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Posts Tagged ‘tile’

Mosaic Tile Backsplash

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

A good example of taking the tile all the way up to the ceiling. It frames the hood and opens the space.


Well, when I asked you to help me choose some topics for the blog,  it seems that backsplashes were a popular item. Whether you’re doing a total renovation in your kitchen or just going for a fresh face-lift, backsplashes are an important element. Yes, countertops are lovely (and expensive) but just like other vertical elements of a room (draperies, artwork) backsplashes are often the first thing you notice!

There are a variety of backsplashes including tile, wood, stainless, tin, stone and glass. But did you realize all these materials could be incorporated into Mosaic Tile?  I have gathered so many fantastic sources for mosaic tile lately that I am certain there will be something to please everyone and I will be sure to give you all those precious links.  But first, let’s review some of the most important things to consider.


The Wide Hex Twist shown in two colors - Canvas & Vanilla Bean (from Dwell) - shows how a geometric tile (hexagon) can look soft and organic depending on the color pattern.


Mosaic Tile Basics!


Selection & Design

  • Total overhaul?  If you really have your heart set on a certain mosaic tile, then choose that before the countertop material.  Mosaics can be very busy which may lead you to a more subtle countertop.  Once you have invested a couple of thousand dollars (at least) on countertop material, you don’t want to force a mosaic that will make it look too busy.
  • Just renovating?  If you already have a countertop with a lot of action (granite or a solid surface), you can still go with a mosaic, just consider keeping the colors in the same family instead of adding a lot of contrast.
  • Metal, glossy, bright and contrasting colors are going to give you a brighter, busier, more modern feel.  Stone, monochromatic schemes, eco-friendly and matte finishes are going to give you a more classic or earthy feel.
  • Smaller mosaics (with more grout lines) are going to appear busier on the wall.
  • If you want to brighten up the space, choose gloss tiles in light colors.
  • Consider adding under-counter lighting to highlight your new design element.
  • Decide if your electrical outlets could be in a better location.  Make sure you have one every four feet (your electrician will know the code in your area).  If you are renovating, the inspectors will check.  Even if you don’t ask them to!


The warm combination of jewel-like finishes in this Emily Jablon Tile would work well with a warm granite or limestone countertop.



  • Don’t purchase anything without getting a sample.  The online vendors are usually very fair with the sample costs.  Also, make sure they are giving a sample from the same dye lot that you are purchasing from.
  • Let the tile installer help you calculate the amount of tile.  It’s not the same same as measuring for flooring and you need to incorporate certain aspects of the design.
  • After you measure how many square feet you need, add at least 10% to that for breakage (these tiles can be tricky to cut) and for filling in the edges.  If you pick a running pattern that ends in a jagged edge, you will have to find pieces to fill in to the corner.
  • If you are on the fence about purchasing another square foot or another box, do it.  You never know when you are going to need that extra tile.  People make mistakes (break things), pipes burst, life happens.  When it does, you want to make sure you have extra tile from the same dye lot or run.


I like the combination of soft shapes and cool stainless in this design.



  • Mosaic glass tile can crack when exposed to heat or cold or if your house shifts.  While it’s not likely it will happen, it’s good to err on the side of caution.  By installing tile with a crack suppression membrane, it absorbs some of these shifts and protects against the cracks.  Ask the tile company or your installer about this.
  • Make sure your tile installer has factored in the cost of using new, high-quality blades on his saw for your job.  These blades can be costly but they are essential to get a clean edge and will greatly reduce the risk of cracking.


  • Please select non-staining grout, especially if you like to cook anything with anything that stains…wine, tomatoes, oil…etc.
  • Check out my friend Annie’s blog post about choosing a grout color.  She has some great examples showing you how grout color can either disappear or become part of the design.
  • Mosaics that have rounded pebbles add substantially to the labor because the grout has to be pushed into the spaces by hand.

So feel free to jump into the mosaic-loving crowd and don’t worry about people who say it will go out of style.  Everything goes in and out of style eventually but in the meantime you will have a lovely backsplash that makes you smile and expresses your creative nature!


