Renovation Diary: The Magic of Moroccan Tiles

Ever since I started dreaming about our home renovations, I knew exactly what bathroom floor I wanted….

A Pinterest-worthy patterned black & white tiled one!

When I started planning our dream home I pinned up a storm of the prettiest pictures I could find online. To be honest I didn’t actually realise that was the floor for me until I looked back at my Home lovin’ board and realised my style was pretty obvious.

Almost every bathroom pic I’d pinned had a similar style floor! Here are a selection of my pins… You’ll see what I mean!

 


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I love the pretty patterns of printed tiles and was especially drawn to ones in a monochrome theme all in the same repeated pattern.

The only issue was that when I started to search all the familiar tile shops in Cape Town, I came up short. No one seemed to stock the type of tile I was looking for!!! Yes, there were places that stocked patterned tiles but most of these were a mix up of patterns and that wasn’t the look I was going for. It can work… but I prefer a simpler style and wanted just one pattern of tile in a black and white colour palette that could be repeated.

My search took me to every single tile shop in Central and Southern Cape Town. I was beginning to think this Pinterest-dream was destined to remain just that…. and I really did wonder why no one in South Africa seemed to have an interest in this sort of style considering how extremely popular it seemed online.

And then, finally, I stumbled across a store that offered exactly what I was looking for…

Moroccan Warehouse in Buitenkant Street, Cape Town stocked a large variety of single tiles – in black and white, grey and white and various colours. And they had such a lovely assortment of colours to choose from too.

The tiles here were exactly what I was looking for! I remeasured my soon-to-be en-suite bathroom floor and worked out how many of the single tiles I would need. A whole bathroom requires quite a lot which meant my choice of pattern was limited to the tiles they had a large stock of. Fortunately the pattern I loved was a win and I arranged to collect my bathroom floor order from the warehouse (and the ever helpful Izak!).

The black and white tiles were definitely the most widely available options and I LOVE discovering new patterns. These tiles go for R45 ea and the coloured options for R55 ea.

Unfortunately the process of tiling these tiles was a bit more complicated that I had anticipated… The process of prepping the tiles for use is super important and there are various sealants that need to be applied in a particular way (the shop supplies instructions!) The original tiler we used didn’t seem to know what he was doing as he hadn’t used these type of cement tiles before so we had a bit of a disaster with our en-suite floor. I think the problem might have been his inexperience combined with not applying the sealants correctly and then using a much darker grout than was recommended. He also appeared to have sealed the tiles with the final sealant before the grout was dry and messed the tiles up by smearing grout over the. This meant we had to take ALL the original sealant off the tiles with litres of thinners and leave them to dry before trying again (and replacing one or two tiles!) It delayed our renovations by WEEKS.

But, despite the disaster, I didn’t give up. I had fallen for these tiles and I was going to have them!

After a few desperate weeks of being bathroom-less, we finally found the details of a tiler that knew how to work with these tiles and had done so before. It wasn’t easy to get hold of him, but when I did he was quick to come and try to rectify the situation. Finally I was able to shower in my own bathroom. A glorious moment!! And one I still relish every time I retreat to my own private sanctuary. I’m in love with the tiles. Yes, they aren’t perfect. A few are darker than the others, there are a few scratches etc but I feel this all adds to the character. These tiles are special. They are handmade in Moroccan and have traveled a long way to be here in my space. I love their unique beauty.

 

A few sneak peeks of my own bathroom…. (more coming soon!)

Once I started the love affair with all things Morocco I couldn’t help myself but go back to Moroccan Warehouse again, and again!

I decided that one bathroom floor wasn’t enough and opted to do a section of my kitchen backsplash in a combination of colours and patterns and had great fun designing and playing with the various combos.

And that still wasn’t enough… after our original cement shower floor in the kids bathroom didn’t turn out quite as planned, I headed back to the shop to choose another monochrome pattern to redo to the shower floor… and a few coloured tiles for the kids bathroom splashback too! I may have gone a little Moroccan crazy 😉

All in all I’m loving our little splashes of Morocco throughout our house… It certainly has inspired more than one travel dream of a visit to this exotic country and now I’m on the hunt for a few bathroom mirrors to match the look. Let me know if you spot any around!!! And come back soon for my Renovation Reveal series…

 

Contact Details

Moroccan Warehouse
Cnr Buitenkant St & Commercial St
Tel: 021 461 8318

Opening Hours: 09:30 – 16:30

 

 

 

Disclosure: 1

Images: Pinterest & Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for almost 7 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

7 Comments
      1. Ignore…I thought I was on another blog post with the UD brush comment (I can’t delete). Here the tiles and bathroom…gorgeous. On another post, an Urban decay brush is gorgeous. lol. I feel like a crazy person.

        As you were…..

  1. Dear Kathryn.

    You are a woman after my own heart. Thank you for sharing your story. I also have decided to use a plain black and white marrocan tile for my bathroom floor.
    Please could you you send me the number of your tiler?
    I have had disasters in the past and I can’t afford another mess up.
    By the way I know your mom in law. She is a client of mine.
    Kind regards
    Constanze

  2. Hello Kathryn, I am so happy I have come across your blog, for more reasons than one!
    Love your story about your bathroom & the mention of the disasters that happened along the way (yikes!)
    I cannot agree with you more that these tiles are not easy to come by….& that was my reason for starting to make my own concrete tiles with Moroccan patterns on the surface. Having owned a concrete tile manufacturing company before & following the trends in pattern tiles I have revived my love for concrete tiles & incorporated these beautiful designs into my tiles. See them here: http://earthlymosaics.com/moroccan-concrete-tiles/
    Being able to make our own patterns is very exciting – the hardest part is choosing which ones to go with now!
    Happy that your bathroom turned out beautiful even with the inevitable hiccoughs along the way 🙂
    Kind Regards, Kim

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