the tile that changes everything

ae2gaMarch 7, 2011

I've been working like a maniac to save for the remodel and learning everything I can about the infrastructure of the house/kitchen. I know that I've been planning a sort of vintage-ish country kitchen. White shaker inset cabinets, soapstone counters, no or limited uppers but shelves instead with storage bins below, and wood floors (the same throughout kitchen, dining, living room).

But then I saw this stunningly beautiful handpainted tile from a link in the bathroom forum. I am in LOVE! (Please see row 1 and 2 on page four of ceramics).

And now I fear nothing I've thought I wanted and planned would coordinate with this tile, and I have to change evrything else.

Please take a look at the Samarra Yellow. The new idea (from bottom to top) is to have a row of the border, then the tile, then the border 2 as backsplash around two sides of a U-shaped 10x 14 kitchen.

What cabinet style and color? What counter? What ideas to create a kitchen (blue, yellow, and green are my colors) that would work well with this marvelous tile? If I kept my original ideas would the tile be too jarring and/or uncoordinated?

Here is a link that might be useful: beautiful tile

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Pretty tile! Can I make a suggestion? It sounds like you had a very good, solid plan that you will love long term. Maybe just buy a couple of tiles and frame them shadow box stile with a pretty fabric behind as an accesory? Or create trivets out of them. That way you still get to smile when you see them, but don't have to upset the cart completely. :)

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 6:43AM
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Very pretty tile. It reads "french country" to me, which I think can go with a vintagy feel very well. I think you can do the white cabs and the soapstone, but you might want to also add some wood counters in there. I think that might help tie things together a little more.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 7:34AM
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Those are some seriously beautiful tiles! I could imagine how they would inspire a whole kitchen -- or even whole house -- renovation.

I agree, however, with debbie1031's advice about using the tile in some way that is less permanent and doesn't dictate your kitchen's color scheme long term. Maria Killam's blog, Color Me Happy, has some great advice about keeping kitchen tile neutral. I think that keeping the tile more neutral makes a lot of sense in most cases.

Yet, there have been some wonderful threads on GW in the past year on the pros and cons of making a kitchen reflect your personal tastes. If this is your "forever kitchen" and you want your tile to be the jewelry of your kitchen, go for it. It is an inspiring tile.

Here is a link that might be useful: Color Me Happy blog on kitchen tile

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 7:41AM
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During my overlong thinking process regarding our kitchen addition, I developed a concept called "how many clowns in a room?" What I mean here is how many strong presences can an interior decor tolerate. One clown is great entertainment, too many clowns and I go sit in another room; no clowns and I'm unsatisfied.

Someone once wrote on this forum that "busy" interiors are bothersome until they get "overbusy" and then become calming again. I've thought about this and perhaps it's true. But on the other hand, even moderate amounts of a strong decorating element may become disquieting if the kitchen is a place where you need a backdrop for your own concentration.

There was a wonderful modest kitchen image online some time back that was from a foreign country--Greece? North Africa? It had marble hunks for countertops, lots of cooking apparatus all over the place, strong colors etc. and it grabbed me. I could just imagine all the meals being prepared. There was another sequence of threads for a Mexican kitchen on the GW with a very strong decorated tile theme that you can find quickly by searching. Others have also successfully put lively tiles into kitchens without creating a clown convention. It takes skill, though. How good is your eye? Or can you hire a good eye?

Here's the old Modest and Quirky thread, which has some interesting links and images, including the working kitchen of mismatched same-size tiles that are so very jolly and inspire lots and lots of great food preparation.

P.S. I've committed to a strong pattern tile in my design that will finally get installed at the end of the month. We'll see if my own advice is correct or not. My plan has 5 clowns: strong paint color, narrow backsplash of strong personality, a hanging forest of 5 matching pendants, strong grain in oak cabs, and supergraphic on roman shades. Stay tuned for the show.

Here is a link that might be useful: old modest and quirky thread

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 8:12AM
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The tiles you selected are beautiful... and expensive. Therefore, imo, they are a long term commitment. I did an article recently on hand-painted tiles. They are attractive to me also. In our last home, we had a Walker Zanger border and accent pieces. We were there only 4 years after it we installed and let me tell you, I was tired of that tile. Of course when I purchased I thought I would love it forever. I still loved it, but was tired of seeing it all the time. It also limited what I could do in the kitchen/breakfast room.

That said, my parents had Deft tile in their home for over 20 years before they tired of it. I think the trick is, the fewer colors the easier it is to add more to the room without clashing.

