This Post is Not About Our Newly Tiled Bathroom

….because we don’t have one yet.

First I’m going to tell you about one of the quick and easy projects I’ve been trying to do more of to help me cope with how agonizingly slow tiling is. Then I’ll whine about tiling some more. You are all welcome to leave after the non-whining part if you’d like ;).

I’ve had these these Thomas Paul Sea Life melamine plates on my Amazon wish list for awhile now, because they’re beautiful and: lobster! My friend Tracy bought me a set of them for Christmas, and I’ve been meaning to hang them up in the kitchen. Eventually I’d love to get a bigger collection of them and maybe keep them out on our screen porch (once it’s less ugly) to use when we cook out. But for now, they’re too pretty to keep in a cabinet, and the kitchen’s been crying out for some color on the walls.

When I did my plate wall in the sunroom, I bought fancy plate hangers for all the plates. But since these were pretty pricey, and since the melamine plates were a lot lighter than those plates, I hunted around for another solution. I remembered reading somewhere or other about using paper clips as plate hangers, so I searched for that and found this tutorial on In My Own Style. Basically, you put a generous glob of hot glue on the back of the plate, then stick a slightly bent at the top paperclip into it:



And then, I hung them all up all by myself, and they’re even in a straight line!


They’ve been up for almost a week now, and no plates have fallen yet!

And now for the tiling update:

A couple of weeks ago, I was feeling totally realistic about how long the tiling might take. I would not have been surprised to see March show up with a still untiled floor.

But then there was a long weekend ahead of us, and it made me feel delusionally optimistic. “Maybe we won’t get to the grout until Monday, but we can definitely get all the tile laid by Sunday night!” I proclaimed cheerily. By Sunday afternoon we had….some tile laid, and I had to leave to take the kids to a birthday party. “Maybe Dave will be pretty much all finished by the time I get back,” I secretly hoped.

You can probably see where this is going. We spent much of the weekend working on tile, and we’ve laid out maybe half of it now. And that’s all that’s getting done until next Sunday (Saturday is Abe’s party), because, with as much prep work and clean up is involved, there’s no point in trying to get anything done weekday evenings.

Here’s what it looks like now (more or less):


Here’s what we’ve learned about tiling so far:

1. It takes ONE MILLION years.

2. We’re not very good at it.

I told Dave that if we had had a practice bathroom to do first, we’d have to kill ourselves be pretty good by the time we got to the real bathroom. I’ll just get this out of the way right now, so that I don’t need to go on an on about it when we finally get to the big reveal: our tiling job does not look very professional. Our big problem is with levelness:



(I honestly have no perspective on this whatsoever anymore, after microanalyzing our tiling job all weekend. I have no clue if people are going to be so disgusted by our amateur tiling shenanigans that they stop reading the blog, or if they’ll be like, “what on earth is she going on and ON about?!”)

We’ve gotten a lot better at this as we’ve gone along (although we’re still far from perfect, but I’m thinking at a certain point we’ve done all we can, and we get to place some blame on either the tiles themselves or the floors in our not so new house). The problem with getting better as you go along, of course, is that you start right smack in the middle of the room with tiling, so all your shoddy first attempts get center stage.

I’m really hoping our not so level tiles don’t drive us insane for the next 40 years or so. While Dave was feeling very sorry for himself about the whole thing, he commented on the hex tile that runs between the toilet and shower and how completely and totally flat it is. It really is. It’s amazing. Superheroes must have put in that tile because regular people like us never could have done it.

This made me curious, though, so I went downstairs and checked out the terracotta tile in our sunroom. Whoa. So not level (difficult to illustrate with photography. I should have put something….like, say, a LEVEL on there to make it clearer how mountainous it is):


Now. We pretty much think that the sunroom is a poorly constructed piece of crap. Albeit a lovely one in which we spend a lot of time. So “we’re as good at tiling as the people who tiled the sunroom!” isn’t really the highest praise. But! While we have a very long list of complaints about how things were done in the sunroom, while we’ve pretty much made a hobby of noticing things that suck about the sunroom, we have never once noticed that the tile laying is roller coaster-esque.

So you see? This gives me hope! That our crappy tile job will be similarly dwarfed into invisibility by all the OTHER things we’re going to get wrong in the bathroom! Ahem.

The sunroom terracotta, it should be noted, has a couple of things going for it in the flaw-hiding department:

1. slightly rounded edges

2. wide grout lines

3. it’s supposed to look rustic. You don’t want a perfectly level floor in your Tuscan villa! what’s the fun of that?

But, whatever. That’s pretty much all I can say about it at this point because those suckers are mortared down and they aren’t moving anymore.

Hey! It’s the longest blog post in the history of the universe about how we DIDN’T get a project done this weekend! Whee! What about you? What did you not do this weekend?

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This Post is Not About Our Newly Tiled Bathroom — 19 Comments

  1. We tiled the bathtub/shower surround in our bathroom. I feel your tiling pain! It takes forever, and it’s really hard to do perfectly. We originally chose to use tile seconds (from salvage places) for green/aesthetic reasons, but before we were done I was glad we had because there was no way to get them all laid perfectly. They were seconds because they weren’t perfect. I think we kept reassuring ourselves that the funkiness would be part of the charm! 🙂

    Hang in there. You WILL feel a huge sense of accomplishment when it’s done. And it will get done. Eventually. Promise!

    • Thanks, Rita–commiseration is definitely helpful! The friend we borrowed the tile saw from needs to back soon, so I’m hoping that will be the motivation we need to get it finished soon! We thought about going with a cheaper and less finished looking (so less smooth and level) slate, but decided it would be too hard on bare feet. Now I’m thinking we might have made the wrong decision….

  2. Have I mentioned that I hate tiling? Well I do. The grout will hide your slopes somewhat, but beware water ponding every time you mop the floor or get out of the shower. That’s the real beast with not-so-level tiles.

    BTW, I love your choice of slate – I was looking at similar last week.

  3. Love the plates and hooks lady! Oh so clever! And they look great! And I applaud you for taking on this huge task! They look beautiful from your shot but I can only imagine how a project like this must wear on a mama with 4 boys! Keep up the hard work…it is going to be stunning!!! Nicole

  4. 1- I love those plates. They look great, and the paper clips are genius.
    2- Don’t be too hard on yourselves regarding tiling. You are the only ones who will notice. Or if you have a professional tile layer over, who happens to use your master bath, he might notice too. But that’s just part of being a DIYer. There are lots of things around our house that I notice, but I’m sure no one else does. I think you are doing a mighty fine job! Keep up the great work!

  5. Love the plates! I have no advice w/ the tile, other than that apparently I’ll be hiring my future tile work out. Good luck! I’m sure it doesn’t need to be perfect to look amazing!

  6. Wow, good idea with the paper clips.
    And who cares if they aren’t completely level. No one but you will notice because the tiles are so gorgeous 😉

  7. I had a tiler come to our house once to give me a quote. He took a look at the tile job the previous owners had done and pointed out several things that I had never noticed. I only noticed the hideous tile itself, not that it was in fact laid wrong.

    Love the paper clip trick. That is awesome!!

  8. Those plates are awesome. Thomas Paul is a bad a. I have never tiled anything because it seems like when I get to a project like that it’s a whole room remodel that has to happen too quickly to DIY. Good luck! I’m sure it will look amazing once it’s finished. You’ll be so proud!

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