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Design & Inspiration

Destination Eichler: Handpainted Tile Bar

By Kali

Destination Eichler: Handpainted Tile Bar

Master of Mid-century modern design Karen Nepacena of Destination Eichler is at it again, this time with a spruced up bar highlighted by our Handpainted Kasbah Trellis Tile. This kitchen goes to show that just a small amount of handpainted tiles can have big impact. We're talking to Karen about this 1940s ranch home along with her process of choosing tile for each of her projects (you can see here that she is very familiar with our tile!), so keep scrolling to see more! 

Tile Shown: Kasbah Trellis in Neutral Motif 

Can you tell me a bit about this house? 
This ranch home was built in the 1940s and seems to have a lot of "history" with it's past lives. When the clients initially purchased the home, they discovered there were many surprises with the house and it's many renovations, from a marbled mirror that had been painted over to look like the wall, to three layers of linoleum flooring in the kitchen. Turns out that someone before had tried to "flip" the home, but not very well. The new homeowners are a fun-loving family, with great sense of style, and wanted the home to be a place where they could easily enjoy cooking and entertaining friends, while providing a great home to raise their toddler. When they hired me, they wanted to maximize the functionality of the main living areas in order to make the space more usable for both daily use, while injecting their own sense of style and personality.

What did you change about the house? What about the house did you want to maintain? 
Before the renovation, the kitchen was very small and broken into different spaces with nearly zero cooking prep space, nor storage. We merged a few spaces into one, making a multi-functional area for cooking, entertaining, bartending and even doing laundry (hidden by the chalkboard doors). We brought back materials found in ranch homes from this era, such as the darker natural wood finishes in the cabinetry to mosaic floor tile (only one layer this time!) and darker trimmed windows and doors.

What aesthetic were you going for?
Modern, yet approachable while being kid and pet friendly.

You've worked with our tile on many of our projects, what is your approach/process for choosing the tile with your clients? 
I like to give clients several options to choose from, all different, whether it's pattern or colorways. I do a lot of research ensuring that materials that go into the new space reflect aspects of the home's architectural roots. Then I lay the tile selections in front of them, which is one of my favorite parts of the design planning process. Clients tend to start gravitating towards certain glazes or patterns that interest them, and I allow this natural, sensory process to be the deciding factor in choosing the tile.

Is this your first time using our handpainted tiles? What made you choose them for this project?
I have used the handpainted tile for a few projects now. Each tile in the handpainted collection is truly a piece of art. I was especially inspired by one of the Fireclay videos of the handpainting process for each tile. I feel strongly that including artisanal materials like this in one's home, not only makes the new space extra special, but we can help support handcrafted design and manufacturing.

How did you land on this pattern/motif? Were there other contenders?
We considered Padma and Starburst, but something about the Kasbah Trellis just seemed "right" for this house, the space (bar area), and the clients' tastes.

Tile Shown: Padma in Black and White Motif 

TIle Shown: Starburst in Dark Motif 

How was the installation, did you face any challenges?
After a snafu with the initial installer (the Contractor's first choice person wasn't available at the time), the main Contractor re-installed the tile (after cutting out the dry wall the tile was on, and sanding it down!). They were able to salvage the tiles, fortunately only losing two pieces in the process. The second installation came out perfectly.

Lastly, which other colors/patterns of ours our you hoping to use in the future? 
My new obsession is the Agrarian Collection. I love the glazes and the organic geometric shapes and patterns, which would all work well with my mid-century modern projects. 

Tile Shown: Agrarian patterns in White Motif 

Want this look? Check out all of our Handpainted Collections or give our Color-It Tool a go and customize your very own tiles. Need some help? Simply call, chat or fill out our Design Assistance Form and one of our talented Design Consultants will get back to you shortly! 

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