Archive for the ‘Installation Photos’ Category

Getting Ready to Pick the Winners!

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

We just received another beautiful Ocean Grey 3×6 backsplash installation for the photo contest coming up in July.  And with this, I think the Ocean Grey 3×6 Subway tile has officially surpassed our Sage Green/Ocean Pebble Mix as the most popular Design For Less back splash.

The past couple of installations have done the Ocean Grey with white cabinets but I am really enjoying the warmth of this brown and blue kitchen.


Beautiful!  The July photo contest is coming up quick so if you think you can beat this stunning installation lets see!  Just send your photos to photocontest@design-4-less.com and win some tile money!

If you are new to the contest you can see the rules here.  And take a peak at all the past winners here.


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Lotus and Sage Green Glass Backsplash

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

While going through our installation photos yesterday I came across one of my favorite installations and had to share it.  A big part of Design For Less is that all our products can be used together like the concept boards show or this Sage Green Glass and Ocean Mix Pebble install.  But sometimes you guys come up with better matches than we do!

That’s where this Sage Green 1×2 and Lotus Fusion combination comes in, it was a surprising one that made perfect sense.  They used the traditional subway shape for the majority of the install and then made it more interesting by adding the strip of Lotus Fusion.  Creative and fun but still timeless.

Sage Green and Lotus Glass Backsplash

Sage Green and Lotus Glass Backsplash

Sage Green and Lotus Glass Backsplash

Sage Green and Lotus Glass Backsplash

What would you do?  Tsunami and Blanco 1×2Malta and Cairo 3×6?

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A couple more from the Photo Contest

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Like always, it is really hard to pick the winners for the installation photo contest.  Here are a couple that came soooo close.

This kitchen is simple and stunning.   The Standing Java Pebbles add texture and detail.

Java Kitchen

This bathroom used our best selling and favorite combination, the Ocean Pebble and Sage Green glass.

Ocean Pebble Tile and Sage Green Glass

Again thank you to everyone that entered!

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January Photo Contest Winners!

Friday, January 14th, 2011

We had another great round of submissions!  Here are the winners…

First Place went to this adventurous Henna backsplash.

Henna Backsplash

We loved the bold use of color both in the cabinets and entry wall!

Henna Backsplash

Great Job!

Henna Backsplash

Second Place went to this Standing River Rock Bathroom.  You can see how they didn’t grout the tiles or just minimally grouted them, letting the 3 dimensional quality of the Standing Pebbles shine.

Standing Spring Rain Bathroom Tile

And third place to this creative Keywest Kitchen.  They did a great job of bringing the whole kitchen together by putting the Keywest on the island as well.

Keywest Kitchen

Thanks to all our winners and everyone that entered!  The contest will run again in April.  Can’t wait to see what you all come up with next time!

Enter at photocontest@design-4-less.com

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Are you the January Winner?

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Lotus Backsplash Tile

It’s almost time to pick the new Photo Contest winners!

We had so much fun seeing all the amazing installations you sent us last time! And we can’t wait to pick the 3 new winners! To enter just send us pictures of your installation looking amazing and we will give you money to spend at Design For Less!  (See last quarters winners here)

The rules are simple…

  • All pictures must be original and not previously submitted for a Design For Less promotion.
  • The products in the project photos must have been purchased by the submitter from Design For Less with valid order number.

The prize is attractive…

  • 1st Prize:  $200 Design For Less Gift Certificate
  • 2nd Prize: $100 Design For Less Gift Certificate
  • 3rd Prize:  $50 Design For Less Gift Certificate

Submitting is easy…

  • Email your photo(s) to photocontest@design-4-less.com
  • Include your name, address, and phone number in the email so that we can contact you if you win!

A little hint…
If you remove any extra items from your counters and take the picture during the day when the light is natural, this will get you a picture right out of Home and Garden.  Young House Love has a great how-to on taking beautiful pictures of your house.

If you are done with your remodel and do not think you can use the gift certificate we would love to see your pictures anyways.  It is always a treat seeing the final look of the projects.  You can also pass the discount on to a family member or friend.

Good luck and we look forward to your submissions!

Because of the holiday we are extending the submission cut off date till January 7th.  But the contest runs quarterly so keep the installations coming!

