Why wood tile?

Hello! Apologies for the slow posts lately, I mentioned it earlier but this flooring stuff is a real bottleneck! Good news is, both bedroom floors have been sealed and the base boards & door trim are just about finished. Hopefully we can put our bedroom back together tonight! ALSO, last night I pulled the trigger and started re-painting Zano’s room in one of my favorite colors ever. It already looks a thousand times better.  My husband teased me in front of our contractor over the fact I was so concerned about North facing light. What? It’s a real thing!!!

As promised, I wanted to share with you everything we went through during this process, from making the decision to install wood tile over hardwood floors to actually selecting the look best fit for our house.

Before diving into this whole shebang, there were a few things we knew for certain that would influence our flooring decision:

  • We have dogs, 3 of them, that’s 12 little doggy feet! We needed a hard, durable floor that would withstand scratches, dropped bones, and other animal behavior
  • We have a baby who will grow into a toddler that will spill and drop things on our floors
  • We might rent our house out someday, we did not want to worry about future tenants scratching up the floors
  • We also wanted to consider potential resale and wanted to make the best investment possible; we eliminated laminate from the equation. Laminate just doesn’t hold it’s value here in CA.

I definitely spent substantial time researching hardwood flooring. Having animals with heavy feet limited our hardwood flooring options. During our hardwood flooring research, we learned about the Janka Hardness Scale: the higher the Janka score the harder/more durable the flooring. If we were to install a high Janka rated floor, we were looking at more “exotic” hardwoods like Brazilian cherry or Hickory, which comes with more $$$. Oak, being the most popular flooring choice, actually falls in the middle of the Janka scale – so, yes it’s affordable but it’s too soft for our needs.  I was also afraid if we spent a lot of money on a high Janka rated wood floor it would still scratch and dent (because it would). I needed something more durable than that, I mean, I would be very upset if I spent a ton of $ on some super special, high Janka rated wood floor and days or weeks later see it start to scratch and dent. THIS, friends, is why we turned to wood tile.

Tile comes in a few different mediums: cement, porcelain, and ceramic – porcelain being the most durable. I actually started looking at styles before I realized what medium the tile was made from. I didn’t realize it, at first I thought shopping for wood tile would make the selection process easier, but believe me, shopping for wood tile is just as overwhelming as shopping for hardwood. The options seem endless!

We looked at a lot of wood tiles, like A LOT a lot. We visited Lowes (3 different locations), Home Depot (3 different locations), The Floor Store, and browsed websites including BuildDirect and The Tile Shop. Each vendor offers extremely different options, so I can’t recommend one over the other.  One piece of advice I will tell you now is – don’t rely on your big box home improvement store to offer all, or the best, options. I learned first hand these retailers carry what happened to be my least favorite wood tile options. We were able to find better quality tiles from local mom & pop retailers that were even more affordable than the big box retailers! I would never have guessed! Not only did we find the perfect tile, we felt really good about purchasing from a smaller retailer (and good news! they have an online shop!). Supporting small business is extremely rewarding. You should do it any chance you get!

So anyway, we brought home a bunch of samples from various retailers. Hands down the hardest part was choosing a style. For a hot minute I got pulled towards the exotic look, I LOVED this acacia tile from Lowes. It looked incredible in this photo!

acacia wood tile

All my Instagram peeps loved it too! The problem with this is, yes, it looks amazing in this small scale, but picture this crazy grain across your entire house! Talk about busy, right? As much as I loved the look of this tile, I knew after bringing it home that I needed to find something more neutral – something that would just exist in the background and not bother anyone.   This acacia-look tile would be too busy of a pattern, fighting to be the center of attention, and I could foresee it giving me headaches and I probably wouldn’t ever know why!  I had to remind myself that my kitchen is the star and I couldn’t have the floors fighting for the spotlight.  After this realization I was happy to finally focus on finding the perfect neutral looking tile.

Below is a chart of 9 of my favorite samples that we considered for our floors. I split them into 3 categories: grainy (lots of wood grain!), exotic (like that acacia!), and neutral. We ordered #8 for our house.

My favorite wood tile options // brittanyMakes

1. Casetta Oak | 2. Emser Alpine | 3. Briarwood | 4. Brazilian Pecan | 5. Acacia | 6. Botannica Cashew | 7. Napa  | 8. Allways | 9. Marazzi Montagna Saddle

 We were THIS close to ordering the Napa walnut tile. My husband’s favorite was the Allways (also in walnut, but not so dark). We brought both samples home – the Napa was 6″x24″ in size while the Allways was 8″x48″, and a bit more pricey than the Napa. This brings me to my next tidbit of advice – make sure you bring your samples home and lay them in your space. The size of the tiles make ALL the difference! My husband and I were utterly in love with the Allways tile, it’s scale was perfect – super wide & long planks. The other little test that sealed the deal was the dirt test. Our house was kinda dusty at the time since we were already tearing up flooring. We stepped in some dust with our shoes, then stepped on each plank to see how much dirt showed. You could see our full foot print on the dark walnut Napa tile, whereas the Allways tile hid almost all the dirt.  Winner!!!! As much as I wish I could, I just can’t clean my floors daily. We needed something that wouldn’t show every little speck of dirt.

There you have it! Some real life advice and insight on how we selected our new floors. I just can’t wait for them to be finished so I can share! If you’re curious about anything, ask away in the comments!

PS: my favorite post on wood vs tile


Casual Fridays

bedroom designIf you caught my IG feed yesterday, my bedroom looks nothing like this right now! Our bed and our dressers and all our belongings are neatly (yeah right) piled up in our living room while our bedroom gets the tile treatment. I’m so excited to see our floors finished! Today tile, tomorrow grout, Sunday is baseboards and door trim. I can’t wait to share the end result!

