Time for another interior design write up and this one was quite a challenge!
As you all know, I’m predominately an interior designer that specializes in choosing furniture’s and colour pallets, I don’t often dabble in what Carl wanted when he called me up.
Introducing Carl The Tiler
For those who don’t know, Carl Anders is a tiler extraordinaire, he’s kind of got a world wide reputation as he has tiled in his home country of America, then moved to England where he specialized in tiling old Victorian manors (drool!!) and other exciting old buildings that I’d love to visit one day. After that he made his way to New Zealand where he is now learning the kiwi way of tiling.
Not only that, but he also runs a tiling website that provides in-depth tiling gear reviews and tutorials for those handy people that like to do it themselves and be a valuable resource for tile setters all over the world. So I guess he truly is known world-wide. A famous tiler, who would have thought.
So this famous tile man called me up one day, asking if I’d like to design a bathroom for one of his clients in Remuera. He said he’s seen some of my previous work in a house he’s worked in and liked my style.
I haven’t designed a bathroom up to this point! All I’ve done is chose some pseudo-antique vases that matched the fittings, but nothing like what he was after.
Carl wanted me to design the bathroom from scratch. Meaning choose the bathtub (should it be claw foot or sunken into the floor?), the fittings (brushed metal or chrome?) and of course the tiles. Eeek!
Thinking on my feet, all brain neurons firing, I quickly decided that I will raise to the challenge and say yes. What’s the worst that can happen right?
Meeting Carl and the Owner on the Job
The following week I meet with Carl and his client over at the home in Remuera. It’s a large Victorian type villa, all wood, high ceiling and vintage chic’ that screams money. These places run for an easy 2mill in todays money. (Still wondering why I rent a place?)
While I get introduced my eyes are already scanning the home and checking out what kind of décor the home owner likes, the colour pallet and whether the home is minimalist or “lived in”.
I then get shown to the bathroom which is still in it’s original state. Lots of old porcelain, tiny white tiles and crumbling grout that needs fixing.
Of course the whole time I’m checking out the place I am running a whole spiel about the décor and my ideas as to what the bathroom could look like. I’m thumbing through pinterest and showing them ideas and generally putting on the air like I do this all the time.
The bathroom itself is huge, the floor area is about 10 metres square and the walls go up to 3 metres tall! A bathroom that’s bigger than my living room, yeah – why not!
I take some photos and measure up the dimensions so that I can recreate the space in my software back home. That way I can make some mockups and send Carl and the client some drafts to see what they think.
It’s all running smoothly until the client, Nancy, asks which mosaic accent tile she should go with?
Their all looking at me, expecting an answer and I’m trying not to convey my shock in my face – I HAVE NO IDEA! – I don’t even know what types of mosaics are out there! Let alone imagine one in my head and talk about it.
I look down and remember my phone in my hand, which I was recently using to browse pinterest with. In one of those pins I saw an old bathroom done up in white marble and one area of the shower had these small pieces down in a pattern.
I latch onto that idea, (it’s the only one I had) and talked about marble and what can be done with it. Thankfully, Carl took that as his lead and discussed the various marble bathrooms that he had done and it went from there.
Phew! Embarrassment averted.
Nancy seemed interested in the idea and asked if some mockups could be done with marble and with a tile that resembled marble as well. Easy, sure, no problem – just get me out of here before she asks more questions!
Designing The Bathroom
After the meeting ended I immediately drove to the nearest tile store and spent two hours cluing myself up on what’s available and interrogated the staff about the virtues of ceramic vs porcelain tile. Apparently ceramic tiles are no longer popular, it’s all porcelain these days. Luckily the show room also had a number of bathroom fittings like tubs and showers that helped me come up with a rough idea.
After that it was to a upmarket bathroom supply store to check out their things and with ideas in my mind, I went home and hit the web.
By 2am I had a rough idea in my mind, combined with the features my client wanted and her overall home décor, I started to formulate a plan.
Two days later I had the first briefs sent off to Carl and Nancy. Carl loved it but suggested we do a drop floor shower instead of one with an upstand. Nancy wanted to move the marble mosaic accent wall to the middle of the shower and then mirror it for the bath tub area.
Sure no problem. These revisions were minimal, I was expecting a full redesign!
After a week had passed with one more redesign (the husband wanted a soap dish in the shower that he found from Italy) I sent off the final designs.
Wrapping Up The Design
With that my first ever bathroom design was complete! Full marble, all the way up to the ceiling – Carl’s gonna have fun for sure.
The building starts next month with the tear out and prep for the new bathroom. Once it’s complete I’ll try pop in and get some photos! Hope you enjoyed that little story about my adventure into the unknown. Despite the moments of panic, I’m so pleased I took on this challenge! I now feel confident in not only tiles but bathrooms in general – I guess it’s time to broaden my list of services?