...because home doesn't happen overnight.

Notice anything different?

What’s that? You say there’s some sweet penny tile in the master bathroom where a dirty old concrete slab used to be the only floor? You’re so smart. So observant. So right.

Handy Hubby worked all weekend to install the penny tile then grout the shower and floor in the bathroom. To show my gratitude, I washed his work jeans afterwards. HH said his jeans could stand on their own after all the thinset and grout had dried on them over two weekends of tiling.

If you’re an avid home decor/DIY blog reader, then you probably already saw John & Sherry over at Young House Love install the same penny round tile in their kitchen as a backsplash. Which turned out fabulous, btw. We actually chose the moss penny tile last summer before we knew John & Sherry were thinking of using it in their kitchen. Great stylish minds think alike ;)

Yes, I feel close enough to YHL to refer to its authors on a first name basis. They make it pretty easy. I’ve been following them since their This Young House days…before This Old House sicked their money-hungry lawyer dawgs on them and all but forced them to change their blog name. I’m still angry about that. Glad to see J&S have moved on. {Oh yeah, now I’m feeling friendly enough to call them ‘J&S’.} They featured our previous mini-mudroom and DIY stencils as Reader Redesigns a while back and I still chat with them via email every once in a while. Fun stuff! They’re such an inspiration.

But anyways, they beat us to installing the penny tile. Which is why they make a modest living blogging. Those two are non-stop, I tell you! So much energy. So much motivation. So little sleep.

HH took their tips to heart and put them to use while he cut, set and grouted the penny tile. The tips he found most helpful were to use painter’s tape to mark off the cuts on the penny tile and to use a thin layer of thinset spread with a small trowel. {Thinset tends to squeeze up through the spaces in between the penny tiles and can be a b!#$h to clean up before grouting so it’s best to avoid using more than necessary.} The Tile Shop and YHL both recommended laying the sheets in a brick pattern to help avoid visible seams from one sheet to the next. HH followed that tip as well.

I love the penny tile as a floor tile. I can’t wait to see how it feels on my bare feet. Until then, my boots aren’t complaining.

I may have to start cheating on the shimmery shower tile. The penny rounds are pretty hot. What’s a girl to do? Both. I will do both. And there will be no emotions involved. They will be two totally separate, purely physical relationships. I promise. Sounds like the beginning of a healthy, long-term commitment, no? Ha! Can you sense the third trimester pregnancy hormones kicking in?

HH also finished up the trim along the shower’s edge. If you’ll recall, we had a problem with our new tub being a smidge shorter than the width of the bathroom, so HH built out one wall with a double layer of backerboard to suffice. {A smart, lovely reader has since mentioned installing drywall flush with the backerboard but seeing as how our drywall was already installed, mudded and painted, we decided to make do.}

Our idea was to use pencil edging along the transition to drywall but when I mentioned our situation to the peeps at The Tile Shop, they recommended we use the bullnose version of the shower tile {the same version we used in the shower windowsill}, turn it 90° and cut it to the depth needed. They were concerned that a pencil trim would look too different from the shower tile. The color, texture and sheen would be different since a pencil edge trim isn’t available in the Capua Blanco. So, that’s exactly what HH did. Even though it took longer and required more measuring/cuts than pencil edging, it worked great!

The shower tile is a little hazy from grouting. HH plans to use some grout haze remover to remedy that. If the tile isn’t looking as shimmery as you remember, that’s why. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, we used unsanded standard white grout for the shower tile and sanded mobe pearl grout for the penny floor tile. They were the grout colors used on the in-store samples of both tiles and we liked them so it was easy to choose.

After haze removal comes sealing and caulking. Then our master bathroom will be ready for baseboards, toilet {we’re reusing the original one} and fixtures. I can hardly believe we’re this close.

For fun, I took some pics of the bathroom progress in artificial light too – just to see how it might look at night. The light from the sconce {above the future sink} and can light {above the shower/tub} warms up the wall color and tile a bit. So cozy!

HH also installed a threshold between the master bedroom and bathroom. I wanted a wood one for a seamless transition. We bought the molding accessory from Build Direct to match the engineered hardwood.

A ‘before/progress’ side-by-side for comparison…

Forget our bed that will someday be in the adjacent master bedroom. I’m sprawling out on that penny tile. I’m only half kidding.

