HOUSE: Newburgh

The bathroom floor is done!

Apparently I’ve decided to give up sleeping (almost) entirely and devote nearly all of my non-working hours to various house projects. Last night I was up until midnight grouting the floor—washed up, got 3 1/2 hours of sleep, and then got up at 4:00 AM to wipe down the grout haze. By 5:30 I was in the bath (I’m getting sick of having to take baths every day, which is a big part of why I’m desperate to finish this bathroom), and by 6:50 I was out the door and on my way to work (my job, that is).

I sort of feel like this kid right now, only without the drugs.

But hey! Look at that floor! I’m pretty pleased with the result. (By the way, the tiles are Matte Glazed Penny Rounds from Nemo Tile, with black grout.)

Working backwards, here are the tiles without any thinset or grout…

And here’s the underlayment (which is on top of our awesome plywood subfloor that we worked really hard on). Because we didn’t want to add a lot of additional thickness to the floor (and also because we hate working with cement board, and Ditra isn’t suitable for use with small tiles), we used EasyMat. It was very simple to work with, probably because we back-rolled it at least a month before we used it.

Next up, trim work and beadboard!

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  • Reply nicole February 4, 2009 at 10:13 am

    it really looks AMAZING. watching all of your work in recent months is motivating me to get back to my own home repair to-do list.

  • Reply Liberty Street February 4, 2009 at 10:17 am

    That is incredible. It looks amazing – I love the black tile. Would you like a weekend job working on my soon-to-be house in Newburgh? I can pay in Morissey tickets.

  • Reply Tenille February 4, 2009 at 10:19 am

    it looks amazing. great job 😀

  • Reply katie February 4, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Wow!! It looks incredible Anna!!! Now go take a a much deserved nap!

  • Reply LauraVW February 4, 2009 at 10:24 am

    It looks great. I am amazed by how hard you work and your willingness to go without sleep to get the job done. If you could bottle your enthusiasm, you could make a fortune.

  • Reply maya February 4, 2009 at 10:27 am

    wow!, amazing!

  • Reply Priscilla February 4, 2009 at 10:29 am

    man, you guys are goooood!

  • Reply jacklyn February 4, 2009 at 10:30 am

    badass! i love penny tiles!

  • Reply carlyn February 4, 2009 at 10:33 am

    oh my – your floor is gorgeous! maybe you can curl up under your desk and take a nap George Costanza style.

  • Reply suzanne February 4, 2009 at 10:36 am

    simply amazing!

  • Reply Jane Flanagan February 4, 2009 at 10:42 am

    It’s gorgeous! My dream bathroom floor.

  • Reply Annapolitan February 4, 2009 at 10:44 am

    The floor is absolutely gorgeous and you are amazing.

    You deserve a lot of sleep very, very soon.

  • Reply Shashi February 4, 2009 at 10:45 am

    Incredible, really beautiful. I want a black floor now. Interesting about the easy mat, we talked to our contractors about it and they felt cement board was the best option for our tiles. I will say our contractors are kind of old school so it was probably more out of comfort on their end. Looks lovely.

  • Reply LaDonna February 4, 2009 at 10:45 am

    I didn’t realize bathroom floors could look so sophisticated. This is the Audrey Hepburn little black dress of home remodels.

  • Reply Kathleen February 4, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Your floor is so beautiful I could cry.

  • Reply Sarah February 4, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Incredible! It looks completely gorgeous! Good work and get a nice long night’s sleep tonight.

  • Reply Cherry@NewburghRestoration February 4, 2009 at 11:09 am

    YaY!!! Hope you can take a hot shower soon! Must be a pain to wash your hair!

  • Reply Nidhi February 4, 2009 at 11:09 am

    You are amazing. The floor looks beautiful. And that video is hilarious!

  • Reply meg February 4, 2009 at 11:14 am

    Fabulous! Must create a new bathroom just to steal your ideas.

  • Reply Pam February 4, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Anna, you amaze me with every project. I only wish I had the skill & patience to get things done the way you do. It looks absolutely stunning!!

  • Reply lsaspacey February 4, 2009 at 11:29 am

    OMG, that is the most gorgeous thing. I bet it feels incredible. You are a machine, truly. Great job!

  • Reply kate oates February 4, 2009 at 11:32 am

    Love it! Your remodels are a true source of inspiration. My husband and I are about to buy a house and I am dying to get to work. Thanks for all of the updates.

  • Reply erin@designcrisis February 4, 2009 at 11:32 am

    Absolutely stunning! You did a GREAT job!

