Inspiration in the Studio

A New Showroom for Old Friends at Triangle Tile and Stone

It’s always a good day when I can experience the excitement of a new showroom and see old friends at the same time. One of our favorite vendors, Triangle Tile and Stone, has a new home. John and Kelli Naramore, along with their awesome team (we love Amanda and Annie), make our job look easy. The showroom is filled with beautiful eye candy.  Natural marbles and stones with dramatic laser cutting techniques…

Unique handmade tiles that provide a one-of-a-kind statement.

There’s nothing like the beauty of natural slate and stone…

Our job is to strategically incorporate these wonderful materials into our designs, so they can be enjoyed every day by our clients! How lucky are we?

And, the star of the showroom is NATE…John and Kelli’s new dalmatian puppy. So, so, so adorable!

Thanks for bringing a bit of sunshine to an otherwise rainy day!

A Guest Chat with Triangle Tile and Stone

We’re introducing a new blog series….Guest Chats! Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to work with some excellent craftsmen and suppliers. Any interior design project requires a team effort to achieve the best results. This series will focus on our partners…the businesses and people that I’m fortunate enough to work with every day.

Our first guest is Triangle Tile and Stone. I guess it’s appropriate that we start with the vendor that I’ve known the longest. I first met Triangle Tile’s owner, John Narramore, over twenty years ago (yikes, that is really admitting age…John’s, not mine, of course)! Along with Kelli Narramore, they have managed to build one of the best tile showrooms in the Triangle. What sets them apart? In my opinion, it’s the comfortable and professional showroom in which every client is welcomed and gets personal attention.

Laura Olmsted, Interior Designer and Showroom Consultant Extraordinaire, manages the selections for Southern Studio. We recently discussed the business of tile design during a recent showroom visit.  Enjoy our Q&A chat….


Q: What makes Triangle Tile and Stone different?

A:  Our customer service! We strive to give each client that walks in the door personal, one-on-one attention and assistance. We feel that our complimentary professional design service and warm, welcoming atmosphere set Triangle Tile and Stone apart from other area tile showrooms.

Q: How did you partner with Southern Studio?

A:  Vicky has been bringing her clients to Triangle Tile and Stone for years! We’ve assisted her with several large remodel jobs as well as new construction and smaller kitchen and bath projects.

Q: What are the hottest trends in tile?

A:  While visiting the International Tile Show in Orlando in April, we saw a lot of new products with very clean, contemporary lines and straight edges. One of our top vendors introduced a new porcelain line that looks exactly like marble. We love it because it is less expensive and less maintenance than the real thing! Other hot trends include glass and stone mosaics, as well as hand-painted glazed lines. Glossy subway tile and mini-hexagon mosaics are also making a big comeback as the “cottage, shabby chic” look becomes increasingly popular in our area.

Q:  Before visiting the tile showroom, what should be done to prepare?

A:  I usually recommend selecting new cabinets and countertops before selecting your tile. There are so many options with tile that it is always a good idea to have those items decided first because it sets the tone for the tile selections. If you are working with existing cabinets and countertops, bring a picture or a sample of those items with you, if possible. For whole house renovations and new construction, it is very helpful to have floor plans of the space with you.


Q:  How does the tile selection and installation process work?

A:  The first step is making your tile selections with the assistance of one of our showroom designers. Walk-ins are always welcome but we do work by appointment as well. Simply come in our showroom and we will be happy to help you make your selections! We write down all the details of your project, including tile color, layout, grout color, soap dishes and we include a concept sketch with your paperwork. We also allow you to check out samples for up to one week. After the selections have been made, we pass your information on to your installer or contractor and he or she will measure your space and order the material. Because Triangle Tile and Stone does not employ tile installers, we make sure to document your selections in detail in order to communicate your expectations to your tile installer. We have a list of tile installers that we refer our clients to on a regular basis and we would be happy to give you that list when you visit our showroom.

Q: What are some unique and creative tile installations?

A:  Because Raleigh is located so close to the beach, we’ve done several applications using decorative shell, turtle, and seahorse tiles on kitchen backsplashes and shower walls. Glass mosaic tiles can also be applied to water lines in pools and jacuzzi tubs for a pop of color. We’ve used tile in decorative features in restaurants, spas, and retail shops. Recently, I assisted a client in designing a shower surround using only stone pebble mosaics in order to achieve a natural, relaxing space.

