Installation Stories: A Brick Herringbone Backsplash
This home renovating couple takes time with their real estate projects, attempting to add character and personality whenever and wherever possible. For their most recent "flip", Irene and her boyfriend gave their California kitchen major style with a cool glazed Brick backsplash in a combination of an offset and herringbone layout. We took a minute to chat with Irene about her project and her Fireclay Tile experience.
Hi Irene! First of all how did you hear about Fireclay Tile?
Irene – I became aware of Fireclay tile during my unending web search for kitchen inspiration for my last renovation project. I kept saving photos of these beautiful tile installations and when I looked at their resources, many of them used Fireclay. I also liked the idea of buying local since I live in the Bay Area, so I drove down to the showroom in San Jose and I was instantly smitten. The tiles are even more beautiful in person.
What did your kitchen look like before the remodel?
Irene – My boyfriend and I both quit our corporate day jobs to pursue our passions for real estate and home renovations. We both bought fixers a few years ago and decided that we had enough work on those in front of us to keep us busy for some time. I can't say we do "flips" because we take much too long and invest a lot of blood, sweat and tears (literally) into our projects. I prefer to call them "somersaults"–slow and a lot less flashy, but a sure way to get to the same place.
Anyway, one fixer we bought came with tenants, and when they decided to move out, we figured it was time to polish up this very rough diamond. The kitchen was the first thing we tackled out of necessity because we are slightly crazy and actually live in our project homes as we work on them.
What type of look were you going for?
Irene – This is a classic California ranch house that sits in a groove of pine trees, so I always thought of it as a kind of cottage in the woods. So the aesthetic I am going for is what I call "Modern Cottage".
How did you come up with your color scheme and design? Why did you choose to use our glazed thin Brick Tile?
My starting point with this kitchen renovation was actually the tile. We do our own tiling and I had the idea that we should try our hand at a herringbone pattern so I knew I wanted to get longer rectangular tile for the kitchen when I went to the Fireclay showroom, but that was the only thing I had decided in the whole kitchen. I didn't intend to buy the Brick tile when I went to Fireclay, but I kept going back to it. I loved the character and depth of color in the glaze. It is a beautiful marriage of brick and tile and kind of encapsulates the idea of a Modern Cottage. And I like adding little surprising touches in my project houses. It became my jumping off point for the entire design. I actually chose the rest of the materials used in the kitchen based on this tile: countertops, cabinets, and lighting.
How did the installation process go? Did you face any challenges?
Irene – During installation you have to embrace the fact you aren't going to get the perfectly straight grout lines that you get with mass manufactured tiles. In my opinion, that is part of the charm of this tile. The only other minor challenge was how to finish the exposed edge. We just used an extra piece of wood trim leftover from our cabinet installation.
Did you work with a designer?
Irene – Since I now have the luxury of doing renovation and real estate full-time now, I don't hire designers. However, I can totally see a professional designer's value if you don’t have the time or this isn't your inclination.