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Vancouver Interior Designer: Are Terra Cotta Floors like Jeans? Yay or Nay

By 12/07/2011January 28th, 201741 Comments

I have heard many sweet and wonderful things about Tobi Fairley’s mom Beverly Wells and what an amazing hostess she is! When I saw this beautiful Christmas house in turquoise and green decorated by Tobi and Beverly, I had to post it here!

Via At Home in Arkansas

See how the gray countertops have been brought to life by the turquoise? If you want to have fresh walls or cabinets and white is too much maintenance? Gray is the one. I chose gray for the countertops in my mom’s kitchen as well (lighter than this one).

What I love about what Tobi and Beverly did in this kitchen is they treated the saltillo tile floors like a pair of jeans since they in no way relate to the cabinets or countertops (a mantra you hear on this blog over and over). Notice however that what pulls the tile into this kitchen is the red/orange stain on the tabletop. So brilliant!

See the Pellegrino? If your kitchen is lacking in a little colour and styling, just buy three bottles and line them up somewhere along the backsplash.

Here the fresh yellow walls bring the grays in the area rug and chairs to life!

A totally fresh and beautiful palette for Christmas!

Love the kelly green Christmas balls!

After seeing this kitchen with the floors and considering there is so much of it in the South I have decided that maybe you can treat terra cotta tiles like a “neutral” if you have them.

Over to you my lovelies, what do you think? It’s really pretty here but do you think you could pull it off in your house?

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Related posts:

How Important is the Colour of Wood Floors vs. Wall Colour?

Bright Colour needs a Healthy Dose of White

5 Ways to Balance Bold Colours

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  • lynn waller says:

    i do love the blue, but this house, does anyone live in it? it is so perfect.

  • Love the complimentary terra cotta and turquoise. Perfect example of how sometimes a clean color (cabinets) can go with a dustier color (floor). I love the Holiday deor without red in it!

  • Laura Brzegowy says:

    I LOVE this home! The colors make me happy!!

  • Janet says:

    What a timely post for me! We added on a few years ago and walled over the back of the chimney. I decided it needed to come down because it had become a mouse highway and we are in the process of applying compound to give a stucco effect so we can leave it exposed. I know I am going to like the look but have been waiting for inspiration on color – wasn’t sure a tradtional adobe color would blend in with the rest of my colors, but this really helps me make the decision!

  • Dianne Tant says:

    I think you are right…they are like jeans,,,they just seem to dissappear..

  • Cherie says:

    Christmas without red? The decor is very pretty, no doubt about it, but it doesn’t look like Christmas, not to me.

  • I LOVE this kitchen but when I first saw it the only thing I thought to myself I would change are the floors…not a fan of those orange terracotta tiles. LOVE LOVE LOVE everything else though.

  • Kathryn says:

    We put terra cotta floors in one of our kitchens with white cabinets and blue & white accent tiles. We did,however, use terra cotta colored tiles for the backsplash. It was gorgeous.

  • Love the terracotta floors – I think they bring the turquoise to a different level.
    Once had an entry hall with terra cotta tiles and loved them – we had painted the walls a deep olive with white trim and the terra cotta worked really well. But do you think I can find them anywhere now?

  • Lisa says:

    Trendy. Makes a cute photo shoot but highly staged.

  • Gail says:

    I love everything about this kitchen because it is daring and outside of the box. I live in the South and feel this might be a little too daring to live with on a daily basis, however, I would definitely think about this for a “second” home. Every time you walked through the door it would make you happy!

  • Diane says:

    I think warm wood floors are like well worn jeans, both in terms of comfort and how they look. Don’t get the same feeling with terra cotta… unless in the Southwest or Florida.

  • Wow! This is gorgeous. I have lots of color in my home. I am not a fan of white walls, although in some houses, they are beautiful. My living room/library is yellow. My kitchen/dining is a beautiful red/pink. In the morning it is a wonderful deep, deep reddish pink and in the evening sun, it is a deep red. The cabinets are a touch off of white as well as the woodwork. Wood floor throughout, including the bathroom. Deep green in the bedroom. I will have to do a house blog on my blog. Loved this kitchen.

  • Paula Van Hoogen says:

    Now that’s one HAPPY kitchen! Makes me want to do a turquoise kitchen too!

  • Barbara says:

    Well, so much for the “always do neutral” discussion. Color makes my day!!!! Colour (for you Canadians) moves my soul! It can brush away a moody day.

  • Monique says:

    Staged or not this is a beautiful kitchen and dining room. This color palette is not often seen in print or on blogs and is so Tobi. I love her rooms; each are individual and not copycats of another designer. These rooms are a Go for me.

  • kathleen says:

    beautiful 🙂 does anyone know where I could order the brown and cream rug under dining table? Been looking for similar for ages!

  • mairi says:

    Great post Maria! I have porcelain tiles in this exact color in the kitchen, laundry and entry. Easy maintenance as nothing shows on it. I treat it as a neutral and have white cabinets with the same Tobi blue as accents and pops of chartreuse which relate back to the tile tones. I had not considered olive as someone mentioned above-good idea.
    Secondly, I am glad to see in the last photo that she used real silverware-I think it is so elegant and worth the extra bit of maintenance to take a holiday table to a new level. Cheers.

  • Kay Rodine says:

    Very striking and lively kitchen! Are terra cotta floors like jeans? You gotta love orange! But it all works here. This color scheme is a brilliant updated version of the old tried-and-true complimentary color scheme of blue/orange. I do agree with Maria: the finish colors of the table and chairs are spot-on and absolutely essential to the success of the room.

