When the owners of an older outdated condominium in Orlando, FL, wanted to update their unsafe and nonfunctional residence into a second vacation home that was both functional and inviting, they sought help from an experienced, award-winning interior design agency in the local area. A selection of tile was chosen to create a fresh design for the living space.

“The clients were quite involved throughout the entire design and construction process,” said Marilyn G. Russell, President and Principal Designer of Design Magnifique, Inc. in Orlando, FL. “Ongoing communication played a vital role in the execution of the design directives for the two most important rooms, the kitchen and master bathroom. Our vision — and their input — worked in tandem to create the beautiful spaces they deserved.”

One of the main focuses of the renovation was the kitchen backsplash, for which 34 square feet of tile was used from Maniscalco’s Marble Didgeridoo Dots collection. “Some of the reasons for selecting the specific tile were guided by price point, aesthetic and vendor service,” explained Russell. “The importance of achieving a certain aesthetic atmosphere was paramount, and locating the right vendor to help us achieve our goal was the key.”

The master bathroom, which Russell and the owners also put a lot of work into, was renovated using a range of tile from Interceramic, Palais Lumiere, Verona and Maniscalco. A total of 189 square feet of brushed 12- x 24-inch tile from Verona’s Venatino porcelain tile collection was allocated for the bathroom floor and laundry room floor, while 16 square feet of the same material in 12- x 24-inch format and a polished finish was employed for a shower bench. Additionally, 126 square feet of 4- x 12-inch tile from Interceramic’s IC Brites’ white glazed body tile collection was used for the shower walls, 70 square feet of stone dots from Maniscalco’s Marble Didgeridoo Dots collection in clay were used for the shower floors and nine sheets of accent tile from Linear Vanilla Cascades mosaic were used for the shower niche.

“Our clients wanted a specific look for the bathroom and were insistent on obtaining marble for the [space],” said Russell. “Since the budget was an obstruction, however, we opted for the marble-look using porcelain tile. This turned out to be a win-win. Our vendor was particularly helpful in locating what we wanted at a price that was attainable.”

The tile in both rooms — supplied by Trinity Surfaces in Orlando, FL — was installed using a thinset method with all Merkrete installation products, and only required three installers. Russell, who was on site often to supervise the installation, said it’s important for her to oversee the operations of the projects she works on. “I spent a fair amount of time on site during the tile installation, which I consider very necessary,” she said. “My site visits consisted of one visit per week, sometimes up to two visits, depending on the situation. My main concerns for site visits were to ensure the tile installations went smoothly and correctly. For example, I paid close attention to tile layout for accuracy in relation to drawings, alignment and levelness.”

During the installation of the kitchen backsplash, which only took four days, the team of installers encountered one problem when it was time to address the finished edged pieces of the countertop, according to Russell. “The clients were dead set against using any type of traditional bullnose, therefore we tried to use a marble that would complement the look the clients wanted,” she said. “However, because this stone is soft, every time we tried to cut it, it crumbled. The alternative solution and best solution was to use the Schluter system. We selected a color that closely resembled the backsplash and it turned out great.”

Nothing went unusually wrong with the bathroom installation, which only took a couple of days longer than the kitchen’s, Russell added. “Surprisingly, this tile job went pretty smooth with nothing unusual with the exception of the tile was not lining up properly inside the shower niche,” she said. “The shower niche was not straight but did not delay production of the tile installation.”

Since the home’s renovation was completed less than a year ago — which took a total of four months from start to finish — Russell has heard nothing but good things from the homeowners. “The clients are completely enamored with their new space, especially the master bathroom,” said Russell. “Compared to what was in place before, the transformation is spectacular and they have a whole new space to fall in love with.”  

Designer: Design Magnifique, Inc,
Orlando, FL; Smart Design LLC, Debary, FL (assisted with kitchen design)

Tile Installer: Floor Crafters Inc., Orlando, FL

Tile Manufacturers: Interceramic, Palais Lumiere, Verona and Maniscalco

Tile Supplier: Trinity Surfaces, Orlando, FL

Installation Products: Merkrete, Anaheim, CA; Schulter Systems,
Plattsburgh, NY