FYI – The Tile Shop provided us with materials for our master bathroom tiling project. However all designs, product selections, DIY installations and project photos are of our own doing.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

49 Comments

07.March.2012

Dana, you’re an absolute inspiration! My hubby and I are always talking about how we can make our small-scaled, 90-year-old home work for us over the years as I family grows — we have no desire to ever go bigger. And you’re always my inspiration during these conversations! Let me know when you’re ready for a few design projects — you’re my gal! Hope you’re feeling well! XO

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replied on March 7th, 2012

Landis – I have absolutely NO DESIRE for a larger home either. My father-in-law has warned me that he thinks the Underdog is going to be too small for our growing family. But I have to disagree. It’s all relative and I’ve seen larger families live in even smaller spaces, so I know it can be done. It will take constant editing and some creative organization but I live for that stuff. I’m so over quantity and very much into quality {within budget} now. I only want things I truly love around me and I want to use every single inch of living space. I don’t want a room that isn’t used on a daily basis.

And the fact that our monthly mortgage is less than most people’s monthly car payments means we’ll have the freedom to pursue other endeavors {traveling? raising a young family? blogging? writing? designing?} instead of spending the majority of our time working in stifling jobs to pay for a house that we don’t get to actually live in that much.

Of course, we didn’t come to this realization until after we had already lived in a brand new sprawling home for 3 years. It just didn’t feel right. The grass isn’t always greener…oh well, live and learn. Even though we’re still in this transition phase {living in an apt while we renovate} I’ve never felt so good about a major life decision.

I hope your pregnancy is treating you well! I’d love to have you as client when the time is right for both of us!!
xxxooo

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07.March.2012

The tile looks great! I’m also looking forward to seeing your vanity installed, since we’ve been considering the same one for one of our bathrooms. Can’t wait!

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07.March.2012

The penny tile is sooo pretty! Thanks for the constant inspiration!!

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Love the tile. Especially the shower/tub!

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07.March.2012

Landis and Dana as I’ve said before, I couldn’t agree more! I hope to be able to keep my home for years as the original residents did, not use it as some stepping stone. It’s all I need and I enjoy being able to think ahead about how I’m going to fix this or that, not how I’m going to dump it in a few years. I’m glad I’ve never had that, it’s only for 5 years started home feeling about my first home.

That said, the only thing that is mainly out of my control is the neighborhood, so I hope that it maintains/improves. That could be a problem if it started to go downhill, but I’d still go for a reasonable home either way!

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07.March.2012

It’s looking great!

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07.March.2012

It looks so great! I’m really impressed at what you guys have done with your house so far and I can’t wait to see the final results!

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07.March.2012

I think the penny tile looks great. I look forward to your tips for keeping that grout clean in the future…! I’ve resisted the urge to use similar tile in our house on the floor because I don’t think I could keep the grout clean.

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replied on March 7th, 2012

Laurel – I purposely chose a tinted grout for the floor as I think it’ll show dirt the most. Even though we have standard white grout in the shower, the grout lines are minimal {due to the larger tile we used} by design. HH and I are adamant about wiping down/squeegeeing our shower after every use. In the kid/guest bathroom, I’ve planned for a slightly darker gray grout on the floor since it will see more use than the master bathroom. We’ll have a clawfoot tub/shower completely surrounded by white subway tile with white grout. I plan on using shower curtains all around the tub to cut back on the amount of water/soap that will reach the wall tile since I’m pretty sure my kiddos aren’t going to be the ones cleaning it! ;)

I’ll let you know how grout maintenance goes!

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07.March.2012

Your bathroom is going to be so gorgeous!! I love the tile choices you made. Here’s hoping that it’ll give me enough mojo to get moving on a bathroom makeover at our house!

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I love the tile combo. The penny tile is so pretty and the sparkle of the shower surround is awesome. So excited to see the rest!

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07.March.2012

I really love all your design choices. Do you think you may ever consider interior design?

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replied on March 7th, 2012

Tiffany – Oh yes! I’d love to pursue a career in the design field – whether it’s online or offline. I’m currently enrolled in an online interior design course. I have two years left to finish it but I’d like to transition to interior design in the midst of completing the course. We’ll see!

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07.March.2012

Love it Dana!!! It is encouraging to see that even in a remodel you can stay true to the age and character of the house!

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07.March.2012

Amazing! Love your style.

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07.March.2012

Love the tile!! We’re also working on a bathroom right now, and are getting ready to install hex tile and a refinished clawfoot tub. Can’t wait to see more of what you guys are working on!

