It’s funny how things overlap in life sometimes — this Before & After dropped in my inbox just as I was attempting to make my first-ever mosaic design. I’m using standard pre-cut tiles, but after seeing Marisa’s lovely kitchen backsplash, I’m inspired to break a few china pieces and play around. The dark grout was an incredibly inspired choice — not only does it add a great moment of contrast in the newly white-washed kitchen, but it also makes the mosaic pattern stand out much more than it would on a light background. Lest we forget the other key ingredients to this successful kitchen redo, I have to say I also love the dark painted floors, the striped rug and the colorful accessories popped in here and there. Nicely done, Marisa!
Basic Steps: Our main priority was to make a modern kitchen that didn’t clash with the existing 1910 home, so we were careful to identify a couple key features of the original house that we would keep to unify the new and the old. We refinished the old fir floor that was under the lino and made it continuous with the rest of the home’s wood flooring. We kept the picture rail above the cabinets and replicated the wood ceiling tiles that were in the dining area to tie the ceilings together. Those few things — the floor, the ceiling pattern and the old picture rail — provided the continuity of background, and then we juxtaposed the modern lines of the kitchen appliances and cabinets against that. We used a simple palette of colours and natural materials to harmonize the new and old. Light was also important, so we made sure to add windows and have lots of light from three directions, which gives a really even and natural quality of daylight. We also used the light fixtures to bridge the styles, mixing the traditional-looking incandescent glass globes with the contemporary bocci globes. For us, it is the conversation between the old and new elements of the house that make this space so special.
My advice for anyone trying to tackle a similar project would be to use your imagination and use what you have. You can transform a space with just a few elements, like a coat of paint or a temporary point of focus — not only is the backsplash removable, I could always turn it into a table top or hang it elsewhere as art. Let the space evolve; not being able to do everything at once (due to time or finances) is good sometimes. Use those weekdays when you don’t have time to work on your project to dream up different possibilities, then when the weekend comes, you are well prepared to put your ideas into action
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