Terra Cottage Kitchen Remodel

Our Terra Cottage home remodel blogging begins! I want to name our home Terra Cottage because I like Tara from Gone with the Wind and the whole home is Terra Cotta floors, so I thought it was a cute play on words.  A few blogs back I mentioned that we bought a foreclosed home that needed a lot of fixing up.  I’m going to start with the kitchen because its the central point of a home.  We aren’t completely done with our kitchen yet but we’re close!   You’ll see I excluded pictures of the stove section because its not done yet (I’ll share that in phase 2).

Here is the before picture with dark brown cabinets, pink walls, and laminate counters.  It was very dark and obviously unfinished.  I have no idea what they were thinking with the pink walls but the house was built in ’89 and this was all original, so it must have been the style.  They left an amazing fridge, which was super sweet!  The ice maker was broken, the dishwasher, oven / stove, and counters were gone which is common in foreclosures.

Kitchen (Before)

The whole home is pretty much terra cotta tile which originally I wasn’t so keen on but it has really grown on me. The floors are staying for now because that is a huge project to re-tile the entire house and we’re trying to do most of the work ourselves (by ourselves…my husband is the skilled one :) love him).

We decided to do this kitchen remodel on the cheap, so rather than tearing the whole thing out we kept everything. We had the cabinets sanded and painted.  We used Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter on the main cabinets and BM Silver Gray on the island cabinets.   The walls are painted BM China White and the trim is BM Simply White (the window trim was unfinished wood).  We are strongly considering painting the wood-finish window white as well because the window stands out a bit too much now, but we’ll see how we feel about it down the road…once its painted you can’t go back!  Jason built shelves where the ice maker was which turned out great (because ice makers can be ~$3k to replace and according to the appliance guy the stand alone ice makers break often).  We replaced the beaded rope crown moulding with a more traditional chunky crown moulding (Jason and my father-in-law did that project together one night).  You can see originally the beaded rope crown was running in front of the window, I didn’t like the idea of blocking the window with crown so you can see in the after photo the window area looks more open.

Kitchen (After)

Kitchen (After)

For the island counter, we just bought this oak slab from Lumber Liquidators and Jason cut it down to fit.  For the main counter, we did 4×8 Neri White Glossy Ceramic Field Tile and 2×8 matching bullnose for the edge.  The backsplash is my favorite things about the kitchen!  It is 1×4 Brocade Calacatta Gold (italian white marble) Herringbone Mosaic tile with a Calacatta Gold pencil you can see on either side of the window to finish off the edge. Pencils and trim are easy to forget about in projects but are really important for a finished look.


Okay, so one of the big money items of the kitchen was this awesome farmhouse sink.  My husband and I had gone back and forth on just getting a standard sink because it would be easier to install, we wouldn’t have to modify the cabinet, and it was cheaper. However, I just felt like this kitchen HAD to have a farmhouse sink to tie everything together.  We bought this Whitehaus single bowl fireclay farmhouse sink online and it came in great. You will see the price of this sink is fantastic compared to typical farmhouse sinks.  The faucet we ordered online from Home Depot, I love the look and functionality however I have been upset with the quality a bit because the base twists…our plumber said its the faucet and there isn’t anything he can do about it.


That’s it so far on the kitchen.  Are you guys working on any DIY projects? More to come on our house remodeling.

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“Keeping Up With” Architectural

Can you guess what is in the background of this picture below?

That’s right!  This is Architectural Ceramics tile.  Keeping Up With the Kardashians liked a photo from our website and asked if they could use it for the backdrop of all their interviews during the show.  How cool! This product is Bianco Venatino, it’s a natural stone marble from Italy.  It does look awesome as a ‘green screen’.  Its also neat to think out of all the websites out there a producer from this show was browsing OUR website AND liked one of our tiles that much.  You will see Architectural Ceramics in the credits of this show under photography.

What are you guys up to this weekend?  I’m sitting outside by the pool right now with my two boys while my husband is working on the porch, its a nice weekend so far in the Ginn house.  I’m going to have to do some blogs for you on all the remodeling efforts here.  Have a great weekend!