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replied on March 7th, 2012

Stephanie – Your bathroom renovation sounds a lot like our plans for the kid/guest bathroom which includes hexagon floor tile and a vintage clawfoot tub! One bathroom at a time!

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07.March.2012

I just love your texture mixture …. I didn’t think you could make a more beautiful home than your last one but I’m having to rethink every time you reveal more of this home … (forever home maybe?) xx

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replied on March 8th, 2012

Glennie – Funny how our ‘forever’ home quickly changed to our ‘three-year’ home!! Oh well.

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07.March.2012

I love the idea of downsizing. My husband and I bought a huge, new, cookie cutter home and we have been here 2 years. Now that I am expecting our first child (right about the same time as you!) and I am strongly considering leaving my desk job, we are looking to downsize as well. We’ve realized that we need much, much less space, and would love a home with more character.

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07.March.2012

Great tiles ! Looks good ! It’s funny how a house can be big in one country and small in another. In France, most houses are 90-120 m2 (around 900-1200 sq. feet I guess) and you must hire an architect to build houses over 170 m2. In order to pursue my dream (open a bed and breakfast in a nice property), we bought a 240 m2 mansion (with land and barns). My friends call me “la châtelaine” (which means “the lady living in the castle”), although my house in smaller than the Young House Love one, for example – you can see it on my blog (click on my name to reach it) – I’ve lived in the USA so I know houses are bigger there : well, the country is much bigger too !! It was in the mid-90′s (I was an Au Pair near Hartford, CT) and the whole reno-DIY-tweaking thing wasn’t as big as it is now. Well, it is huge now and thank you, Dana, for sharing your brilliant ideas with us.
Take care !

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07.March.2012

Looks amazing. Can’t wait to see more!

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07.March.2012

The bathroom looks awesome! I did recognize you guys chose the same tile – it is a great one so it’s easy to see why. The progress is exciting! I’ve been following YHL for quite a few years and actually found your blog through the first reader redesign they featured you in and I’ve been a huge fan ever since! Your underdog progress is SO exciting!!

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07.March.2012

Oh your posting is such good timing! I have been looking at the moss hexagon tile from the Tile Shop. Yours doesn’t look green at all, more grey. At the store I thought it looked mostly green. How does it read to you? Mine would be for a kids bath, so I was worried about all that grout. It looks so great!!!
Have you felt it with your bare feet at all? I assume its not sippery with all that grout.

I’ve enjoyed watching your renovation, I don’t know how you do it all!

Thanks,
Paula

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replied on March 8th, 2012

Paula – We purposefully chose smaller tiles for each of our bathrooms since you tend to get more traction with the added grout lines…less risk of slipping with wet feet!

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07.March.2012

ooo la, la! It looks absolutely beautiful. yay!!!!

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07.March.2012

The cap on your tile turned out fantastic! I can’t remember all the details now, but in my parents’ bathroom the profile of the tile wouldn’t have covered all the cement backer, so even with a cap, you would have still seen a rough edge. Had your solution worked, I’m sure they would have been just as happy.

What a beautiful space…can’t wait to see it finished!

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07.March.2012

I have been following the progress on the underdog and I have to say it is looking awesome. It has motivated me to begin looking for a new project house to renovate. I have never considered a ranch until I saw what you guys have accomplished, can’t wait to see the final results. Your blog and YHL are two that I check out everyday, thanks for posting.

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07.March.2012

It looks amazing!! And I thank you (and YHL) especially for the inspiration, because I have had this exact penny tile on my short list for my own master bath reno for quite some time. I think it looks amazing on the wall and floors! You just sealed the deal for me, and I just ordered a sample from The Tile Shop! :-)

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07.March.2012

One more question for you. How do you think this floor would go with a gray vanity? I had it painted Sherwin Williams Amazing gray, kind of a gray with a hint of green. I just don’t want it to look to gray/green all over. I want the look of marble without the maintenance and your pictures look like hex marble floor. I will have white subway with a tile chair rail going all around and maybe a carrerra top on vanity. Also have a white tub and toilet.
I value your opinion and need to make a decision pronto!
This is going to be for a busy family bath(we don’t have a master) so I want to love it. And I would feel better with this tile than with the marble floor when my 5 year old pees on it!

Thanks so much!!

