Project Spotlight: Prepford Wife
Victoria Ford, aka the Prepford Wife, loves a traditional look. But with a design style she describes as "classic with a wink", she has a way of making the familiar feel uniquely hers. Ford's been busy remodeling her Cary, North Carolina home and featuring Fireclay Tile to the fullest, so we caught up with her to hear about the projects, her process, and having an intentional purpose behind every design.
First, can you tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do?
I'm Victoria Ford. I am a strategist by day and an influencer by night. I am the blogger behind PrepFord Wife.
How did you get interested in design?
I joke that I am inherently a fixer in all aspects of my life. Design is just an extension of that for me. It's the opportunity for me to "fix" my environment to be exactly what I want it to be and to create a surrounding that maximizes what we need and minimizes hassle.
What is your design process like?
Chaotic. I am not a designer by trade and I tend to have a very classic and traditional taste so much of the time, one item kick starts an entire plan. I've designed a whole bathroom around a vase before.
Where do you get inspiration from?
Oh anywhere! A good piece of art, a thrift shop, a nice outfit that walks past me on the street. Design inspiration is always lurking.
How would you describe your style?
I always describe my style as "classic with a wink". It's timeless and traditional but there is always a wild card that lets you know it's mine.
Can you tell me about your home--Were you doing a remodel or a renovation? Is there a story behind the house that you'd like to share?
We live in a little dutch colonial right outside of Raleigh, NC that we bought on a whim during the pandemic. We were Zillow window shopping for a beach house when we saw this home in our town. It was exactly what we were looking for in our next and possible forever home. So we put in an offer the next day that was accepted. We've been slowly renovating it one room at a time with Country Living Magazine in a series called Makeover Takeover.
Let's talk about the bathrooms first--what were your goals for these spaces?
Function! I am a function over form first and then I let the design follow. So for both spaces, my game plan was to create spaces that were functional for the way our family lives. From introducing a larger shower and dual vanities in the ensuite to a better toilet and tile in the hall bathroom, we really wanted to create spaces for our lives.
What made you go for Dusty Blue and a floral floor pattern in the En suite bathroom?
I am not ashamed to say that designing with blue is my MO. We'd just left impulsively left our last house which had a dusty blue color palette and I missed it. So I pulled it through in this space. I wanted the entire room to feel enveloped by the color so I chose it in the floor to ceiling Dusty Blue tile in a traditional shape so it didn't get dated and then carried it over to the paint. As for the tile, we had lovely white hex tiles in here before but they were faded and cracked in some places. I didn't want to lose them entirely so I pulled them back through and added the black hex because I love love those traditional floral floor patterns. I did bump up the size on them from what's traditionally had to bring a little bit of modern to the space.
Now the guest bath! You said this is one of your favorite spaces you've ever done, what makes it a favorite?
It's probably my number one space ever. It feels so spot-on for what I envisioned in mind. That doesn't often happen. But from the moment of a concept until we stepped through the door it was what I wanted it to feel like. So much of design is about feeling for me. And I knew I wanted this room to feel like it was always this way. Like it was there 100 years ago but would still be gorgeous 100 years from now.
What was the inspiration behind the mosaic floor? You laid out the pattern yourself, what was that experience like?
Soothing. I really like laying tile patterns. It's a monotonous task that puts my mind on autopilot. The mosaic floor was completely my husband's brainchild. He doesn't have many opinions on what I design but the ones he does have, I will try with all my might to work around. He had an inspo picture of the kind of Victorian floor tiles that he likes and I worked backward to recreate the pattern in a shape that actually worked for us and then pulled a few of the colors that I knew would be featured in the bathroom for the colorful tiles. I made sure to pull one that was the same color as the wall tiles to unify them.
Last but not least: the laundry room! What made you choose this bold checkerboard pattern?
The checkboard is what led me to Fireclay Tiles in the first place. I had this image of a large-format checkerboard tile in Navy and white (my preferred color palette) and couldn't find it anywhere. But it perfectly fits my aesthetic of "classic with a wink" a little something expected (the print) with a little something unexpected (the color).
After working with our tile, any lessons learned about working with handmade tile?
We had some parts of it installed by contractors and I can say the one piece of advice we all give, get the trim! We love schluter as much as the next people but the hand-glazed edges on the hall bathroom really give it a different and custom feel. 10/10 would recommend.
What tiles would you love to use in a future project?
I've actually got my eye on a few but don't have a project in mind at this moment. I'm head over heels for the Chicago tile in the handpainted tile section and think it would be so charming in a small space. I'm also wild about the Evergreen colored tile in any shape and am actively looking for a reason to use it.
Tile Shown: Handpainted in Chicago
Tile Shown: Evergreen
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