Some of My Favorite Mosaic Tile Sources:

Eden Mosaic Tile - Metal, Glass, Steel, Aluminum and Copper Mosaic Tile  My Favorite? Eden Mosaic Tile Silver And Chocolate Brick Mixed Aluminum Mosaic Tile

Home Depot – A large variety of affordable styles that can get you comfortable with sizes and shapes.  But, compare their selection to online stores that don’t have the large overhead.  My Favorite? Solistone Indonesian Mosaic Jakarta Moon

Heath Ceramics - All tile made in Sausalito, California featuring some really subtle retro patterns.  In-stock and custom options.  My Favorite? The New Patterns Created for Dwell Magazine

Design For Less -Lots of cool glass tile and easy sample ordering.  They also have recycled leather tiles for something different!  My Favorite? Bengal Glass Tile

ModWalls – Great selection of glass tile in many colors and finishes.  You can customize your own blend and see it online, grout color and all!  Plus they have a huge gallery of photos where you can see many styles installed.  My Favorite?  Lush 1/2×2 Blend Big Sur

Susan Jablon Mosaics – A HUGE selection of glass tile.  You could spend hours surfing this site.  She has a great section all about grout too! My Favorite? Emily Jablon Designs Retro Mint



Win this Gorgeous Handpainted Tile Mural!

Friday, November 6th, 2009
This beautiful hand-painted mural sell for $139.  Enter below to win!

This beautiful hand-painted mural sells for $139. Enter below to win!


Congratulations to Lynnette V. from Melvin, Michigan for winnng the Jerusalem Pottery giveaway!

Brothers Stepan and Berge Karakashian, and Hagop Karakashian, are a family on a mission: Bring gorgeous, hand-painted tiles to the world.  The craftsmanship they offer goes back to 1919 when the brothers’ father, Megherdich Karakashian, and several other Armenian potters were brought to Jerusalem from Kutahia, Turkey.  These craftsmen were appointed to repair the tiles covering the external walls of a treasured cultural landmark, the Dome of the Rock.  To escape persecution, which many Armenians experienced in Turkey during this time period, they settled in Jerusalem.  Today, the family tradition continues and has extended its reach to the United States.  They still craft tiles that are prominently featured on the street signs throughout the Old City, but lucky for us they are also creating gorgeous accent tiles and backsplash tiles that we can purchase for our own homes!


An example of the street sign tile the brothers have created

An example of the street sign tile the brothers have created


Their shop is a sunny space in the Old City filled with unique plates, bowls, candlesticks, mugs, and tiles in many shapes and sizes.  These tiles are a unique way to add a splash of color to your kitchen tile or bathroom wall; with motifs of peacocks, trees, flowers, and animals.  The designs are graceful and the colors are vibrant and rich.  They can be used in kitchens, bathrooms, gardens, fireplaces, or for table tops.


A joyful colorful garden scene - a pomegranate tree with peacocks. This tile mural is hand painted on 12 six inch tiles.

A joyful colorful garden scene - a pomegranate tree with peacocks. This tile mural is hand painted on 12 six inch tiles.


All the decoration is done by hand.  The tile murals are first designed on paper with pencil, and then they are hand painted on the tiles, glazed and fired using traditional methods.  The colors are still mixed according to the same recipes that their father used fifty years ago.   The Karakashians take great pride in their work (it shows) and in maintaining their standard of craftsmanship.  They look to the future with the hope that Karakashians will continue to supply their unique pottery for generations to come.


Would you like to win this Hand Painted Tile Mural?


To Enter Simply…


1. Visit Jeruselum Pottery and browse around.

2. Leave me one comment below telling me what item you would use to help create your Dream Kitchen, Bathroom, Fireplace, etc…

If you are receiving this via email, go back to the site to enter.  Replies by email will not be accepted. 

One entry per person.  You have until 11:59PM EST on Wednesday, November 18th to enter.  One random winner will be chosen and announced soon after.

Fabulous Improvements to My Secret Database (Launching 9/30/09)

Monday, September 28th, 2009

I started My Design Secrets more than a year ago with one goal in mind:  Help people who love home decorating by giving them professional advice and easy access to the best online interior decorating sources.  After receiving a lot of wonderful feedback and learning that close to 100,000 people visted the database last year, I realized that My Secret Database was the answer to many of your decorating prayers!  So, I  was determined to continue sharing my interior design advice and resources.