  • Reply anh-minh February 4, 2009 at 11:35 am


  • Reply Making it Lovely February 4, 2009 at 11:44 am

    I love it. Penny rounds always look so SO good, and I love yours in black.

  • Reply michelle February 4, 2009 at 11:48 am

    Ah,, how cool! I love, what a great job you did.

  • Reply thevioletpear February 4, 2009 at 11:49 am

    delurking – can’t wait to see the whole thing! btw that video was hilarious.

  • Reply Justine February 4, 2009 at 11:52 am

    hahaha i just saw David After Dentist yesterday and I laughed for about 15 minutes afterwards also!

  • Reply Kate F. February 4, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    WOW, I love love love it. You did an amazing job. And I’m super-jealous of your black bathroom floor; we have period-appropriate white hexagonal tile in ours, installed by the previous owner, and drying my hair or, like, walking into the room makes it look like a hair salon. Every hair shows up like it is spotlit.

  • Reply heather February 4, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    It’s just gorgeous – and perfect too! I don’t think a “professional” could have done it any better!

  • Reply verhext February 4, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    black grout! black grout!! you are such a genius!!! i am so going to use this, for someeethingggggg…like a poured concrete wood fired hot tub in the wilderness.

  • Reply Ingrida Martinkus February 4, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    I love it! All those hours of sleep sacrificed totally paid off… the floor looks great!!!

  • Reply coral February 4, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    I have been reading your blog for a while now and really have no idea how you function – and stay so industrious – with so little sleep. Especially with anything hands-on, when I get tired my craft starts going downhill, I start thinking, Oh it isn’t perfect but its good enough, then later after some sleep I realize it looks horrible and I have to redo it anyways.

  • Reply Benita February 4, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    That is so nice! I want the same but in white in our tiny upstairs bathroom. Had given up on the idea but now I really want it again…next project…

  • Reply Icee February 4, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    I am amazed by how determined you are to fix up your house. It’s taken me and my boyfriend almost 7 months JUST to paint our 1 bedroom apartment and we’re not even done yet!

    Sad, I know. I can only imagine how much money we’re going to be spending when we do get our own house and have someone else do all the fixer uppers. 🙂

    Although, I do wonder if your husband DOES anything. I feel like you’re doing all the manual labor AND have a job. A-MAZING.

  • Reply February 4, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Wow, that looks fantastic! Love the effect the round tiles give 🙂

  • Reply Mellany February 4, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    Anna – this looks awesome! I am curious though, will it be harder to keep these looking clean? Also – I went to Nemo’s website, but they don’t list any prices. Did these come in sheets, and if so, what was the cost per SF? If you don’t mind…you can always email me the answer if you don’t want to post it..I appreciate it!

    Again, awesome job – now get some rest. (as if)

  • Reply Anna at D16 February 4, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Shashi: Of course there’s nothing wrong with cement board (and we did use it on the walls in the shower; EasyMat is only for floors), we just wanted to keep the height of the floor to a minimum since we already have three subfloors (even after removing two!). The reviews on John Bridge were positive, so we felt confident using it.

    Kate F: Believe me, I thought about that! I have dyed-black hair, and it shows EVERYWHERE. I have a small vacuum upstairs (where the bathroom floor is white) specifically for that reason.

    coral: This is a skill I acquired in college — they teach you how to GO GO GO like this with no sleep in design school. Seriously. Have you read The Cheese Monkeys? Exhaustion-induced insanity produces perfectionism and injury.

    Icee: Oh, believe me, my husband does plenty (and he has a job, too)!!! I tend to take on the more tedious stuff (like painting and tiling), though. He has his strong suits, of course, and does lots of things I either can’t do or hate to do (like demo work, driving anyplace to get materials, or making lunch). He’s also not completely insane like I am. 🙂 There is a TON of work that goes into all of these projects that I don’t photograph or document on at all, because this really isn’t a “how-to” blog. I tend to leave out all of the messy work and the preparation!

    Mellany: Yes, these tiles come on mesh-backed sheets. I don’t remember the exact price per square foot, maybe about $7 or $8? (We bought them months ago, and we’re bad budgeters.) The price is determined by the dealer, so you’re best off contacting them to find out the name of a dealer in your area if you want to get an exact price quote.

  • Reply gwen February 4, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    This looks amazing! I love your home. I would love to do this to my bathrooms, how do you have the guts to do it? I am such a chicken, I would be afraid I would get myself in a bigger mess. I wanna be you when I grow up!

  • Reply carrie February 4, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    amazing!!! wow wow wow. congrats on a job well done.

