Tile Selections Create Coastal Living Feel in Parade of Homes House: Tile Outlets' Donna Kern

Tile Selections Create Coastal Living Feel in Parade of Homes House: Tile Outlets' Donna Kern

Posted by TOA's Blog Team on Apr 27th 2017

When you visit Tile Outlets of America, you can definitely expect to find the right tile selections to help you create the feel you want in your home.

In this article, we share with you a recent Sarasota Parade of Homes entry that Tile Outlets sales associate and designer, Donna Kern, assisted with - not just for tile selections, but also to create a coastal living design feel.

Donna Kern Details the Tile Selections Chosen to Create a Coastal Living Feel for the Parade of Homes

TOA: Donna, tell us about your background.

DK: I was always intrigued by the arts. My Dad was extremely cultured and he took me as a child to shows, operas, art museums, history museums, etc… I value everything he taught me. I was very fortunate.

In 1983, my husband and I traveled through Europe (Austria, Germany and Italy). The architecture was so grand and breathtaking! I fell in love with the intricate and detailed tile work and mosaics I discovered in the buildings and churches and knew from that moment on that, when I returned home, I would sign into a design program.

I graduated from New York's Pace University design school in 1985. It was definitely my calling.

TOA: How did you get started at Tile Outlets of America?

DK: I peered through the door one day while the Sarasota store was under construction. I applied and accepted a position as sales associate.

It was really exciting to help start up a new store for Tile Outlets. We all worked hard for the opening. I can’t believe that was over three years ago.

>> See Grand Opening: Sarasota Tile Outlets of America Store!

TOA: How do you help customers?

DK: My customers are very important to me and listening is a skill that I hold in high regard.

I focus on what they are looking for, what rooms they are working on, the colors that they like to live with.

Then I will introduce something they might not have thought of. It is always enlightening when I see their reaction. I always try to open the door for them to new possibilities.

TOA: Donna, how did you get started with tile and stone?

DK: In 1993, after doing a myriad of projects in the design field, I was offered a position in an incredible tile company – Bedford Tile. My manager Chuck had a tremendous gift of knowledge about tile and stone that he shared with me. After that I was hooked and I never left the tile world. It is in my blood.

TOA: What do you love most about tile and stone?

DK: I love the different tile and stone patterns, the mixture of textures, shade and color variations that you can create with to make each and every project a unique and special one.

TOA: What is the Parade of Homes?

DK: The Parade of Homes is the premier event that encompasses all the new homes being built in the different counties, in this case in the Sarasota, Florida area.

It allows the public to see, first hand, what is being built in today’s housing market. People can visit the homes, explore and be inspired by the spaces, the flow and the design materials they see.

TOA: How did you get involved in this parade?

DK: A new builder, Reese Homes, came into Tile Outlets of America one day and asked me to help guide the project. The owner was building a new home in North Port that was going to be in the Parade of Homes. He needed help selecting tile, cabinetry, paint, etc. He was hoping to gain exposure in today’s housing market and possibly even win some awards. I offered my services.

TOA: Please describe the project – what were you trying to accomplish?

DK: This house is located at 4073 Cinderella Rd North Port, FL 34286. It measures approximately 1570 square feet and is part of a cottage series.

With my design recommendations, I wanted to bring into this cottage space a touch of coastal living which I feel we accomplished.

TOA: Where there any design constraints?

DK: Fortunately, there were no design constraints. Reese Homes wanted this home to look elegant and tasteful.

TOA: Which tile products did you select and why?

DK: Throughout the house (except for the bedrooms), we used the Barbados White 6x36 wood look porcelain plank.

It has the feel of a cottage home and with our color scheme it definitely worked.

TOA: What rooms did you focus on for tile?

DK: In addition to use wood plank tile in the common spaces, we used tile in the two bathrooms. We also used tile to create a design feature in the living/family room.

In the Master Bathroom: Icaria Blanco and Penny Round Mosaics

We selected Icaria Blanco porcelain tile in multiple formats for the master bath.

This closeup shows off the richness of the pattern.

This porcelain tile has a wonderful texture. Combined with the small taupe penny round mosaic framed in the shower area, Icaria Blanco added elegance and grace to a coastal, cottage environment.

Here's a closeup of the Shell Taupe circle mosaics. Notice the iridescent penny rounds. They bring to life the overall design.

This master bathroom won an award.

In the Guest Bathroom: Mito Blanco and Vertical Glass Mosaic

The guest bath featured Mito Blanco 12x24 ceramic wall tile which we combined with a vertical glass mosaic band in beautiful hues of greens and blues with a hint of carrara marble.

Here is a close up of the Mito Blanco shower niche.

And a close up of the glass mosaic and Carrarra marble decorative tile in the shower.

This decorative mosaic tile band adds tremendous visual interest to the space. It crisply sets off the white tile.

In the Family/Living Room: Cascade White Split Face Travertine

The focal point in the family room/living area was the Cascade White split face Travertine stone wall with built-in glass shelving.

It added a special element to the already elegant cottage home.

Here's a close up of the Cascade White Travertine 2x4 Unfilled Split Face Mosaic.

And here's a close up of one of the built-in shelves.

TOA: What were the judges looking for?

DK: It's so hard to determine that. I would assume that the judges were looking at construction and architectural details, and evaluating whether the home meets code restrictions, does it have curb appeal, how well does the space flow inside, how appealing color and materials look, etc..

TOA: What challenges did you encounter?

DK: The biggest challenge that we encountered had to do with time constraints and rushing against the clock to be ready in time for the Parade of Homes.

TOA: Donna, what advice do you have for someone looking to redesign a bathroom, kitchen or other space that includes tile?

DK: Do your homework! Explore and research tile trends so you know what you like and don't like.

Be open to ideas. Even though your space may be small, don't be afraid to use larger format tile. It will make your space feel even larger. Customers often fear taking a design leap. I assure them that it is okay.

>> Download the Tile Outlets of America Tile Project Checklist (aka the Dream Sheet)

Also, do your homework when selecting installers to do the job. Make sure they are licensed and insured contractors, have a good reputation, are honorable and honest and pride themselves on good workmanship.

>> See How To Select a Tile Installation Contractor

TOA: Thank you, Donna!

What's your reaction to this Parade of Homes house and how Donna used tile to create that coastal living feel?

We hope you'll visit the Sarasota Tile Outlets of America store to explore what's available. When you do, be sure to say hello to Donna.