It’s been a huge two weeks of progress in the house and I can finally see how it’s all going to look when it comes together. And it’s gorgeous – PHEW!!
The kitchen benchtops went in last week and I adore them. I wrote about my decision on marble versus engineered stone when I first started this blog, back when I was still tossing up the pros and cons of the two. I love marble but it is quite fragile and precious. And I have enough to stress about in life with adding a fragile and precious benchtop! So I ended up making the practical choice and going with Casearstone Statuario Nuvo, which still looks gorgeous but will withstand a little more family living.
Right before the drama….
I can honestly say that when it was being installed I knew instantly I’d made the right choice. It wasn’t just that it looked beautiful, which it did. It was that when the installer was putting it in he happened to slice his finger, which resulted in him bleeding all over the concrete floor, and my new island benchtop. Can you even imagine if it had been marble?? It would have been ruined in the first TWO MINUTES OF ITS LIFE!!! As it was I was slightly panicked about it (after I checked that he was OK) but luckily it wiped straight off. Giving me complete piece of mind that I made the right call and that sometimes it’s not a bad idea to be ever so slightly practical.
Looks pretty gorgeous to me!
Having said that, I couldn’t resist having some marble in my Hamptons house. So I’ve got an amazing feature wall in my ensuite, which looks DIVINE!! But that wall won’t cop a beating from cooking and kids, so I felt I could justify it. And I swear, every time I walk into that room and see it it makes me happy. So I can definitely justify that.
After the stone went in it was time to tile the splashback, something I have really been looking forward to. My splashback tile choice has been changed many times over the last few months and I’m so relieved it’s finally done and I can stop thinking about it! Originally I feel in love with a tile I found on Pinterest, which wasn’t available in Australia. It looked almost like mother of pearl and I was desperate to have it.
The infamous Pinterest tile.
So the fantastic team at Beaumont Tiles Commercial in Norwood went on a search for me and eventually found it in America. I was so excited!! They sent us a sample and it was the perfect colour to compliment my cabinets and sandstone fireplace. Everything was perfect…until the supplier gave us a quote and we realised it was going to be obscenely expensive. That was less exciting.
I’m not going to deny I have pretty expensive taste. But, I am a firm believer that you don’t have to spend obscene amounts of money to have style. Some things are worth it and you can justify the spend. But in other cases you can get the same impact by being clever and spending less. And I knew that spending that much on a splashback tile wasn’t going to be worth it, so I picked another option. And then at the last minute I changed my mind again, and went back to the exact tile I had chosen in the very beginning.
Hey, it’s about the journey, right?! When it comes to Hamptons style kitchens you just can’t go past the subway tile. They are classic, timeless, elegant and they compliment the shaker style cabinetry perfectly.
So I decided to do subway tiles in both the kitchen and bathrooms, but in the bathrooms I went with a beautiful grey colour.
A sneak peek of the ensuite. I LOVE this room!
Then in perfect timing, Beaumont Tiles had just received a delivery of new hand cut subway tiles, that looked like were a little old and imperfect, but still with the sheen I loved in the mother of pearl tile. So it ended up being perfect and I didn’t have to spend a stupid amount of money to achieve it. Two practical decisions paying off, who would ever have imagined?!
If I was going with subways I knew I had to do a feature section under the canopy, just like in all the Hamptons kitchens I love.
But in this instance I strayed from the traditional slightly. Typically they do that part in a herringbone pattern, but I decided I would get a little creative and try and make my own pattern. So I bought a big piece of paper, got some of my tiles to trace and set about inventing a new classic pattern. As you do! At first I thought I’d found something genius, but then as it got bigger then pattern didn’t work, so I had to abandon that idea. But after about an hour, much erasing and a glass or two of wine I found something that worked. It’s a variation on the herringbone, but in a bigger form, and I think it works really well. It’s not reinventing the wheel, but it’s a little bit different and something unique to my house, so I’m really happy with it. Now I just had to convince my tiler to do it!
Both of the Scott Salisbury Homes tilers , Dwayne and Tony, that have worked on the house have been so lovely to deal with and their work is stunning. Laying those small subway tiles piece by piece takes a fair amount of precision and patience and I’m sure they were happy when the bathrooms were done. So now I had to tell Tony that not only was he laying more of them, but he was doing them in a pattern he’d never seen before! To remove any room for error I traced a whole sheet of how it would look, so we could follow the pattern. We stuck in on the wall to make sure the sizing was right and then we worked from that.
I really enjoyed my day with Tony doing that splashback, while eating his mothers almond biscotti and singing along to classic rock! I actually feel really at home on a building sight and enjoy the tradies company and the SSH team working on this job have all been really great to work with.
At the end of the day Tony and I both stood back and admired our work and I think we were both pretty pleased with ourselves. You see, that’s the thing I love about building or renovating your own home! Every time I look at that splashback I will know that that pattern took me an hour and two glasses of wine to get right and that Tony and I made it happen while eating almond biscotti and singing Toto songs. I love that connection you can have to the place you live, knowing that everything is where it is because you chose it. I felt that connection to The Block All Stars house (which is why I cried when I left it!) but this is the first time I will have ever lived in a place that I have worked on, so that is special indeed.