Wednesday, February 10, 2016


One of the main reasons I started writing this blog eight years ago was to show that many of the things we all want...a wonderful meal, a beautiful home, the perfect bedding...isn't terribly difficult to achieve on any budget. Joe and I were living in Pasadena, California at the time and had far-exceeded our tight renovation budget, so had to say goodbye to the professionals we'd hired and start doing it ourselves. While I was working with contractors at the time designing clients homes, I hadn't really gotten my hands dirty doing any of the hard work yet. What I learned was you CAN create a champaign-taste LOOK on a beer budget! And that is what I try to share here every week, whether you are a microwave-chef who wants to create a delicious meal but are terrified to attempt, or you want to change a room in your home but don't think you can afford it, the reason I share the stories I share here is to prove THAT YOU CAN.  This week has found me going back to that core design philosophy as I begin a project with a lovely client with a not-so-lovely budget. While I typically source items like tiles from a few key companies, I sometimes have to head to the Home Depot or Lowe's to give clients a budget reality check. This weeks challenge finds me in the home of a somewhat demanding client who expects top brand looks on a low brow budget, so I begin the process by taking them to my favorite tile store with thousands of choices. I zero in on a look and feel and then deliver the sad news that they can't afford what I've shown them from this store. We then head to Lowes (I think they have a better choice when it comes to floor and wall tiles) and I piece together the same look at a very different price point (the above herringbone design in carrera marble was $45/square foot at my tile store, but I found similar at Lowe's for $8/sq ft. Yes, marble can be affordable. And you can have a glass of champagne at your local diner.
TILE TIP: No matter what the budget is, I always like to do something different when tiling. I've recently fallen in love with glass tiles and placing them on one wall, floor-to-ceiling. I will also often do a herringbone pattern like the example above in a shower, and repeat the same design in what I call a "rug" pattern on the floor in the middle of the room...separate from the main tiles, it will look like a rug, usually placed infront of a vanity or bathtub. Simple elements that bring a big bang.