    I too have been burning the midnight oil retiling my laundry room (unexpectedly – had a water heater meltdown) and will be grouting tonight.

    it’s so much fun other than the part about no sleep and my knees KILLING me. 🙂

  • Reply Shashi February 4, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    Anna, sounds like a great option. I will check it out for our downstairs bathroom which is the only spot in our reno that we’re planning on tiling ourselves. It looks really straightforward – the easy mat that is – which is perfect for me as a novice! The rest of the downstairs will be handled by the contractors.

  • Reply erin February 4, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    this looks awesome! i love the black tile with black grout!

  • Reply Tanya February 4, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Can’t wait to see it all together! I saw that video this morning, I actually laughed out loud by myself. Keep up the (no sleep) hard work!

  • Reply jesse February 4, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    Absolutely love the black tiles! Too fabulous! Can’t wait to see the finished room, not as much as you are I’m sure!

  • Reply CarolineB February 4, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    OMG I love your new floor. WOW. perfect shiny little black penny rounds…I love them.

    Now, get some sleep.

  • Reply kay* February 4, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    speechless. this is so gorgeous and it’s incredible that you and your hubby did it by yourselves. i love that you are both willing to take the time and learn how to tackle these projects yourselves. that;s encouraging to someone like me who wants to do the same thing.

    great job!

  • Reply lindsay February 4, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    I looks awesome Anna!

  • Reply lindsay February 4, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    Ha! I meant “it” looks awesome. Sleep deprived here as well 🙂

  • Reply Fiona February 4, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    That is so cool! I am envious because my black tile floor is nowhere near as cool. I was dubious about the black grout, but it really looks amazing. Great job!

  • Reply Marcy February 4, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    Delurking here to say…
    I just love your site.. Not only are your home remodeling skills great… Your personal style is so Chic..
    Just saying…lol
    really.. nice job

  • Reply coral February 4, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    Ha, they definitely demand 24 hour-workdays in architecture school, too, but once I finished my body was like NEVER AGAIN LADY! Now I can barely stay awake late at night, much less accomplish what you do. I’ll have to check out that book too, thanks.

  • Reply Aprill February 4, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    I have to add how great that floor looks. Job well done.

  • Reply Elissa February 4, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    I have to agree with Coral. Since graduating architecture school I have a hard time staying up till eleven, much less into the wee hours of the morning! It makes me that much more appreciative of those that can. The tile looks fantastic! I love the subtle sheen difference between the tile and the grout. Our next project is our dining room which doesn’t even require anything like tilework and I’m sure it will still take three times as long as your bathroom.

  • Reply jennifer in sf February 4, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    Holy tiles, Batman! Those look gorgeous.

    Also your GO GO GO is shaming my lazy ass over here.

  • Reply Barb F (Australia) February 4, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    You are a machine woman! Those black tiles look so gorgeous, worth every minute of sleep deprivation. I can’t believe you have done all this yourselves. Imagine how nice it’s going to feel taking that first shower….

  • Reply kristin February 4, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    the floor looks so amazing! I love that you used the black grout with it. Nemo’s is such a great place for inexpensive, classic tile. I’ve worked with Jenine before and she’s just great.

    my super is re-tiling the bathroom floor today in my rental apartment and I toyed with the idea of buying penny rounds from Nemos! Ahh, to own my own home…

  • Reply kristin February 4, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    oh, but I am using penny rounds in a townhouse that my firm is working on…
    they’ll be on the floors is three secondary bathrooms

  • Reply mixette February 4, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Holy cow that is a killer look! I hope you’re not a fan of baby powder…I have a pink/black 50’s bath and it is my cleaning nemesis.

    Love when the kid says, “is this real life?”

  • Reply Thessa February 4, 2009 at 5:40 pm


    The work you are doing on your house is immensely inspirational in so many ways. Thank you!

  • Reply stefanie February 4, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    holy crap that’s stunning!

  • Reply woodley park-zoo February 4, 2009 at 6:46 pm


    And I love love love that video! Is this real life? Is this FOREVERRRR?

  • Reply Katie February 4, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    Mindblowingly amazing!

  • Reply Josephine February 4, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    Well done, dudette 😉 The tiling looks most profesh. Cannot wait to see the end result (bet you can’t either).
    I can’t believe you even found time to track down that clip!!! Poor kid 😉

  • Reply sally February 4, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    Oh man, your bathroom floor is amazing!!

  • Reply Eva February 4, 2009 at 9:37 pm


  • Reply another anna February 4, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    um, wow.
    black pennyrounds might just be my new favourite thing, ever.

