A Love Affair with Tiles

I have a love affair with tiles of all shapes and sizes, color, textures and patterns as well as the current trends/ movement toward tiles installed on entire kitchen walls as primary design element as opposed tiles simply being a finish detail. We’re also seeing renewed interest in floor tiles for more design interest and instant personality. I have designed more white kitchens than I’d like to admit, but I have to say  when I get a client that is open to color, unique ideas and patterns I’m all over it.

The kitchen below is by a Kitchen Design Network #favdesigner Jessica Helgerson. You’ll be seeing more of her in the future because we really admire the diversity and style of her work.

Black and white tile kitchen floors
Jessica Helgerson Photos by Lincoln Barbor.

Will we cast away this floor tile as outdated in five years? Who knows, I think not, but as far as I’m concerned,  it will still be stunning and I’ll still want it myself.It’s bold, it’s crisp, it’s dripping with uber chic style.

black and white tile backsplash
credit: Better Homes & Gardens


tiled kitchen floors
credit: Skonahem

Tile has seductive attributes unlike other surfaces in the kitchen. Tile can be subtle and quiet, allowing other elements in the kitchen to shine or it can be playful, colorful and the life of the party. It allows me as a designer to have a different love affair with every project with mystery at the outset of the project  and the unknown of exactly where it will lead.

The design and discovery is the creative process and what designers wake up in the morning jazzed to do. My current tile crush is with interesting suitors, full tiled walls, patterns and unique applications and colorful personality. Take the kitchen below. It exudes style. I’ll mix crystal, reclaimed wood and marble any day if a client will let me.

Dust Jacket
credit: Dust Jacket

We’re big fans of mixing materials, it’s a beautiful way to bring unique style and personality into your kitchen renovation. The backsplash, wall or floor tile should be harmonious to the and cohesively bond the entire design.

Below is a unique integration of tile and wood. This is not simple to do. Careful advanced planning is necessary to make sure the proper subfloor is used, that the thicknesses of the different tiles will work together and that the contractor is willing and capable of achieving the finished result you intend. It takes good communication.

tile mixed with wood floors
credit: Home Adore

Below, I love what designer Brian Patrick Flynn did on a project with Laurie March for HGTV.  Look closely, he used a tile that I often think of for bathrooms but can…. I say I LOVE it and I especially love how it used it top to bottom everywhere for a brilliant effect.

Brian Patrick FLynn
credit: Brian Patrick Flynn
Brain Patrick Flynn
credit: Brian Patrick Flynn

 The average homeowner finds all the possibilities a little overwhelming but a good designer will walk you thru and explore many possibilities without doing that. I like my clients to feel included in the design process. I typically present three beautiful options ( yes, I always have a favorite) but this way the client feels involved and in the end no matter what they pick we’re all happy. There really aren’t any rules for tile design except you must LOVE it.
There’s many little nuances to combining thicknesses of different tiles together and different manufacturers, but my overall advice is to work with a professional, have a open mind and decide what material you want to be center stage.

While tile isn’t a permanent fixture in the kitchen, it can be expensive to re-do if you don’t like it, so stick with something gorgeous that you can live with for at least 5- 8 yrs.
Other than, have fun playing with color, texture, patterns and be open to new ideas.
If you must use a safe tile, do it with style as with the kitchen below. Continued use of one material applied unexpectedly, as in the kitchen below from as the housing for ventilation, the walls and the backsplash is simplicity at its best with some shit-kicking style!

Classic kitchens
Apartment Therapy

So go forward and tile with style. If you’re looking for something special, please leave a request below and we’ll try to source it for you in our travels.



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