The story of a custom kitchen backsplash

custom, ceramic wall art tile

The story of our Tree of Life backsplash: from commission to completion Last year at this time (December 2012) a couple from Washington contacted us to discuss commissioning a custom kitchen backsplash. They’d seen our website and found images of our Tree of Life that they really liked.  They emailed us the image that they liked best, commenting on how they liked the way the roots looked, and the overall shape of the tree. They also asked whether we could make the piece in cream and brown, to complement the stone in the stove area. After getting the measurements of the wall where the backsplash was to be installed, we Photoshopped an image of our Tree of Life into the image of their stove area.  We determined that 4, 12″ x 12″ tiles would be the best size for the space. This size would also allow for a 1″ border tile to set the piece off from the rest of the stone backsplash.  We recommended that the tree be offset, rather than centered, to mirror the asymmetry of the stovetop: Their response was “So beautiful!  The tree design is fantastic!” Once we had the design nailed down, we worked more… Read More »

Making a custom, kitchen backsplash

handmade, ceramic backsplash tile

Our most recent backsplash…we call it Little Tree because we customized the tiles, making 7″ x 7″ tiles in order to fit the entire tree in the space. A homeowner contacted us to order a custom-made, ceramic tile backsplash to go above her kitchen range.  She gave us the dimensions of the wall space that she wanted to fill, minus the size of the “rod” style tile in black, wrought iron, that will border the custom tiles we make. We then determined that she’d need 7″ x 7″ tiles, allowing for the groutlines.  When she said she wanted the Tree of Life design we Photoshopped an image of a Tree of Life mural on the image she sent us of her space.  She loved it!   She approved, and we’ve started the piece.  We will work with her to pick glaze colors, first by sending her a sampling of 3″ x 3″ color chips so that she can see the actual glaze colors before making her choice.   We’ve started making the piece by first rolling out the tiles, and draping them over our forms on the table to give the tiles our signature undulation. Click on the image below… Read More »

A Custom, Artistic Backsplash, installed

custom backsplash tile by Natalie Blake STudios

Natalie and her fiance, Nick, recently installed this custom backsplash for a client in Annapolis, MD. Watch this fun video on the installation. Natalie writes: Bev and I met five years ago at the American Craft Council show in Baltimore where she gave me a deposit and told me she didn’t think she would ever find the kind of backsplash she was looking for, but had a hunch I might be able to make it for her. I had just started making tiles at that point and the first pieces were small squares with flowers and leaves on them. She was a ways off at that point from having her kitchen remodeled, and a couple of years later finally started asking me for glaze colors and sketches as her renovations were coming to completion. The final renovations took a while to be punch listed, and so we had yet another year and a half to think about design, and for me to create some of the glaze colors that Bev was hoping for. She wanted a purple backsplash. I hoped I wouldn’t have to make a completely purple piece, and in the end we realized that some blue and cashew… Read More »

Natalie Blake Studios Tiles in New England Home Magazine

handmade, ceramic wall art tile

The studio’s Botanical tiles are pictured in the Elements section of New England Home’s October issue. The section highlights “striking kitchen and bath materials from around New England.” As the write-up explains, “Natalie Blake Studios uses the technique called sgraffito for its undulating tiles, carving free-hand to ensure the unique character and exquisite delicacy of each one.  As functional as they are beautiful, they would make a sensational backsplash, though many of the studio’s clients hang them on the wall as art.” We are proud to be a New England-made source for fine wall art and backsplash tile. Here are two versions of the tile mural, one in cream, one in honey:     The mural certainly makes a beautiful backsplash:

New Kitchen Backsplash Concept

handmade, custom, ceramic backsplash tile by Natalie Blake Studios

    We used these tiles in a proposal for artwork for the bulkhead of first-class cabins in a major airline’s airplanes.  But we love them so much we just had to show them as a backsplash!  These tiles are glazed in cashew, jade and honey.  

Kitchen Backsplash

Handmade, ceramic backsplash tiles by Natalie Blake Studios

This piece is comprised of 6, 12″ x 12″ tiles and 4 shape tiles. We could have created a square mural that would have fit directly above the stovetop, but we thought the design would have looked too tight for the space. So we designed the piece to include shape tiles that extended the backsplash. The piece is a bold statement that really pops against the beautiful warm wood of the cabinetry and slate counters. We designed the piece so that the horizontal grout line in the middle of the piece lines up with the bottom of the cabinets on either side. We typically recommend a neutral brown grout with an 1/8″ grout line for our tiles. Installing our backsplash tiles is not difficult. You can read our installation instructions here: Install Instructions for Natalie Blake Studios Tile  

Tiles for backsplashes

handmade, sgraffito-carved, ceramic backsplash tiles

These tiles were commissioned for grouting into a mantel above a fireplace, but they would also work as a kitchen or bathroom backsplash. They are glazed in persimmon.

Ann Sacks, San Francisco

Dahlia mural

Just completed this 15-tile Dahlia mural for a client of Ann Sacks Tile Co.  Three of our designs (Dahlia, Botanical and Nautilus are available exclusively through the Ann Sacks Tile Co). The client liked the full Dahlia mural but only needed 15 tiles. So she selected the section of the larger mural that she wanted. Here’s the result.  The tiles will be surrounded by smooth field tiles and grouted in place. Click on the image to enlarge it.

Kitchen Backsplash

Unalun tile is ideally suited for backsplash applications.  Unalun tiles give your backsplash real “pop”. In researching backsplash ideas on the web, we came across this advice from Tim, at Askthebuilder.com: “It’s no surprise to me that you keep gravitating to ceramic tile for your backsplash. A tile backsplash will last for years, and will add beauty to your kitchen. I have installed ceramic tile at backsplash locations between the countertops and the underside of kitchen wall cabinets for years, and each homeowner was dazzled by the final appearance.  Ceramic tile makes sense when you are mulling over backsplash ideas because it is durable, easy to clean, colorful and can add texture to an otherwise dull, flat boring wall space. In recent years, there seems to have been an explosion of new tile colors, patterns, styles and textures, many of which are perfect for areas directly behind a kitchen sink and cooktop areas.” Stay tuned for upcoming images of unalun tiles in backsplash applications.