  • Reply yvette February 4, 2009 at 10:50 pm


  • Reply Anna at D16 February 4, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    carrie: I’m thinking about having my kneecaps removed and just having them replaced with wheels!

    Shashi: If you do use the EasyMat, buy it well in advance and backroll it right away. I can’t stress this enough — there is a LOT of memory in the curvature of the roll, and you don’t want it curling up on you when you try to put it in place.

    coral/Elissa: I go through late-night phases. I can only do it if I have a specific project I want to get done. I can NOT stay up late socializing/reading/watching TV. I’m also an early riser, regardless of what time I go to bed.

    OKAY. It’s 11pm and I am GOING TO BED NOW. 🙂

  • Reply Aunt Evolity February 4, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    When you mentioned in an earlier post that you would be using black grout, I must admit that I cringed a bit because I have heard that it is so temperamental to work with. But you really make it look easy! Superb job, Anna!
    Love reading your updates!

  • Reply siescierto February 4, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    these look amazing! you’re so handy! i’d probably screw it up…. great job!

  • Reply christiana February 5, 2009 at 12:48 am

    Oh wow, that is STUNNING!

  • Reply Alicia February 5, 2009 at 1:21 am

    I’ll admit when you said you did it with black grout, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but I LOVE it, can’t wait to see how the whole bathroom looks together.

    I don’t know how you do it. I’m a nocturnal college student, so I go to bed anywhere from 2-4am, and I wake up around 1pm +/- 45 minutes (I know, I know, but my schedule..) And even if it weren’t this way, I’d still require at least 8 hours a night, so how you get by with 3 1/2… well, I just plain don’t know how you do.

  • Reply Katja February 5, 2009 at 1:34 am

    wow, you’ve been busy! who needs sleep anyway? that black tile looks amazing, great job 🙂

  • Reply Kathryn S February 5, 2009 at 6:44 am

    Absolutely gorgeous. Nice work!

  • Reply February 5, 2009 at 8:15 am

    those tiles are gorgeous – love them with dark grout. fantastic choice!

  • Reply Suski February 5, 2009 at 9:14 am

    Amazing floor, I love it! Good work!

  • Reply Pearl February 5, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Gorgeous! Can’t wait to see the final room.

  • Reply TennesseeCassie February 5, 2009 at 10:29 am

    That looks awesome! You should be very proud! Here’s to getting some rest!

  • Reply morgan February 5, 2009 at 10:44 am

    It looks HOT! Can’t wait to see the next round.

  • Reply Christine February 5, 2009 at 11:06 am

    This looks amazing! I can’t wait to see the finished room!

  • Reply Aku February 5, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Your floor is FAB! So jealous! 🙂

  • Reply Darian February 5, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Ahh..I am in love with your floor! I totally love your blog, it give me so many ideas, so when I decide to buy a place I can look back for reference! Great job!

  • Reply Amy February 5, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    wow that is AMAZING!!!

  • Reply biba February 5, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    Unbelievable energy you’ve got Anna, it really inspires me… maybe i would get more done if i kept going into the night like you! The floor is gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous, and you’ve done a perfect job 🙂

  • Reply Tant Grön February 5, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    Nice! I like the round shape, very American style, here in Sweden it´s all about squares 🙂

  • Reply Jennifer February 5, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    I love that tile! And then I went over to peruse Desire to Inspire, and saw her “Bathing Beauties” post from Wednesday this week, and saw little round tiles in one of the bathrooms that was pictured there, and now I want those tiles on my walls! ::pouts::

    I’d like bigger ones than the penny-size you have on your floor, though. Any idea where I can find other size options? (I checked the link you have for Nemo Tile, but they dont appear to have additional sizes, so I just thought I’d ask…) Let me know if you have any insight.

    Good lord, I love what you did, though. So, sooo awesome…

  • Reply fab February 5, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    I’m absolutely amazed by your discipline. My bf and I bought our house at the same time as you and we haven’t done half of the things you’ve done so far. You truly are an inspiration, Anna! Now all I want to do is finish all pending projects. I’ll beat procrastination… eventually.

  • Reply Mary February 5, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    The floor is BEAUTIFUL! Wow, wow, wow….

    Now get some sleep Anna!!

  • Reply wendy February 5, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    The floor is gorgeous Anna. You should be so proud of yourself. It feels great to create beauty out of ugliness, doesn’t it? I have an old Victorian too. My New Year’s resolution is to try to be positive about all the work ahead of me. It can feel discouraging–the old ball and chain. I have to say that your blog is very inspirational to me. Your talent and discipline and your positive attitude are things that I will aspire to this year as I tackle the old house.

