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Real Life Renovation

In those reno shows that I’m so addicted to on HGTV, they rip everything out, send the family to Disneyland and do everything over the right way. Unfortunately none of us have been whisked off to Disneyland during this pandemic, and anyway that’s not real life for all of us – is it? In our old house we have to get things done while working with a mostly full house.

Our large family members come and go, step on the floors, need to use ALL the bathrooms, and generally lie around in whatever room we are currently working on. This is reality, not a reality HGTV show.

Photo by Zichuan Han on
Photo by Zichuan Han on

We have been busy over the past few months with a few projects in our 130 year old house – we have now moved on to fixing the upstairs – but in the meantime we finished up the downstairs powder room (mostly). I have procrastinated about posting this project, but it’s been done for a while now!


1. Penny Tiles are Historically Appropriate for our Century Home

We thought about and researched what would be appropriate 130 years ago, and honestly it was likely painted floorboards in our area, but if we were going ceramic, the only thing that was used locally was penny tile or small hexagon tiles. Penny and hexagon tiles appeared in many kitchens and bathrooms in the early 1900s. Penny tiles are essentially round tiles about the size of a penny, but they are not pennies!

We thought about doing a mosaic pattern of some sort, but just went with simple white penny tiles, as it is a very small area.

How to Cut Penny Tile : Video

Best Tile Nippers

I use the QEP 8-inch tile nippers in all of my penny-tile cutting. They’ve worked great and I highly recommend them. With carbide-tipped jaws they have stayed sharp and show no signs of wearing out. It’s not an exciting purchase, but they definitely get the job done well!


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