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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Hello there, internet friends! The first post is always weird, so let's just get that out of the way and pretend that this is not in fact post number one. Good? Good. 

So. This is my living room! It's a really lovely place and I've been enjoying the process of layering in furnishings and decor to make it work just right for me and my family. We built our home with a builder a few months ago (another post for another time) and made all of our selections at the design center affiliated with our builder. 
 I chose a tile I didn't love but didn't hate, and the design center bid it out at a cool $400. That seemed a little steep to me, but typically there's not a lot of flexibility within the design center, so I figured that I would choose something standard and rip it out later (not ideal).
A lot of our options there were non-flexible, but then our consultant presented us with an option: to leave the fireplace surround without tile at all, to be selected and installed on our own after closing. We would need special approval, but she looked in to it for us and it was approved. Plenty of my other requests were not approved, so I was pretty surprised so say the least. 
As we've settled in to our house I'm so glad that I was able to have the extra time to really consider the material that I wanted to use on the fireplace. Overall it's about 10 square feet, and even considering a generous 20% overage order, it's such a small area that price isn't as much of a factor in the selection as it can be with larger projects like back splashes and floors and such. 
There are so many different tiles that I would love to use, but my main concern for this selection was making a choice that would lend itself well to a future selection in the kitchen back splash, as well as striking a great balance between being special enough to grab a little attention, but not so much that it was too loud. I'm crazy about the clean lines on the mantle, so something messy just wouldn't be a good fit. 
 The fireplace surround was looking a lot less crazy until just a moment before closing when the painters came through and painted the mantle finally. They did a crazy masking job on the fire box, and I've been staring at it like this ever since. I can't wait to clean that mess up with some tile on top! 
I set out to my favorite tile shop to ponder on some options. These hand painted tiles had me at hello... I love so many of them! Unfortunately our firebox is slightly off center, and tiles like this would really draw attention to that. It will just have to happen on another project.
This wall of penny tile options was also super exciting to look over... So. Many. Colors! It was so hard to whittle it down to decide on a sample to take home. 
I've been crazy about carrara marble hex tile since the fabulous Katie Bower used it in her kitchen backsplash, and I was excited to bring home a larger sized sample to see in my own house. 
I grabbed a handful of samples, all with different feels, to bring home and see what would sit best. This intricate mosaic was my very very favorite (still super crazy about it) but with the difference in sizing on the two sides of the fire box plus the price, which would be over $600 just for this area, I was interested in finding something I liked just as well without the huge price tag. What can I say? #bargainshopper
After staring at these for awhile I decided that my favorite was the white penny tile, which also happened to be a really great price. Win win! Everything was going smoothly, until I went to the tile shop to return my samples and came across final contender number two.
This glass mini subway is hard to capture in photos, especially with all of the LOVELY beige from the tile shop all around, and on the dark sample board, but it's just slightly minty. I think it will be so pretty paired with the crisp white on the mantle and in the mix with everything else that I've got going on in the great room. Plus, SHINY! It's on order and should be here any minute, and I'm so so anxious to get it up on my wall. Pictures to follow, of course. 
What do you think? Do you have a large or small tile job coming up in your life? What would you have chosen? Drooling over samples is one of my favorite things to do. There are so many options! The project can go so many directions depending on what you choose. Ahhhh. Happiness. 

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