Project Spotlight: The Story Behind The Rainbow… | Fireclay Tile
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Project Spotlight: The Story Behind The Rainbow Bathroom

By Jude Garcia

Project Spotlight: The Story Behind The Rainbow Bathroom

What happens when a homeowner can’t get a vision of rainbows out of their head? Kelly Catania found out when she remodeled the bathroom in her 1927 Portland bungalow, resulting in a joy-filled rainbow bathroom shared around the world.

We sat down with Kelly to chat about the inspiration behind the colorful space, how she brought her vision to life (hint: lots of samples!), and her best advice for homeowners considering their first big project.

Meet Kelly!

Tell us about yourself! Are you a professional designer?

My name is Kelly, and I live with my family in Meridian, Idaho. We recently moved here from Portland Oregon, and we have been completely nerding out on family life. I like to go to mommy and me classes with my daughter, cook, antique, and bird watch. I am not a professional designer, although I wish I was. I am in the early stages of starting a vintage shop. I have a lot to learn, but I am hoping to have a brick and mortar store one day.

Why do you love tile?
All the incredible things that can be done with it! People are so creative.


Is there a story behind your recent remodel you'd like to share? When I bought the home I knew the bathroom was going to need to be remodeled. The tub was peeling and the faucet was an old pipe. The bathroom design was really impractical, too. None of the cabinet doors for storage would open fully, so you couldn’t put things in or take anything out. I was originally going to make the bathroom classic farmhouse, but that changed when I got pregnant.

Before Rainbow Bathroom

Before

When I found out we were pregnant, I was the happiest woman in the whole wide world. I put all of that joy and elation into this project. We wanted to make it a happy place for our new addition to the family.

About the Project

Tile shown: 3x12 in Desert Bloom, Sorbet, Koi, Lemon Cream, Neptune, Turquoise, Amalfi Coast, Glacier Bay, and White Wash // Design: Brittany Buchser + Kelly Catania // Install: C. Cook Custom Interiors // Photos: Lia Mahoney

How involved were you in the design/build process?

This project was a complete labor of love. This was a remodel of a bungalow in NE Portland built in 1927. I mulled over every design decision, searched the internet for hours to get the right fixtures, and saved for months to make it happen.

Tile shown: 3x12 in Desert Bloom, Sorbet, Koi, Lemon Cream, Neptune, Turquoise, Amalfi Coast, Glacier Bay, and White Wash // Design: Brittany Buchser + Kelly Catania // Install: C. Cook Custom Interiors // Photos: Lia Mahoney

What was important to you when designing your bathroom?
I wanted it to convey the joy I had in my heart for my little girl. It was important to me she knew how wanted she was, and how excited we were that we were going to have her to love. I really hope you can see how much joy I was feeling by looking at that bathroom.

Tile shown: 3x12 in Desert Bloom, Sorbet, Koi, Lemon Cream, Neptune, Turquoise, Amalfi Coast, Glacier Bay, and White Wash // Design: Brittany Buchser + Kelly Catania // Install: C. Cook Custom Interiors // Photos: Lia Mahoney

What type of look, aesthetic, or inspiration were you going for?
My inspiration was definitely my baby. I also love old things, so I wanted a retro look. This came together with the antique-inspired sink and light fixture along with the bright tile. I also kept some things original to the house like the door and vent, which my contractor suggested painting white. Then we kept most everything else simple so it wouldn’t be any busier.

Tile shown: 3x12 in Desert Bloom, Sorbet, Koi, Lemon Cream, Neptune, Turquoise, Amalfi Coast, Glacier Bay, and White Wash // Design: Brittany Buchser + Kelly Catania // Install: C. Cook Custom Interiors // Photos: Lia Mahoney

How did you come up with your rainbow design and color scheme?

Once the project changed from simple guest bathroom to my baby’s bathroom, I definitely wanted color. I decided I wanted all the colors, and a rainbow bathroom became the natural choice. I looked for rainbow bathroom inspiration online, but there wasn’t anything at the time. There is a gal AtHomeWithAshley who lives in a rainbow world and picks the most beautiful colors to make her rainbows. She posted on her blog about painting a fridge rainbow, and I used her rainbow fridge as my starting inspiration for the tile.

