Creating kitchens and baths for finicky customers since 1993

backsplash features inset metal tiles for accent and texture

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Kitchens: A simple and elegant tile backsplash

ceramic tile backsplash with inset pewter diamonds
Our most recent ceramic tile backsplash project was modest, but lovely. This customer's small kitchen lent itself to elegant understatement. I think we achieved that result.

With many designers choosing "random" patterns, this one used more symmetry than usual. I'm a fan of balance and linear alignment, so I enjoyed making this design work out right.

We used a relatively inexpensive ceramic Florida Tile -- one that imitates a much pricier tumbled stone. Irregular edges are implied within the tile's varied surface patterns; yet the tile remains true-square, making it easy to set.

The insets you can see in the picture appear to be pewter (though I'm not certain what material is actually used). Each "diamond" is the same, with a simple geometric face pattern. Spacing and offset is identical, except at the stove. There's a single diamond that isn't centered between the junction of four tiles, placed instead in the center of two tiles stacked vertically. Can you spot it?

Both tile and grout used muted earth tones to provide the best backdrop for accessorizing. After this picture was taken, the homeowner repainted the walls, too, to better match this theme. All grout lines were protected with a spray-on grout sealer. This type of application uses volatile chemicals with a high evaporation rate (similar to laquer). The smell is dizzying at first, but outweighed by the extreme ease of application.

For the customer, a new ceramic tile backsplash like this adds beauty, value, and durability in the kitchen. As projects go, the cost is reasonable (depending upon tile selection) and not too intrusive. This backsplash took two days to complete.

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For a look at a similar project with a whole different look, and much bigger diamonds, see the photo at the top of the page.