In my post, the last kitchen only has a small area done in tile. Is there an area like that in your kitchen? It sounds like you are only going 2 square tiles and 1 border high? Or are you adding plain/solid tile above that?

Here is a link that might be useful: Hand-Painted Tiles

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 9:04AM
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Pretty! What if you just used that special tile for an accent behind your cooktop? It would be a nice focal point without being overwhelming (and breaking the bank.) It could be the star of the room and add a splash of color with your white cabinets and black counters, and you could tie in the blue and yellow with dishes on your open shelves, towels, etc.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 9:22AM
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I love the color and warmth -- the life reflected in some of the Mexican and European tiles, but they really don't fit the style of my home. If I had a Spanish house, I'd use them, but in my home, even if I pulled them off well for now, I think they would tire quickly.

If I understand what you are considering, that's a lot of the design and color. Think about what fits the architecture of your house and the choices you have used throughout. If you think they don't fit with your kitchen choices made so far, I'd look at those too and decide what will look right for your house. Those things will not feel dated so fast. It's kind of like knowing what styles and colors fit your frame and coloring. You might pull off something outside of that range, but its not likely to have staying power in your wardrobe -- does that make sense?

If the tiles fit the bones and style of your home and you love them day after day -- they fit with the colors and kind of things you have always loved, then I'd go for them, but I'd carefully plan out the use of them. Less may be more. Maybe a border all the way around is all you need, or maybe the narrow border around and use the border 2 to frame an area in your range splash. All 3 all the way around is a lot of color and detail. You may still be able to use white and soapstone, but I think the addition of a warm wood suggestion is a good one.

Take your time to get it right, make sure you love it just as much after you get away from it and have been looking at other things. If you aren't sure you love it and it feels like home every time you see it, think about trivets, a wall hanging, pottery in similar colors and designs, using the borders around a mirror or message board, even the possibility of creating a splash behind your range that is mounted to a board that can be removed without taking all the other tile out. I've heard of folks doing it, but not done it myself.

My bottom line thought is take your time. When I find something new that I go bonkers over, I find it is good to take my time, look at other things, come back and revisit it a few times on different days or even a week or so later to see if it still has that same excitement for me or if my previous idea feels more like home for me. Have fun. The right answer will come to you.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 9:47AM
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Those are really beautiful tiles. I have to agree with most here that you're really locked in when you use that for an entire backsplash. When I saw them, I was immediately reminded of Kelleg's kitchen. She used a hand painted Jeffrey Court tile behind her stove. Beautiful and simple.

I think you should stay with your original plan of soapstone and white cabinets. Seems like you were pretty set on that. I can also see the tile you picked working with that combination.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kelleg's kitchen

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 9:50AM
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If you really love the tiles, you should order a few sample pieces, enough to play around with maybe several square feet, and see how they work out in person. Carry them into other rooms of your house too. Do they "go" with the rest of your home decor? Is the finish and color really what you were thinking?

In the past year I fell in love with many backsplash and flooring options. I spent a small junk of change on samples but it was worth it. DH would photo shop options for me too and we did many mock-ups of floor patterns. What we liked and what worked were two different things.
Others have given you some good ideas if you do end up using the tiles. You should be careful before abandoning your original inspiration.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 10:22AM
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I love many of the colorful tiles that you see around the Mediterranean, as well as a lot of the Arts & Crafts tile. Originally I planned to have something colorful in all of the bathrooms and the kitchen of our new house, and considered using Motawi tile for the fireplace. But then I thought about resale (never know when that may be necessary), and that it would be difficult to find other people who would like my taste, and that since having tile torn out and then new tile installed can be expensive--a potential deal killer.

So I have a wall hanging of a Tunisian tile that I love (similar in someways to what you are looking at) in the master bath, a large wall hanging of Motawi tile in the mudroom that my DH loves--first thing we see when we come in from the garage, and small (6" x 6", 8"x 8" and similar) pieces of Motawi on small wall areas--over my desk in the kitchen eating area, over the mail sorting area in the mudroom, one next to the MW, and another in my dish storage niche.

You could talk to your tile shop or installer about mounting some special tiles on a surface that could be used as a wall hanging like our large Motawi display--just think of using it in place of a picture. It has to be done by someone who knows how to do it right so that it can be mounted on the wall securely. That way, you can justify :o) spending the money on more expensive tile, because you will be able to take it with you when you move.