A couple of months ago, I announced that we would be making some upgrades to the website.  Now, the time has come!  We wanted to make My Design Secrets even more useful, interesting, and fun for all of you decorating enthusiasts. (And for those of you who don’t know, my husband, Tim,  is the what turns “me” into “we”.) :-)

So, here is what’s in store…

Improvements to My Secret Database *

The new database is PHENOMENAL.  When it comes to home decorating, My Secret Database blows any search engine out of the water.  Take that Google!  Here’s why: 

  • Search through hundreds of online retailers for the product(s) you need and in the specific style you want.
  • View a wide assortment of photos of specific products from the vendors in My Secrets Database. 
  • Check out the the handy $-$$-$$$!  These icons will help you stay within your home decorating budget.

*While we wanted to keep doing all this for free, a girl has got to make a living!   With all these great new features, we are confident that you will recognize what a great value it is.  So starting this Wednesday at noon, My Secret Database is going to become a membership only site.  We are sure you will agree that the nominal charge of $9.95 per month is a fair price for access to this incredibly valuable, time-saving database.

Hot New Topics and Inside Tips in the Blog (Free)

The blog will continue to be free of charge and will offer my professional design tips as well as introductions to some of the hottest new decorating sources on the web.  I have lots of great ideas for new topics and, as always, you are welcome to make suggestions.  Feel free to search my existing blog entries covering over 350 decorating topics!

Great New Giveaways

We know you all love a Great Giveaway, so those are definitely going to continue.  We have some great ones lined up for high quality paint, gorgeous home furnishings, and fabulous interior decorating/design books.  And remember, your paid membership will automatically enter you into the giveaways.

Thank You…Thank You…Thank You

I have appreciated your support over the last year and sincerely hope that you will find these upgrades very helpful as you continue to put your personal decorating stamp on your home.

~ Lorrie :)

Ann Sacks Tile – A Designer’s Delight

Monday, May 4th, 2009



I am forever tearing pages out of home design magazines.  They are in piles all over my office.  It may not look very organized, but I swear, when I need a particular piece of paper, I can find it lickity-split.  But when I receive a catalog that is a celebration of great products, wonderful photos and design inspiration, it is certainly a keeper. 

It arrived last week, behold the Ann Sacks Catalog.


Stacked Pebbles in sumatra black with Angela Adams Concrete flooring in argyle white.  They come in 4"x12" netted sheets.  Wouldn't you love to run your fingers across them?

Stacked Pebbles in sumatra black with Angela Adams Concrete flooring in argyle white. They come in 4"x12" netted sheets. Wouldn't you love to run your fingers across them?


I have written about Ann Sacks Tile before but since they are always coming out with new styles and products, it’s worth showing you some favorites today.  The reason this company consistently remains one of the best tile companies is:

  • They have a great selection of basic tile in a rainbow of colors that is reasonably priced.  It includes every little trim, accent tile and border you will ever need.  And if they don’t have what you need, they will make it.
  • They pay close attention to the interior design and fashion worlds and offer products that complement  them.
  • They work with well-known designers who have signature looks to create collections that are timeless. (Barbara Barry, Angela Adams and Michael S Smith to name a few.)
  • The photography on the website and in the catalog is high quality and inspirational.
  • They offer styles for every home project, from restoration and renovation to brand new construction.


Unique backsplash tile really customizes a kitchen.  It's worth working into your budget.

Unique backsplash tile really customizes a kitchen. It's worth working into your budget.


Erin Adams interlocking oval.  Modern and crisp.

Erin Adams interlocking oval. Modern and crisp.


They have showrooms and dealers across the country but if you don’t happen to be near one, fear not.  The catalog gives you a  superb feeling for the tile and they are happy to send you samples for your review.  In addition to tile they also carry stone, mosaics, plumbing and lighting.   Check out their collections as well as cool videos that show how the tile is made. 

Have a great week everyone!