  • Reply Adam February 5, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    So beautiful Anna, I love the texture and she sheen of it! I admire your tireless energy and work ethic, you are very inspiring. Is this a traditional grout or an epoxy grout that you used?

  • Reply Designers' Brew February 5, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    sexy sexy!

  • Reply gracie o February 5, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    I DIE!

  • Reply D February 6, 2009 at 6:27 am

    Wow. I love the black with black grout.

    I have a chair question over at my blog

    if you have a minute in your day. Thanks. DEb

  • Reply Charley February 6, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    I’m so inspired by your gorgeous house.
    I live in Calgary AB Canada in a faux Georgian wannabe dollshouse. I adore the mid century aesthetic and haven’t yet learnt to not compromise it everytime I buy furniture.
    You’ve done beautiful work. I’d like to share an idea I had for stretching Marimekko print on an frame for some cheap yet striking art but I’m not very technically minded and not sure how to attach.
    Good luck,

  • Reply monique February 6, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    I LOVE what you did with the floor!!!! Your whole place is looking so amazing. You must be thrilled!.

  • Reply hollandv February 6, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    Wonder Woman!

  • Reply jodie February 6, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    The floor looks brilliant but it does freak me out slightly… I suffer from Trypophobia and that kind of flooring is definitely something that gets me itching!! Looks great though!

  • Reply Marcijo February 6, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    I know where you come from with being sick of taking baths. We’ve been building our own house and since we moved in before Xmas we have had nothing but a bathtub. We are now working on tiling the shower and I can’t wait to get back to having showers and only the occasional bath to relax.

  • Reply Becca February 7, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    Wow, it looks great! I so envy you and your ability to stay with something and get it finished. Every single room in my house needs re-done, but it is so overwhelming! Do you have any advice on how to start? Where to start? Love your blog!

  • Reply Tory February 7, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Wow! This is a result worth skipping sleep for!

  • Reply call-me-Heidi February 8, 2009 at 7:58 am


  • Reply woodley park-zoo February 9, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    Hi Anna — I saw this ring and thought of you… if the stone was onyx it might be even more fitting (as I think of you as a person who pulls off design-black better than anyone!)

  • Reply Alli February 9, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    That tile is gorgeous! I’m impressed and super jealous 🙂

  • Reply cassandra February 10, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    that is a HELL of a floor! so sleek and gorgeous! love the black grout.

  • Reply Sue February 12, 2009 at 9:44 am

    I love love love the tiles, it reminds me of a black pebble beach. Also that video is way too funny, thanks for the laugh!

  • Reply paula February 15, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    wow, the tile is stunning. you do such great work. also, i just wanted to say thank you for you remarks on AT. next time i will definitely go with your advice. i actually did not notice they were off until after we hung the first few panels, but i was not about to ask my husband to start over, ha, ha! Really i do appreciate that you were helpful and not cutting.

  • Reply karen February 16, 2009 at 12:45 am

    Beautiful, beautiful, sexy (never thought I’d say that about flooring) flooring.

  • Reply Skönt Hemma February 16, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Wow I really like it! Super!

  • Reply josie February 16, 2009 at 11:48 am

    omg, the floor looks amazing!

  • Reply Jessica February 17, 2009 at 9:26 am

    This came out amazing! Congrats…I hope you get some sleep soon.

  • Reply Teresa March 5, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    omg… the penny rounds are FABulous!! A modern twist on the hexagon tiles I’ve been lusting after for my downstairs bathroom. I may have to be a copy cat! 😉

  • Reply Courtney March 8, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    I have been meaning to comment forever now to say that the floor (and bathroom in general) looks gorgeous! I really can’t wait to see the room when it is done.

  • Reply crissy March 10, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    Love the floor! FAB!

  • Reply peggy March 20, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    Your floor looks FANTASTIC! I didn’t even know black grout existed.

  • Reply Katherine November 20, 2012 at 5:46 am

    the black grout is amazing! so glam and sexy. Have you had any troubles cleaning it or with slipping? Or what about powdered make ups getting on the floor?

    • Anna @ D16 November 20, 2012 at 9:55 am

      Nope, no problems to speak of! It’s really just like a regular tiled floor. 🙂

    • Katherine November 20, 2012 at 11:27 pm

      I wonder if it’d work in a wet floor shower as that’d have to have a slight slope – do you have to clean the floor with a regular mop or brush to get dirt out of between the grout?

    • Anna @ D16 November 20, 2012 at 11:36 pm

      I use a Swiffer or sponge mop. It really is just a regular old ceramic tiled floor! You’d clean it the same way you clean any other tile.

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