Project Spotlight: The Nooq
After four years of nomadic living, adventurous couple Alex Strohl and Andrea Dabene finally put down their roots in Whitefish, Montana, and never looked back. Affectionately called The Nooq, Alex and Andrea's new build channels the great outdoors with four invigorating Glass Tile bathrooms. Keep scrolling for our full interview. Design & Photos: Alex Strohl and Andrea Dabene.
Meet Alex and Andrea!
We are both photographers and have been traveling together for the past nine years for work and for pleasure. After four years of moving every three months, we finally decided to build our own home. This is our life-changing project called The Nooq!
What made you decide to build in Montana?
Alex’s dad came from France to study in Missoula, Montana and go skiing on the weekends in Whitefish. Alex grew up hearing stories about Montana. One winter we decided to stay for a month or two and completely fell in love with Montana. The next year we came back and decided to stay for good.
What were the main goals for your home? What type of look or aesthetic were you going for?
We wanted to bring the outside in-- Big windows, open spaces, and high ceilings. We wanted it to be Scandinavian inspired -- bright with white walls and light floors.
How did you come up with your color scheme and design?
We were so inspired by the colors outside of our home. We don’t have much color inside the house, so we decided to have fun with the tiles.
Let's talk about the kitchen first. What made you go for our 2x8 in Flagstone?
For the kitchen we wanted to add some color to the room without being too flashy. That’s why we picked Flagstone. The color reminded us of stones we found in nearby lakes. The color is discrete but still noticeable and that’s exactly what we wanted.
Tile shown: Flagstone 2x8
Now, onto the bathrooms! What made you choose our glass tile for the showers?
We completely fell in love with the selection of Fireclay Glass colors. The hues are softer and the material looked beautiful when I put the samples under running water. That is why it made sense to us to put them in each of our showers.
Tile shown: Barn Swallow Matte 3x12
Can you walk us through your color selection process for each bath?
The way we chose colors is very simple. We wanted to bring the colors of the outside into the house. The Great Blue Heron and Barn Swallow are for the ice and the lakes we have here in Montana.
Tile shown: Great Blue Heron Matte 2x12
Tile Shown: Barn Swallow Gloss 3x12
Falcon is for fall and how our trees turn a beautiful yellow-orange color.
Tile Shown: Falcon Matte 2x12
I wanted a more unique white in our powder room that reminded us of the snow, so we went with Dove.
Tile Shown: Dove Gloss 2x12
Why did you choose to go for ceramic tile in Sugar for the bathroom backsplashes?
We chose ceramic tile for the backsplashes because we wanted the showers to be the stand outs. Honestly I fell in love with the color Sugar -- it blends perfectly with the white walls but has the character of handmade ceramic tile. It is beautiful.
Tile shown: Sugar 2x8
How did the installation process go? Did you face any challenges?
We worked with our contractor who hired a tile installer. We made sure that the installer had worked with handmade tiles before. The process went really well-- he explained how each tile was different. That’s what I loved about the process; the imperfections made it perfect.
How was designing for your own home? Lessons learned? Design tips?
Designing for your own home is overwhelming but awesome-- we are ready to do it again! It was our first time building a home so of course we made some mistakes but you learn from them.
If I can give one tip it will be to trust your first instinct. If there is something you really like, stick to it. I changed my mind on so many things and always ended up with what I liked first. It will save you time and money!
How did you hear about Fireclay Tile? What did you enjoy about the experience?
I first heard of Fireclay from a friend who recently renovated her kitchen. She highly recommended Fireclay by showing me their Instagram.
Choosing tile was the hardest part of building our home but in the same time it was my favorite. Getting all the samples mailed to us helped a lot! It’s not easy to pick a color and material online only.
My Design Consultant was always there for me when I needed her for tips and I really appreciated that! It can be so overwhelming to choose tiles and you feel a little lost at first because you have so much choice. Fireclay knows how to do their job and you have to trust them.
What are your favorite products?
My favorite products are the Glass Tiles-- I completely fell in love with the material and color selection.
Why do you love tile?
I love tile because you can have fun with it. Like I said, I wasn’t bold enough to put colors in our home because I knew I wanted something different with tile. I wanted the tiles to be the center of attention when you enter the room.
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