It's time to get real people. If I had a dime for every client that has told me in the past three months that they had less money to spend on their home than originally anticipated, I'd be a rich lady. Good news for me - lots of clients - good news for me - they have less money to spend. Why is it good news for me? Because I can finally unleash my inner cheap bastard without shame. I am the frugalest fanny you know. Despite being given the beautiful opportunity to work in the world of television and live within spitting distance of the most expensive city on the planet, I am super cheap. But it's not like cheap for cheap's sake. It's the why-pay-retail attitude. But it's more like this - why pay more, when what I really want is a creative and dynamic space that is personal and beautiful and one that I am personally taking part in buildling? This series, entitled recession renovations, is going to feature and focus on just that - creating personal, beautiful, dynamic spaces that are recession-ready. The ideas are not just choosing a cheaper way to do the same old thing - they are about doing something new and innovative and fabulous, on the cheap. Yay. I've had this bottled up way too long.
Remember stickers in the sixth grade? First object of recession-renovation obsession: SmartTiles. These babies are the kind of tromp d'oeil of your dreams - tricks the eye in a clean, streamlined way, without the fussy faux finishing b.s. They are made of vinyl, but, no kidding, you'd swear they were made of glass. (see photos above)
They mimic the feel and texture and look of porcelain or glass tile, but they are a self-sticking vinyl applique for your walls. This your kitchen bling on a budget. This is the backsplash that got slashed because you decided you were $2000 short. This is the answer to making your bathroom creative and personal. Tile work, as you might now, is incredible labor intensive - when done properly. Sure, it's a DIY for some, but it shouldn't be attempted unless you have an attention to detail, can work quickly and neatly, and you don't mind making mistakes and living with it - as in, living with a mistake in concrete - for the foreseeable future. SmartTiles sort of let you have the look, feel and function of tile without the tile contractor. Have him do something else. This you can do if you can use scissors and a ruler. They come in a splendid array of colors and textures - mostly modern - and they are available at HomeDepot.com - partial catalogue. This is a fabby Canadien company from Montreal. They swear by the durability and lasting function of these tiles which work well in wet spaces like kitchens and bathrooms. So while they are not cheap materials, they are a project where you only pay for materials - no labor, saving lots of dough in the process.