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Residential

Project Spotlight: Vibing in Blue Velvet

By Lindsey |

This petite kitchen feels stunningly expansive thanks to its counter-to-ceiling Kite backsplash in sumptuous Blue Velvet and wonderfully rich wood cabinetry to go along with it. 

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Tile Shown: Blue Velvet Kites // Design + Photography: Christine Lin

We caught up with San Francisco-based designer Christine Lin to learn more about this daring kitchen transformation. Keep scrolling for our full interview, before photos, and a maybe not so surprising fact about this detail oriented designer. 

Meet Christine of Form + Field! 

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My design philosophy is...

  • Individualism. Do what feels true to the identity of the client and embrace the unconventional.
  • Balance. Create balance through juxtaposition: light and dark, soft and hard, high and low, smooth and textured, curved and straight, small and big.
  • Integration. Create pleasing multi-sensory experiences. Work with the architecture, existing context, and surroundings.

I got my start...

  • Designing my own vacation home in Santa Cruz with my husband (then boyfriend) that we bought in 2014. It was a dated fixer-upper that needed a complete overhaul. I spent 20 hours/week on it and when I started wanting to work on it more than my full-time job, that’s when I knew I had to switch careers to interior design! That being said, I’ve always had a passion for design and have a degree in architecture.  

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I find inspiration in…

  • My clients, art, architecture, travel, film, and other people’s work. Inspiration comes from all directions.

Interesting fact about myself...

  • I once participated in an international robot competition in Japan during college, to which most people respond with “I can see that” when I tell them.

I can't live without...

  • People and a community I love.

My best design advice would be...

  • Buy what you love. It’ll all work out in the end.

Tell us more about your recent kitchen project! How did you get involved?
The clients who hired me were a referral from a college friend whose kitchen layout I had designed. They had recently bought a new home in the Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco and completed a small renovation for their living/dining area. Their next project was to overhaul the kitchen which was old, cramped, and not functioning for them as avid cooks.

Before:

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What were your design goals for the space?
The overall goal was to create a more open kitchen that felt warm and inviting - a place where people could hang out. The clients had a mid-century inspired look going in their living room, so that was one of the jumping-off points for the design. Another major constraint was that the kitchen received zero natural light, so it made sense to bring in color.

After:

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How involved were your clients in the design process?
The clients were involved every step of the way! My design process is an iterative one. I don’t go away and design every detail and then present a completely finished product to the client - that’s just not my style. The clients and I worked through refining the concept, and while it was a short process, their fingerprints are all over the design.

Before: 

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After: 

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What made you go for ceramic tile over another material? 
I love the feeling of ceramic tile and the warmth it imparts, and it felt natural with a mid-century inspired kitchen. Also, the clients wanted a graphic tile from the very beginning, and we loved the uniqueness of the kite shape and the richness of the Blue Velvet color. Cement tiles were in consideration in the beginning, but in the end those didn’t feel like a perfect fit for the project and the clients.

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Was there an inspiration behind your design? 
Besides mid-century design as the jumping off point, one kitchen that served as the primary inspiration was actually a Fireclay one! We loved the materials used in this project.

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How was working with Fireclay?
Fireclay is always a joy to work with. The service and communication is amazing, and they make it so easy to find the perfect tile for a project. It doesn’t hurt that the showroom is just down the street from our office!

Before:

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After:

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How was the installation process? Did you face any challenges? 
Given the irregular kite shape of our tiles, the contractor wasn’t overjoyed to be installing them to be honest. It was just a slower process to make sure everything was lined up and centered accordingly. The work is all worth it in the end!

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What other Fireclay shapes, colors or handpainted patterns would you love to use in future projects?
I am super excited to use Carbon, a really beautiful and deep black/brown matte, for a project in progress. For the same project, we’ll also be using Flagstone, the perfect green-blue. I’m also a big fan of the Ogee Drop and can’t wait to find a client who loves the shape as much as I do.

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Tile Shown: Carbon Ogee Drop

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Tile Shown: Flagstone 2x4

Why do you love working with tile?
I love working with tile because of its materiality, texture, and variability. I love the feel and warmth tile can add in a space. There’s inherent variability in handmade tile. The tiles that vary the most are the ones I find the most appealing. 

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About Form + FIeld:
Form + Field is an interior design firm creating artful, modernist interiors with individualistic narratives that emotionally connect people to their space and connect spaces to their context. Based in San Francisco, CA, Form + Field is a full-service interior design firm with projects spanning both coasts. 

Though primarily residential, Christine has also designed commercial projects in the Bay Area, and is looking forward to more retail and hospitality work in the future! See more of Christine's work on her website

Need help on your own project? 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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