    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 10:58AM
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Could you use the tile in one row and the rest plain
white tile? Just use your pretty tile as an accent
I think it is gorgoeus and would not be to jarring.
If you love it, you will enjoy it.
This is the tile below right?

Why not something like this...

Or some other ideas. Keeping elements simple means
that you can be creative with the backsplash and color.
These below all look pretty to me and would in yellow,
green and blue tile too.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 1:38PM
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mexican tile - anyone remember? I thought it was bestyears, but that's not it. It had soapstone and beautiful red mexican tiles for a backsplash. I wanted to post a link, but can't find it.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 1:56PM
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Here's the kitchen with the red tile insert - I don't think the link to all the finished pictures works anymore - it's yesdear's kitchen (pretty close to bestyears).

Scroll way down - for some reason there's a big white gap on the finished kitchen's blog now before you see the pics.

Here is a link that might be useful: Red tile insert

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 2:22PM
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Wow - you've given me so much! Thanks so much for all of the links and links that lead to more links.

I will be reading, and then I'll be back.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 4:10PM
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I am officially in kitchen overload. Thanks so much for posting the links and pictures; they've helped tremendously.

Boxerpups, those are exactly the beautiful tiles. Of the pictures you posted, I like the one with the tile as a medallion over the stove, but I'd also still want more color in the rest of the kitchen. Which leads to the one with the one row of colored tile in a field of white tiles - that's pretty, would be colorful, and wouldn't be as expensive. Maybe I can do a combination of both - the medallion and the the running accent tile with white surrounding it.

Of all of the kitchen pictures, I really love Arvajuli's kitchen best - the colors are stunning. I don't think red cabinets are me, but the use of color blends extremely well, and the tile is divine. At first, I thought that wood counters would clash because of the stripes of the wood, but in this kitchen, it does have a calming influence, especially with the red cabinets. So maybe butcher block counters are the way to go, and they're certainly budget friendly. I also like the Portland kitchen - those are kitchens I could cook in without feeling as if I were going to mess up or break something.

Florantha - the clowns in the room theory is a good one. Of course, I am of a mind that one clown would be lonely, and she should have a friend or two for balance. Thanks for posting the quirky kitchen thread - fabulous! I need to have color, and blue, yellow, green have been my favorite colors for years and years (read decades and decades). They're bright and happy.

Alison, yes, the idea is (from bottom to top) the border (4x8"), then the tile (8x8"), then border 2 (8x8") and that's it - that's 20 inches high of backsplash, maybe a little more with fine grout lines. With shelves on stove wall, expanded window on the sink/dishwasher, and refrigerator and tall pantry cabinet on the third. The space is open to the dining room which is open to the living room. You can't see the kitchen from the living room unless I take out a wall, and that's too pricey, and I'd lose the refrigerator/pantry wall.

Jimandanne - Great idea! I've done little tiling before, so I could do that myself to make wall hangings of matching and complimentary tile. Thanks!

I still have plenty of time, at least another year or so before I can begin the work, so I'll not make any precipitious decisions. And man oh man that is the most beautiful tile ever!

Here is a link that might be useful: great kitchen thread

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 7:13PM
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I do have a Spanish style house (not an old one) and the original owners/builder went a bit overboard with the tiles. The kitchen isn't bad, but the bathrooms are too much ... I like the clown analogy mentioned above! We have already replaced a large amount of floor tiles and will slowly start working on the bathrooms. They do not invoke anything remotely close to a spa-like feeling! I would rather bring in color in the walls and decor. Permanent and expensive fixtures/elements need to be a bit more neutral.

If the house had been an antique we would not have bought it, but since it is a newer house I don't feel guilty about remodeling to make the bathrooms a bit more neutral.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 7:17PM
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ae2ga!! Have you done the $ math!!!! I'd take that tile in a heartbeat but I don't have any rich uncles left. Do you?

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 8:09PM
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That makes sense, but I don't want neutral. I have lived with neutral, bland, blah, beige, plain for too many years to count in too many rentals. I finally have my own house, and it's important to me that the renovation/remodel reflect my tastes and style, not the style and taste planned for the amorphous future person who may one day in the distant future purchase my house.

Of course, even knowing that I can't predict the future, I have no intention of selling. I am settling down, nesting, paying for the house so I can consider retirement.

If someone likes neutral, then that's exactly what they should have. I want uber-energy efficiency and color and light.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 8:12PM
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Hey Pinch me! That tile costs four addtional months at job number 2. That was the first thing I did. Doesn't matter how much I like it if there's no way to ever pay for it.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 8:14PM
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