It’s time for a new-house update!
And even though we’re now living in the home, I really want to document it all systematically. So today we’re talking about flooring and tile.
If you’ve missed my other posts, our family is building a custom home in the Austin, TX area. We’re not physically building it ourselves—we’ve hired a custom builder to do the hard part and we’re along for the decision-making ride.
Check out my previous posts documenting the whole process:
We’re building a new home!
From foundation to frame
Stucco, shingles, and a pretty paint job
Sheetrock, paint, and a double-decker deck
We moved!…and an ode to the old house
When we last visited the house it looked like this:
The cabinets had just gone in!
And, I love them. I knew I wanted white cabinets from the very get-go…but I also knew that I wanted white stone countertops. And I worried that it would be a lot of white (for anyone else in the house, who’s name is not Dana….because I would be perfectly content to live in a house dipped in marshmallow goo).
But. As it all came together with the cabinets, counters, flooring, and pops of colored tile throughout the house, I absolutely love it. And Casey does too….so let me show you what we did.
Now before you scoff at the tile—like I may have done when our designer first showed it to me—let me tell you the pros and cons.
I really love wood floors. In our old house we had very light wood maple floors made of engineered wood—which is the most common type of wood flooring these days. Typically there’s an engineered wood like mdf on the bottom, and then a thin layer of real wood on the top, which you tongue + groove into place in large pre-pieced boards (or in individual planks like old fashioned wood floors).
So I had my heart set on wood floors again. They’re just warm and inviting. Yes, after 4 years in our old house the floors were scratched up in many places. But nothing bad; just wear and tear.
So when I met with our designer to pick out flooring the first thing she said was, “I have a vision for your whole house…..and I found the perfect tile flooring that I think you’re going to love.”
I inwardly rolled my eyes.
(“I’m not doing tile”)
And then she pulled out this beautiful long 36×6 inch porcelain tile that had a really cool natural farm house look to it. It wasn’t really brown…..it was like a warm gray/brown and matched my favorite boots perfectly. And it had some
texture on the top that made it feel like wood, and the pieces were all varied so it wasn’t matchy matchy. And then she showed me the flooring laid out in the showroom.
And, I was totally on-board.
It was really beautiful! And the upside to using tile vs. wood is that we could use it throughout almost the entire house….which makes a home feel larger and more cohesive. We could use it in the kitchen, laundry room, the bathrooms, everywhere! (although we planned to use carpet in the bedrooms). Plus, the tile doesn’t scratch which is truly amazing. Drag chairs around in the house, no prob.
We’ve been living on these tile floors for a month now and the only downside I see—compared to wood floors–is that it doesn’t have that same warmth as real wood. I just gotta be honest about that. Some winter days I miss that rich feeling of walking on wood. But when summer hits, these tile floors are going to be my best friend.
So really, no complaints.
Now there’s a range of wood tile out there from pricey to inexpensive and some of it (in my opinion) can look a bit plasticy. Wood tile is still on the early trend so I can only imagine that over the next 10 years there will be many more options to choose from….like bullnose tile pieces for the stairs (but we’ll get to that in a moment).
This particular tile is by Marazzi and the style is Cambridge Oak, Natural color. Check out all sorts of flooring options on my pinterest board here. The cost was the same as doing real wood floors, so it wasn’t cheap. But I found that with home building you have to decide which big ticket items are important to you, and you cut back on the ones that aren’t (and plan on going over budget a bit…..which is just the reality.)
Our tile guys were awesome and worked hard, around the clock for a few weeks. I was actually surprised at how long it took but was glad to know that there was a lot of precision work going into it. They’d point out small inconsistencies to me and ask, “in order to make this all fit, I had to move this one tile over 1/8 of an inch. Is that okay?” The artist in me appreciated that attention to detail and pride in their own work.
Little by little, the stairs went from this:
to this (with the walls painted Repose Gray):
And deciding exactly HOW the tile should look on the stairs led to much discussion.
I knew I wanted “wood” tops with white risers. But the problem with tile vs wood is that there wasn’t a bullnose piece to go on the stair edge. And I didn’t want the tile to look cheap and small on top—I wanted it to be chunky like wood. So the tile guys created a rounded edge on-site and placed a small tile piece on the stair front, and it totally worked. I’m happy with the finished look.
Sick of talking about tile yet?
Well let’s make it more colorful!
The great room once looked like this:
And now it looks like this!
For the fireplace I selected a 1×1 tile by Daltile, color: Spa Blue.
I’m so in love with this shade. It’s soothing and subtle.
And the look is pretty close to the photo I used as inspiration.
Definitely a more finished look from our Christmas card photos.
For more ideas check out my fireplace board here.
In two of the bathrooms, we went with a neutral gray color on the floors, in large 12 x 24 tiles
And then on the walls we threw in the color.
I never used green in our old house but with this house I’m bringing it in….starting with the Master Bath and the front door.
Did mention it was green?
I love it.
I guess the tile guy wanted to fit in too because he brought a green apple to work every day and placed it right there on the shower ledge. Made me smile.
One day I asked what he thought of the bright green tile and he said, “well, it’s going to give you lots of energy in the morning!” I like that perspective—it’s the energy shower!
For most of the showers we used Interceramic tiles in Bold Tones, size 6×6, in a broken joint pattern. This color is: Limelight.
We selected white 2×2 tiles for the floor of the shower and the tub splash.
And it finally came together!
For the downstairs bathroom we used Dark Gray from the same tile series.
We added an exterior door to this bathroom in case we build pool, for outside access.
Upstairs we used Gulf Blue.
And the shower went from this:
to this! (more photos in the Dropcloth Shower curtain post)
All the bedrooms got a pretty layer of carpet:
In the Master bedroom all three flooring types come together.
And on the upper deck we selected tile over wood so it would be waterproof for the deck below.
We continued a small patch of the same tile into the playroom and guest room–which both open to the upper deck–to keep the carpet from getting dirty near the doors.
Still with me?
The flooring is done!
Just one final bit to share: the kitchen counter and backsplash.
It’s fun to watch your house being built, but, it can also give you anxiety….like the day I pulled up in pouring rain and three guys jimmied that heavy slab of Silestone into the house.
(“please don’t drop it, please don’t drop it”)
They got it in place! Now the tile guys could finish the backsplash.
We used American Olean Legacy Brick Subway, color: LG02 Hazel and it makes the room so cheery!