Prior to April, I was a “tile virgin.” But then I went to Coverings, the tile and stone industry trade show. With over 800 exhibitors in 300,000 square feet of space, I was over-stimulated, overwhelmed, and amazed at the size, innovation, and passion of this high-performance industry. Of course, any time you gather a lot of Italians under one roof, there’s gonna be passion!
There’s a lot of product news to relay from Coverings, and I am going to start with a few spotlight-stealers that would make beautiful backsplashes. Gale Steves, author and trend spotter, believes the backsplash is often an afterthought for kitchen remodelers. I venture to say that the tiles below might actually drive the design and mood of the entire kitchen.
The Patchwork Backsplash
The tiles at Oscar & Izzy are exciting and unique, fun and folksy. The designer is Amy Mescia, a brand specialist who turned her talents from advertising to tile after being randomly invited to participate in an “Extreme Home Makeover.” Amy created this patchwork backsplash, which combines a love of modern and retro patterning with bright, happy color. Her simple and bold designs are printed atop Daltile solid ceramic tiles and are for indoor wall applications. A 4.25” square graphic tile is $20.00. Oscar & Izzy is named for her great grandfather and his wife.
Artistic Tile’s Charleston Collection takes basic classic subway tile to a new level of glam. Each glass tile is hand-silvered in a meticulous way that gives the mirror an antique appearance. The 3″ x 6″ beveled tile is $91/sq. ft. Straight-edge tiles, 9″ x 18″, are also available for $70/sq. ft. Both styles are 3/16″ thick.
Remember when the world was flat? Well, the world of tile was flat once too, but companies are now manipulating materials to bend, twist, and curve. In collaboration with Giugiaro Design of Volkswagen fame, Mosaico+ launched Pulsar, a rounded and sintered glass tile that is ultra-slick and color-rich. There are four layouts and ten colors available for this extremely durable tile made from recycled glass.
Matte & Shiny Backsplash
The juxtaposition of satin and gloss-finish tiles creates an interesting optical effect; shiny tile pops as the matte ones appear to recede. Red Rock Tileworks explores this combination of sheens in the Tuxedo Zig Zag pattern, featuring a new parallelogram-shape ceramic tile that comes in 48 colors and costs $24 per linear foot.
It’s Hip to Be Square
Squares-within-squares were a dominant geometric theme at the show. The sculptural “Syncopation” motif at Lowitz & Company calls to mind mid-century Miami architecture. Under the direction of painter/designer Ted Lowitz, tile makers manipulate clay purely with their fingertips, pushing, pulling, and defining the design. Two white, matte glazes are offered with this collection and were especially developed to complement stone and marble.
Backsplash Designing Tool
Aside from the selection of stone, ceramic, porcelain and glass, make sure to check out Crossville’s interactive online backsplash design tool. Backsplash Builder allows the user to key in most of Crossville’s porcelain or glass tile designs, trying different patterns and colors. The user puts in project dimensions and then starts selecting tile and grout color.
For more on tile and kitchen backsplashes, consider: