Imagine wanting to create a French Coastal design theme for your Florida beachfront property renovation. How do you get started?
Before shopping for tile at Tile Outlets of America, you might consider creating a series of inspiration boards filled with design ideas to refer to.
That's what Leslie Meczka did and how Kate Spencer got involved.
To make matters even more interesting, Leslie was excited to be featured on the HGTV’s Beach Front Bargain Hunt: Renovation series. When it came time for her to shop for tile, she and Kate got to meet in person and the whole visit was filmed for the show.
"Leslie reached out to me in 2017 to help her create a dream “French coastal” design for the new home she and her husband Grant had purchased in St. Petersburg, Florida. She wanted to select her tile from Tile Outlets of America. She sent me her dream boards and ideas which enabled us to push back and forth with tile selections to make those dreams come alive."
Beachfront Property Renovation Dream Boards
If you're not familiar with dream boards, or concept boards, it's where you group together images, color swatches or chips, fabric patterns, tile and other product samples that capture the look and feel of your dream concept.
These can be three-dimensional boards. They can also be Pinterest boards, Evernote files or even PowerPoint or Word documents. The idea is to capture in one place your various sources of inspiration.
What you'll notice with the files Leslie shared with Kate, is that she includes notes, website links, and comments.
Office Floor Dream Board
Here is Leslie’s dream board for the office floor.
Notice these really unique patchwork designs with soft color tones. We weren't able to find this exact look she wanted, but it was fun trying.
These decorative designs are very popular and the color pallettes are fun for any room.
Kitchen Backsplash Dream Board
As you can see from Leslie's kitchen backsplash examples, here too she was looking for unique patchwork and decorative backsplashes to complement her design style in soft green and blue colors.
You can imagine how much we look forward to seeing the final episode showcasing Leslie's beachfront property renovation so we can admire what she ended up selecting for the kitchen backsplash.
You'll notice how Leslie's Pinterest boards include many of the ideas she pulled into the dream boards shared with Kate:
>> See St. Pete Home Bathrooms
>> See New St. Pete Home Ideas
Meet Leslie Meczka, Beachfront Property Renovator
We caught up with Leslie to ask her questions about her background, the HGTV Beachfront Bargain Hunt: Renovation program and the inspiration for the tilel products she chose.
TOA: Leslie, tell us about yourself and your background.
LM: I’m a vice president of sales for a software company based out of New York City, although I can live anywhere as I often travel for work.
I grew up in a small farming community in Ohio where manners and a good work ethic are still easy to come by.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved homes and everything about home décor, design, and renovation. I learned a lot from my Dad growing up and into my early 20s as he was always renovating a home – either a rental property or his/our own. This home in St Pete is our third (and hopefully final) residence, and I’m most excited about the details of this one.
TOA: Are you from the St. Pete area? What do you love most about it?
LM: No, I’m actually from a small town in Ohio, and my husband is from Cleveland.
We met and fell in love in St Pete when I first moved here in 2010. We ultimately moved back home to Ohio after I’d grown home-sick and lived in the Cleveland area.
In 2017 my husband and I decided we missed St Pete, the people and the culture here and decided to move back – for good! The Historic Old Northeast neighborhood of St Pete embodies all of the elements I love about where I grew up (old trees, unique old homes, and a sense of community) in addition to being right along the water and close to downtown. St Pete is truly the only city I’ll ever want to live in again.
We love the warmth of the people here, the Spanish moss trees, lively art scene, and the proximity to the water as well as Tampa.
TOA: What is the Beachfront Bargain Hunt: Renovation program?
LM: Beachfront Bargain Hunt is a series on HGTV featuring people that are on a quest to find their perfect home near the beach but without a large budget. Some episodes feature a renovation, and ours is one of them.
TOA: How did you get involved in it?
LM: Because we’re not from Florida and don’t have connections here to advise us on which contractors to use, we were a bit nervous about the quality of work or being taken advantage of.
So we originally applied to be on Holmes on Homes on HGTV where Mike Holmes serves as your contractor. They emailed us back to say the show had just wrapped but mentioned Beachfront Bargain Hunt as an option if we were targeting a neighborhood close to the water.
From there we filled out an application, had a skype interview with the casting company, and the rest is history!
TOA: Describe the property you renovated.
LM: We purchased an old single-story bungalow close to the water. The home is wood frame and cedar wood siding, though it does sit on blocks.
So far we’ve already battled termites, rot, foundation, and electrical issues. It’s really been a much larger project than we originally anticipated it would be, however, it's shaping up really nicely.
The home has a great flow to it, high ceilings, and a lot of light. We lived in a 3,000 square foot home in Ohio and it was just too much for us to keep up with, so we prefer the 1900 square feet we have here.
TOA: What was your vision for this renovation – colors, textures, materials, inspiration…?
LM: Grant and I have always loved the architecture in Europe – especially France. We themed this renovation “French coastal” and have remained true to that throughout as we’re making selections.
We wanted our home to feel calming, almost as though you could feel the water, however, we like the old textures and traditional shapes that trend more European as well. We’ve got a lot of whites, greys, blues, and greens throughout our home.
I love layering textures and pairing smooth shiny marbles with wood and chrome accents, or painted tile with smooth white shiplap and coastal feeling rattans.
TOA: How did you hear about Tile Outlets of America?
LM: We drove by! Literally. We’re not from the area and were coming from a Granite yard and passing by the area!
TOA: What products did you select and why?
LM: We found so many unique products for a very reasonable cost.
With a whole-home renovation underway and so many unexpected hits to our budget already, I needed to find reasonably priced tile, but I wasn’t willing to compromise on style/theme.
I was on a mission to find a floor tile for the kitchen could be laid in a herringbone pattern and looked similar to old brick – but without the orange.
We found a tile called London Fog that was BETTER than I could have imagined, with grey and taupe colors mixed in.
We also found a super unique polished marble water jet cut tile that we decided to lay on the floor in our bathroom.
Here are three that we considered.
A gorgeous peacock feather or teardrop design with alternating white and grey marble.
Next, a white marble fleur-de-lis shape with a grey marble border.
The third is features different shades of marble - from white to darker grey - in a modified chevron pattern.
We paired our final choice with polished marble subway tile for the walls.
The room looks phenomenal and the tile looks very French-inspired, and so fitting with our claw foot bathtub.
TOA: Leslie, what’s most important for a beachfront renovation?
LM: Being so close to the water really does present its challenges. We took a lot of time and care when rebuilding the entire exterior of the home to ensure every nook of this home was waterproofed this time.
We certainly don’t want to be forced to rebuild due to rot issues again in the future, so we ensured it was done right this time.
TOA: What advice do you have for someone in the same situation?
LM: We spent months interviewing contractors. Take your time, ask a lot of questions, and make them give you specifics.
This isn’t my first rodeo, I know old homes come with unexpected surprises, but I was surprised that everything projected took more than twice as long as estimated, which meant my labor costs were also nearly double.
TOA: What’s next for you?
LM: After 6+ months of renovations…. The beach!
TOA: Thanks, Leslie! Enjoy the beach.
The HGTV film crew came to the Tampa Tile Outlets store to film Leslie and Kate meeting for the first time and reviewing tile samples that Kate thought would be best suited for her “French coastal” design.
Kate thoroughly enjoyed seeing Leslie and her husband Grant pick some amazing tile designs.
Are You Renovating a Beachfront Property?
If you're similarly renovating a beachfront property - or any property for that matter - you may find it equally valuable to create Pinterest boards and final dream boards to organize your product and design preferences.
As Leslie demonstrates, those boards help make dreams become reality, and we can help you make it happen for a whole lot less when you visit Tile Outlets of America.
Be sure to stay tuned in so we can let you know when the episode airs. That way you can see firsthand how Leslie's French coastal design looks.
Thanks for reading!