Q:  Are there any recent projects you would like to share?

A:  Vicky and I recently finished a large remodel project involving several bathrooms. We combined marble and glass tiles in the master bath in order to give a modern twist on a more traditional material.  We also introduced glass and marble mosaic borders in two of the secondary baths and added a splash of color with pink and coral penny round tiles in the fourth bath. It was a great experience to work with Vicky and her client on this project! Vicky has so many wonderful ideas and she has a great understanding of her client’s personal style.

With that introduction, I need to include a few photos of our recent remodel project. Of course, we could not have achieved the beautiful results without the craftsmanship of Santos Tile. And, never to be forgotten, our amazing clients who welcome us into their home and appreciate the creative process and great design.


I just love the classic combination of Carerra marble and glass mosaics. We even carried the design onto the backsplash.


Another bathroom with Emporador Dark marble on the floors, countertops and accent tiles. I love the contrast of the chocolate brown against the creamy cabinets.


A fun, playful shower design that incorporates another natural marble, Crema Marfil, with glass mosaic tiles.


I wish you could see the entire bathroom in each of these photos, but professional bathroom photography is an art and unfortunately, I have not quite mastered it!

Thank you, Triangle Tile and Stone, for all you do for Southern Studio and our clients! Who will we chat with next?

A Completed Project on Lake Gaston (another favorite)!

For the past 18 months, I’ve been working with the most fantastic clients (and now wonderful friends) to bring their dream of a second home on Lake Gaston to life. I had the pleasure of working closely with Sid Cutts with Corbitt Hills Construction on the project.  I cannot say enough about Sid’s attention to detail and craftsmanship. Several weeks ago, we spent the day photographing the project and I wanted to share the results. I’ll do my best to give you a virtual tour… we go….

The exterior facade is gorgeous with handcrafted detailing in the columns, shutters, and gables.


The foyer of the home is open to the adjacent lodge room and dining room.  Notice the stunning front door and beautiful light fixtures by Currey & Company.


The lodge room has a beautiful view of the lake and includes more quality detailing in the built-in cabinetry and ceiling detailing. Check out the curved leather sofa…the perfect conversation space!


This kitchen is a dream! The large center island is the perfect gathering spot. We decided to stack the cabinets to the 10′ ceiling height to maximize storage and make a grand statement. Mixing the finishes on the cabinets gave added visual interest. We worked closely with Lake Country Kitchens to create the perfect design. The kitchen backsplash is a combination of tiles, including natural stone and handcrafted decorative tiles and mosaics. What do you think?


The keeping room is open to the kitchen and breakfast nook. Notice the beautiful floors throughout this home! They are fabricated from reclaimed wood and custom finished specifically for this home.


I could live in this master bath.  The barrel vault welcomes you to the walk-thru shower. It’s the perfect master shower combination…two personal showers on each end so there’s no need to adjust settings.  The walk-thru center space (which, unfortunately, you can’t see) includes an arched window, a rain can shower head and body sprays. It’s the ultimate shower experience!


Here’s a detail of the beautiful tile work. Laura Olmstead with Triangle Tile and Stone helped us create the perfect combination of materials and design. Notice the pebble shower floor in the photo above.


The lower level is the perfect spot for entertaining. The wine storage cellar has a gorgeous door accented with wrought iron. The rustic furnishings (and a pool table not shown in the photo) are made from antique wagon wheels and reclaimed teakwood. Sid did a fabulous job crafting the “awning” over the bar. We used engineered cork plank flooring for it’s aesthetics and durability.


The girls have the perfect sleepover hangout in this bunk room! We made sure their every need was met, right down to the reading lights in their personal cubbies. Oh, to be a kid again!


Although the home is a beautiful creation, I always try to remember that nothing man-made can ever top the beauty of nature. Check out the peaceful morning on the lake.


As with any quality custom home, it takes a lot of talented craftspeople and vendors working together to make it happen!  Thank you to all the friends I met along the way….