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Installation Stories: A Timeless and Contemporary Kitchen Backsplash


A classic modern backsplash using our 2x8 Tile in White Gloss

Familiar with the unique, handmade quality of our tile, Meagan and her husband came to us looking to add a touch of personality and texture to their sleek, San Francisco kitchen.  New to the world of tile, the couple welcomed all the help they could get when it came to those nitty-gritty details that spring up along the way.  We helped with everything from choosing the perfect white, to finding the perfect installer for their project.  Looking for some insight on the tile process from concept to completion we tagged along during their backsplash installation and sat down to chat with Meagan about her first tile experience!

Hi Meagan!  How did you hear about Fireclay Tile and what sparked your interest in our company?

Meagan – My husband went to Stanford Graduate School of Business, and is very good friends with Eric Fireclay's CEO.  We also really liked the idea of working with a small, home-grown, and sustainably minded company.

Can you tell us about your space and the condition it was in before your tile was installed?

Meagan – We bought our house on an up and coming street in Potrero Hill that was previously owned and renovated by developers. The kitchen had a modern feel with floating shelves, but no texture or color when we bought it. Since the kitchen is the focal point of our living space we wanted to start our home improvements there.


Before the new walnut floating shelves and backsplash were installed

What style were you trying to achieve?

Meagan – We were going for a clean modern look while simultaneously adding warmth and texture as we upgraded the quality and look of the elements of our home. We wanted to use local artisans and craftsman whenever possible, so we chose a local designer and hired a local craftsman to build floating California Walnut shelves to supplant the existing flimsy ones. And, of course, Fireclay Tile for our backsplash.

How did you come up with your color scheme?

Meagan – We struggled with what we wanted to do with the space because installing tile had a feeling of permanence for us. We decided to go with something neutral so you could easily change the paint scheme, what’s on the shelves, and have a tile color and pattern that would never go out of style. We also wanted to keep things bright, so ultimately we chose a white gloss 2x8 white tile. When deciding on size, we went with the timeless classic 2x8 subway tile.


First course of White Gloss 2 x 8 Tile being installed

What role did our Design Consultants play in your design?

Meagan – Wendy was incredibly patient as we struggled with color choice. We really appreciated the guidance and support Wendy provided to help narrow down the seemingly infinite choices without imposing her ideas on the process. She was easy to reach and always got back to us promptly with answers to our questions.

How did you find your tile installer?

Meagan – I wouldn’t have know where begin when it comes to selecting an installer. Ultimately, we trust the Fireclay brand and trusted you guys to provide an installer that was both a high quality craftsman and a high quality person.


The install was very time consuming cutting tile around the floating shelves

What was the experience like being matched up with an installer?  

Meagan – This was the first tile job we’ve ever taken on, so I don’t have anything to compare it to. That said, I liked Paolo instantly. He took his time and described the process in detail. He provided us with an insanely detailed quote and you could tell from the beginning he was an artist and truly cared about his craft. The “Find an Installer” program made the process much easier. Because we trust Fireclay Tile, we trusted the person that was referred to us, and saved a lot of time and possible headaches as a result.

What was the installation process like?  Did you enjoy working with your installer?

Meagan – Paolo was a pleasure to have around. He’s an excellent communicator, very professional, and was easy to have in our home. He explained the process very clearly and managed to occupy our living space while remaining unobtrusive. It’s obvious that he’s very knowledgable about the craft of tile and tile installation and we were very very happy with the outcome. In fact, we feel like our  backsplash is now the way it was always meant to be. Because we had floating shelves installed before the tile, there was a great deal of extra cuts that had to be made which slowed down the process. Since Paolo was hell bent on a perfect installation, he took a bit longer than we had originally planned for, which we were totally ok with. The final product was well worth the extra couple of days without the use of our kitchen.


Installer creating a grout board to help Meagan choose a grout color

Anything else you want to share about your installation would be great.

Meagan – One of the unexpected things about Fireclay is the way the handmade tiles capture the light in unexpected ways and create a vibrancy and depth with the changing light. Our installer did such a great job, we wanted to pay him more than he charged!

Thanks for sharing your installation story with us, Meagan!  Do you have an installation story to share?  Upload your Fireclay photos to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #MyFireclayTile for a chance to be featured on our blog!


With the tile install complete, it's time for grout

Completed backsplash installation featuring our 2x8 Tile in White Gloss

Looking for a top notch installer for your project? Check out Find an Installer to find one in your zip code!

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