10 Tiling Tips - What to consider before you get started.  A few ideas you may have overlooked.

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April 25, 2011

Details of the Painted Cabinet

So, the other day I showed you my Bathroom Reveal HERE.
As I mentioned,
I decided at the spur of the moment to
 paint the bathroom cabinets
 while the guys were working on the tile floor.
  Well, in blog-time, it all looked so quick and easy,
 but that isn't exactly how it went.

Here is the finished cabinet.

For some reason, I always think I can do a project,
even if I have never attempted it before.

When I started my cabinet project, I kind of just jumped right in.
I started sanding the cabinet down and
then while taking a break,
 I decided to read some blogs and find out what other people have done.
As I had read before, there is a product by Rust-Oleum called Cabinet Transformations.
I kept finding great reviews on this product and decided this would be the way to go. 

I went to Lowe's and asked the paint guy for help.  He told me that they just started carrying the kit and didn't know much about it.  He said the store had not been given a demonstration yet.  I told him what I knew from the internet and he laughed and said, "Why spend $80.00?  Why don't you just get some primer and paint?"  Well, I was wondering that myself but decided I would still go ahead with this new product.  It was scary picking the color because as you may have read, Rust-oleum doesn't supply paint chips, just a brochure showing the color.  I decided I would go with "Pure White" and the paint guy mixed it for me, while reminding me that it could not be returned now that he mixed the color for me...uh, thanks. 

So I headed home to start my "fun" project. 

Step One is applying a deglosser
 which wipes away a lot of the finish from the cabinet.
  Yes, I did waste all that time sanding when I didn't have to...

I didn't take any photos while working on this.
Once I started, I just wanted to be done!

Actually, it wasnt' too bad, just time consuming.
I ended up applying 3 coats of the Bond Coat
because the wood grain kept showing through.
I probably could have done more but you have to wait 3 hours between coats.
My kids kept wanting to get involved so I ended up doing a lot after they went to bed.

The two doors took the longest because I did the front and backs.
This is how the vanity looked for about a week.

I kept the doors in the shower stall so I could run in and apply coats when needed.

By the way - here is how the cabinet looked before. 
This picture was even taken before I changed the faucet!

And here it is finished! 
Finally, I got everything done and put back together.

You can probably see a little of the wood grain here
but I'm not going to obsess over it.
And here you can see a little bubble
from the top coat.
The top coat dries pretty hard so once it's done, it's done.

Oh yeah, I would like to add that the kit comes with an optional glaze
 which would be applied after the white bond coats.
  I decided not to use the glaze because I wanted it to turn out more white
and the glaze would have brought out even more of the grain.

Here you can see some more of the wood grain coming through.  Oh well...
Maybe I will go over that drawer one more time!

Either way, it is still better than this:

Overall, I am pretty happy with how it turned out.
It's not perfect, but then again - my kids use this bathroom all the time.
It wouldn't stay perfect for long anyway!

What was your first paint project?
(Besides walls that is..)

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Thanks for hosting everyone!

April 22, 2011

Earth Day and a Surfer

On this Earth Day,
let's think about protecting our oceans and beaches!

 I would like to dedicate my post to my dear friend, Scott,
 who passed away in 1994.
He was a surfer, an artist, the funniest guy in the world and an amazing friend.
He was passionate about protecting our oceans and was involved in an amazing organization called:

If you would like to learn more about preserving our oceans and beaches, please visit their website.
They have chapters all over the country.
Miss you Scotto!


April 20, 2011

Guest Bathroom - The Big Before and After Reveal

I am finally done with my guest bathroom...for now that is!  As you might remember, a couple weeks ago we replaced the tile in this downstairs bathroom and laundry room.  I waited to post the pictures of the bathroom because I got a little ambitious and added a few more projects...

Here is what the bathroom looked like before we did anything.  The tile was white and the grout always looked dirty.

I was not happy with the beige colored toilet that always got clogged.

Oh, and take notice of the oak cabinets....(Yes, this is an old shot with a different rug).  I decided to refinish the cabinets while the guys worked on the tile. What a project.  I will go into detail in another post. But for now lets take a look...

The demolition, what a mess!

As the new toilet went in, I realized I needed to paint behind it.  Just another project...By the way, the paint color in here is Benjamin Moore Saybrook Sage in case you were wondering...

The cabinets took awhile.

But it was worth the wait in the end!

The new white toilet.

Another view of the cabinets.

Ah, finally done.

To recap:


My neighbor told me I should change the wicker accents and the picture frame that matched the old cabinets.  I kind of like the natural textures mixed in. What do you think? 

I'd love for you to follow along so you don't miss a post!


April 19, 2011

Caribbean Colors and a Console

I am getting tired of all this cloudy and rainy weather
here in New Jersey! 
Will spring EVER get here?!!
I thought I would decorate my family room console
with all the bright colors of the islands.
It least it will feel springy inside!
Most of my house has a lot of earthy colors
as you can see by the Monroe Bisque walls.
I just grabbed all the colorful things I could find...

I love blue and pink together!

Yes, we have all seen this orchid before!

The photos are from Turks and Caicos.

Has spring come to your house yet?


April 18, 2011

Red Dining Room Revisited

I am posting pictures of my dining room
to show the changes I have made over the years.

If you have visited my blog before,
you know my dining room  is currently red...

But it wasn't always that way...
This picture was taken our first Thanksgiving in the house - 1999.
We have a large family so some kitchen chairs were brought in.

Here is how the room looked
after we painted and added the molding below the chair rail.
(This was about 10 years ago.)

This is the wall opposite the china cabinet in the previous picture.
(Notice we still had the very brassy builder chandelier)

Not much was going on in here.

And here we have the very empty bay window.
(I hate to say it, but I kind of miss the uncluttered window.)

Dining Room this past Christmas:
Here is the same view of those windows this past Christmas.

Note the updated Ballard Designs Waldorf Chandelier added recently.
It really makes a difference in the room!

This shelf was added a year or two ago
 along the previously blank wall.

Here it was decorated around Valentine's Day.

Current Look
As shown in the first picture,
this is how the room looks now.

The Pottery Barn shelves were my latest addition.

I am linking up to:

How has your dining room changed over the years?
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