When an award-winning interior architect in upstate New York wanted to transform her home’s ordinary bathroom and family room into two new peaceful spaces, she utilized an array of different tile and stone products that helped convey a relaxing environment. “The overall design goal was to create a destination in our home where we feel connected to nature — a Zen modern space that immediately makes you feel good,” said Michele Alfano, founder and principal of MoDmade NY, a boutique design studio based in Rockland County, NY. “The original layout did not get much light and the existing bathroom had laundry machines in it. I gutted an entire level of our home, opened up spaces and added a shower in the bathroom.

“A palette of serene, earth tone colors and patterns — gray, cream, slate and blue — were selected to soothe the soul,” Alfano went on to explain. “The porcelain woven-like flooring — from Lafaenza’s Fabric collection — continuously flows from the family room into the bathroom. The 13- x 26-inch [tile] was installed in a brick pattern to make the space feel larger and connect the Zen feeling in the bathroom as well.”

The bathroom also features 12- x 24-inch tiles from Regal Blue by Overland Ceramics Co., Ltd., which were vertically installed on the wall; Storm mosaic tiles on mesh sheets from Lea Ceramiche, which were used for the bathroom’s focal wall; Riverstone white pebbles on mesh sheets from Terra Tile & Marble, which were used for the shower floor; and Pietra Cardosa, a deep blue and dark gray sandstone with a honed finish, which forms the shower curb, shower niche and windowsill. “To achieve the feeling of Zen, I selected stone and tiles that were muted and serene in color and tonality,” said Alfano.

When completing the renovation, Alfano explained that she ran into one minor roadblock, which didn’t pose any real problems. “A couple of boxes of Fabric were delivered to the site with a darker color,” she said. “The dye lot was different. My supplier, K J Tiles, had to locate more tile that matched the same dye lot as the rest of the tiles. They had success and the project did not suffer any time delays.”

A collaborative total of 80 square feet of tile was used on the floor and 200 square feet of tile was used on the walls of the 60-square-foot bathroom and 800-square-foot family room. The installation, which took between two to three weeks to complete, required two to three installers. “The existing subfloor had a huge bow across the room and it required a mud set floor, especially since the porcelain tiles were large (13 x 26 inches),” Alfano explained. “Mud setting was the ideal substrate because the mud set provides a flat and level floor, a water resistant base and adds structural stability to new flooring.

“I installed the Pietra Cardosa slab for the windowsill,” Alfano went on to say. “Mortar was required to create a proper bed for the limestone sill. A good cement-based adhesive was used to secure the windowsill. The tile was grouted using Laticrete grout, which maintains a consistent color. To ensure the longevity of the installation, a Fila sealer was applied to the stone.”

Alfano said she was on site every day to supervise the installation, with the entire project completed in only four months. “Each morning I wrote up punch lists for the contractors,” she said. “I was the annoying client and designer all wrapped in one.”

Despite the minor complications the project posed, Alfano has received various compliments on the new rooms from all of her visitors. “Knowing what the spaces looked like before, friends are amazed at the transformation and love the new design,” she said. “They feel at ease and just want to hangout. That in itself is a huge success.”  cstd

Private Residence

Montebello, NY

Designer/Client: MoDmade NY, Rockland County, NY

General Contractor: Nicholas General Contracting Inc., Monsey, NY

Tile Suppliers: K J Tiles Inc., Monsey, NY; Terra Tile & Marble, Fishkill, NY

Stone Supplier/Fabricator: BCG Marble & Granite Fabricators Co., Inc., Hackensack, NJ

Tile/Stone Installer: Joe King Inc., Congers, NY

Installation Products: Laticrete International, Bethany, CT