DANA MILLER blogger at

Explains how she & her handy hubby transformed spaces in their home by DIY-ing with tile from The Tile Shop

The Millers
The goal for the kitchen was to transform it into a bright and open family hub. We're not formal people so we chose to tear down the wall separating the kitchen from the living room. That left us with an unobstructed view from the family sofa to the kitchen. For the backsplash, we were trying to avoid anything with a busy pattern or an entire wall covered in tile so that it would meld with the adjoining living room. We wanted something simple and classic but with a modern twist. We decided to go with extra long white subway tile and a warm gray grout.
Kitchen Before
Instead of tiling all the way to the ceiling (which would have been a tad overwhelming from the adjacent living room), we designed a minimal backsplash three tiles high with a focal point at the range that reaches to the hood. We installed the tile by using one of the new peel-and-stick tile
Kitchen Goal
adhesives but had problems with the extra long, heavy subway tiles shifting. We'll use regular ol' thinset from here on out! The backsplash turned out even better than we had thought it would. The simple design isn't distracting and food splatters are a cinch to wipe up.
Kitchen After
Imperial Bianco 2 x 12 in Pro-Flex Platinum Thinset Dove Grey Unsanded Grout
Imperial Bianco 2 x 12 in Pro-Flex Platinum Thinset Dove Grey Unsanded Grout
View More About House*Tweaking's Kitchen Remodel
The goal for this room was to make it as functional as possible because it serves so many purposes. It's our mudroom, dining room and laundry room. It has direct access to the garage and backyard so durable flooring was a must. We knew right away that tile would be our best bet.
Everything Room
Everything Room Floor
Everything Room 7 We chose a large travertine tile for a neutral backdrop. I liked the natural veins running throughout that lent it an organic feel and my husband liked the honed finish which reminded him of concrete. The process of laying the travertine wasn't without problems. My husband laid the travertine all by himself over the course of a weekend. While the large tile size helped minimize the number of cuts and grout lines, it was more difficult to level. There's a learning curve when it comes to working with travertine because it's a relatively soft tile. You must treat it with care to avoid breakage. But now that the room is finished, it was worth all the careful work. We call the room our Everything Room! The travertine holds up extremely well to all the mud, dirt, food and dirty laundry that abuses it on a daily basis. Did I mention that we have three young children? And that they often forget to take off their muddy shoes and eat over their plates like normal human beings? It happens. Luckily, my kids are no match for the travertine. It hides their messes and is super easy to clean with a steam mop when I get around to it. I can't imagine any other type of flooring in this room.
Everything Room 8
Chiaro Honed Filled 12 x 24 in Pro-Flex Platinum Thinset Mobe Pearl Sanded Grout
Chiaro Honed Filled Travertine 12 x 24 in Pro-Flex Platinum Thinset Mobe Pearl Sanded Grout
View More About House*Tweaking's Everything Room Remodel
The original bathroom was small and had water leaking through old, cracked shower tiles. There was mold behind the walls. It was a total gut job but we kept the original layout to cut down on costs. The goal here was to give the bathroom a fresh facelift and make it feel bigger and more master-ish without actually adding square footage.
Master Bathroom
Incorporating reflective and textural tile was key. We found an amazing pearlescent ceramic tile for the shower/tub surround and glossy penny rounds for the floor. The penny rounds came mounted onto 12"x12" mesh sheets and proved to be the easiest of all the tile to install. Even though the bathroom is still the same size as it was before the remodel, it feels and looks much bigger. The large shower tiles are super easy to wipe down. The floor tile feels like a mini-massage underfoot and the web-like grout lines provide traction when stepping out of the shower with wet feet.
Master Bathroom
Master Bathroom
Moss Ceramic Penny Round Mosaic Pro-Flex Platinum Thinset Natural Sanded Grout
Penny Round Moss 12 x 12 in Pro-Flex Platinum Thinset Natural Sanded Grout
Capua Blanco 10 x 19.75 in
Capua Blanco 10 x 19.75 in
Hampton Carrara Polished Somerset
Hampton Carrara Polished Somerset
Standard White Sanded Grout
Standard White Sanded Grout
For each of our tiling projects, The Tile Shop was a useful resource. Even though we pretty much knew what aesthetic we were shooting for in each room, our local Tile Shop employees were able to point us in a general direction based on our wants and needs. They were a tremendous help when we placed our product and supplies order. Basically, we went into the store with measurements of each space and they were able to quickly and accurately calculate how much tile and grout we would need for each room. That was a huge relief! We had tackled novice tiling projects in the past but had a few questions and concerns pop up. Like, what tools and/or specific supplies do we need? Which grout (sanded or unsanded) do we use where? Does the tile or grout need to be sealed? If so, how and when? We were able to contact our local store by phone and get prompt answers which made everything run smoothly as opposed to causing meddlesome interruptions and wasting precious time. All-in-all, it was a pleasant experience and we were impressed with The Tile Shop's selection, knowledge, customer service and efficiency. We would do it over again in a heartbeat. In fact, we're planning on it. Our guest bathroom is next on the tiling to-do list!
View More About House*Tweaking's Master Bathroom Remodel
1. Plan your tile layout before you mix any thinset or cut any tile. Consider breaks in the layout - windows, electrical outlets, plumbing fixtures, etc. - that may require special attention. Try to visualize the bigger picture and figure out where you want your tile centered then work your way out.
2. If you're new to tiling, mix small batches to thinset and grout until you find your tiling groove. The last thing you want to do is rush a project because your thinset or grout is setting up in the bucket.
3. Ask for help when selecting a notched trowel for your particular job. Appropriately sized trowels are essential! Smoothing out a layer of thinset that is too thick or too thin can result in problems later.
4. Use a timer when grouting to avoid the dreaded grout haze.
5. Don't be afraid of teeny tiles! Many are sold as mesh sheets that are often easier to cut and install than larger individual tiles. Smaller tiles, like penny rounds, can bring much needed pattern and texture to an otherwise boring room.
Pro Float Pro Float Mixer Bar
Pro Float Pro Caulk Gun Mixer Bar
Knee Pads Pro Knotch Trowel Pro Float
Knee Pads 3/8 in Pro Knotch Trowel Giant Sponge
Margin Trowel Bucket Wet Saw
2 x 8 in Margin Trowel Buckets 7 in Wet Saw
Hardi Backer Board Superior Penetrating Sealer
Hardi Backer Board 3 ft x 5 ft x 1/2 in Superior Penetrating Sealer