~ Lorrie



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Decorating with Glass Tile

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009



Eli Mechlovitz, president and CEO of, has been in the interior design and tile business his entire life.  Mechlovitz’s business,, features over 300 stylish, unique and high-end mosaic and glass tile designs at budget-friendly prices; perfect for the modern day kitchen backsplash, bath or pool.  For samples and design consultancy, visit them on the web or by calling 1-866-620-TILE.

~ Lorrie

Decorating with Glass Tile

By Eli Mechlovitz, Interior Designer and President of

In today’s economy, it’s difficult to budget large amounts of money for “high-end” kitchen, bath and home remodeling projects. For instance, the average cost of a complete kitchen overhaul can be upwards of $40,000. Fortunately, for homeowners still interested in renovating their homes, there is an affordable solution: glass tile. 

For those unfamiliar with glass tile, think of it as a more modern, high-end decorating option as compared to regular tiles.  One of the greatest qualities in glass tile is the uniqueness – it is available in a wide range of colors, designs, textures, shapes and styles.  Unlike ceramic tiles, where color and design are painted directly on the outermost surface, the designs within glass tiles are created underneath the glass, allowing for light-reflecting elegance. 

In addition to being stylish and chic, the glass tile decorating trend is also becoming increasingly popular due to its affordability.  While glass tiles themselves are not inexpensive, when renovating a kitchen or a bath, installing simply an accent or backsplash of glass can completely transform the look of a room. 



A new backsplash or glass tile accent, which can be installed for under $1,000, will effectively transform the entire look of the kitchen.  Instead of purchasing new counters, cabinets and floors, homeowners can invest in a small amount of colorful and artsy glass tile.  If they are creative, and select the most innovative designs, the high-end nature of the tiles will transform the look of their kitchen without emptying their bank accounts.   



Specifically, the most popular glass tile and mosaic styles currently available are fusion blends.  Fusion styles are a mix of glass, stone, marble and metal all in one tile.  By mixing several elements, the tile combines the sophisticated, light-reflecting abilities of glass with the natural and luxurious elements of stone and marble, providing a perfect home décor accent.


Another popular trend is installing statement-making mosaics and designs. When homeowners look to renovate their kitchens or baths, a consideration for most is how to be stylish but standout at the same time.  Homeowners want an interior design that is a conversation piece, one that they cannot find in their neighbor’s house.

As a result, they tend to choose mosaics with an element of rarity to them, like the Circular Motion and Jelly Bean Blends.   With strong and sharp colors to go along with the innovative design, these tile blends will immediately capture the attention of anyone entering the home.


While glass tile is certainly gaining in popularity, consumer awareness of the product and its uses is still relatively low.  While homeowners and interior decorators are constantly looking for the newest styles and chic designs, far too often they ignore glass tiles as a primary decorating option.   Even for those familiar with glass tile, they often underestimate the assortment of uses for the product. 

Those who are in tune with interior design and home décor know that glass tiles and mosaics are an excellent choice for the kitchen or bath.  However, one of the greatest qualities of glass tile is its comprehensive nature – it can be used in more areas than just your kitchen and bath.


Other great areas to use glass tiles include the pool and spa, countertops, fireplaces and mantels.  In some instances, glass tiles can also be installed as a component of flooring, as long as it is not a high-impact or flexible surface.

As an eclectic and powerful home décor element, glass tile has the capability of capturing people’s attention.  So if an expensive kitchen, bath or home overhaul is too pricey of an investment, purchase a glass tile backsplash or accent – it has the potential to create the same luxury look for a lot less money.


Win a $200 JCPenney Gift Card!









Win Beautiful Glassware Tiles from Tilevera!

Friday, February 13th, 2009
A beautiful example of a custom designed backsplash.

A beautiful example of a custom designed backsplash.


One of the hallmarks of custom-designed homes are the details you see in the kitchens and bathrooms such as the tilework on the walls and floors.  In recent years, tile has been brought to a whole new level by combining the wonderful handcrafted traditions with advances in technology.  Tilevera is one such company.  They are creating  custom mosaics and glass tiles like none you have ever seen.

Their goal is “to create the most poetic designs that move the heart and inspire moments of surprise.”  When you take a look around their website I am sure you will agree that they are doing a spectacular job.  There are so many designs and motifs to choose from:  classical patterns, vineyards, birds and shells.  And don’t forget to look at their modern patterns which look great on their own or mixed with more traditional patterns.


