It’s okay to try a new angle

We just had our tiled fireplace surround redone! Yay! I don’t have a “before” shot, but just picture bland oatmeal-colored square ceramic tiles and you’ve got the idea.  I knew I wanted honed white carrara marble in either a hex tile or a herringbone pattern on the surround and subway tile on the hearth, so I picked up some samples.


Honed white marble carrara tile samples — loved them all!

We were paying a handy neighbor an hourly rate to install the tile, and he took one look at the surround and the mosaics I had chosen and said that they would take a LOT of cutting (e.g., a LOT of hours). He said if we tilted the larger herringbone mosaic about 45 degrees so that instead of making a “V” pattern, it made sort of an up-and-down backwards “L” pattern (see picture below), it would reduce the number of cuts by a ton.


Larger (1″ x 2″) herringbone tile mosaic rotated 45 degrees to the left. Hmmmm….could this work?

Not wanting to break any design rules, I quickly searched high and low to find other examples of tiling jobs where a herringbone mosaic was installed at a 45 degree angle rather than in the traditional “V.” I tried Houzz, Pinterest, and even good ‘ole Google images, but I couldn’t find any examples of it being done this way.

In the end, cost won out. Because I didn’t think it looked TOO bad sideways, I made the call and had it installed that way to save money (it is back-to-school wallet-busting time, you know). Turns out, it looks great!




Okay, maybe it’s not the traditional herringbone I had in mind, but it’s kind of different–good different.  Today I learned that it’s okay to break with  traditions and do something new and unexpected–even if you’re not sure. I know that Billy Baldwin, one of the fathers of American interior design, once said, “The number one rule of decoration is that you can break almost all the other rules.” However, I’m pretty sure there are a lot more qualified people than me to decide which rules to break, when, and how. But this time I lucked out; I think it turned out just fine.

You know how it goes, though – one project leads to another. Now I’m itching to paint the wood and trim a bright, glossy white. That’s going to have to wait for another day, though, because if I paint the fireplace surround white, then I’m going to want all-white trim throughout the house. Another day, another home dec dream. 🙂


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