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Babies, Home, and Tile

Wow! A lot has happened since I wrote last.  My brother and I both had babies AND on the same date, 4/6/14.  I think that must be some sort of record, because how often do you hear of cousins having the same birth date and birth year.  My husband and I finally found the perfect home and settled 4/18/14.  I can’t wait to share renovation photos in the coming weeks.  We’re moving in this Friday!  The last few weeks have been spent getting the house ready to live in.  Last but not least, we launched a new tile line called Brocade that my mom and I designed (see details below).  I have to say designing tile like this is the funnest part of my job and maybe writing this blog :)

Of course I have to start with the most important thing, babies :).  My 2nd son, Oliver, born 2:20am, 8 lbs 6 oz, 21 inches (who would have thought we would have a tall baby since my husband and I aren’t tall).  P.S.  Siblings give the cutest nick names!  Oliver’s new name is ‘Bover’ because Ben doesn’t quite know how to pronounce it yet.  My brother did the same thing with me, I was Steaner / Beaner…eventually it turned into just Stina (and that’s what I’m still called today by close friends and family).  This is Oliver a couple days after leaving the hospital.



This is my boys on Mother’s Day:

ben & oliver

My brother’s daughter, Shaylen, was born the same day at 9:21am, 6 lbs 14 oz.  Here she is modeling our new Brocade line!  My brother now has two girls, his older daughter is just a few months older than my son Ben.



The next fun thing is the house…it is a fixer upper, foreclosed property, on 5 acres, with a pond, a canal in the back, and a pool.  It feels like a lodge-style retreat.  Here are a couple photos (prior to any renovations).  I can’t wait to share some renovation photos with you in upcoming blogs.  We’re going to turn it into a more cottage style feel, new paint, sand / paint kitchen cabinets, farmhouse sink…potentially white wash fireplace although we’re torn on that.  Funny story about the house, we were told we need to shock the well, so we had the instructions on how to do it from online, we got all the supplies, and we were out there with the kids, my husband, and my in-laws tonight attempting it.  The instructions essentially say to pour bleach down the well, then turn on all the faucets until you smell chlorine.  Well, we’re there with the faucet running waiting to smell chlorine (which never came)…when we realized that the well filtration system has a chlorinator and de-chlorinator to get rid of the sulfur smell!  So, we were trying to chlorinate water that can’t be chlorinated.  Oh boy, we’re in over our heads.  Anyways, tomorrow we will be disconnecting the de-chlorinator and re-shocking the well.

mallard4mallard3 photo

Last but not least is our new waterjet tile line!  This line is one that we have been working on for a year, called Brocade.  It consists of 13 patterns: 5 which are in-stock in pre-selected colorways. All stock material can be found on our website here.  Of the 13 patterns, my mom Betty Sullivan designed two, then 3 were just go-to patterns, and I designed the rest.  Details on all patterns can be found here.  The neat thing about this waterjet line is that 1) its much more affordable than other high-end waterjet patterns out there, 2) you can design your own colorway (we have a selection of 36 stones and 8 glass options), 3) there are some gorgeous stock options if you don’t want to wait the lead time!

I wanted to share some of my personal favorites (if I’m allowed since I designed them) :). Calligraphy (shown in Thassos and Bianco Venatino).  This is one that we actually decided to stock.

Calligrpaphy-Thassos-P + Carrara Venatino-P

Cathedral (shown in Calacatta Chablis and Coffee Stone).  This is a classic pattern found in stained glass.

Cathedral-Calacatta Statuario-P + Coffee Stone Dark-P

Ovals (shown in Naturals Cliff glass and Calacatta Gold).  We also decided to stock this pattern as well.


Lastly, Riad (shown in Moonstone and Bianco Venatino).  I actually think this one is my most favorite out of all of them and I love it in this colorway.  We are stocking this one as well.Riad Grouted Board

What do you guys think of this new series?  Let us know!

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Designing for Fun :)

Recently we got so close to buying a foreclosed home that was a MAJOR fixer upper.  We ended up backing out of the contract after the inspection because the entire crawl space was rotted, so it was more than just a remodel…the structure of the home would have needed to be replaced.  But through the process, I had a great time designing the kitchen and bathrooms!  I’m still hoping to use these designs when we do find the right fixer upper.

For the master bathroom, this is what I had planned.  The floors would be classic Calacatta Gold (italian marble) in a trendy 1×4 Herringbone pattern.  I love the concept of the open-shower concept in which you don’t need a shower door (shown below).  This can be done when you use a linear drain and slope the floor away from the shower entrance.  Our glass shower door builds up water marks so quickly, that the idea of having as little glass as possible is ideal.

1x4 calacatta herringbone

1×4″ Herringbone Calacatta Gold Mosaic

linear drain with slope floor

Linear Drain with Open-Shower Concept

For the walls, I wanted to do just a simple 3×6 ceramic tile with a chunky base.