See videos of some of our favorite installations.

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Fall Photo Contest Winners!

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Wow this was a really tough one… There were so many amazing installation we wish we could give everyone a prize!  But there were 3 that really stood out to us and we had to pick them.

The First Place winner is this beautiful Lotus Fusion and Bali Black bathroom.  These two tiles look so amazing together!  And with everything else in the bathroom.  It all comes together effortlessly.

Lotus Bali Black Bathroom

Lotus Bali Black Bathroom

The Lotus Fusion is showcased beautifully next to the white sinks and counter top.

Lotus Bali Black Bathroom

Lotus Bali Black Bathroom

Especially nice is the Bali Black on the bathroom floor.  It looks like they might have used a sealer with an enhancer to darken the stone which looks even more striking with the light grout color.  This pictures also shows how great lighting can really make a room.

Lotus Bali Black Bathroom

Lotus Bali Black Bathroom

Second place went to this amazing Ipe deck tile installation.  Ok, we have to admit that we may have been mesmerized by the view almost more than the tile.  But we couldn’t think of a better complement to that view than the Ipe Deck Tiles.  In the mist of so many buildings the natural look and feel of Ipe wood is the perfect complement.

Ipe Deck Tile Installation

Ipe Deck Tile Installation

Ipe tiles also have the same fire rating as concrete which make it the only deck tile you can use on patios and rooftops in New York buildings.

Deck Tile Floor

Deck Tile Floor

Third place goes to this luminous Stainless Steel Circle kitchen.  The Stainless Circles are a unique tile and this kitchen shows how fun they can be!

Stainless Steel Circles Kitchen

Stainless Steel Circles Kitchen

Stainless Steel Circles Kitchen

Stainless Steel Circles Kitchen

We loved her choice of grout color as well.  You get all the tile and minimal lines.  It looks amazing!

Stainless Steel Circles Kitchen

Stainless Steel Circles Kitchen

Can’t wait to see what you guys do with your winnings!

Thank you to everyone who entered their photos!

The next winners will be picked in January. You can enter at photocontest@design-4-less.com.

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How To Install Standing Pebble Tile

Friday, September 24th, 2010

As the pebble tiles have become more and more popular we get less and less installation questions.  When we first started most contractors and home owners were unfamiliar with the pebble tiles and needed direction on how to install the tile.  Now there is a plethora of installation videos online as well as countless home improvement shows that have used the tile showing how easy it is to install them.  Most installers and DIYers are familiar enough with the material now to tackle it on their own and have accomplished beautiful installations.  Just take a look at our photo contest winner’s DIY project.

The one thing that can still cause some problems with installation is the Standing Pebble Tiles.  A unique twist on the pebble tiles the standing pebbles are the pebble cut in half and mounted to the mesh on the smooth cut edge, creating a more three dimensional look.

Flat vs Standing Pebble Tile

Flat vs Standing Pebble Tile

The standing pebble tiles are perfect for water features, showers, or basically any wall you want to add a little dimension and texture to.

Vivid Black Pebble Tile Standing Tub

Vivid Black Pebble Tile Standing Tub

Standing Pebble Tile Smokey Black

Standing Pebble Tile Smokey Black

Standing Spring Rain Shower

Standing Spring Rain Shower

The most common problem which occurs when installing the standing pebble tiles is that installers grout the tiles.

Example of Standing Pebble Tile Grouted

Example of Standing Pebble Tile Grouted

When in fact the standing pebble tiles are designed to be installed only with thinset and do not have to be grouted.  Using only thinset to install the standing pebbles helps in retaining the three dimensional and textured look of the tile.  This is also why they are in 4×12 pieces, so they are not too heavy to sit on the wall with just thinset.

This does not mean you can’t grout the standing pebble tiles.  Sometimes people feel more comfortable in water applications grouting the tiles, which is fine.  But if you are going to grout make sure you remove as much of the grout as possible with a wire brush. And if you are having someone install the tile for you make sure you have a precise conversation about the look you are trying to achieve so that you do not end up with the tiles grouted all the way to the top and losing the dimension.

Here are some examples of the standing pebble tile grouted while still retaining some of the three dimensional look.

