Retailing my fireplace has been on my home improvement list for years. The surround was done in a ubiquitous beige that used to be in my kitchen too. When I put in wood floors in my kitchen after the Great Flood, it made the beige tile even more out of place. And ugly.

Unlike many of my other projects, this was one that needed a professional. I had attempted to tile a bathroom in an orphanage in Thailand, but it did not go well (I was quickly reassigned to painting a play room, which is much more up my alley).

Then Jason visited and gave opinions. Expensive, Moroccan opinions that, of course, I immediately wanted.

Zellige! aka Handmade terra cotta tile that is only available from two distributors in the US and that costs a ton to ship!

With housing being what it is in the Denver area right now, it worked out fine to have the tile take a while to obtain since the tiler wasn’t even available for two months. I finally set a date for my spring break and cut my family trip to GJ short to make sure I was back for the tile appointment.

Mog, of course, ran straight for my closet when the strangers arrived and I didn’t see her all day. Hela, of course, got into everything. The vacuum/drill-thing they used to remove the old tile was noisy enough that it freaked her out. This was her refuge-of-choice:

Halfway through!

“Excuse me?” the tile guy called when he had placed two rows. “Is this… right?” He was befuddled by how irregular they were and wanted to make sure I knew they wouldn’t lay flat.

“Yes!” I said. “That’s exactly the idea.”

“Okay…” he said. “If you’re sure.”

Then, halfway through, “you know, I kind of like this look!” he told me when I checked on them.

Then, when it was done, he declared that he in fact really liked the outcome, that it was interesting.

I am quite happy with it myself:

Next up? The mantle (which the tile guy pointed out was crooked and now I can’t unsee that).

I’m thinking a black gloss maybe? Any other ideas?

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