Dunedin couple decorates whole house with mosaic tiles

Artists Carol Sackman and Blake White have a well-known and highly-visited home in Dunedin. Nicknamed the “mosaic house,” every room is decorated with tiles.

DUNEDIN, Fla. — Carol Sackman and Blake White went to a garage sale in 1990 and eventually wound up buying the house.

“We bought it in 1990,” Sackman said. “It was a cute little house, but it just wasn’t us. It’s definitely us right now.”

It didn’t take long for Sackman and White to put their personal touch on nearly every inch of the Dunedin lake-front house. The artists began dabbling in mosaic tiles in 2004 and totally transformed their home in the art medium.

“We wanted it to last longer than us,” White said. “Any free time, that’s what we did.”

Sackman and White, originally from New York and Milwaukee, respectively, saw beauty in taking one piece and joining it with others to create a fuller experience. The first thing they ever decorated was a birdbath. From there, they did steppingstones, then the back wall of their studio. From there, “it just blossomed” and creativity and imagination took over, resulting resulted in a home where, basically, only the ceiling is free from mosaic tiles.

“There is also something about having pieces of things, just odd, found things, that don’t mean anything in themselves, but putting it together, and having it come together, organizing it in such a way that is greater than the one-piece itself,” said Sackman, who says her favorite room in the house is the kitchen. “That’s very satisfying.”

Their mosaic house is one of the favorite stops on a weekly Dunedin bike tour. They make commissioned art pieces as well. One of their most popular items is birdbaths.

Mosaic really has become a huge part of their lives.

“It’s complex. It’s layered. Visually, there’s just more to it,” said White, who has his own workspace in the rear room of the house, in which he tiled the floor with a mosaic depicting Egyptian pyramids and symbols.

The couple has three kilns set up in their home to speed up the drying process for their art pieces. They specifically chose mosaic to outfit their home because of the medium’s longevity and durability. The house’s outer walls feature colorful pieces of tiles with varying themes. There is one honoring the couple’s cats. Others form an archway in the front yard which features the names of loved ones – some living, some no longer.

Basically, anything goes.

“There’s no ‘off-limits.’ Everything that can be, will be,” White said.

Every room is different. Even the toilets have mosaic pieces on them. The quirky style fits the couple, who insists they are the “normal ones” when compared to people who choose plain, white walls.

It’s their home and it suits them perfectly.

“It’s was so much so, us, we could never move. We’ve just put so much into it, that we could never leave here,” Sackman said.

White smiled. It’s likely they never leave. Yet, if they did, it would require a like-minded artist and a bit of a screening process.

“We’d have to interview them,” he said. “It couldn’t be just anybody.”

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