  • katkins says:

    Yes. Terra cotta is a neutral from waaay back, especially in a kitchen. Beautiful, great character, practical to clean. Says, “home, hearth, great food,” the way no 5000k btu range can.

    But, alas, not for me. Too dang hard to stand on and too cold for my climate. Maybe as a backsplash for the range?

  • Lisa says:

    I live in Phoenix and terracotta tiles are everywhere! They look timeless in our desert environment, but I prefer them on exterior applications.

  • DeanaDolar says:

    Love it all, but that table would have to go for everyday.

  • Your description of the terracottta tiles as “a pair of jeans” is absolutely perfect! They provide such beautiful warmth & texture to the room. And the striped Dash & Albert rug brings a lightness & freshness to the room.

  • Claudia says:

    The kitchen is gorgeous!. That blue is so pretty and so unusual a color to find in a kitchen. It seems so fresh and distinctive.

    I’m not in love with terra cotta tiles, but in this situation, it provides a warm counterpoint to the cool, blue tones of the cabinets.

  • teresa says:

    Yes, they are absolutely like a great pair of jeans and great for the easy upkeep. That (and the coolness they provide)is why you see them in almost all hot climates and why they’ve been well used throughout the centuries.
    For those with hot water heat living in a cold climate, tile, in general, also provides the toastiest warmth if you have heated floors. It’s even possible to retrofit these days.
    Alas, they are hard on the feet and you can kiss your dishes good-bye if they hit the floor. Dishes will literally bounce off of cork floors so my next kitchen will have those!
    I have terracotta for my covered veranda with a brick exterior and arches. I tcompletely complements the cobalt furniture cushionsso I think this combination rocks! Great post!Teresa

  • Barbara says:

    I love terra cotta floors. I can’t say they disappear in this kitchen, but they are wonderful, just about anywhere. I went the safe route when re-doing our kitchen floors a few years ago. Wish I had been a little gutsier than travertine. Either terra cotta or black and white are all time favorites!

  • Rhonda says:

    These are my dream floors ! Absolutely love them !

  • Maria,

    Lovely post to show you can use what you have (in a lot of cases it is terra cota) and work around it with lovely results. Proof is in the photos. Very bright kitchen and it works.


  • L M says:

    Sorry to be the “nay” here. Lovely blue/gray cabinets and counters; lovely terra cotta tiles; but they just do not go together to my eye.

  • I agree that the floors work and can act like a neutral, it works especially well with the table top in with reddish stain and the fresh turquoise cabinets!

    Love the color palette in the house and the green, aqua and white for Christmas works so well!

    On terra cotta floors: I grew up in a house with one (my parents put it in) in the kitchen and it always bothered me, perhaps because I don’t generally like things with an orange/reddish undertone or perhaps because they didn’t work with the yellow-toned wood of the cabinets that my parents installed at the same time as the floor. Funny, I’ve never thought about this but now you’ve got me thinking!

  • Doris Davis says:

    I do love those turquoise cabinets and would have never thought about doing the gray counter top. It’s perfect!

  • But doesn’t it also work because of the relationship between orange and blue?

  • Ivy Lane says:

    Interesting how the gray counter tops “pop” against the turquoise cabinets… and those floors!!! LOVE!!!!! another great post…I always learn something new here!

    Happy Holidays!

  • I love this kitchen. My aunt had terra cotta tiles in her kitchen and we all loved them, especially the dogs. On shot day, the dogs loved the cool floor.

  • A-L says:

    I’m with L.M. on this one. I like many things about this kitchen (the cabinet color, for one), but I think there are too many colors going on. I probably would have liked the kitchen better if it had butcher block counters to blend better with the floor, or if the flooring was different to blend with the countertops. But the clash between the gray counter tops and the terra cotta flooring was too much for me.

  • Sara Smith says:

    This is beautiful!! Turquoise cabinets are probably not practical for most people, but it’s so pretty and totally works. Thanks for sharing! I agree with you completely about terracotta floors being a neutral. They are classic and I hate when people tear them up for something trendy that will be outdated in a few years :).

  • hyzen says:

    I like everything in that kitchen except the floors. I think a warm wood or maybe a light tile would make the whole thing look quaint and pleasant, but to me the terracotta makes it look kind of garish and cheesy. I have terracotta tiles in my kitchen from the previous owner, and I am dying to remodel the kitchen and tear them out. They do hide dirt well, but that’s not necessarily the most appealing thought in a kitchen, if you know what I mean. These fit in ok in southwest/florida/tuscan type decors, but that is really not my favorite style.

  • Tindy says:

    I love the terra-cotta with the turquoise. I inherited a terra-cotta tiled floor and white kitchen cabinets when I bought my house. I changed out the white counters for wood and painted the walls a dark charcoal gray, except for the island which I painted a deep orange. It’s a great combination…and interestingly enough, the dining room walls right off the kitchen are turquoise! I never thought of the jeans analogy, but I think you’re spot on!

  • Lynette Wright says:

    Real terracotta tiles look natural, I have ceramic imitation terracotta tiles that scream “orange” and are being removed as I type. Clean whites and greys are replacing the 80s style for me

  • Jennifer Beamer says:

    Can I get the color of the cabinets and where was that kitchen table purchased? I have those exact tiles in my kitchen and this would go good in my kitchen.

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