Posts filed under ‘Design’
We get asked this great question quite regularly:
“I LOVE my new tile, but I need some advice…What should I do with the electrical outlets that fall within the kitchen backsplash area?”
Good news! We’ve got several creative solutions for you – yay!!!
These little necessary items can possibly ruin your beautiful, and often pricey backsplash! We are confident that if you consider the locations ahead of time, you will improve the finished look of your kitchen or bathroom. :)
Details on outlets…
It’s required by law that you have electrical outlets within your kitchen – which is a good thing!
Your kitchen has many electrical needs: major appliances, small appliances, built-in appliances, lighting, exhaust fans, and basically anything you might want to plug in or switch on while you’re in there.
In regards to your kitchen or bathroom, the National Electric Code requires:
- Small appliance circuits feeding countertop receptacle outlets are required to be Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) protected
- Any countertop wider than one foot requires a receptacle outlet
- Receptacle outlets must be installed every four linear feet at minimum – more is totally fine too
- Countertops separated by range cook top, refrigerators, or sinks are considered separate countertop spaces
Are you in the planning phase of your new kitchen or bath remodel?
If you are planning your kitchen or bath remodel, congrats(!), you are thinking ahead! Here are some helpful questions you can ask yourself and discuss with your electrician regarding your kitchen or bath’s electrical needs:
- What fixed/portable appliances do you plan to install/have in your kitchen? What are the locations and their power requirements?
- What kind of lighting do you want/need: Ceiling? Under cabinet? Toe kick? Pendant or chandelier? Recessed? Surface Mount? Ceiling fan?
- What kind of lighting controls do you need?
- Where do you want your light switches and appliance outlets?
- What materials/installation practices do you need to comply with National Electric Code requirements? Hint: ask your electrician
- Do you have special requirements due to disabilities and/or the Americans with Disabilities Act?
- What are the brand specification of all fixtures you want? Have your electrician check these out too.
After you discuss your electrical needs with your electrician and have a final layout in mind, the electrical outlets and switches can be located and installed. Don’t worry if you already have your outlets in place, it’s really easy to move them around and make adjustments before the installation of your backsplash.
There are several different ways to approach this without ruining your backsplash with a bunch of ugly, poorly placed outlets and switches. Here are some creative solutions as to how you can address the outlets & switches within your backsplash.
Implementing Creative Solutions…
#1 – Flip your outlets horizontally to coordinate with the pattern of your backsplash (but if your backsplash has a vertical pattern to it, keep you outlets vertical too)
#3 – Install the outlets or switches on or within your cabinets…(some additional planning involved).
#4 – Install your outlets where you know you’ll need them!
#5 – Install custom pop-up grommet outlets where you know you’ll need them!
#6 – Specify outlet and switch plate covers to coordinate with your material selections: making them a design element instead of an eyesore!
#7 – [Bathroom specific] – Install the outlets or switches within your bathroom mirror and trim with a mirrored cover…some additional planning involved. Look closely for them!
Q: Have some other creative outlet and switch solutions? Share them with us and we’ll add it to this blog!
Modwalls® has been making Colorful Modern Tile since 2005. We have high end and unique designs that are in stock and available for purchase online 24/7 at modwalls.com Samples Available and Discounts to the Trade. Residential, Commercial and Hospitality. Live Your Colors with Modwalls Tile.
“Are you the artist Janet Bennett?” Bennett is a striking and elegant woman who looks quite at home in the colorful surroundings of Robert, the restaurant housed within the Museum of Arts and Design in Manhattan. But perhaps the question should have been, “are you the artist who designed the iconic tile murals in the Los Angeles Airport?”
The murals have been widely attributed to Charles Kratka who was Bennett’s immediate supervisor. “When I found out about the obituary for him in the L.A. Times which said that Charles Kratka was the designer of the LAX murals, I freaked out.” By her own admission, she’d never claimed credit for the murals which were installed in 1961, when she was working for the architectural firm of Pereira & Luckman.
Her assignment, given to her by Kratka, was to design a mural that would distract people from how long the tunnels were. The 2007 L.A. Times obituary mentions that Kratka told his children that the changing colors of the mural were to reflect the changing seasons, but Bennett said that actually her concept was to express the changing terrain as seen from a transcontinental flight, “from ocean to ocean.”
“I started with blue on one side, then green, then into earth colors, then,
in the middle, I had one red element; then the colors reverse. My idea was that you’d see the same colors going from the ocean to the middle of the country, over the prairie, then back to the ocean.” The mural has been featured in both film and TV, from The Graduate to Mad Men. “It’s been used as a vehicle to show people coming in and out of Los Angles; it’s an ideal background because of the procession of colors.” Overall, Bennett created mosaic designs for five terminal buildings found in the airport.