Standing Spring Rain Staircase

Standing Spring Rain Staircase

Standing Vivid Black Grouted

Standing Vivid Black Grouted

We always recommend printing out the installation instructions on our website and having the installer sign off on them after you have discussed what you are trying to achieve with your installation.  If you are installing yourself and have a question, ask.  We try and answer as many questions as we can but sometimes professional installers are the best resource because of their installation experience.  We know our product really well but not necessarily your specific installation.

The next question we normally get when we tell someone the standing pebble tiles do not have to be grouted is, “won’t the thinset show through?”.  There will be a little visibility of the thinset.  But if you want to eliminate any color difference between the tile and the thinset,  there are a variety of products to dye thinset to match the pebble.  Just ask someone at your local home improvement store to guide you in the right direction.  Also you can push the tiles together a little when installing to minimize gaps.  If you have a larger gap just pull a stone off another tile and fit it into the hole.

I hope this helps explain a little bit about installing the standing pebble tiles.  Or opened a whole set of new questions!  If you have any just give us a call 1-888-848-4537 or email at info@design-4-less.com

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Are you the October Winnner?

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

It’s almost time to pick the new Photo Contest winners!

We had so much fun seeing all the amazing installations you sent us last time! And we can’t wait to pick the 3 new winners! To enter just send us pictures of your installation looking amazing and we will give you money to spend at Design For Less!  (See last quarters winners here)

The rules are simple…

  • All pictures must be original and not previously submitted for a Design For Less promotion.
  • The products in the project photos must have been purchased by the submitter from Design For Less with valid order number.

The prize is attractive…

  • 1st Prize:  $200 Design For Less Gift Certificate
  • 2nd Prize: $100 Design For Less Gift Certificate
  • 3rd Prize:  $50 Design For Less Gift Certificate

Submitting is easy…

  • Email your photo(s) to info@design-4-less.com
  • Include your name, address, and phone number in the email so that we can contact you if you win!

A little hint…
If you remove any extra items from your counters and take the picture during the day when the light is natural, this will get you a picture right out of Home and Garden.  Young House Love has a great how-to on taking beautiful pictures of your house.

If you are done with your remodel and do not think you can use the gift certificate we would love to see your pictures anyways.  It is always a treat seeing the final look of the projects.  You can also pass the discount on to a family member or friend.

Good luck and we look forward to your submissions!

The submission cut off for the October winner is September 30th.  But the contest runs quarterly so keep the installations coming!

See videos of some of our favorite installations.

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Summer Lounging…

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Quite a few of the products we carry here at Design For Less have been used in big commercial installations.  One of them being the wood deck tiles at the stunning and classic L’Auberge Del Mar.

The biggest part of the renovation was the massive outdoor area home to lounge space, a restaurant and a bar.

*All pictures can be enlarge by clicking on them.
L'Auberge Del Mar Wood Deck Patio

L'Auberge Del Mar Wood Deck Patio

Building a wood deck on that scale is extremely expensive, especially with Ipe wood.  Ipe wood is the strongest and most durable wood decking you can use.  It is exceptionally durable, has the same fire rating as concrete and is obviously very dense.  So while it is the best material to use for a commercial deck plan like this it is also the hardest to install.

That’s where the wood deck tiles come in.  Ipe wood deck tiles eliminate basically all traditional deck construction cost.  To create the tiles the same durable Ipe wood is cut and mounted onto a plastic backing.  Each side of the plastic backing is equipped with an interlocking snap system which allows you to lock the wood deck tiles together with a step of your foot.

Ipe Wood Deck Tiles 12x12 & 12x24

Ipe Wood Deck Tiles 12x12 & 12x24

L'Auberge Wood Deck Fire Pit

L'Auberge Wood Deck Fire Pit

The use of the wood deck tiles at the L’Auberge cut the construction time by about 3 weeks.   By looking at the stunning view of the deck you would have no idea it was this easy and fast.

L'Auberge Del Mar Ipe Wood Deck

L'Auberge Del Mar Ipe Wood Deck

The Auberge used Ipe 12×24 (above) as well as Curupay 12×24 (below).  Even though we do not carry the Curupay you can still achieve the warmer red tones by using a wood sealer on the Ipe deck tiles.  Using a stain allows you to achieve your ideal tones without compromising on quality of wood.  Examples of wood sealers can be found in the installation tips below.