Once I decided to do a rainbow bathroom and use the tile as the rainbow pattern, I started scouring the internet for different colored tiles. This is when I found Fireclay, and ordered about 30 different sample colors. I remember when they came in I would lay out the tile and stare at the patterns for long periods of time, trying to work out what order they should be in.

Tile shown: 3x12 in Desert Bloom, Sorbet, Koi, Lemon Cream, Neptune, Turquoise, Amalfi Coast, Glacier Bay, and White Wash // Design: Brittany Buchser + Kelly Catania // Install: C. Cook Custom Interiors // Photos: Lia Mahoney

Did you take advantage of our rendering programs? What was most helpful?

The rendering program was a huge game changer. Brittany from Fireclay’s design team was a big contributor to this design. If I hadn’t used her help and expertise, my bathroom would have looked very different. It was her idea to narrow down the color choices and repeat the color pattern, and I am really happy we went that route. She gave me so much of her time, and drew up about 8 different renderings for me. The renderings gave me a clear idea of how the bathroom was going to look, and helped me realize what I initially envisioned wasn’t going to look right on the wall.

Rainbow Bathroom Rendering
Get Free Design Assistance from Design Consultants like Brittany

How did your installation process go? Did you face any challenges?

The installation process was so much fun for me, but I think it was pretty tedious for my contractor and his guys. I had already been working with my contractor, Colin Cook, and his team on the upstairs portion of my house. They helped me turn an unused upstairs space into a gorgeous master suite. They are absolute sweethearts and meticulous, so it was great having them working on this project.

Hear more about this installation from Colin

Tile shown: 3x12 in Desert Bloom, Sorbet, Koi, Lemon Cream, Neptune, Turquoise, Amalfi Coast, Glacier Bay, and White Wash // Design: Brittany Buchser + Kelly Catania // Install: C. Cook Custom Interiors // Photos: Lia Mahoney

How was designing for your own home? Lessons learned? Tips for next time?

I have absolutely no design experience, and I am so proud of how this bathroom turned out. It was a blast to do, too. If you’re a novice designer like me, I suggest really taking your time making design decisions. If you make a rushed decision you may regret your selections later on, and you are the one who is going to have to live in that space. I also found having the right professionals around you is pivotal. I was really lucky to have talented people helping me. Lastly, I highly recommend using Fireclay’s free design assistance. The renderings really helped me feel confident going into the installation.

Tile shown: 3x12 in Desert Bloom, Sorbet, Koi, Lemon Cream, Neptune, Turquoise, Amalfi Coast, Glacier Bay, and White Wash // Design: Brittany Buchser + Kelly Catania // Install: C. Cook Custom Interiors // Photos: Lia Mahoney

Now that your project is complete, what is your favorite part?

My favorite part is that I have a physical and visual representation of my love for my child. I had a vision and made it happen. I did it with a lot of help from incredible people, but I am so happy with the way it turned out. Every time I walked into that room I smiled.

Tile shown: 3x12 in Desert Bloom, Sorbet, Koi, Lemon Cream, Neptune, Turquoise, Amalfi Coast, Glacier Bay, and White Wash // Design: Brittany Buchser + Kelly Catania // Install: C. Cook Custom Interiors // Photos: Lia Mahoney

Do you have any projects coming up? If so, are there any Fireclay products are you dying to use?

We had to sell my beloved old house because it was the best thing for our family. Luckily we sold it to a really lovely couple, so it made it easier for me to let go. As luck would have it, our daughter’s bathroom in our new house is going to need to be redone. It’s obviously going to have to be as awesome as her last, so we are definitely coming to Fireclay to make Rainbow Bathroom 2.0. Fireclay has a lot more colors now since we did this one, so it should be a lot of fun!


Feeling inspired to play with Fireclay’s rainbow array of colors in your own space? Our expert Design Consultants can help bring your vision to life with free design assistance, including sample selections, cost estimates, and renderings. Fill out our simple form to get started!

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