Kitchen & Bath Design News

MAR 2015

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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38 | Kitchen & Bath Design News | March 2015 MATERIAL MATTERS Erica Westeroth, CKD, CAPS, ARIDO of Toronto, Ontario-based XTC Design Inc. calls the backsplash "the glue that holds the entire aesthetic together." "[It's] a great place to add details to enforce the theme of the space," she says, noting her favorite materi- als vary widely in composition, from glass tiles in sheets or mosaics, to large-format tiles, stainless steel, quartz, stone and mirror, among oth- ers. "Now anything you can dream up is possible." Robin R. Fisher of Portland, OR- based Robin Rigby Fisher Designs agrees. "I like to tell my clients that the backsplash's only purpose is to keep the wall easy to clean, but that it also is the art in your room." Fisher comes from a tile back- ground and began designing in the '80s when tile was busier, more fow- ery and reserved almost entirely for spaces between the countertop and the wall cabinets. "I had to fght to get clients to do a full-height tile backsplash (the more common install would only be 4"-6"). Today, tile is seen as a more homogenous wall covering where, in many cases, the tile goes to the ceiling. Professionally, I like the tile to make a statement. My design style for kitchens has a more "vi- gnette" feel – where each wall makes its own statement. Many times, I will use a mass of tile in two completely diferent styles." COUNTER POINT Creating a visual balance between the backsplash and its oft-competing visual partner, the countertop, is key, says Kimberly Larzelere of Redwood City, CA-based Kimberly Larzelere Interiors. "The backsplash and countertop need to complement and play off one and other," says Larzelere. "For example, if the countertop is a pol- ished material, the backsplash will be honed. If I'm using a slab that has lots of movement, I'll use a subtle material on the backsplash." Sandra Tierney says that balancing pattern movement is just as important as balancing colors. "The key to having harmony be- tween the backsplash and countertop is to have one or the other [be a] neu- tral. If you have a granite with a lot of movement, the backsplash needs to be simple. Having a more neutral top allows for a more interesting splash," adds Tierney. Pond prefers to hash out the cabi- netry decisions before turning to the counters and backsplash space. "Once the cabinet style and col- or have been decided, I turn to the counters next. If my customer likes something a bit busy, such as gran- ite, I will steer them towards a simple tile without too much pattern. If they prefer a solid color or subtle color vari- ation in say, a quartz material, then the tile can take on a bit more detail. I think it's important they comple- ment each other and not compete for attention." The design process works simi- larly for Nar Bustamante, principal designer at Nar Fine Cabinetry in Sacramento, CA. "I usually like to start with cabinets and countertops for my selections, of- ten completing [most other] elements before arriving at the backsplash," he says, calling the backsplash the "last frontier" of creativity in a kitchen de- sign. "It provides us the ability to step back from a kitchen design to see what it really needs. I always have ideas in mind, but don't usually commit until the end of the design process." "It is important that the backsplash does not compete with the countertops and the cabinetry," echoes Kassen. "If the cabinetry and countertops in the kitchen have a great deal of pattern, then the backsplash, in my opinion, should be more subtle. Sometimes, we will use a diferent, more patterned countertop on an island with a solid countertop without much movement on a kitchen perimeter. This allows for the backsplash to be a visual part of the kitchen without "fghting" with the pattern of a countertop that it is directly adjacent to." Bustamante concludes that the backsplash gives designers the blank canvas on which to create real art in a kitchen. "It's a time to celebrate the use of metal, glass, tile, brick – vir- tually anything you can think of to create on this great vertical allowance every kitchen gives us." Erica Westeroth, CKD, CAPS, ARIDO of XTC Design created a stark juxtaposition with a solid Caesarstone countertop and took the backsplash large with an entire wall of chartreuse subway tile. Depth and movement is important to this backsplash, designed by Heather Pond, CMKBD of Mid-Cape Design for a beachside home. Under cabinet lighting highlights the wave pattern. Backsplash Artistry A wall of sweeping Trotta Gold granite framed by Design-Craft cabinetry illustrates Sandra Tierney, CMKBD of Cabinets by Design's assertion that, 'The key to having harmony between the backsplash and countertop is to have one or the other [be a] neutral.' A deep, solid cabinet color allows the bold pattern on the granite slabs to shine. Photo: Arnal Photography Photo: Richard Reese

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