I think I Just Made a Terrible (and costly) Decorating Mistake

Dear Laurel,

I’m so upset. Years ago I nearly fell over in my chair when I opened up my Elle Decor and saw Lindsey Buckingham‘s kitchen.


I don’t know if it is the black cabinets or that way cool tile floor, or all of it with the brown wood table. But whatever it is… I’ve been working with a kitchen designer and just ordered a new kitchen to the tune of some $200k+.

So, what’s the problem? This is the problem. I just read somewhere that you shouldn’t really do anything but white cabinetry and subway tile. That is the only thing that’s “classic.”  The article showed a floor in the same style as the one above and thought it was nothing but a passing trend.

Is that right? I didn’t even realize that what I was doing was considered “trendy” or a decorating mistake. I just thought it was cool! What do you think?

Helen Uvtroy



Oh Helen! Well, everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinion, however, no one, not me or Martha Stewart or Bunny Williams has a right to say what you should or shouldn’t put in your home! I love white cabinetry and subway tile too but there are other great choices as well!

Furthermore, I disagree that the tile in Lindsay Buckingham’s kitchen is just a passing trend. That floor tile is nothing BUT classical! It’s made of cement and is called encaustic cement tile. Here is a great post that explains exactly what it is. That stuff has been around for 100s of centuries. It has its roots in Moorish designs. It has been popular in many countries throughout Europe from medieval times on.


Fez, Morocco. Brass Door and Tile Work at the Royal Palace, Dar al Makhzen


Renaissance Dutch painting c. 1628

Check out that floor!

sanctuary floor at Wyre piddle, composed of fine 15th century encaustic tiles

Above sanctuary floor at Wyre piddle, composed of fine 15th century encaustic tiles


 From the floor of Westminster Abbey built in the mid 16th century

And… it’s made an extremely popular comeback now.


NO, not this! This is the fake linoleum version made so popular in the 1970s so-called Mediterranean style.



Design: Etica Studio

photo by: Meghan Plowman

This is the good stuff!



Encaustic cement tile floorvia

cement-tile-shopCement Tile Shop has lots of wonderful new patterns to choose from

Antique-Encaustic-Cement-Tiles-10Ancient Surfaces

Companies such as Ancient Surfaces sell salvaged encaustic cement tiles and of course they are very pricey. Even the new stuff is fairly costly.


However, Good Ol’ Home Depot has this stuff for only  $2.00 a sq. Typically the new tiles go for about $8.00. Of course this does not have any custom options.



Above and below, the fabulous stylist Emily Henderson redid her kitchen using this type of tile.


Oh wait. You were told not to do black cabinets too. Who is this person? Wait. You don’t have to tell me. But you can find all sorts of antiques from the 18th and 19th century that were painted black. The Swedish loved black and dark painted cabinets. And of course, the Chinese used black lacquer all the time.1st-dibs-black-swedish-cabinetAbove and below from 1st Dibs




I hope that helped to make you feel better. As well-meaning as the person was who wrote that, it’s not true. If it were, then subway tile which made it’s comeback about 20 years ago would also be a passing trend. Some trends are classics.

While this look might not be for everyone, you love it (and you’re not alone!) and that’s all that matters. Life is just too short not to go for what you love. If it’s quality and has been around for centuries, even if it’s a re-emerging trend, it’s still classic.

By the way, Lindsey’s wife designed that kitchen! What a lucky dude!

For more fabulous kitchens please click here.




Welcome To Laurel Home!


Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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