4x8 wall tile

4×8 Glossy Ceramic Wall Tile

base board

6×6 Glossy Ceramic Baseboard

Ovals r2

Brocade Ovals Calacatta Gold + Cliff Glass

For the niche, I put our new stock Brocade Ovals with Calacatta Gold marble and Cliff Glossy glass.  I like the idea of doing an oversize niche like the photo below to really see the waterjet mosaic pattern.  It also helps tie in the marble on the floor with the ceramic walls.

nicheBelow is an installation image which shows nicely the concept of a marble mosaic floor with a ceramic wall tile.  Love it!  Sometimes doing marble on the floors and walls can be very pricey and too much for simple bathroom.

vanity with hardware

Home Decorators Montaigne Vanity

marble floors ceramic walls

Marble Floors with Ceramic Wall Tile

I also found a wonderful cottage style vanity from Home Decorators.  All you have to do is install some mock hardware on the front.  That completes the master bathroom.  What do you think?

I will share with you my future kitchen design in the next blog post, so stay tuned!

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Match Your Pottery Barn Style

Did you just receive your Fall 2013 Pottery Barn catalog in the mail?  We did!  Pottery Barn is actually my favorite home furniture store, I always drag my husband through that one store when we’re at the mall together. In fact, we went to lunch at the mall after church on Sunday with my in-laws and the one store we walked through was Pottery Barn (haha).  They just have a great look and a warm feel.

Mallory (in our Baltimore showroom) pointed out that in the most recent Early Fall 2013 Pottery Barn catalog (pg42) they show a bathroom with white ceramic tile and a Bianco Carrara border.

Excitingly we just launched a new series called ‘Pure’ and one of our showroom boards displays the same product:   raised white ceramic tile with Bianco Carrara marble accent tile (see images below).  Great minds think alike.


Pottery Barn Vanity displayed with Ceramic Tile and Bianco Carrara Border


Pure Collection White Ceramic with Bianco Carrara Accent

Let me know if you have a style that you would like to match…I can find the right tile to fit your look!

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X-Large Baltimore Warehouse

I’m so excited to say that we have officially moved into our new Baltimore warehouse location.  We have moved all of our stock material from 3 small warehouses into one extra large 32,000 sqft warehouse.  Our warehouse manager, Shane, did an awesome job coordinating this move and everything went off without a hitch.  The warehouse staff worked really hard this week and moved ~20 truckloads a day!

Having a distribution center is great for several reasons:

1) Its right off 95 (even visible from 95), so very easy access for pick ups and deliveries.

2) Increased accuracy.  More floor space for packing orders and storing material.

3) Increased efficiency.  All material will arranged by Series name from A to Z and easily accessible.

One of our employees (Leandro) took some awesome photos during the move from up on a forklift.  The first images is our racks going up and the 2nd images is all our stock material waiting to be put on those racks.

??????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????Baltimore Warehouse location details and hours can be found on the website (see link below):


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Summer Sun Before & After

As promised in my last blog (when I showed you a sneak peak of our fresh new patio), here it is!

About 2 years ago we bought a foreclosed home at an auction, what a thrilling experience buying a home at an auction.  There were points in the bidding process where we didn’t even know exactly which price the auctioneer was saying!  Prior to attending the auction we had a home inspection done, we looked at comps, we knew how much we would be willing to pay…we did our research.  At the end of it we ended up getting a great deal and won the bid :)

So, then it came to the fun part of fixing it up because it sure needed it.  We remodeled the entire downstairs and re-vamped the landscaping.  In my upcoming blogs I will go room by room through our remodel, but for now I’ll focus on the backyard.

This is what the backyard looked like when we moved in.  It had a 30 year old chatahoochee pebble patio which with every step you got pebbles stuck to your feet and would track into the house.  It also had mold/moss in spots because of standing water.  There was a large shrub that made the backyard feel very small, and there was sand in the backyard instead of grass.  It was not an ideal place for hanging out and living in Florida you really do want to spend time in your backyard grilling or just relaxing.


patio before

patio before 3










This is Ben observing the action.  It was a free babysitter for me :)

patio before 5

We removed the hedge and replaced it with a thicker ficus hedge on the upper level, planted grass, replaced the fence top from an 8″ width plank to a 12″ width plank (so that we can use it as a bench), planted some mini Italian Cypress’, installed cement pavers, and last but not least tiled the patio!  We did remove the pebbles first, its important to have a smooth flat surface to start.


photo 27

We decided to use 24×24 On Square Cemento Porcelain tile for the patio.  After it was installed my husband said “it looks just like cement”…that’s what we get with a color called Cemento :) We both love the way it turned out.  The back garden is a really nice space for grilling and hanging out now.

Close up shot…

photo 23

What tile did you use in your backyard makeover?  Is anyone doing any outdoor projects for the summer?

Stay tuned for the rest of the remodel.

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