I love this shower installation that uses the glassware tiles.

I love this shower installation that uses the glassware tiles.



The Set of 16 Glassware Tiles, worth $270, are so cool that I want to keep them for my own home.  The tiles are  printed with various images on the backside of a 1/4″ thick piece of glass.  They could be used for a variety of things.  Use them as a tile border on your backsplash or as coasters on your table.  Or if you are really handy, make an end table with a gorgeous tile top.  I would order more and finish off my bathroom but the choice is up to you.


These 16 glassware tiles could be yours!

These 16 glassware tiles, worth $270, could be yours!



Ready to Win These Gorgeous Tiles?

 Step 1:  Visit Tilevera and shop around.

Step 2:  Leave me a comment below telling me which tiles would be on the Top of Your Wish List and where you would use them in your home.  If you are receiving this via email, go back to the site to enter.  Replies by email will not be accepted. 

One entry per person.  You have until 11:59PM EST on Thursday, February 19th to enter.  One random winner will be chosen and announced soon after.

Good Luck!



Win a $2oo VISA Gift Card!

Go Green with Glass Tile

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

I stumbled onto Bedrock Glass looking at this year’s Better Homes & Gardens Idea Kitchen.  It featured a green circular mosaic backsplash that brought the room to life.  Visiting their website is a visual treat and I learned a few things that made me like them a whole lot more.  They use 100% handmade recycled glass for all their products which include:  tile for kitchen, bath and outdoor applications; wind chimes and garden decor; as well as tumbled glass to use any way you please.  It’s a playground for your imagination and a feast for your eyes.


They have recycled hundreds of tons of material that may have otherwise ended up in landfills.  They don’t even add pigment to the glass.  It’s used in its original form.  The company organizes recycling drives to help kids and schools raise money.  They also give tours to the kids so that their “eco-friendly” message will reverberate loud and clear.  Reduce, Recycle, Reuse! 

So visit Bedrock Glass when it’s time to choose some tile.  There’s a lovely selection; and you are doing something good for the environment!  Wilma Flintstone would be proud!

Visit Bedrock Glass! 

Tile that Makes Me Smile

Friday, April 18th, 2008


Amazing.  Innovative. Inspirational.

That’s Ann Sacks tile.  Never before I have seen such an effective translation of art into tile.  There are new collections appearing all the time.  They craft some very traditional styles and patterns, but I smile every time I see an ad for one of her fresh new collections.  Back in 1980, while some of us were sporting big hair, Ann was looking for the perfect wedding dress and saw a box of Mexican tile being sold as trivets.  It inspired her.  She first worked with hand-glazed Mexican tile, then she started a line to coordinate with Kohler fixtures.  Next came a stone collection.  Eventually the  company started embracing a more modern look and feel.  Ann sold the company to Kohler in the early 1990′s, but she continues to contribute to the line.


I have purchased quite a bit of of tile from Ann Sacks for my clients.  Their customer service is top notch and they offer tile at many price points to fit your imagination and your budget!

Visit Ann Sacks on My Design Secrets!

Easy as Changing your Mind

Thursday, December 27th, 2007
Flooring is traditionally a fairly long-lasting and expensive decision that you want to get right the first time. For many years, the only flooring that was fairly easy to install and inexpensive to replace was linoleum. And let’s face it, it was not most people’s first choice. I will admit that linoleum has come a long way and there are many cool vinyl tiles on the market but today I want to talk about a carpet tile company called Flor. In their words:
“Use it to create your own rugs of any size, install it wall-to-wall or mix & match FLOR for endless possibilities. FLOR is versatile, practical & beautiful.”

And they are not kidding. You can easily install these carpet tiles for an area rug, runner or wall-to-wall carpeting. It is simple to create area rugs that are just the right size for awkward or small spaces. Mix and match patterns and colors to customize your look. They make it easy to calculate and design your flooring by using their Design Tools. They even have Disney designs for the kids and a new collection by Martha Stewart. The tiles are easy to clean and if you get a bad stain or burn, then it’s as easy as replacing one tile. They also recycle old tiles for free. They score points for being eco-friendly:-)
Take a look.
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