Aequa tile by Arizona Tile is a durable flooring option

Aequa porcelain planks by Arizona Tile are a durable, gorgeous flooring option.

I put in long days and look forward to weekends with cooking, trying to stay motivated with home workouts (to help compensate from all the good food we are making) and projects around the house and garden. My latest personal design project turned out great! I finally figured out what to do with some deep shelves in my living room. They are painted a medium greige color and, while I have always liked them, they were built to cabinet depth at 24” and were so dark it was hard to see the accessories in them. For months, Danna and I discussed different wallpapers. Hanging paper behind shelves is one of our very favorite tricks. However, I just couldn’t decide. We ordered sample after sample, from pretty patterns to textured grass cloths in hues that ranged from neutral to metallic to red and blue! Nothing was quite right and I just put the project aside.

Then, a few weeks ago, during a Zoom happy hour, I was doing a little virtual consulting with a family member and we discussed mirror tiles for her wine cabinet. It dawned on me that antique mirror glass would be a great way to glamorize and brighten my own shelves! I called our favorite art and mirror installer, who also can do virtually any glass project, and within a week and a half, my shelves almost glow from within!Paint color and photo of antique mirror glass sample

Below are photos of this project including (from left to right) a before photo, an in-process photo and an after photo.
Bookshelves illuminated with mirrors and paint
Mirrors are simply fabulous for design. They can be purchased or made in nearly any style, size and price point. In fact, we are using mirrors for one of our commercial projects that I mentioned. When I was at the Grand Hyatt in San Francisco earlier this year – just before the shutdown as a matter of fact – I noticed a clever bench and mirror built in at the end of the elevator lobby on each floor. It was simple but modern and chic and the mirror was a nice feature. I sent a photo to my client and we decided to do a bench and mirror on each floor of his office building. Looking at residential and hospitality jobs for inspiration for commercial projects is a great way to add some pizzazz to a building or an office. Below is a photo from of the nice use of mirrors in the lobbies at the Grand Hyatt San Francisco Union Square.

Mirrors in hotel lobby used as art

Photo courtesy of

We’ve talked about using art a lot, I know! But it really is a great way to add style and personality to commercial projects. Whether it’s an important piece for a conference room like I did several years ago for a bank building or just some perky prints for a break room, interesting art goes a long way in creating interest in commercial spaces.


Art for business

Photo Credit: Joe Robbins

Carpet insert creates vignette in larger lobby

Another good tip for commercial projects is to select stylish and safe flooring. It’s smart for homeowners too. Commercial floors are usually extremely durable, easy to keep clean and very safe. I’ve installed commercial carpet in homes, even bedrooms and the results have been great. Commercial carpet and indoor/outdoor carpet is fantastic on stairs. It’s durable, comes in many styles and colors and has a great look. It’s a favorite of ours on stairs. At right, I show a good-looking commercial building, where the carpet insert creates cool gathering places. This is especially helpful in a time of social distancing because we can limit the number of chairs and space them 6 feet away from each other in each vignette. Below is a photo from another of our projects, showing a chic stairwell with wood stairs and a carpet runner. It’s absolutely stunning!

Dark wood stairs with a chic carpet runner take flooring options to the highest standards.

Photo Credit: Julie Soefer

Other excellent flooring options today include vinyl planks for lower cost projects. These have come a long way and we’ve used this material when we wanted good looks on a budget. Past projects include a bamboo style vinyl for a yoga studio and weathered wood vinyl planks in the leasing office at an apartment complex near the coast.

For most of our projects, we step it up a bit (literally) and use porcelain planks. This is a fabulous floor with many design options, great durability and easy maintenance. Our current ranch project, shown below, has Aeuqa Castor planks from Arizona Tile and the client could not be happier. He assumed we would suggest wood flooring but with the active ranch lifestyle, a big family, loads of guests and three dogs, we knew the porcelain plank would make life much easier.

Aequa Castor planks from Arizona Tile

Aequa Castor planks from Arizona Tile offer durability and beauty.

We used a similar porcelain plank for an award-winning townhouse project. The back double-decker balconies look out over six private acres on Buffalo Bayou and are a great place to sit and enjoy nature or sip a coffee or cocktail. Wood Side Nut planks from Kronos were an excellent choice. They look like a rustic wooden deck but have the comfort and ease of tile. They are truly a great product and can be used in a variety of interior and exterior settings. We found them at Thorntree and during a recent visit, I noticed a lot of new colors!

Porcelain planks are also available in weathered wood styles these days as well. If you want a beachy, coastal look, there is a variety of blue-gray options. Prefer shabby-chic or vintage? Then a gray or antique white mix might be for you. Even a classic, rich walnut floor can be achieved in porcelain planks. You truly cannot go wrong! Which look would you bring to your dream home? Which flooring characteristics are most important to you? Add your comments below and I’ll respond with flooring options you might like. As always, you can contact Pamela Hope Designs to make your design dreams a reality.

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