Meet the Designer – Francesca Ficalora

Meet the designer Francesca Ficalora

Buying tile for your home or business is a very personal thing. At Tiles Unlimited, our Tile Consultants/Designers strive to get to know a little bit about their clients before they make any recommendations or start sketching any designs. With that thought in mind, here’s your chance to get to know a little bit about one of our Designers and her thoughts on tile design and how to get the most out of your visit to Tiles Unlimited.


Meet Francesca…”I started at Tiles Unlimited back in May of 2014 as a Sales Assistant with no experience in our industry.  After a year of working hands-on with clients, I realized my love for design and earned the position of Tile Consultant/Designer.  My driving force is my passion for doing what I love and contributing to people in the most positive way.  For me, there is no better feeling than knowing my client is completely satisfied with the service I provided and the excitement that their share about their completed project.”

Francesca certainly lives her passion every day, as evidenced by the 27 5-star client reviews (samples below) she has received in 2016.


Q: How should someone visiting the Tiles Unlimited showroom prepare for his or her visit?  What should they bring with them?

A: Before their first visit to the showroom, clients should take a look at websites such as Houzz and Pinterest to become familiar with what colors and styles are available for their project. I also recommend they look at the Tiles Unlimited Flickr, which is filled with hundreds of high quality pictures. In a showroom like ours, there are so many options that many find all the choices overwhelming. Having an idea of what you like and what you dislike will help narrow down your selections and make the design process much easier.

 Q: What current trends in backsplashes are you seeing?

A: The most popular look for kitchen backsplashes today are glass subway tiles in various colors and in larger sizes. It is very important to use grout specifically made for glass tiles. As glass reflects and refracts light, you want a grout that does the same otherwise, you’ll often end up with a finished product that doesn’t look anything like what you saw in the showroom.  Grout made for glass tile (stain and crack resistant) really enhances the look and is big hit with clients looking to add the right amount of “pop” to their space.

Q: What current trends in bathroom design are popular?

A: Porcelain and ceramic tile that mimics the look of marble is the most sought after look at the moment. Using a porcelain or ceramic tile allows for a more practical approach to family bathrooms than real marble or natural stone.  Clients can still achieve an elegant, high-end look without the headache of sealing their material annually. Of course, porcelain and ceramic tile are more affordable than marble and natural stones.


Q: What colors are hot right now?

A: 50 shades of gray! Gray is hottest color on the market. The neutrality of the color offers flexibility when searching for the right accessories and accents for your space.

Q: What are your thoughts on tile sizes for the floor as it relates to the size of the room?

A: The popular saying applies here, “the bigger the better”.  Large format tiles will make any size room look bigger, especially bathrooms. Larger tile also reduces the number of grout joints in the room, which minimizes maintenance and allows for easier cleaning.

Q: What advice do you give visitors to the showroom to consider when they are selecting tile?

A: A question I like to ask my clients before they commit to a particular design or material is “Will you LOVE this in 5 years the way you love it today? In 10 years?”

Q: You create many different tile installation designs with your clients, what is the process that you go through to develop these designs that become a personal expression of the clients?

A: Before assisting my clients in the design process, I like to get to know them on a personal level, more than just a client-consultant relationship. This usually happens over an espresso and long stroll around the showroom. It is much easier for me to make suggestions for a client if I have a solid understanding of who they are and what their goal for the project is.  

Q: Beyond talking about tile and the installation design, what other products do you often talk about with customers who are visiting the showroom?

A: For clients renovating their bathrooms, the finishing touch for the space is a vanity. This is the piece that will tie the bathroom together, so it should never be overlooked.  I’m in love with a relatively new line of bathroom vanities we carry from Eviva. They are affordably prices and come with tons of feature you normally have to pay extra for such as natural stone countertops, porcelain sinks, soft close doors and drawers and door/drawer hardware.

Q: What is your favorite area to design with tile and why?

A: My favorite area to design is the kitchen. Putting together a kitchen is like putting the perfect outfit together; there are many different elements that contribute to the overall success of the project. Throughout my life, the kitchen has always been the most used and abused room in my home. Being from an Italian family, there is always something cooking and someone eating in the kitchen. I like to help my clients find the perfect material that will allow them to really enjoy and use their kitchen without worries of cleaning or maintenance.  

Now is the perfect time to stop in to meet Francesca but before you do, make sure to take a look at our December Specials and our Year End Clearance Event ads. Whether you work with Francesca or any other of our talented designers, you’ll find Queens’ largest selection of tile, free indoor parking and a design team that has received 95 5-star reviews in 2016. We look forward to working with you.

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