Aww Sam: Pink Floor Tile
Design + Images: Sam Ushiro
Staying true to her home's retro roots, tastemaker Sam Ushiro of the blog Aww Sam outfits her delightfully groovy closet with a pop of pink geometric floor tile.
First meet Sam!
Can you tell me a bit about yourself and what you do?
Hi! I'm Sam Ushiro, the face behind the DIY/lifestyle blog Aww Sam! I’m an industrial designer, photographer, baker, and vintage lover. My husband and I work together and post tutorials on our blog and Instagram account. We just bought a 1970's home and are in the process of renovating it!
How did you hear about Fireclay Tile? What did you enjoy about the experience? What are your favorite products?
I first heard about Fireclay Tile from seeing other Influencers using it in their renovation projects, long before we ever had a home! I was interested in the tile so I checked out the Fireclay website and decided it was perfect fit for our house remodel.
Sam chose our Picket tiles in Stilbite for her closet floor project:
Working with Fireclay has been amazing, I went into this process completely clueless and you all have been so helpful in figuring out tile colors and unique solutions to the spaces in our home. So far we have only used the ceramic tile, but we are planning on using hand painted and glass tiles in our bathroom, so I think it’s safe to say we love all of Fireclay products!
Sam's bathroom project will feature yellow and cream tones on the walls and floor:
Tile Shown: Fireclay Favorites: Yellows
Why do you love tile?
Tile to me is such a versatile medium to work with for flooring, because it allows you to play with patterns, shapes, and colors much more that wood flooring or cement could. You can really go with your imagination and do anything you want to do with it.
Can you tell me about your home? Was this project a part of a remodel or renovation? What did you most want to change?
When we bought our home, we bought it for the unique features and bones that it has, because it was built in the 70’s and already has such deep ties to that era. However, there are parts of it that are too dated or dysfunctional and those are areas where we are going to be doing more of the remodel. Originally this closet was an office attached to the master bedroom, with a smaller closet attached to the office itself.
Here's the closet before:
We liked the idea of a bigger, more open master closet, and the layout made more sense with the closet being accessible from the bedroom, so the office became our new master closet! (Don't worry, we'll still have an office in another part of our home!)
What type of look or aesthetic were you going for?
We are both lovers of vintage and all things retro, so we knew from the very beginning we would follow that aesthetic throughout the house. We wanted to combine our vintage 60's and 70's clothing with some mid-century modern elements, and update the home to truly feel like a home from the 70's!
Here's the closet after (wow):
Tell me about your closet space. What sort of look were you going for in here?
For our closet we wanted to design something that joined psychedelic 60’s & 70's style with mid-century modern. We decided it needed to be a place where we could showcase all of our most colorful and playful vintage clothing, while still being functional enough to contain jewelry, earrings, sunglasses, and shoes.
While we were looking for inspiration, we came across a few truly vintage photos of closets from the 60’s, and were able to use those for a little bit of inspiration!
How did you come up with your color scheme and design?
To stay within our budget, we came up with a plan to hack basic Ikea closet modules, from the standard plain white wardrobes, into something that looked more like a built in closet with the help of trim, baseboard, and moulding. I lived in New York for 10 years and never had a proper closet, so I knew that I wanted something that felt really special and could house all of my favorite pieces of clothing.
In terms of color scheme, we have always leaned more towards, pinks, oranges, yellows, and corals. From there we had to decide what would make the most sense without overpowering the clothing that was going inside. We settled very quickly on the coral-ish tones of the Stilbite and we absolutely love how it turned out; one of my favorite parts of the room!
What made you decide on Pickets in Stilbite? Were there any other contenders?
We really loved the style of the Pickets, because their geometric shape feels very retro. We felt like they could give a sense of direction to the room as well as help it take shape. We actually originally were thinking of going white with the Picket instead of Stilbite, because we didn’t want everything to feel overwhelming with the already rainbow assortment of clothing we were putting into the room.
After some consideration, we ended up realizing that having white tiles, in a white room with white wardrobes might be a little too sterile than the look we were going for so we went with our second option of Stilbite, and I am so incredibly happy we did!
How did the installation process go? Did you face any challenges? Did you work with a tile installer or contractor?
The installation process was great! Our contractor had a worker who specialized in tile installation and worked with us the whole way through. Any concerns we had were addressed and our specifications were followed to the tee! Because our home is older and hasn't been updated since it was built, parts of the concrete weren't level, but our contractor worked with us to figure out a solution before laying the tile.
How was designing for your own home? Lessons learned?
Since we did a lot of designing for our old apartment in Brooklyn, we came into this home remodel feeling very confident about how to move forward, and we still feel relatively confident. However, we have definitely had to take a second look at some of our choices. Everything we are designing in the home is with the intention of it being permanent, which is the opposite of how we designed for the apartment.
Having to ask a contractor for help and assistance is also a first for us, as we were able to rely on our own skills and work in the apartment, but we don’t have enough knowledge to do the same thing now. I can’t even imagine having to lay tiles or replace an entire wall, though we are learning every day how to do some of these things.
One of the biggest lessons we have learned is essentially this: that it is okay to outsource jobs you can’t handle to an expert, but that you also need to be educated on the subject so you are able to appropriately judge and learn their handiwork. The more you know about what is happening the better able you are to make sure it goes correctly and to ensure it is exactly how you want it to be!
What are your 3 best design tips?
1 - First, I’d say to go with your gut! I have second guessed myself so many times during this process, asking myself, "is this too weird?" "does this make sense?" My philosophy about design might be a little controversial, but there's no right or wrong way to do anything. If you like something and think it works, that's all that matters!
Sam's kitchen in their NY Apartment:
2 - Second, take your time! I have felt so rushed during moments of our renovation and in my design job in general and those tend to be times where I end up hating what I'm working on. Obviously, there are some jobs you don't have an unlimited amount of time to complete, but if you're able to take a step back while designing, it could save so much frustration.
3 - Lastly, have fun! You'd think since we use so many colors in what we do, I'd have fun every day, but that's not always the case. Although I feel so happy to get to do something I love everyday, some days just feel like work and I forget to have fun. Whether that means taking the time to look at your work differently or flat out just having a dance break, have fun!!!
And here's their bedroom:
You're working on your bathroom with us next! Which products did you choose?
For the bathroom we will be using two different types of tile! First we are using the hand painted Harvest tile in yellow and cream tones as our floor, and then we will be using two different colors of the glass tile for our shower area. We are so excited to get started on this room and can’t wait to have it done!
Tile Shown: Handpainted Harvest in White Motif
Inspired by this color-filled closet? Order color samples online. Need some help? Simply call, chat or fill out our Design Assistance Form and one of our talented Design Consultants will get back to shortly.