Kitchen – tiling the wall…

The wall – a lot easier than the floor…

I already knew that I was going to tile from counter to ceiling on both big walls – none of that short, barely there backsplash around here (actually, I have never even had a short and barely there backsplash – in the last kitchen we had no backsplash).  I knew that I wanted the wall tile to make a bold and artistic statement – see how we arrived at our  kitchen color palate here.  I also wanted to make sure I didn’t use a trendy product or color – I want to love my kitchen forever.


I ended up with handmade field tile and 3 custom relief tiles made by a local artist.


The only direction I provided was that I was hoping for  “Dr. Seuss like pods”.  I think she did a beautiful job – the pictures don’t do these works of art justice – the attention to detail is crazy amazing.


An additional detail that isn’t completely obvious in the pictures is that I used a mixture of glossy and matte finished tile.  The purple tiles are a matte finish – the green/grey tile and yellow/green tiles are glossy.  I feel like this design detail provides dimension, texture and added interest to a large, flat wall.


Disadvantages of handmade tile:

The tile is not perfectly square – this quality nearly drove Tad crazy initially – but we quickly discovered that this became an advantage – we now appreciate the “character” of the less than perfect installation due to the handmade quality of the tile.

It is expensive – definitely more expensive than machine made tile. In my mind, the added expense of something that is handmade is worth it – it is unique, different, and supports an artist or craftsman.

The colors vary – though I actually don’t see this as a disadvantage. The variation in color is what makes it personal and unique.

Advantages of handmade tile:

You don’t see it in your neighbor’s kitchen – there really is something to be said for doing things a bit more creatively than the average.

You support an artist or craftsman – I can’t say this enough.

It isn’t trendy – so the design is more personal and lasts longer.

Advice about wall tile:

Think about how the tiles will end up. Again, the “start in the center and work your way out” theory didn’t really work for my wall installation.  We have a window on one wall and we were installing three 12X12 decorative relief tiles on that same wall. I didn’t want to end up with really small pieces around the window, around the decorative relief tiles, or around the outlets. I tried different patterns (1/3 offset and fourth offset) – but in the end, half offset/brick pattern, worked best. I obsessed over the layout of the wall tile for days but it paid off – the layout was perfect!

Bullnose/finish tile for edges – I have an outside corner on one of the walls that I tiled. I failed to order bullnose for my project… or maybe, it wasn’t available – not really sure. The point of this is to remind you to think about how the edges are going to be finished… Mine turned out beautifully with wood trim.


Tad would like you to notice that the tile around the outlets is notched – he became quite the tile cutting expert…