Subway Tile: A New Take on a Popular Trend

We are seeing SO MUCH white subway tile these days! It seems like every kitchen or bathroom has it. There’s this very popular couple that lives in Waco, Texas, and remodel homes all day every day. You may have heard about them… They use subway tile in, oh, maybe 90% of their projects!?  Looking at the white subway tile trend, we can certainly attribute a large part of the obsession to their show on HGTV.

We love subway tile. The other Renewal designers and I use it all the time in projects because it can be applied without a rift in anybody’s aesthetic vision.  But we want to talk about NEW applications and ways to view subway tile that might inspire you to mix things up a bit. Sure, some of these ideas are a little gutsy. But they are totally attainable with just a quick turn of the wrist!

Let’s take a look…

This gorgeous shower has some of the most simply applied, classic white subway tiles. An upgrade from the standard horizontal laid tile, this is just as affordable. The vertical layout emphasizes the height of the wall, and provides a modern update.  Bye-bye farmhouse.  Hello modernist.

(Mim Design | Est Living)

Now we’re cooking with gas…  Check this out! Such a simple layout. It could NOT get any more straightforward. What makes it interesting? The three colors, the modern basket weave pattern—it’s almost like the tile wall is doing a mic drop, then throwing its hands up like “BOOM!” You know what I’m saying.

(Sunset Idea House | CocoKelly)

This beveled, antique mirror subway tile is a local find, and the most glamorous we’ve seen in a long while. This particular application is used for a built-in bar. There are two details here that really make the tile shine: first, the antique mirror itself. It’s luxe and has an air of refinement and history. Second, the bevel of the tiles—the angles of the glass grabs the light from all sides and creates added depth; is three-dimensional and adds a complex and visual interest.

(Charleston Mirror | Oregon Tile & Marble)

Here’s another look we love! This tile was laid in a classic two-by-two basket weave pattern. With the white-on-white bathroom (yes, brass is back!), the tile adds just the right amount of texture.  It’s another silly-simple application that will impress your friends.  So standard, yet so custom.  That’s a concept we can get behind!

(Caitlin Wilson | @CaitlinWisonDesign)

Are you seeing this?  I mean, LOOK AT THAT.  Yes, what you’re seeing is right!  Turquoise grout.  White tile. This is a trend we’re really excited about!  The options really are endless. With colored grout, the emphasis is transformed and shifts your eye around the space.  No longer is the tile the star; it’s the background that makes this look different and unexpected.

(Colored Grout | The Design Sheppard)

So what is your favorite new take on subway tile? Let us know your favorite in the comments below…we’re excited to see what our readers are drawn to!

Designer Spotlight: Tara Apple

Tara Apple is an interior design powerhouse! Seriously. She’s a never-ending source of fresh design ideas, options, and inspirations. She has a talent for creating stunning environments that tell a story, or take you on an emotional journey. Tara specializes in designing spaces around the personality of those living in it, with elements are elegant, yet whimsical; timeless, yet trendy. Her clients love her…and so do we! We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Tara on our team!

How long have you been with Renewal?

I have been working with renewal for 6 short months, but it feels like forever! The atmosphere here is so wonderful.

What is your design aesthetic?

I consider my design aesthetic monochromatic. I love mixing elegant with whimsical styles, to bring warmth and character to a space.

What trends are you excited about right now?

I’m in love with grey! (A very popular trend right now, but I can’t seem to steer clear of it!) It’s a beautiful neutral that is calming and clean. I am convinced grey will be a timeless color statement that we will continue to use for a while!

What inspires you?

I like finding something in a space that will tie the design together, like a picture, or piece of art— something that you can pull multiple colors and textures from to finish the design. Typically, something my client already has in their home.

Where did you go to school? What was your major?

I went to the Art Institute of Seattle, and earned my Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design.

What attracted you to interior design?

I would have to say my mom. Growing up she always had a wonderful sense of taste and design. I can remember always helping her shop for our home. I enjoyed it so much that after high school, I went straight to college to pursue a career in it!

Designer Spotlight: Stacy Becker


Welcome to our second Designer Spotlight! This week, we’ll be talking all about what makes Stacy Becker such an amazing, inspired designer! So keep an eye on our social media accounts for style tips, design inspiration by Stacy!

Stacy is a daredevil. She loves spending time adventuring in the outdoors with her husband and two children, so it’s easy to see why she is constantly inspired by nature. She channels the dramatic scale, beautiful colors, and calming atmosphere of the outdoors in her designs. Nature helps keeps her work grounded and down to earth, and her aesthetic is clean, comfortable, and easy to live in.

How long have you worked with Renewal?

I've been with Renewal for 18 months now, or so. I took some maternity leave which Renewal is very supportive about--love the family-focused atmosphere here.

What kinds of materials inspire you?

I’m drawn to natural materials that add warmth and good energy to a room.

Best feature of a room?

I have strong feelings about windows…there are never enough windows! Natural light reigns in my world.

When you’re not designing, what do you like to do?

In my spare time, I act as a Board Member of the Northwest Chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art. It’s a great way for me to connect to the craftspeople and architects of the area!

What is your favorite part about being a designer?

I love working with clients and pulling together the materials and layouts for their spaces. Paring finishes, materials, and concepts comes easy to me, as does designing kitchen layouts. Once I learned a few keystone design tricks (and I’m constantly learning) I knew that I could take a design and problem solve the heck out of it.

Designer Spotlight: Taryn Sears

Welcome to Renewal’s very first Designer Spotlight! This week, we will be featuring one of our very talented designers, Taryn Sears. She’ll be taking over our social media accounts, so make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for some great design tips and inspiration!

Taryn uses her creative talents for transformation. After receiving her Bachelor’s in Interior Design at Bellevue College, Taryn began her work at Renewal, where she most enjoys bringing her clients’ dreams to life. Her designs evoke a sense of luxury and sophistication, without sacrificing comfort and livability. It’s the family-oriented atmosphere, religious values, and encouraging coworkers that Taryn values most about the Renewal work environment.

You have $100 to put the finishing touches on a room. What do you do?

A vase of flowers or a bouquet can go a long way towards adding warmth and comfort to a space.

What would your perfect room look like?

A warm, inviting, comfortable living room with plush pillows, a throw, coffee & fireplace! (Can you tell I am ready for fall?)

What is the hardest part of being an interior designer?

Endless design, and material possibilities! There are just too many choices! And always wanting the “latest and greatest” design trends in my own home.

If your design aesthetic was a drink, what would it be and why?

A glass of red sangria – relaxed & sophisticated!

What design trend do you hope comes back from the past?

1920s Art Deco – it’s on its way back in, but hasn’t quite reached the Seattle market yet.  (See images from the Viceroy Hotel here.)

If you could design a home for any celebrity, who would it be and why?

Reese Witherspoon – I feel like we have similar personalities, and she would be a great client to work for!

What is the most interesting room you’ve ever been in?

Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica –  I’m in love with the Art Deco aesthetic!  (See images from the Viceroy Hotel here.)

What is your #1 piece of design advice?

Don’t design your home to be super trendy, as trends change every 5-6 years. Do what makes YOU most comfortable, keeping in mind that trends change, and how often you want to change up your space. If you are okay with changing things up every 5 years, then GREAT. If not, keep with something more classic in style.

Get to know Taryn Sears and see the rest of her portfolio here.

Trim: Anything But White

Renewal designer, Stacy Becker, is our guest blogger this month! See what she has to say about colored trim - a classic, yet trendy detail for your home:

The stone industry has been known to joke that the designers of the world are quickly depleting the stock of white Carrera marble. And cabinet and casework builders are selling more white kitchens than ever before. White walls, white kitchens, white tile…it’s all WHITE!

As builders and designers, we often get asked, “Is it too white?” “Will this style endure?” “Will it be too boring?” “Will it be too bright?!” Our mission is to help our clients by answering all of these questions and more, and help them make confident decisions that will lead to beautifully designed spaces.

Look…we love white, but a space that is TOO white can be boring and flat. It’s all about the details.  Details can help balance the brightness, give depth to an otherwise “flat” room, and can prevent your space from looking sterile and cold. We’re talking about painted trim today because we feel it’s a great way to add detail to your white spaces, while adding character that will create interest and enduring style.

Light grey painted trim is a classic look. It’s subtle, not overt; and we love it! It’s a great way to highlight your trim details and line the perimeter of a room. Plus, it’s a neutral. Grey trim can vary widely from modern spaces to more traditional, and can easily be used throughout the entire home. Are you a fan of the modern farmhouse look that’s so popular these days?  This trim color is for you.

Pale robin’s egg blue is the color to select if you appreciate details with a soft appeal. This color is great for special rooms – think a master suite or powder room. The mid-tone contrast with white walls provides a soft, elegant statement that gets noticed and admired.