Bennett grew up in Detroit; her father was a painter. He discouraged her from becoming an artist due to concerns about making a living. “He had been successful as a painter, but there came a time when he had to think about money, so he went into automobile design. For him, (designing for automobiles) was like interior design for me. He was okay at it, but he didn’t have a passion for it because he was a painter, as I was a sculptor, and am now a painter.”
Bennett studied at the Cranbrook Academy of Art which is known as one of America’s leading architecture and design schools, with its graduates and faculty being described by the New York Times as having a “profound effect on the physical environment of this country.” Bennett majored in sculpting and upon graduating, came to New York City to work on commissions, one of which was a bronze sculpture for the department store B. Altman & Co. Once completed, she was called to Madrid for further study before finding herself back in the states, working in architecture.
“It was an ideal job for someone like me.” Her work took her to Los Angeles, San Salvador, “I love anything Spanish,” San Francisco, Honolulu, and back to New York. “My sculpture commissions were always in different mediums, using different materials – whether it was steel, or
plastic, or wood – I really had to learn as I was doing. I’ve gone to a couple shows at this museum (The Museum of Art and Design) and I’ve thought, ‘I’ve done that once, but this artist has made a whole career out of it.’ If I had stayed with one thing, people could look at it and say, ‘that’s a Janet Bennett.’”
In addition to the LAX murals, Bennett was one of the contributors to San
Francisco’s BART stations in the late 60’s and early 70’s when a panel of art professionals commissioned murals and other art for nearly all of the then newly designed stations.“The tiles for the San Francisco murals were ceramic, as opposed to the Italian glass used at the airport.” When she wasn’t doing mural work or designing decorative art, she worked in interior design. “That’s where I ran into some restrictions. When I was doing the commissioned artwork, I pretty much had full reign. With the murals, there were no influences other than driven by theme.”
At 83, Bennett is now working in acrylics. “I like things that are malleable. That’s what I like about oils. Mixing them; they’re nice and squishy.” She works both in New York City and “on the Island” (Long Island) and finds inspiration everywhere.
“Artists are much more observant. I walk my dog in the park and things are happening. A big crane is taking something down, a people thing is happening, and no one is looking. I’m always looking. If you have an artistic temperament, you’re sort of a voyeur.”
I ask her if she’s tried to contact the airport about receiving credit for the LAX murals. ”Anytime I try to follow up, they say, ‘can you document it?’ It was so many years ago; I’ve lived in so many places, thrown out files, or books, or photographs. Everyone I worked with was older than I, and they’re not around anymore.”
Bennett is quick to point out that she wouldn’t have minded if the architecture firm had been credited. “Working for an architectural firm is like working for a fashion house – you can design it, but it goes out under the name of the firm.” The discomfort that Bennett feels is in having another person receive credit for a design she conceived. She sighs, “I never thought about publicity. I remember a magazine contacting me (after creating the mural) but I was busy with something else.”
Bennett has been creating art for over sixty years and is still evolving, still exploring design, color and texture. Perhaps, if you find yourself passing through the midcentury mosaic tunnels in LAX, you’ll find yourself thinking, “I know what that is. That’s a Bennett.”
Micheline Auger is a playwright and freelance writer living in New York who loves art, color, and all things Modwalls.
Shawn Dulaney has worked as a painter for over three decades. Her paintings can be found in extensive public collections worldwide, as well as in the private collections of author Annie Proulx, actor Steve Buscemi, artist Jo Andres, talk-show host Conan O’Brian and musician Stuart Copeland.
Her landscapes have also appeared in episodes of TV’s Sex & the City and Portlandia, the films It’s Complicated and Interview, and in the HBO series Enlightened. Her work has been reviewed in ARTnews Magazine and the New York Times, and has been featured in Parabola Magazine and New American Paintings.
Modwalls wanted to grab a few minutes with her to talk about her approach to color and design. She describes her work as “layered constructions of color merging to form spacious abstractions where nature references correspond to human emotional state.”
William Zimmer of the New York Times says, “Shawn Dulaney is deliberately out for grandeur. but she is also out for intimacy. Her paintings take advantage of their innate ambiguity and declare themselves to be very current in the thinking that lies behind them.”
How does color inform your work?
I love the alchemy that happens between physical materials, intuition and inspiration. I use color as the primary vehicle in attempting to create something experiential and ephemeral.
When I start a painting, I have a sense of what it will feel like at the end, then I begin to search for that feeling usually to find something else entirely. I may start with some reference, i.e. a cloud, a horizon, an event in nature, etc., and then it becomes a process of reducing that down to its essence. This way the color can be experienced as a metaphor or vehicle.
I am inspired, nourished and transported by color.
The art world, as in design, can be influenced by trends. How do you deal with the influence of trends in your work?
Trends don’t influence me. I try to be true to my own voice and essence. When I work, it requires a focus much like meditation where I empty my mind and become receptive. I know this spills over into my daily life. It helps keep me grounded and in the present moment.
To contact Shawn about her work, email firstname.lastname@example.org