Patti Wagner: Bathroom Retreat | Fireclay Tile
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Patti Wagner: Bathroom Retreat

By Kali

Patti Wagner: Bathroom Retreat

Images by: Meg Cooper Photography

Designer Patti Wagner gives boho style a blank slate, pairing classic subway tile with our Handpainted Kasbah Trellis in a refreshing white palette for this bathroom renovation. Scroll down to learn more about Patti and see the transformation of this imitable bathroom retreat. 

This is Patti and her family: 


My style can be described as...Transitional. I'm not a fan of being defined by one style. However, most of the spaces I've designed have some level of warmth in them and I'm a huge proponent of mixing old with new. 
My design philosophy is...Don't be afraid to make your home your own. It's nice to be inspired by other spaces but always incorporate what feels right to you, not what you think others will like.


I got my start...I studied Interior Design at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, VA.  My first work in the field was at a design-build firm while I was in college.  
I find inspiration in...I'm a sucker for looking through magazines. I know things have gotten more digital but I get excited when I pick up a real magazine. I also love walking through old homes and admiring all of the original details.
I can't live without...My family and Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup).
My best design advice would be...I guess my design philosophy and advice would be the same - Don't be afraid to make your home your own! I can't say that enough especially when it's easy to get caught up in making decisions based on how we think others will react.
I love tile because...It's one of the foundational pieces that can help express our style and add personality to any space!


Tile Shown: 3x6 White Gloss with Kasbah Trellis in Neutral Motif

Can you tell me a bit about yourself and what you do? 
I work full time as a Senior Designer for a company. My husband also works full time, but on the side, we thoughtfully renovate old properties in Minneapolis, Minnesota and turn them into boutique rentals. We share some of our renovation process on my Instagram patticakewagner. But our most important job is raising our two little girls. We are also expecting our third in December!

Can you tell me about this home? Was this project a remodel or renovation? What was the overall aesthetic you were going for? 
This home is a duplex and one of our rental properties built in 1900. This was a pretty big renovation since we had to gut the kitchen and bathroom because it hadn't been updated in a very long time. Things were starting to fall apart and we noticed there was some water damage in the bathroom.

Here's the bathroom before: 


First, we looked through the unit to see what we could salvage. We like to use as much of the original details as we can. Then we imagined a modern cottage retreat (not sure exactly what that looks like in someone else's mind but that's the best I could describe it in my head) feel for the interior.  


How is it different designing a space that is going to be a rental property vs. your own home? 
It's actually a bit more fun and exciting! I think when we design for our own home, there's a whole bunch of ideas and paths that we can take but we eventually, settle on one so our home isn't a hodgepodge. But it's neat to take those other ideas that we liked to incorporate into our rental properties. At the same time, we have to be thoughtful about how we spend our money and how people will treat our space. We have to consider durability, quality and affordability. We try our best to stay as close as possible to our budget without making the renovation feel basic. That's the hard part. 


Let's talk about the bathroom: what were the goals for the space? What did you change? 
This bathroom was in very poor condition and we were concerned about water damage underneath the floor. To fix the flooring and make sure everything was water tight we had to gut the entire space. Besides the clawfoot tub and sink there was nothing left of the original character to save. These two items alone made us confident that there was a lot of potential for this bathroom. With a clean slate, our first mission was to brighten up the space while keeping it visually interesting and preserving its vintage charm.  


Note: When it came time to re-install the original sink, we were so disappointed to find out that its drain connection was too corroded and beyond fixing. We had to quickly replace the sink that just two years prior was restored with new finish and a new faucet. Sometimes, these old homes can be unpredictable. 


What was the aesthetic you were going for? 
We just wanted the space to feel crisp and relaxing. Kind of like a retreat for our tenants.


What made you choose the Kasbah Trellis in Neutral Motif for the floor? Were there any other contenders? 
We loved how the Kasbah Trellis had personality without being too loud. There were definitely other strong contenders like Elephant Star, Jardin Fretwork and Moorish Knot. When we were deciding on the tub color, we were leaning towards the Moorish Knot if we kept the tub blue. That would've looked amazing, too! But we ultimately decided to keep it classic with a black tub and the Kasbah Trellis complimented it very nicely.


Tile Shown: Kasbah Trellis in Neutral Motif

How about the 3x6 in White Gloss? What made you go for a darker grout? 
The darker grout was a great contrast to the 3x6 White Gloss subway tile.  Also, dark grout is very forgiving which is a good thing. 


Tile Shown: 3x6 in White Gloss 

IMPORTANT NOTE: We do not typically recommend using a dark grout with a white or light colored tile as it can stain during the installation process. Please check with your design consultant on what the best grout choice will be for your tile and make sure your installer reads our Installation Guidelines


How did the installation process go? Did you face any challenges?
Although my husband has laid tile before, due to timing we hired a professional tile installer. They loved our choices and made the comment that most of their clients use basic tile so they were excited to see that we used some unique ones. The installation for the Kasbah Trellis floor tile went pretty smoothly. 


Our biggest learning with handmade tile is that there is a longer lead time for a reason. Every tile is made to order and someone is meticulously hand painting them, putting a lot of care into each piece so make sure you understand your project's timeline. Along with that, there are more specialized and unique trim pieces which may be harder to figure out what to order. This requires a more in depth conversation with your installer and the experts at Fireclay Tile. Once we figured it all out, it was absolutely worth it!

Lastly, any shapes, colors or patterns of ours you're hoping to use in future projects? 
We absolutely love the handpainted Jardin Fretwork and Sintra in the Neutral Motif, as well as Paseo in Foggy Morning. We actually have a master bathroom that we still need to remodel in our own home and we'd seriously consider these as options. But really, there are too many good selections to choose from!


Want a bathroom retreat of your own? Order color samples online now. Need some help? Simply call, chat or fill out our Design Assistance Form and one of our talented Design Consultants will get back to you shortly. 

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