Monday, February 15, 2010

Mosaic Madness, the Sequel

It is with great relief that I bring you the documented completion of one of the many projects on my winter agenda!

The guest bath, as you may recall, was subjected to a whirlwind of decorating after the NYT called wanting to give me two of my five minutes of fame. With what amounted to a two day notice, I was able to bring the functional-but-not-much-else guest bath into the realm of almost finished with some paint and accessories, but the tub surround, well.... that was more than I could manage in 48 hours.
So ever since we moved in, and while the rest of the room was professionally photographed and published for posterity, here's what that tub surround has looked like:
tub surround pre tile
Ready and waiting for my next great idea. And ever since we moved in, I've been letting it simmer on the back burner of my brain, but I was never able to nail myself down to anything specific or interesting or cool enough. Because my original foray into mosaic madness with our master bath set the bar pretty darn high.

I went out on a limb and put this project on my "MUST FINISH" list for this winter, and with the prospect of some fancy house guests coming for a visit and really just being sick of looking at a partly finished room, I was finally able to make a move. Or several moves, since I ended up sourcing several different products from different places.

tile close up
That's seven or eight types of tile ranging from 1"x3" glass to 3/8" glazed ceramic and it arrived in various states of readiness for setting. A quick little project this was not, but I guess that's just my kind of insanity.

Because anything for art, right?

To give you an idea of the timeline, here's my day one progress. I think it amounted to about four square feet, and that's not counting the MANY HOURS I had to spend meticulously arranging about eighty gajillion 3/8" loose tiles into foot long strips of single tiles held together with skinny tape. It was WHACK, and do I need to tell you how much fun it is to spend the day working at floor level?
tub surround tile start

Day two, minus many more unseen hours of wee tile arranging:
tub surround tile in progress day two

Fast forward several days in which many pain relievers were consumed, back rubs begged, and more wee tiles lined up and taped. Grout was applied and meticulously detailed. Arms and fingers ached, curses were hurled, but finally we have the finished product:
tub surround tile corner done
tub surround tile
That bit on the far side of the vanity goes all the way across to the other side of the room. My plan is to run those rows to about midway up the wall next to the vanity and mirror and as soon as I get another free minute, I'm going to get that part up.
Such delicious randomness, isn't it?
It's been finished for a few weeks, but I still can't help myself from going in there to admire it a couple of times a day.


Blogger Twin Cities Design Scene said...

This looks fantastic. You definitely deserve a day at a spa and a good massage after all this. I am loving the colors!

9:16 PM  
Blogger artymoi said...

Wow - too cool! If you haven't already I would stock up on those shower curtains in case you wish to keep "the whole look" in the future. Can't wait to see the finished product.

6:54 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

wow.. that's die-hard. i doubt i'd have the patience to try such a project myself.. nice work!

10:15 AM  
Blogger Rebecca Beagle said...

Ridiculously amazing.

1:24 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

Very awesome. Do you worry about stubbed toes on the tile/line ends? Or are the tiles flush with the concrete(?) floor and I just can't tell in the photo? In any case, a job well done. I love your projects - so inspiring.

4:47 PM  
Blogger Trinity Baptist Church said...

I LOVE this. I have the same shower curtain, and I think it's quite inspirational!

5:09 PM  
Blogger Carrie said...

Have I ever told you you're InSaNe?? But awesome all at the same time :)

8:10 PM  
Blogger Christiana said...


11:56 AM  
Anonymous Becky V. said...

I'm a professional tile setter here in Minneapolis, and I have to say that your tile job looks pretty darn great, although I wouldn't want to walk with bare feet on the edges of the tiles on the floor.

You're my hero and kindred spirit, design-wise. Awesome kick-ass modern house, wood fired oven that you built yourself, crazy projects you tackle on your own, and don't get me started on your motorcycle room. Can I come for a tour so I can oooh and aaah? Seriously. I'd score such points with the husband.

9:49 PM  
Blogger Micah and Catherine said...

This looks amazing!!! I love it!

8:17 AM  
Blogger Banaghaisge said...

I agree with artymoi - stock up on shower curtains cos that all looks so very good together.
Presumably you will just fill in with white tiles where the coloured lines leave off?
Well done, that girl!!!

4:25 PM  
Blogger splatgirl said...

people seem to be either strongly pro or anti striped shower curtain. I love the two together so it's staying, but if it gets worn out and has to go away someday, that's fine too.
as far as the floor, what you see is the finished product. to "fill in" would make it ordinary

4:47 PM  
Blogger Vintage Hunter said...

Wow, that is an amazing amount of work! The results are stunning. So fun!

9:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saw this over on AP, finally got here to check it out from the original. Lots of people not getting the idea apparently that this is finished. I have a feeling it makes a much broader statement in person, pictures not doing it justice. But I love it. To "fill in" would ruin it. I'd love to see it in person...and from different angles too. Any chance you'll post a few more pics?


12:36 PM  
Anonymous Carrie M. said...

I love the color/tile combination and it looks fantastic but I was wondering since only part of the floor is tiled does it hurt to step on it with bare feet? I guess as a guest bathroom there is not much traffic but those sharp corners look kinda scary. How did you get the edges on the floor so clean? did you caulk them? If I tried to do it myself I would probably have mastic and grout all over the place.

As always I love how your designs are so bright and colorful!

6:24 PM  
Blogger splatgirl said...

Hi Kathy
It's a small room and therefore very difficult to photograph. I have a couple more shots that I'll try and get up on Flickr soon.

Carrie--the outer "live" edges of the tiles are grouted with a bevel much like a flooring transition strip, so it's actually not bad on the feet at all. Plus it's not like one can really walk around in there more than a step or's not that big a room. Getting that (and the extraneous thinset) as neat and tidy looking as I could was a major time suck but very important to the overall success of the finished project, IMO.

7:18 PM  
Anonymous amyks said...

That looks very very cool.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

You. Are. Insane.
This is GORGEOUS. But I can't believe the painstaking projects you take on. Worth it, I guess, but I would never! I LOVE the inspiration you provide. I hunted down that shower curtain over a year ago after seeing it in your bathroom (and I seriously mean hunted - HOURS on the phone on hold waiting for people at 5 or 6 different stores trying to find it for me). But I think that's as far as I'm going to get to copying you. I don't have the stamina for the rest.

1:55 PM  
Blogger Rammed Earth said...

I see the little pink towel rolled up and all I can think is,"Sister, get yourself an Extreme Standing Mat!"
It will save your knees on projects like this one.
Here's mine in action!

2:17 PM  
Blogger Jeanie said...

May I ask what that joyously delightful blue color on the walls is? Brand and all that?

12:11 PM  
Blogger splatgirl said...

Hi Jeanie
It's Benjamin Moore Bahamian Sea Blue

3:40 PM  
Blogger goosefairy said...

that is AMAZING. I have never seen anything like this. I LOVE the stripes. Just wow.

It makes me hurt just to look at it!

1:10 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

Thats crazy clever of you! So unique and creative, well down you should be very proud! I want to link over to this from my blog to share :)

10:26 PM  
Blogger sdas said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:48 PM  
Blogger Nikki @ the ambitious procrastinator said...

I just saw this on curbly. it's my favorite thing I've seen in a while. new follower here.

4:14 PM  
Blogger splatgirl said...

Welcome,Nikki! And thanks!

4:34 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

just stumbled upon your site and i have to say GORGEOUS, GORGEOUS, GORGEOUS. i wanna be like you when i grow up.

8:29 AM  

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