As usual, here are my favorite links this week:

Have a fantastic weekend everyone!




I’ve been feeling like a cluttered mess lately; disorganized, stressed out, cluttered, uninspired.. at first I thought something was wrong with me, maybe I’m experiencing some sort of burn-out.  But then it dawned on me today – duh! my house is under construction! I remember the time I was so envious of folks renovating their own homes – thought how much fun and exciting it must be to hand select your own finishes and fixtures, turning a house into your dream home.  The thought seemed so luxurious!  What people never tell you is the crazy mental state you’ll most likely endure when living through a construction zone. If you’re house is a mess, your mind is a mess.

Anyway, I really shouldn’t be complaining, I mean, I asked for this! I truthfully couldn’t be more excited to finally get rid of our Frankenstein flooring.  This here is the special corner I liked to call the bermuda triangle of floors:

frankenstein-floorsIt’s this darling corner where our vibrantly orange bedroom floors meet the vintage speckled poop brown trellis tile of the entryway, which then meets the lumpy brown (yet surprisingly soft) carpet that opens up into the white painted subfloor of our kitchen + dining room. It’s quite a sight. And if you thought I was joking that we never invite people over because of our floors, this is precisely the eyesore that I’ve been so embarrassed over.  Soon friends! Soon I will finally be able to invite you over!

Here’s a shot at the first stage of our flooring reno. I mentioned we’re laying faux wood tile (which I promise to dive into next!). Our house is on a raised foundation (we have a crawl space), versus a cement slab. Since our foundation is raised we have to strengthen the subfloor by laying a cement backer. We laid Hardiesbacker cement board first, which is what you see here

hardie-backerEven just the cement backer as flooring looks a million times better! I’m sure you also noticed the fireplace wall is a different color than the rest of the house.. it’s true, I haven’t yet painted that wall. You might also notice this wall is decked out in faux wood paneling. A part of me wishes I could have seen this focal wall in it’s original (unpainted) state. We’ve ripped out the paneling since this photo was taken, thank goodness!

Some other changes that are happening – we’ve removed all wall trim and door trim throughout the house. We’re planning to install a new door that leads out into the sun room, this sliding glass door is broken so it needs replacing anyway. We also decided last minute to rehaul the bathroom… Why not, right? And just for kicks, here is a peek into the tile we chose for our house!

faux wood tileI know, right??? It really IS tile! I’m drafting a lengthy post on our flooring selection process. We spent SO much time and research selecting our flooring, it only makes sense to share our process :)

Thank you so much for bearing with me as I figure out my life during these projects!


Decorating with Texture

woven wall hanging // brittanyMakes

woven wall hanging // brittanyMakes


woven wall hanging // brittanyMakes

I’ve been lusting over unique woven wall art for quite some time. I understand it’s not for everyone, especially folks who lived through the fad in the 70’s, where I was hardly a spec of a thought in my parent’s minds, ha! I have great appreciation of the art and understand it’s a special skill only mastered by few. I’ve been contemplating different ways to incorporate this look into my own home, so I started hunting around. Randomly I stumbled upon this gorgeous (and huge!) pink & gray toned wall hanging at a flea market, priced at $20. Total steal! Even the vendor said “my boss is going to kill me” after offering it to me at that price. It appears vintage, but you never really know at flea markets.. I’m obsessed with the colors in this piece.

See how I incorporated it in my home – full post is over at domino.com today!


House Update!

If you’re new here, welcome! You’re in for a real treat today! You’re about to see the ugly side of my house……..

I think it’s been like, what? 7 months since we began the ‘phase 1′ of our renovation? We removed walls and renovated the kitchen last fall, and I should add – all the while living IN the house during the renovation, and with a 5 month old baby! Note to self – don’t do that again… Well, now the kid is 10 months old, and we’re finally embarking on ‘phase 2′ – Floors!!!

New Flooring - before // brittanyMakes


Just looking at this photo makes me laugh. The obvious divide of old & new is hilarious.  I took this photo just after we ripped up the carpet. And when I say ‘we’, I mean my husband and our contractor. I was playing with the baby.

After months of research, discussions, and more research, we’ve finally figured out what we’re going do with the floors! I’m so excited, it’s all coming together and don’t you worry, I will definitely share every possible detail.

Happy Monday! And PS! If your name is Melissa Hansson, check your email! You won the PrettyPegs giveaway!


Giveaway with Pretty Pegs!

Pretty Pegs Giveaway | brittanyMakes

Pretty Pegs Giveaway | brittanyMakes

Pretty Pegs Giveaway | brittanyMakes

Pretty Pegs Giveaway | brittanyMakes

I am SO excited to announce our newest collaboration with PrettyPegs! I can’t tell you how long I’ve adored their collection of table & sofa legs, and it feels surreal to say I get to give away a set of 4 Estelle table legs to one lucky reader (same legs as the ones above!).

PrettyPegs legs are most used to customize Ikea furniture – take a boring Ikea sofa and add some flare with brass capped Estelle legs or even the flirty turned Siri legs, they also have a couple retro options, if that’s your thing!  PrettyPegs legs are universally fit, and can jazz up more than just Ikea furniture.

PrettyPegs is celebrating their newest top-to-toe collection where customers get to mix and match their favorite table legs + table top for a custom design that suits your personal style.

The giveaway is easy! Each reader will have 3 chances to win – like PrettyPegs on Facebook, follow PrettyPegs on Instagram, and best of all, leave a comment on how you will use these legs in your own home!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*open to US residents only


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