Tile by Design

If you think whole-house inspiration can’t be extracted from an adorned 3” by 6” field or glass tile, think again. A simple muse, such pieces can lend great vision through hue or texture that first begin as a sounding board for a home renovation or new build, and soon becomes a vital bit for a larger-scale project.

 A tiny cube of tile can sometimes be the key to a room's overall look and feel, lending inspiration through its hue and texture.

A tiny cube of tile can sometimes be the key to a room’s overall look and feel, lending inspiration through its hue and texture.

Gaye Weatherly of Weatherly Tile & Stone, Inc. in Portsmouth, RI, has a fine eye for detail and for the last two years has seen her company expand to include full design services: from helping clients decide on cabinetry selections, to fine-tuning the hardware for bathroom vanities; both of which Gaye refers to as “furniture pieces” — much like a sofa or dining set.

These services come on the heels of Gaye’s active persistence of putting her clients first. She takes appointments early mornings, late evenings and on weekends to ensure accessibility, which has in turn, made her, and her beautiful tile resources, a valued commodity.

Recently, Gaye has seen more and more clients looking for a full design plan, which allows her to truly exercise what she is passionate about. Before the start of any project, Gaye sits down with her clients to discuss color and texture to better create inspiration boards and select paint chips that formulate a vision. And she always asks her clients, sans budget or time, “If the project was done today, what would you want to see? How do you envision this space?”

Time and again, the answer is “soothing,” “spa-like,” “serene.” Homeowners, particularly those creating ambiance for a second home or those that live by the water, are seeking cool and fresh colors that are welcoming. People are tending to stay at their homes more often, and for those seasonal dwellers, staying in their homes longer throughout the year.

A full view of the above tile used to create a soothing bathroom retreat.

A full view of the above tile used to create a soothing bathroom retreat.

Working alongside architects, builders and the occasional designer, Gaye’s work is guided by application. What tilework well in a space? What is the room’s function, and what is trying to be conveyed? “If a client wants to use a polished marble on their three-year-old’s bath, my job is to recommend something else that’s not so slippery,” she says. Honest and upfront about her opinions, Gaye knows everything is under the homeowner’s discretion, but more often than not, clients allow her to just “do what I do best.”

In addition to helping with design elements of a particular room or home beyond just tile needs, Gaye provides a detailed checklist to keep everyone, and every project, on track. Knowing what questions to ask and how to get results, she’ll even go so far as to photograph an existing property set-up in order to best replicate a homeowner’s vision in a new space — utilizing older furniture pieces or even artwork that has a past or particular meaning.

Now a distributor of the new Sicis lines, popular for their grand commercial work and dazzling hotel displays, Gaye’s showroom has everything you need for a stand-out kitchen backsplash, wow-factor patio or must-have master bath. From $4 to $1,000 per square foot, the tile selection at Weatherly far exceeds any others in little Rhody, and is well worth the visit.

**As seen in Southern New England Home magazine’s 2012-2013 print edition.

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