Designer Gaye Weatherly uses tile and stone to draw the eye and engage the senses.
By Jennifer Sperry
Focus on: Weatherly Tile & Stone
Before entering, throw out any preconceived notions about tile and stone.
“I love watching people’s expressions as they walk in. Most are overwhelmed; they’ve never seen anything like it,” says Gaye Weatherly, owner of Weatherly Tile & Stone. A wonderland of color, texture and pattern, the Portsmouth, Rhode Island-based showroom is rich with interior-transforming potential.
From handmade Italian porcelain tile to ocean-hued glass mosaics, Weatherly’s carefully curated collection is dizzying and capable of satisfying a wide range of budgets and styles. “We offer exotic and specialized tiles as well as stone of unmatched quality,” she says. “Plus, our clients benefit from exclusive design opportunities executed by craftsmen from around the world.”
But the real magic happens when selections graduate from the showroom floor. Beyond just bathrooms, tile and stone are ideal design mediums for kitchens, bars, pantries, entry halls, pools, Jacuzzis—even custom furniture pieces. Whether a project calls for a luxuriously thick stone kitchen countertop or a pebbled shower floor, the potential for creativity is limitless.
“Most clients come in with a specific look or vision in mind and we build on that,” explains Weatherly, who opened her original Portsmouth showroom in 2001 and moved just once to her current East Main Road location in 2003. “What makes my job fun is when clients let me introduce them to options and different materials they might not ordinarily consider,” she adds.
Weatherly has amassed an impressive résumé of award-winning designs that grace homes as nearby as coastal New England and as far away as the Mediterranean and Caribbean. She specializes in working remotely with clients, often just from a set of blueprints. Although she won’t name names, she’s masterminded high-end tile and stonework projects for Hollywood A-listers and also ships her products internationally.
But what really sets Weatherly Tile & Stone apart is its owner’s willingness to go the extra mile. For clients near and far, she accommodates busy schedules with evening and weekend showroom appointments and, even more importantly, personally visits work sites to make sure designs are implemented properly and the installation is up to par.
“For a recent 8,000-square-foot project, for example, I visited the site on an everyday basis for about a month to oversee the tile layouts,” she says. “I run my hand over the floor to make sure everything is flat and even. I check countertop overhangs to make sure they are free of rough spots, that everything is polished perfectly,” she shares.
The results of her careful attention to detail speak for themselves. One particularly luxurious bathroom—a serene study in beige—showcases Italian porcelain tile on every surface, including wall tile that emulates carved wainscoting. Another standout bathroom features beautifully iridescent glass mosaics—thousands of one-by-one-inch tiles—shimmering in the light cast by antique chandeliers and sconces.
Weatherly’s services even include custom work, such as the application of a nautical chart or historic map to tile for a one-of-a-kind showpiece installation. Whether she’s helping with material selection or going the extra distance with job oversight, the designer is always willing to employ her extensive expertise to make a client’s experience with tile and stone as fulfilling as possible.
“I have a policy that I only buy and sell materials that I like, that way I can help clients get excited about them,” she admits. “My job is to make the entire process, from start to finish, comfortable, easy and fun.”