Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Hexagon Tile Saga

This is what the kitchen looks like now:

It's a nice kitchen, but it's just not my taste. Really the whole house isn't exactly my taste right now. It could easily pass as a nice hunting lodge - hardwood floors, wood trim, tan walls, wood furniture, and a very brown on brown on brown kitchen. It looks dated rather than charming.

Some new paint and furniture should help uncover the charm in the rest of the house, but the kitchen needed more of a serious facelift. We wanted to keep the existing cabinets, countertops and appliances since they were all in great shape so we settled on new tile for the floor and backsplash and painting the cabinets a fresh coat of white.*

I knew from the start that I wanted a hexagon tile floor. I really love wood floors in white kitchens, but I just didn't think I could pull off new hardwood in one room when the rest of the house is covered in 75-yr-old hardwood. (I know some people have had good luck matching new and old wood floors, and I'm not saying we won't try it in the future when we hopefully someday completely gut the kitchen, but for now, with so many other things going on, I didn't want the headache of trying to find a perfect match). So tile was the answer. I love the vintage look of hexagon tile, and I thought it would be a good fit in our older home. This was my inspiration photo:

This process should have been a breeze, since picking the tile out is the hardest part, right? Wrong. Turns out the 2-inch hexagon tile I wanted is on backorder until October. We learned this very late in the process - not when we originally chose the tile or when the tile guy came to measure our space, but a few days later when we were ready to place the final order. I was not happy.

It was not just on backorder from one supplier, but it was basically on backorder for the entire country.  I called over a dozen tile stores searching for something similar. I checked several online outlets. I lost sleep. [Apparently the tile world is rather small because there are only so many importers. I learned after it was all over that by calling several other tile stores to see if they had what I was looking for, I really just started a chain reaction of them all calling each other and my tile guy to see if he had it. Oops]. We were left with 2 options - we could either delay the project, which completely defeated the purpose of paying rent in August and moving 4 weeks after closing, or we could choose different tile. I went with option B. I had to pick a different tile. Ugh.

This is the part where I really lost sleep, but I finally settled on the same hexagon tile, but in a smaller 1-inch size. I know it sounds a little ridiculous to fret over a 1 inch size difference (it is), but it does completely change the look of the finished product. I ultimately decided I would be equally happy with the smaller tile, and this allowed me to stick with a hexagon shape, which I just really like. This also allowed me to stick with our original plan to do a pinwheel tile for the border. Luckily, the pinwheel tile and 1-inch hex were not on backorder. Whew.

It will end up looking something more like this (but with much lighter grout):

Traditional Kitchen by Los Angeles Architects & Designers Tim Barber LTD Architecture & Interior Design

One square of this pinwheel pattern will be the border in the main part of the kitchen to break up all the white. It will also cover the entire floor in the small powder room right off the kitchen.

When it was all said and done, Jon suggested I open my own design studio with the tag line, "I lose sleep so you don't have to." He might be on to something. 

I'm sure that's more than anyway ever wanted to hear about tile, but I can't wait to share the finished product with you! I can, however, wait to scrub all of that grout. Someone remind me how much I love hexagon tile when I'm on my hands and knees scrubbing grout lines with a toothbrush.

*This will not be a DIY blog. The only thing I know how to DIY is paying other people to DIY for me. 


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