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replied on March 8th, 2012

Paula – We are actually planning on installing a glossy gray vanity in the master bathroom with the penny tile. It’s a true medium gray. I think the darker gray is going to be a great contrast to the white shower tile, neutral walls and light gray penny rounds. See that here…

http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/01/13/a-bathroom-vanity-compromise/

As you might see from the pics, the penny tile looks like a light neutral gray in natural light and reads a little warmer {the white looks creamy, the gray a little greener and the neutral hints a little more light tan} under artificial lighting. Overall, it reads as a light neutral floor covering with lots of texture. What color are your bathroom walls going to be? I think as long as your walls stay neutral and you let your painted gray-green vanity be the center of attention, the penny rounds would work really well!

That being said, we are biting the bullet in our other bathroom – the kid/guest bath – and installing 2″ carrera hex with a light gray grout. I, too, was leery of using marble flooring in a high traffic bath at first. But after talking with a few pros about maintenance, it seems like it can work with kids…even boys. The tile & grout will get sealed to protect it and I chose a gray grout hoping it will hide dirt better than white grout. As far as pee streams missing the toilet…I was told that as long as it gets wiped up in a timely manner {you know, don’t let it sit all day} it’s not tragic. With two young boys, I’m always wiping up stray urine drips with a piece of toilet paper – usually several times a day – just because I don’t want urine puddles on the bathroom floor…whether it’s marble or outdated vinyl {like in our apt}…so I don’t really foresee it being that much of a difference from what I’m doing now.

I don’t think you can go wrong with either choice! If you’re really turned off by the marble’s maintenance, then go for the penny tile. Either will look fab!

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The custom cut edge looks great! I’m sure it was a lot of work but the look is worth it. The penny tile is a fun shape and color for the floor. Love it!

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08.March.2012

Wow, I had never heard the “This Young House” story. I just started reading their blog recently and it is so addictive, as is yours. Your bathroom looks so gorgeous, very peaceful and luxurious. I too am very inspired by your story of downsizing. I grew up in the country, where lots of people had “big” houses (>2,000 square feet, which you actually isn’t that big compared to some suburban neighborhoods). When I moved to Vancouver, BC, I was amazed at the size of apartments that families of four or five were living in. When we talk about downsizing, we often fail to remember that people in cities have been doing it for years!

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08.March.2012

It’s looking great! I love both of the tiles and they look so great together! Can’t wait to see the whole room come together! I know it’s going to look lovely!

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08.March.2012

Love it, so clean so fresh, envious, I need that tile. By the way was the winner ever announced for the signs by Andrea?

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replied on March 8th, 2012

Lisa – The two winners were announced at the end of this post…

http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/02/17/hardwood-floors-done-zo/

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08.March.2012

Great info Dana! I bit the bullet and got the marble hex floors! So glad to hear your putting it in the kids bath. Are you getting the Hampton series from tile shop? I almost went with those, but decided to do honed and they don’t carry that.
The penny tile will be great for another project.
Thanks again for taking the time to help me out!
Paula

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09.March.2012

Dana it is looking amazing! Beautiful choices that I’m sure you’ll only come to love more as time goes on :)

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09.March.2012

Oh, Dana, I LOVE it!!! The penny tile is to die for! I absolutely adore it on the floor. You guys are doing such a great job!

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09.March.2012

Just read your comment about family members who think you might regret the size of your house. Our family of 6 live in a 1700 sf one-level ranch house. I think it really is all about the using the space, not the size.

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Looks beautiful! Can’t wait to see how it finished up!!

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11.March.2012

I love your choice of tiles and I cannot wait to see more!! The plan for this bathroom is just fabulous! Hope you’re feeling well and Baby’s doing good. :)

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26.March.2012

I love the tile and flooring you have picked out!
In case we ever get around to re-doing our bathrooms (we have 1959 rambler), I want the same tile!

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25.April.2012

Is this the “moss” color penny tile from the Tile Shop?

Thanks!

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replied on April 25th, 2012

Andrea – Yes!

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09.July.2012

We recently used the same penny tile in on our kitchen backsplash. We have a heck of a time getting dried grout off the edges on the face of the tile. Yours looks perfect. What did you do? This was our first time with tile and we’re thinking we didnt wipe off enough while it was wet but we were concerned with it coming out between the tiles. Any advice would be apprectiated!
Laura

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01.August.2012

What color grout did you use? I have been eyeing that same tile for a long time, but I don’t want it to look too dark in my kitchen with dark cabinets. It looks neutral and airy in your bathroom…Love it!

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replied on August 1st, 2012

Benjamin Moore Tapestry Beige color matched in Behr’s primer + paint in one.

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