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    How To DIY The Moroccan Pattern With Fish Scale Tiles or Ogee Drops

    Do you remember my post early this year delving into the history of ogee drop tiles? They are otherwise referred to as Moroccan fish scale tiles. I hope you remember because that backsplash is one of my most favourite features of our house. A couple weeks ago I received an email from a reader who purchased similar tiles and was having difficulty figuring out how to begin laying them to achieve the iconic pattern that we used in our kitchen.

    In that post I spent a lot of time talking about what an ogee drop tile actually is, and breaking down the misnomer Moroccan fish scale tile. As you remember, the ogee drop arranged in the right pattern looks remarkably like a fish scale, which is why they have been dubbed fish scale tiles. We went over the history of the ogee arch and it’s English Gothic roots, dissecting where Moroccan comes into the mix.

    However, I didn’t spend any time talking about how we came to have it successfully installed on our wall. To begin with, I went looking for the most experienced tile layer I could find. He was 80-years-old man and knew more than a thing about tiles. Even with his decades of accumulated knowledge we had multiple powwows to confer about how he would translate the pattern laid out on my counter top on to the wall. So, I’m going to share some diagrams with you today that I hope will help you if you decide to DIY this project, or that will help your tile installer if you can’t find a tile installer who feels comfortable working with the Moroccan fish scale tiles, or ogee tiles, as I prefer to refer to them.

    moroccan pattern ogee drop or fish scale tiles

    Fireclay Tile

    Making this Moroccan pattern, as Fireclay Tile has dubbed it, is actually rather easy once you see it broken down. It begins with two simple principles: symmetry and centres. The first thing you should do is find the centre of the wall where the tile will be laid and draw a vertical line depicting that centre. The tiles should be placed moving outward from that centre, beginning at the counter top (or horizontal surface of choice) and fanning upward towards the cabinetry or ceiling to create a symmetrical effect.

    To create the base row that sits along the counter top you will need to cut a number of the ogee tiles (or Moroccan fish scale tiles) along the red line depicted below in my infographics. You will then alternate the two pieces of the tile along the horizontal surface, working out from the centre line you drew. Once this portion of the backsplash is finished the rest of the task is quite simple, just like fitting pieces of a puzzle together. You will find that you can’t go wrong as you move up the wall, as the tiles will be impossible to arrange incorrectly if you have done the base layer correct.

    diy moroccan fish scale tiles or ogee drop moroccan pattern

    diy moroccan fish scale tiles or ogee drop moroccan pattern

    I hope these two diagrams will help you better understand how to correctly install ogee tiles in order to achieve this unique design. I believe it elevates the look of this tile from the more common Moroccan fish scale pattern, into a more timeless midcentury modern inspired look. Have fun and please comment or email me if you have any more questions as I am always happy to share my experiences!


    Learning To Decorate With Wood Trim + Picking Paint Colours

    When we first decided to purchase Spruce Lawn one of the things I was dreading most was dealing with, what at the time, I considered the BS or “baseboard situation”. The house features mostly the original wood trim and I didn’t care for all that wood.  Now I’ve done a complete 180° on the subject and I want to talk to you a little bit about why that’s happened, because I think there’s a myth perpetuated in contemporary interior design, which I long-subscribed to, that suggests wood trim is bad and dated, and white trim is good and modern. 


    via Design Sponge

    The reality is not so nearly black and white. I now recognize that the real problem is cheap trim looks bad and expensive trim looks fantastic, regardless of whether or not it’s wood or white. Thick, high, and detailed solid wood trim will cost you, but let me tell you right now that the thin, small, cheap wood trim is actually what looks dated and tacky. You can’t cheap out with wood trim, if you do it will cost you in aesthetic impact a thousand times over.

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    Freshly Picked Blackberry Custard Pie With Blackberry Reduction Sauce

    Two days ago my other half pulled open the crisper to find that the huge basket of blackberries he had picked were turning to mush and smelled vaguely of cheap wine. So, I spent the better half of the evening trying to decide what I could make with all those blackberries and what I came up with was this fabulous blackberry custard pie topped with a blackberry reduction.

    blackberry custard pie with a blackberry reduction sauce

    Before I arrived at pie, I briefly flipped through my trusted sidekick Preserving by Pat Crocker in search of some type of blackberry preserve recipe, but decided there weren’t enough berries for a small batch of jam. Then I recalled the most delicious pie my mother-in-law had brought home from a nearby bakery the other night—something called a blackberry yogurt pie. I surmised that the “yogurt” was actually a custard, and thus this recipe for a blackberry custard pie was born.

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    A Yellow Brick Farmhouse

    Hi readers. I know I haven’t posted at all this summer and I’m not going to go into the details, except to say that I haven’t much felt like it mostly because I’ve been exceptionally busy lazing around at the beach. Oh and buying a house. Sorry, did I bury the lead there? We are purchasing a beautiful 124-year-old (ish) yellow brick farmhouse + acreage. It’s just so fabulous and I can’t wait to share it with you, which is what I am going to be doing for the foreseeable future because this house needs some love and it’s going to take a while to shine it up nice.

    A yellow brick Italianate style farmhouse built circa 1890 in a rural Ontario hamlet.

    Of course I’ve been researching. An Italianate style yellow brick home, built between 1884 and 1899, it was first the home of a once-prominent businessman and mill owner, named Thomas Pickard, in the small hamlet of Glammis, Ontario. It was originally dubbed Spruce Lawn, a name we plan to keep for the sake of historical authenticity. Here’s a nice little snippet I found written about the place in the local historical society’s book:

    The new residence, with extensive landscaped gardens, was called “Spruce Lawn” and was quite a showpiece. Much entertaining of community and extended family took place in the large beautiful home full of young people. Spruce Lawn was the scene of at least three weddings.

    Here’s a historical photo of the property. As you can see the cupola has long-since been removed. We move-in sometime this autumn, late October probably. Wish us luck!

    A yellow brick Italianate style farmhouse built circa 1890 in a rural Ontario hamlet.

    Grey-Washing A Red Brick Fireplace: Before And After

    A couple months ago I posted the most amazing news on Facebook: my other half finally relented to my incessant persuasions and agreed I could do a grey paint wash on our brick fireplace (a.k.a. the wall-to-wall monstrosity).

    Here is the fireplace as it was when we first viewed the home six years ago (right), and after I ineffectually lumped on a ton of white décor to try to lighten up the space (left).

    You’ll notice there’s a number of other “issues” with this fireplace. The pine wainscotting, the adjacent navy blue wall that smothers the room (my oops), and the plywood-topped storage boxes on either side of the fireplace, which for some reason were never finished properly, just to start. Really, the only good thing about this fireplace was the barn beam mantle… way ahead of it’s time.

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