Before you remodel, you research your options carefully and take the time to put together a palette that works so you can avoid surprises. Right?

Master Bath Palette

Our original master bath palette

Except sometimes, even the best laid plans go wrong. Case in point: we’ve been remodeling our master bath, and had pulled together a soft, spa-like palette with warm grays and soft whites, including the sliced white pebble shower pan I fell in love with at first sight. I really, really wish it had been The One. I even bought it and had it installed. And then I realized it was a mistake.

Before I go on, I want to say this: over the course of a remodel, you will second guess yourself. You may second guess yourself a lot. And you may not be head-over-heels in love with every choice you make, and that’s OK! That doesn’t make them the wrong choices. You will have favorites, and some not-so-favorites.

But what do you do when you pick something you LOVE and it turns out to be the wrong choice?

Master Bathroom Palette - can you spot the mistake?

In hindsight, I can see the mistake(s) in the photo. In person, the sample looks just right.

This is the dilemma I found myself facing recently. We ordered sliced white pebble stone for our shower enclosure. Unfortunately, natural stone is prone to a lot of variation, and the batch of stone we received was very yellow, which was even more obvious in our taupey-gray bathroom. Had I noticed the variation before it had been installed, I could have taken it back to the tile shop and reselected. Unfortunately, I didn’t see it in person, in daylight, until after it was grouted.

What to do when you make a design mistake | Inspired Haven

See how yellow the pan looks?

The way I see it, there are 3 options when it comes to a design error:

1) Ignore it and carry on
2) Work around it (i.e., find something to tie it in or reselect around it, depending on the scale and cost of the item that is wrong)
3) Fix it

All three of these can be viable options for a design error, depending on the type (and magnitude) of the error, and the cost of making changes mid-stream.

Ignore it:

Let’s say the mistake is insignificant or minor. Is the cost to change it worthwhile? Often the answer is no. In that case, it’s best to move on and not dwell on it, because chances are when the project is complete, no one else will even notice (until you point it out).

Work around it:

Maybe the mistake is more significant, and the cost of changing it is outside the budget. If it’s a color error, sometimes other selections (i.e. paint, tile, etc) can be changed so it works in the space. In my case, I even looked into reselecting my shower wall tile, bleaching the grout, etc to see if I could make it work. Oh, how I wanted it to work.

BUT: (You knew it was coming, right?) Too often, trying to salvage a scenario where something just doesn’t work is throwing good money after bad. In my case, even if I found a shower wall tile that could magically marry together the colors in my floor and shower pan, it wouldn’t change the fact that the shower pan is out of place in the room and will always look wrong.

Fix It:

I had to ask myself, if this were a friend or a client coming to me for advice on what to do, what would I say?

My best advice? Cut your losses, rip it out and fix the problem.

Ouch? Very.

This is very easy advice to offer as an outsider. But when it’s your own hard-earned money paying for the cost of wasted tile, install and tear out labor, and replacement tile, it’s a tough pill to swallow. Better to do it before the wall tile and surround go in, when it will cost a lot more to fix. Or to stare at it every day and wish I’d done something about it when I had the chance.

Sonoma Sky with Cape Doctor Maple

I could also have ripped out the floor tile instead, but as you can see in the photo, the floor tile (Sonoma Sky) works perfectly with our laminate floor (Cape Doctor Maple), as well as the wall color (York Gray). It also harmonizes beautifully with our custom cabinet and quartz top color and flows well with the rest of the house. Unfortunately, the shower pan is the problem child in this bath, so it’s going to have to go. Love is so painfully blind sometimes. Sigh.

Stay tuned… I’m on the hunt for a replacement pan tile selection. I’ll share the before and after soon!

2 thoughts on “What to do when you make a design mistake

  1. We are looking at the Sonoma Sky for our flooring. How is your tile holding up and does the overall look appear to be a variation of gray? I really love it, but the variation makes me nervous. While I have seen it in person; I noticed depending on lighting it looks grayish and other times as in your bottom photo is appears more light brownish.

    • Hi there! It really is a pale gray tile, but leans toward taupe, and the copper and taupe veins make it feel warm and earthy. But because it is a taupey-grey, it will look beige next to a blue-gray. It also tends to look pink next to anything that has yellow or gold tones in it (hence the major issue with the pan looking so awful with it). We ended up redoing the shower pan with matching 2×2 tiles to keep the monochromatic feel we wanted. As far as quality goes, it is holding up well with daily use.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *