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Design & Inspiration

Installation Stories: Star and Cross Kitchen Backsplash

By Kali

Installation Stories: Star and Cross Kitchen Backsplash

All images: Ellis Creek Photography

This kitchen's Large Star & Cross backsplash in White Wash stuns with its beautiful counter-to-ceiling installation. The duo behind Archetype, a boutique design firm based in Charleston, SC, worked closely with their clients to achieve a look that merged the couple's Mediterranean and Contemporary design aesthetics.

Tile Shown: Large Star and Cross in White Wash

First, can you tell me a little bit about yourself yourselves and Archetype? What sort of projects does your firm typically work on?
Archetype is a boutique design firm based in Charleston, SC. We are two designers with a combined 16+ years of experience and specialize in high-end residential design, as well as some small- scale/ boutique commercial projects. Our typical project is a full-service new construction, multi-year project encompassing everything from cabinetry, millwork, finish and tile specifications, CAD drawings, and then on to selection and procurement of furnishings, art and accessories.

I notice you work in historic preservation, can you tell me a little bit about that?
Yes! My design partner and I both have degrees in Historic Preservation (as well as Interior Design) and draw on these principles for every project. While some projects have been historic properties, an understanding of architectural history is imperative for informing new design and how it translates into interior aspects as well.

Have you ever worked with our tile before?
While we have always admired Fireclay, we have been waiting on the right project for your products. This contemporary Mediterranean home was just the right fit.

Can you tell me about this home? Is there a story behind the project you'd like to share?
This home was a new construction project that we started on in 2014. The clients required an interesting blend of styles: the wife wanted contemporary, the husband wanted Mediterranean. It took some creativity to marry the two aesthetics!

What type of look or aesthetic were you and your client's going for in this kitchen?
As this kitchen is the focal point of the primary siteline on the very open first floor, we wanted to highlight symmetry and balance. It was important for us that the kitchen feel like an extension of the adjacent living room, which is why we layered colors, textures, and materials to relate to that space and designed the cabinetry to have more of a furniture like feel. Wood tones from the ceiling beams are echoed on the chimney style hood detail and the tile back splash compliments perfectly the neighboring stone fireplace, giving the overall look a casual, yet polished look.

How involved were your client's in the design process?
She was very involved with us and loved being a part of the design process as we helped develop every detail, including the clever hidden pull-out compartment on the side of the full-height pantry cabinet to house a much-loved Blendtec for her daily avocado smoothie!

What made you go for for the Star and Cross? Were there any other contenders?
The Star and Cross design meshed so well with the style of this home – we see it almost as a pared down, updated riff on a Mediterranean encaustic tile.

Tile Shown: Large Star and Cross in White Wash

How about the color White Wash?
We wanted to emphasize shape and texture vs. color here. We opted for the white wash and did a subtle tone-on-tone effect with Laticrete silver shadow grout.

How did the installation process go? Did you face any challenges?
We were very fortunate to work with an incredible builder, Gray Tiller of Tiller Construction, and his talented subs. The only challenge was edging the tile around the windows within the back splash, but a coordinating Schluter strip worked perfectly.

Design Tip: In a tricky trim situation? Schluter can be the easiest solution! Learn more here.

What other colors/shapes or patterns are you hoping to use in future projects?
It would be fun to play with your handpainted options for a truly custom option. We also are impressed with all of the molding options available to coordinate with your tile – not something needed on this project, but we would love to create a beautiful, classic bathroom utilizing some of these pieces.

Here's an example of a Color-It Tool installation:

Tile Shown: Handpainted Old Cairo // Design: Debra Szidon

Lastly, what do you love about tile?
The possibilities are endless! It is a fun creative process to bring a design vision to life through tile. In this case, the tile was one of the first hard finishes we selected in the house. We love the dimension and texture it adds to the space, and enjoyed playing off of this dynamic for the rest of the design.

Starry eyed for this project? Order color samples online now. 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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