Black trim is not for the faint of heart. But the reactions you’ll get will be worth it! Don’t expect your grandmother to love it, but your fashion-forward friends will. It’s dramatic. It’s daring.  It’s bold. Add the biggest punch with glossy black accents that surround your doors and windows.

These windows trimmed in navy are a standalone feature of this home and they pull major weight in the kitchen nook.  The heftiness of the trim and the contrast of the color create a desire to sit here.

Let us know how you feel about painted trim during your design meetings with us, and together we’ll select the perfect shade that will highlight your walls, flooring, and surrounding design.

Bathroom Trends: Floating Vanities

Let’s talk about a hot new trend for bathrooms: floating vanities. The style started gaining popularity in 2016 and has been on the rise ever since. Sometimes referred to as “floating sinks” or “wall-mounted vanities”, they are mounted on the wall instead of resting on the ground. So what makes floating vanities such a popular choice? Let’s explore…
A floating vanity creates the illusion of more space, allowing more light to move throughout the bathroom.


Aesthetically, floating vanities work especially well for modern, sophisticated bathroom designs, due to the minimalist influence and sense of spaciousness.


Cleaning is easy with floating vanities. No legs, gaps, joints, or corners to get in the way while you’re scrubbing the floor.


Floating vanities stay dry. Since they are off the ground, they are less susceptible to water damage.


The space beneath the vanity creates a convenient storage nook, or a space for your favorite decorations.


We’re in love with floating vanities! How about you?


Kitchen Flooring 101: Hardwood, Tile & Luxury Vinyl


The kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where families gather to cook, eat, and enjoy one another’s company. As one of the home’s most utilized spaces in your home, it’s critical to choose flooring that can withstand all the traffic, while making a statement. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular flooring options on the market: hardwood, tile, and luxury vinyl.

Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood floors are gorgeous and timeless. They have a warm, sophisticated look and feel, and make for a great long-term investment, adding significant value to your home. Hardwoods come in many types, colors, and finishes, and are extremely durable and stable. They are easy to clean, comfortable to walk on, and can completely transform a kitchen. Hardwood floors can last for generations and can be natural or stained, depending on current trends. Types of hardwood floors include:

Finished in place:  Unfinished wood planks are installed in the home and finished once they are laid. Typically better for a kitchen, since it wears better and liquid and dirt can’t get into the subfloor because of the solid surface. It’s the best option if you want to match existing hardwood flooring that may already be in your home.

Engineered: Built with a core of particle board or plywood and a layer of veneer affixed to the top surface, it is extremely resistant to moisture, buckling, gaping and temperature fluctuations. For this reason, it can also be used in basements or bathrooms.

Solid pre-finished: Pre-finished wood planks are installed in your home. It’s easy and quick to install, plus there is no odor during installation.

Tile Flooring

Tile is beautiful, clean, and extremely water resistant, making it a great choice for homes in very wet or humid climates. It’s durable and scratch resistant and works very well with radiant-heated floors. Plus, it’s very easy to clean, and extremely hygienic since it isn’t porous. With so many sizes, colors, and shapes, the design possibilities are endless! There are many budget-friendly options available, however, high-quality tiles, like porcelain or natural stone can add an unparalleled sense of luxury and refinement to your home.

Luxury Vinyl Planks/Tiles

Luxury vinyl flooring is a new trend in the home design industry. Vinyl has come a long way in the past decade, and is now practically indistinguishable from traditional flooring options, imitating even the most expensive hardwoods or tiles. Luxury vinyl flooring can be purchased in planks (LVP) or tiles (LVT), for an authentic look that requires little to no upkeep.

Whether you choose hardwood, tile, or luxury vinyl planks, Renewal’s team of talented designers can help you select the perfect flooring for your dream kitchen!

Building Hope in Ensenada, Mexico

ENSENADA, MEXICO – On April 21, 2017, Renewal Remodels and Additions worked alongside Youth with a Mission to build a home for a family in need.

The Vasquez-Conde family works hard, but never seems to catch a break. Max and Erika spend 7 days a week hard at work in fields, cutting flowers beneath the sweltering sun. On a good week, they’ll each earn $40; but that doesn’t go far supporting their three young children, Brisa (6), Belen (5), and Brittany (3). The family lived in a home that Max and Erika had built out of scrap wood and tarps. The small, 10X10 home had only a single bed, with no mattress. Their clothes and many of their belongings were stored in a plastic garbage bin, to keep them off the dirt floor. If anybody deserved a helping hand, it was the Vasquez-Conde family.

