Ask Maria: Help! The Previous Homeowner Installed Granite to Sell

This homeowner reached out to me with photos of two bathrooms in her own house.

Who can see what’s wrong here?

It’s the old “granite to sell” trick and some would say it worked but the new granite makes the floor and cabinets look especially dated.

Ask Maria: Help! The Previous Homeowner Installed Granite to Sell | Maria Killam

How can you tell that the granite is the new addition? That 4″ kick along the back might mislead you into thinking the counters are older but the real giveaway is that they have a creamy undertone while the floors are white.

Done properly, a white and cream bathroom can be stunning, but this wasn’t considered an upgrade.

More likely is that the previous homeowners just followed their realtors advice and installed granite to make the listing more attractive. If you’ve been around here long enough, you’ll know how popular this advice is and how often it can go wrong.

My solution here: Paint the cabinets cream to tie in with the granite and replace the white tile with bluestone hex tile.

Ask Maria: Help! The Previous Homeowner Installed Granite to Sell | Maria Killam

Why hex tile?

To my eye, this tile feels like it belongs in a bathroom. It’s small in scale and classic.

Ask Maria: Help! The Previous Homeowner Installed Granite to Sell | Maria Killam

Here’s another bathroom with bluestone hex tile. Pretty.

Ask Maria: Help! The Previous Homeowner Installed Granite to Sell | Maria Killam

{via pinterest}

Classic little entry. Tile that looks like this could stay forever!

Ask Maria: Help! The Previous Homeowner Installed Granite to Sell | Maria Killam

Unless you have a modern bathroom (for which you would choose a much larger tile, the above six options are your cheat sheet for classic and timeless. Sorry, but no, your house is not the exception.

Any and every other tile is a victim of trends and just as with wood stained kitchens, I can walk into any bathroom with any other tile, and I will know immediately within a five year time bracket, when it was installed.

It takes seeing thousands and thousands of homes to come to this next conclusion and since I’ve done just that, you’ll just have to trust me when I say, most tile is just blotchy and bad.

Fortunately for the bathroom in the first picture, it’s new owners knew who to call to fix the problems of the “granite to sell”.

If you need to choose whites or creams for an upcoming project, save your house from ending up on the wrong side of this blog by reading my eBook, White is Complicated – A Decorators Guide to Choosing the Right White eBook.

Which floor is your favourite?

Related posts:

What Everyone Should Know about Porcelain Tile

When Should you Rip out Brand New Tile?

How to Coordinate New Tile with Old Tile

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  1. This is a very timely post for me.
    I love the entryway tile best. I currently have white hex tiles that are probably original to the house. They are kind of a dirty white though. The comment Bfish made about more grout being less slippery is a very good point. I think I’ll just swap the white hex out for black. I can already see my husband rolling his eyes.

  2. Hi Maria. Thanks for the great ideas! Do you have any sources for dark (not black) hexagon floor tiles? I haven’t found any that are reasonably priced. Also, I’ve seen lots of oversized hex tiles. Do you consider these trendy?

    Thanks!
    Janet

  3. Maria,
    Love your blog with the color and decorating advice. I want to understand your comment in this blog of “That 4″ kick along the back might mislead you into thinking the counters are older…” I understand that if you are using tile above the countertop, then the 4″ kick should not used. In the picture at the top, it appears that there is only drywall above the 4″ kick. What should be used in this case (drywall above the countertop) in lieu of the 4″ kick to protect against water damage? Do you mean that the wall above the countertop needs to be tiled? Thanks for all of your decorating advice.

  4. Maria,
    I am now about to redo my master bath, we’ll be putting the house up for sale within a year. I already redid one guest bath in carrara hex tiles and subway on the walls and one with the tiny white porcelain hex tiles with a few black flower patterns and white subway tiles on the wall. For the master, I adore that bluestone hex tile. Do you think that’s a safe choice, or is a carrara hex better? I’m planning white subway tiles on the walls and a (hopefully antique) claw foot tub. In our price range and part of the country, I think people expect the master bathroom floor to be stone tile rather than porcelain. Please help!

  5. I love the basket-weave tile. I installed this in my remodeled 1920s cottage. A big improvement over the linoleum and it looks timeless!

  6. Hello Maria
    We would like to put in 2″hextagon white tile for flooring in our small ensuite and small main bathroom. The tile supplier is suggesting 6″ as it is more current. We are replacing the countertop with a white quartz (maybe nougat!) as well. Is 6″ too large for a small 15 year old bathroom or just as good option?