L'Auberge Del Mar Curupay Wood Deck Patio

L'Auberge Del Mar Curupay Wood Deck Patio

L'Auberge Wood Deck Tile Patio

L'Auberge Wood Deck Tile Patio

To keep with the relaxing and vacation in paradise feel of the hotel they also included a waterfall using the Standing River Rock pebble tiles. The Standing River Rock tiles are pebbles cut in half.  The cut edge is then mounted onto a mesh backing to create a stunning 3 dimensional look.  Perfect for water features like this or anywhere you are trying to create a visually stunning and relaxing space.

L'Auberge Del Mar Standing River Rock Pebble Tile Waterfall

L'Auberge Del Mar Standing River Rock Pebble Tile Waterfall

The restaurant overlooks this stunning water feature.

L'Auberge Del Mar Standing River Rock Waterfall

L'Auberge Del Mar Standing River Rock Waterfall

The Ipe or the Standing River Rock pebble tiles are not just for commercial applications though.  Here are some smaller residential installations done by Design For Less Clients.

Deck Tile Installation

Deck Tile Installation

You can see a video of more installations on our YouTube page.

It should be noted that you can take your deck with you anywhere.  These tiles can be uninstalled just as easy as you installed them.  If you are renting and and want to update your outdoor space the wood deck tiles are the perfect solution.  They can be installed on any level surface and instantly increase the beauty and value of your out door space.

Here are 5 easy steps for installation and a link to the Maintenance Guide.

1) Clean and sweep the level surface clean, if it is a waterproof surface you may want to re-seal the surface before installing the tiles.

2) Start laying the tile.  It is recommended to start laying the tile on one side and work your way out to the edges.  If dealing with an odd shape start with the leading edge that is most straight and work your way toward the terminating edge of your home.  You can use a rubber mallet to snap the tiles in place by hitting the tiles gently on all corners.  If the tiles do not snap in from the top easily, try snapping them in from the bottom of the adjacent tile instead of the top.

3) If you require custom fitting then you will need to modify some tiles on your final row.  First try to remove the wood and cut the backing frame to the desired size.  If your design needs a rounded shape you will need to cut across the wood slats.  When cutting the tiles remember to remove the screws on your line so as to avoid hitting them with your blade.

4) Fit your custom tiles into place for the final fitting. It is not uncommon to install rectangular and square decks in a few hours.

5) We recommend sealing the tiles with a good oil penetrating sealer such as Cabot Australian Timber Oil (we like the mahogany flame tint) or Messmers Exotic Hardwood Sealer.  The more tint or color in the oil the longer they last.  These oils simply wipe on and cleanup the excess oil.  Do not apply in direct sunlight.  Best results occur when 2-3 coats are applied during the first application.  Let dry between applications.

6)Maintenance

If you have any other questions about the wood deck tiles feel free to call us at 1-888-848-4537 or email us at info@design-4-less.com

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How to Install Stone Tile – Otago Kitchen Backsplash

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

We love hearing about our customers experiences with our products.  Good or bad they all help us to better inform people about the tile they are going to be installing.  What is even better is when we get to see our customer’s experiences.  Enter first place installation contest winners, Cindy and Jess from Arkansas.   They ordered a sample of marble tile in November and were ready to purchase one week later…40 sqft of Otago Black Marble Tile to complete their dream kitchen.

All the pictures they sent us of their backsplash installation were so much fun to look at and absolutely perfect for a DIY how to post.  So thank you Cindy and Jess for sharing your experience and beautiful kitchen remodel with us!

Here is what the kitchen looked like pre backsplash install.

Kitchen Remodel Before

Kitchen Remodel Before

The first step to installing any of the stone tiles is sealing them.  This is an important step that cannot be overlooked.  Natural stone is very porous and if the stones are not sealed before they are grouted the grout will penetrate the stone, leaving a light haze on the tiles and obstructing their natural beauty.

Sealing the Otago Black

Sealing the Otago Black

We have always recommended a company called Miracle Sealants for sealing products.  They have a variety of options and we have always had a positive experience with them.  (If you have another company you have used and liked in the past definitely let us know so that we can pass it on to others.)

Grout haze does happen and it is not fun.   But it is not the end of the world, there are options to try and fix some of the damage.  You can use an acid wash and specific removers, but I highly recommend consulting a professional installer.  Using products like acid wash can be more damaging than the actual haze and speaking with someone who has a larger understanding of building materials will be helpful in making the right decision for your installation.

When you seal the stones you will see them darken a little bit.  The picture below looks like it was taken when the sealer was still wet so it is darker than the Otago Black will actually end up.  If you are looking to get a deeper tone like the look below you can use a sealer with an enhancer.

Natural vs Sealed Stone Tile

Natural vs Sealed Stone Tile

Once you have the stones sealed (The manufacturer’s directions should have the appropriate drying time noted).  You can get ready to install them.  Most of our stone tiles have an interlocking system on the sides so that you can create a seamless look.  But because they are handmade tiles the interlocking system is not an exact science and we recommend laying out the tiles before you install them to make sure you get the least amount of seam lines possible.  Also this way you will be able to see where you will need to make cuts to fit the tiles or to go around sockets.

Laying Out The Tile

Laying Out The Tile

To cut the stones for areas like light sockets and ends, you will need a tile saw.  Most tile saws are wet saws which minimize dust and keep blade heat down.

Cutting the Tile with a Tile Saw

Cutting the Tile with a Tile Saw

Obviously if this is a onetime project you do not want to buy a tile saw.  You can rent them from your local home improvement store to get the remodel done.  Plan the timing when you will be doing the cuts so that you will only be renting the tile saw when you will be using it.  That way you do not have to pay for tile saw just sitting there.

Here are some examples of places that need to be cut – light sockets, corners, and ends.

Installing Around Light Sockets

Installing Around Light Sockets

For the area around the light socket, remove the tile pieces where you will need the hole.   Measure the areas and make the appropriate cuts to the tiles to fit them back in.

Same for the ends and corners, just remove the tiles that do not fit, measure what they should be, and cut to fit.

Placing Cut Piece on Ends

Placing Cut Piece on Ends

Corner Installation

Corner Installation

The next step is to back butter the tiles with thinset to adhere the tiles to the wall.  You should use a high quality thinset mortar which you can find at any home improvement store.

Applying the Thinset

Applying the Thinset

It is important that each individual part of the stone is embedded in adhesive, however they should not be pressed deeply into the adhesive.   Select a product suitable for application with a 1/4″ or 1/8″ notched trowel and apply no more than three square feet of adhesive at a time.

First tile up!

First Tile Up!

First Tile Up!

More Otago tile up…

Backsplash Right Wall

Backsplash Right Wall

Backsplash Left Wall

Backsplash Left Wall

If you think that it would be easier to seal the stones once they are all on the wall you can do that as well.  It definitely works better with a wall or floor installation rather than a backsplash where the cabinets can make it a little difficult to get to the tiles.

Once you have the tiles up and sealed you can start grouting.

Grouting the Tile

Grouting the Tile

The most important part of grouting stone tile is using a sanded grout.  Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drying time and when to remove excess grout.  Obviously removing more grout will create a more three dimensional look, while removing less grout will flatten the look. In this picture Jess is using a float to apply the grout.  You can also use this to remove excess grout or a brush.  And lastly go over it with a wet sponge until you reach your desired look.

Close Up of Grouted Otago Black

Close Up of Grouted Otago Black

Once the grout has dried you are going to want to seal the whole installation one more time.  This keeps the grout from getting stains and is an extra protection for your stones, which is very important when you are installing it as a backsplash where liquids may be getting on it.

And that is the end of it.  See, it’s simple, but enough of a challenge that you will feel great about yourself and your kitchen after.  When you do it yourself it makes it that much sweeter.

Here is the finished project!  A beautifully updated kitchen!

Otago Black Kitchen Backsplash

Otago Black Kitchen Backsplash

If you have an amazing kitchen transformation out there we would love to see it.  And you can always enter our installation photo contest which we run every three months.  You can enter by emailing info@design-4-less.com

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