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Project Spotlight: Elana’s Airy Island Style Kitchen

Posted by: Kali • Dec 18

Project Spotlight: Elana’s Airy Island Style Kitchen

Hawaii-based photographer and blogger Elana Jadallah invokes the islands' aqua blue oceans with her kitchen remodel. Our 4" Hexagons in Aqua serve as the perfect splash of color in her bright and airy space. We're sharing more about Elana and her kitchen, plus why she went for color over classic white subway tiles below! 

First, can you tell me a bit about yourself and what you do?
My name is Elana. you can call me Loo. I’m a photographer, blogger + educator who recently made the jump across the ocean to pursue a more intentional + inspired life. I have an infinite love for the outdoors, beautiful photographs, interesting conversations + experiencing new places. Most days you can find me with wild hair, camera or laptop in hand, probably talking about something that I’m passionate + opinionated about. I thrive off adventure, fresh cocos, new faces and storytelling. I can rap almost any song from the mid-90s on, have BIG, lofty dreams and find immense joy encouraging others in accomplishing theirs. When I’m not behind the lens or writing, I work with small businesses to better communicate their mission, value and aesthetic to their ideal clients. It’s my biggest dream come true to get to use my imagination each day, get creative + work alongside vibrant entrepreneurs every single day. My heart lies in making authentic relationships, inspiring genuine connections & learning about this world from varied perspectives.

A bit about Elana: 

My style can be described as…Minimal, classic, tropical + a bit bohemian 
My design philosophy is…Keep it simple. Always ensure you have good light. Only bring in essentials to allow each piece to shine. 
I got my start…By trying a lot of things, being open to new opportunities and going with my gut.
I find inspiration in…Old travel books, visiting artists homes, talking to people who have experienced many things
I can't live without…A good book or a journal, ginger candies (preferably Chimes) and human interaction – I thrive off of connection 
My best design advice would be…Don’t just follow trends and don’t just design for others. Spend time exploring what the inside of your mind looks like and bring that alive.
Be intentional about the pieces you bring into your home and eliminate clutter. Make even functional things beautiful because it will enhance your day-to-day experience and make you feel more happy + alive as you do normal tasks. 
I love GOOD tile because…It adds detail and texture and life to a space. Especially Fireclay Tile’s handmade tiles elevates the space and makes you feel like you’re in some gorgeous space in Europe. It’s unique and bold. I love that. 

Now let's talk about your kitchen...Were you working on a remodel or renovation of your home? What were you wanting to change about your space? 
Our kitchen! When we moved in, this was a very odd, dark space and we wanted to make it light, bright, functional and modern! 

How did you come up with your overall color scheme and design of the kitchen? 
Originally, I was thinking ALL WHITE. My whole adult life I’ve crave clean, white, airy spaces. It’s so different than the space I grew up in and I thought I would absolutely love that. Maybe one day I still will BUT when designing this space, the white just felt a little lack luster and after speaking with the amazing Fireclay team, with my partner Aaron and a dear friend, we decided to jump into color + let the incredible color of the ocean here in Hawaii inspire the color of our kitchen. Beyond the soft turquoise tile, we kept with white, brass and wood for the other elements. 

In terms of tile, what sort of look were you going for?
Like I said, originally I just wanted SIMPLE. I thought it was ‘classic’ but it ended up feeling cookie cutter. White tile in the subway shape – it’s everywhere right now. Instead, we started exploring white hexagon. That felt more ‘fun’ while still keeping it classic and airy. But after seeing Aqua, my heart felt pulled in that direction!  We decided to go bold and go with this stunning color and unique shape – I’m so happy we did! 

I know you were debating between going for a neutral or a brighter color, what made you choose the color Aqua?
After talking about the white over and over, I had a dear friend come into our home and look at the samples with us. She said, ‘Why not go bold?’ I couldn’t get those words out of my head. I mean really, why not? What was stopping us? It was definitely outside of my comfort zone but the color was so beautiful that we decided to take a risk!

And how about the 4" hexagon? Were there any other contenders? 
Yes, after dismissing the idea of the subway tile, we started looking at the 6” hexagon but decided to go a little smaller to get more texture on the wall. 

How did the installation process go? Did you face any challenges?
It went really well. Our tile setter here in Hawai’i (on the big island) is AMAZING. (If you need someone, be sure to connect with me!) He’s a dear friend who’s originally from Spain and very familiar with working with handmade tile. He was precise and meticulous. Aaron worked with him side by side and they were a great team! We ran into a few snags in two places: the window ledge + around our floating shelves. Because we decided to have Vicent tile the window ledge, we didn’t know if we had ordered enough tile! That was stressful but quickly figured out.

The second snag was figuring out how to hang the shelves properly and have the tile look seamless! We ended up cutting away the drywall and attaching the brackets to the studs in the wall, then patching that up + tiling over. It’s so seamless and gorgeous now! I’m stoked on how it all ended up. 

Lastly, which of our colors/shapes/patterns are you hoping to use on any future projects?
Oooh! I am loving Large Star and Cross as well as Herringbone or Square Tiles. I’m now hooked on creating unique spaces that engage your imagination + creativity rather than spaces that just blend in! I still haven’t lost my love of white though so I could see myself doing a fun pattern with a color like Moonshine or Tusk. I also have a great love for the colors Sea Foam, Bora Bora + Mayan Blue! But who knows, maybe I’ll get bold and do something different like Rosemary or Persimmon or Ogee Drop in multi-color!

Tile Shown: Ogee Drops in Crater Lake and Caribbean 

Inspired by Elana's island style? 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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