My mom loves to tell a story about how "detail oriented" I was as a small child. I think I was about six years old and was apparently creating some sort of improvised 3D construction paper house using a pen, scissors, and scotch tape. She fondly remembers that I wanted the house to be brick, so I grabbed some red construction paper for the walls and began free hand drawing every little line for the mortar. I guess I spent hours drawing each little line, and if I got something wrong, I'd start over on a new sheet of paper. Little did I know, this was an early example of the tone that would be set for so many projects throughout my life.

Like the construction paper house, the concept of tiling with a small mosaic pattern in a large room all begins so simply. The desire is obviously to have a beautiful room where the floor is covered by tens of thousands of tiny little pieces of naturally occurring stone that have been chipped off a much larger stone and sculpted by machines into tiny semi-consistent shapes. What could go wrong?

The answer is even simpler than the perceived goal. A lot can go wrong! Mosaic tile and being a perfectionist in no way go together like peas and carrots. This is a difficult lesson we've learned during each of our tiling processes, and one that has several stages of tiling grief before reaching tiling acceptance.

However, we seem to keep choosing mosaic tile of some sort time and again. Like we're some sort of DIY gluttons for punishment. Our first piece of evidence, the guest bathroom:

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Comments 29

Why would a beautiful set of cast iron stairs bring me sadness? Well, let me tell you.

If there's one thing I love about so many of the historic homes and shops around Old Town it's their antique cast iron front stairs.

I love these types stairs so much so that we, along with our neighbors, went to great lengths to replace the 1950s brick front steps that adorned our home when we moved in with salvaged and reproduction cast iron parts and patterns from a local expert craftsman.

Today, the only thing that will tell you our stairs aren't original to our homes is the little plaque on the lower first riser that dates them to their install in 2006.

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Comments 16

It was the summer of 1994 and I had just been introduced to the awkward and unkempt 16 year old boy that would, eight years later, be the man that I married. To say that it was love at first sight would be the overstatement of the century.

My initial hesitation in getting to know this boy a bit better had nothing to do with the long and thick brillo pad he called hair peeking out of the sides of his grimy backwards baseball hat, like the wings of a disheveled flightless bird. Nor was it the surplus 30 pounds he was carrying around thanks to too many drive through trips where his order involved the words "double" and "Super Sized," all courtesy of the newfound freedom that comes with a drivers license, his mom's station wagon, and the financial freedom of working in a shopping mall athletic shoe store. 

Though this would have been enough to steer most females from this brightly colored peacock, my lack of interest and attraction stemmed from the fact that this guy could barely muster a simple "hello" or a second of eye contact when we were first introduced. 

Instead I got some lame caveman grunt that barely resembled the word "hey," accompanied by a stammering head-nod. You know, the one that guys give other guys with the obligatory, "'Sup, dude?" The conclusion drawn? This guy has zero personality, and P.S., why does he think growing his hair out for dreadlocks is a look that will read as cool whether on or off the soccer field?

It took months of getting to know him in group settings, trying to fix him up with a close friend, and getting dumped by a friend of his before I started to pay attention to his sense of humor, generous spirit, wicked smarts, and fun loving personality. Here we are a year later, after I started thinking he was the greatest boyfriend on the planet. Not bad for a rebound boyfriend.

The point of my tale of high school romance? I don't fall in love easily, but when I do, it's for real and it's for keeps. Whether it's my mate in life, a home we're purchasing, a major career change, or even buying a new piece of furniture, I don't typically move quickly. 

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Comments 18

There are several distinct phases when it comes to tiling a room.

You've got your tile selection process.

You've got your tile layout decisions.

You've got your tile laying.

And you've got your tile grouting.

I feel like Bubba talking shrimp with Forrest Gump. That's...that about it.

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Comments 11

Have you ever entered a weekend with the idea that you'd definitely be completing a certain project or goal, only to take on something completely different? At the conclusion of the weekend you look back with a certain sense of disappointment for not having your anticipated completed work to show for the time, but you have something else that's equally as good, if not better? This past weekend we experienced this very scenario.

I was sure we were going to tackle a bit more of our bathroom tile, but the long holiday weekend had different plans for us.

Wendy's parents were in town for the Fourth, and they enjoy working in the yard. We had planned to attend a cookout and the fireworks on The Mall, but beyond that, the weekend was pretty open.

As a result, the morning of the Fourth we found ourselves cleaning up our small backyard area, trimming our ivy, and staring at our decroded, warped, and flaking back gate.

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Comments 9
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