Renewal was thrilled to travel to Ensenada and lend the Vasquez-Condes our building and remodeling expertise. We were so excited to be able to meet Max, Erika, and their three sweet children, and felt privileged to build them a new home. Through many generous donations and lots of support, our 17 volunteers were able to construct and furnish a new home for this beautiful family over the course of two days! Our team worked tirelessly, despite the hot weather. Some volunteers framed the house. Some did roofing. Others painted, and took the family grocery shopping. There was an inspiring amount of unity as we worked alongside the Vasquez-Conde family and their neighbors.

Once construction was complete, we filled the new home with new appliances, furniture, beds, and toys, and held a small dedication ceremony, which was heartwarming and emotional for everyone involved. Each of the volunteers held the keys to the new home, and shared their feelings with the Vasquez-Condes. To see the family’s reaction to their new home was a beautiful and tender moment we will never forget! We didn’t just build a home. We helped build hope and a brighter future for Max, Erika and their three little girls. We’ll treasure our experiences in Ensenada for the rest of our lives, and look forward to the next time we can help another family in need!

It was such an awesome experience. We loved going and hope we are able to go next year. It’s so rewarding to be able to bless a family without a home.

– George Eide


Let's Live Outdoors

Western Washington’s city of Sammamish, an Eastside suburb of Seattle, is situated on the shores and hills east of Lake Sammamish. Sammamish boasts many lakes, hiking trails, scenic woods, and city parks, making it an ideal place to live for those who love to get outdoors.

One Sammamish family recently decided to take advantage of the gorgeous views from their 1992 traditional style home, complete with arched windows.

Renewal Remodels & Additions added on an outdoor living space, including a new deck and covered patio, for the homeowners to better enjoy the landscape of Sammamish from their own backyard. The deck, offering the family easy access from their multi-level home, was done using DuxxBak. The railing is tinted glass and overhangs are done in pine tongue and groove. Infratech heaters in the covered deck area make the space comfortable throughout each season.

The most complicated part of the remodel was in the transparent indoor/outdoor fireplace. Our designers needed to find a gas fireplace, with a window above, that is suitable for both indoor and outdoor spaces. The stacked stone Pro Fit Alpine Ledgestone is just what this remodel needed, giving this family the warmth and coziness of the same fireplace from both inside and outside of their home.

Now, these homeowners can enjoy the beauty of Sammamish and the beauty of their own home—all in one place.





Visiting a Vendor - MTI Baths

At Renewal Remodels & Additions, we have found that remaining at the forefront of design trends means we get to meet and champion several industry experts. We recently sent one of our designers down to the Atlanta, Georgia area—the home of MTI Baths.

MTI custom builds quality acrylic, engineered stone, and wood bath products. With over 100 models, MTI has the whirlpool, sink, or shower base to perfectly enhance your space. MTI is employee-owned and completely made in the USA. Although every piece is custom, made-to-order, they can get it out their door in 5-10 business days!

Woodward House

While in Georgia, our designer stayed at the MTI Woodward Mill House. It’s known as “The house that MTI built”, showcasing their innovative designs and inviting guests to be inspired and rejuvenated in the luxury of this gorgeous 5-bedroom, 5-bathroom home. Here, our designer had the opportunity to try some MTI products out firsthand, and now we’re only more certain of our approval of MTI.

Bathtub Technology

MTI is widely known for their whirlpool technology. In fact, they have a patent on their cleaning technology, which keeps the plumbing fresh and hygienic. This built-in technology gives customers one less thing to worry about; now we have more time to focus on what type of hydrotherapy we’d like included in our custom-built tub!

Not only did we find the tubs to be functional for a number of different customers, no matter their age, physical needs, or room dimensions, but they are gorgeous works of art, as well. From acrylic to Engineered Solid Stone tubs, MTI can create the style of tub you want with the technology to fit your needs.


Spa Showers

Another exciting offering through MTI is the alternative tile floor in showers. If you’re looking for a different surface on your shower’s floor, MTI builds shower bases in three different product lines, which are attractive, easy to clean, and come in varying threshold heights. Or, if you’re looking to create a spa-like environment in your shower, try a teak shower base, adding warmth and comfort to your bathroom.


Renewal Remodels & Additions is committed to finding the best products for you to include in your new home or remodel. After using these products, we cannot recommend MTI enough for your tub, sink, and shower needs.