Kitchen Cousins + Modwalls = Backsplash Sensation!!!

We seriously couldn’t be more ECSTATIC with the final result of HGtv’s Kitchen Cousins (& Brunellesci Construction‘s) recent kitchen remodel project!!!

The episode Fireplace Fiasco aired on HGtv nationwide last Wednesday, June 6th, 2012 and will re-air this Saturday, June 16th, 2012 at 4:30 ET.  Set your dvr’s to record if you missed it because it features our very own Lush® glass subway tile, designed by Rex Ray Studio, as the finished kitchen backsplash!!!  We always knew this tile would end up in some cool locales and this kitchen definitely exceeds our expectations. :)

Here’s what HGtv has to say about this surprising episode(!):

“Sometimes it’s what’s behind the walls that makes all the difference. When John and Anthony take a look at Joel and Maria’s kitchen, the first thing that stands out is an unusually thick wall. After a little exploratory demolition they discover an incredible hidden fireplace which completely changes their original design. But as construction progresses, the fireplace they fell in love with becomes their biggest nightmare. Will this hearth be the centerpiece of the home, or will the whole job go down in flames?”

Here’s the BEFORE…

As you can see, this dark and divided kitchen left much to be desired by it’s homeowners Joel and Maria...Photo by (c)Christopher Amaral
http://www.christopheramaral.com/

And here is the AFTER!!!

We can only imagine how thrilled the homeowners must be to now come home to such a gorgeous, light, and modern kitchen with some flair of the unexpected!

AFTER! Photo by (c)Christopher Amaral http://www.christopheramaral.com/

AFTER! Photo by (c) Christopher Amaral http://www.christopheramaral.com/

AFTER! Photo by (c) Christopher Amaral http://www.christopheramaral.com/

AFTER! Photo by (c) Christopher Amaral http://www.christopheramaral.com/

Notice how stunning our Lush Rex Ray TYPE White tile looks as the backsplash.. Photo by (c) Christopher Amaral http://www.christopheramaral.com/

AFTER! Photo by (c) Christopher Amaral http://www.christopheramaral.com/

AFTER! Photo by (c) Christopher Amaral http://www.christopheramaral.com/

AFTER! Photo by (c) Christopher Amaral http://www.christopheramaral.com/

You too could have this American made tile in your home or commercial space!!  Find it here on our website and let us know what you think.

Modwalls has been making colorful modern tile since 2005. We have and unique designs that are in stock and available for purchase online 24/7 at  Colorful Modern Tile by modwalls.com.

January 19, 2016 at 3:49 pm 2 comments

Tile Design vs. Electrical Outlets & Switches

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
Modwalls_Counter Top Appliances

Examples of kitchen appliances in need of electrical outlets.

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)

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Horizontal Outlet Sketch
Manhattan Ave Residence - modern - bathroom - los angeles - Michael Lee Architects
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#2 – Install a power strip under your upper cabinets

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Undercabinet Power Strip Sketch
Wyncote home - exterior - eclectic - kitchen - philadelphia - Colleen Steixner
vandyke-39
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#3 – Install the outlets or switches on or within your cabinets…(some additional planning involved).

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Outlet Sketch001_2

Photo by Rockwood Cabinetry

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#4 – Install your outlets where you know you’ll need them!

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Outlet Sketch001

Image 4

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#5 – Install custom pop-up grommet outlets where you know you’ll need them!

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Kitchen Power Grommet - modern - kitchen - los angeles - Doug Mockett & Company, Inc

Find these at www.mockett.com

South Fork Kitchen - eclectic - kitchen - phoenix - Troyer Kitchen and Bath

Find these at www.mockett.com

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#6 – Specify outlet and switch plate covers to coordinate with your material selections: making them a design element instead of an eyesore!

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mendocino kit rspitzer2

1x4 cloud kitchen laura ricks_2

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#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!

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Playhouse_Modwalls Lush 1x4 Sunset

Playhouse_Modwalls_Brio clear peridot

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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.

January 17, 2016 at 5:27 pm 4 comments

Live Your Colors with Modwalls Tile

Gorgeous kitchen! Modwalls Lush 3×6 Breaker Aqua glass subway tile makes a fitting backsplash.
#kitchen #modwallstile #interiordesign #tiles #picoftheday #aqua

December 20, 2015 at 3:56 pm Leave a comment

Live Your Colors with Modwalls Tile

Kiln Chevron Ceramic Tile by Modwalls.
Teal Agate color in a fresh layout makes this powder room a gem.
#tiles #madeinusa #chevron #ceramics #teal #powderroom #bathroom #walltile #design #interiordesign #liveyourcolors. Shop online at Modwalls.com

December 19, 2015 at 12:25 pm Leave a comment

This #Brio #bathroom is one of the most inviting #remodels we’ve photographed. modwalls.com #liveyourcolors #functionalart #blends #tiles #moderntile #beyourself #tileforthepeople #design

December 17, 2015 at 1:42 pm Leave a comment

Janet Bennett: A Life in Design

Janet Bennett“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.

Mad Men Mural

LAX MURALS” Mad Men Promo Image. Photo: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

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,

Janet in Blue

Janet Bennett

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.

IMG_0400 (2)

A Janet Bennett Painting

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.”

JB Paint wave

Janet Bennett

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

IMG_0406 (2)

Janet Bennett

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

Brio Blends

Modwalls Brio Blend Glass Tiles

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.”

JB Dogs

Janet Bennett

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.”

Mosaic Tunnel

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.”

Janet Bennett with daughter

Janet Bennett with her daughter

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.

December 5, 2015 at 5:22 pm Leave a comment

Color as Abundance and Opportunity

Artist Dove Drury

Artist Dove Drury

“If I am truly living my color, I am viewing my life as an abundant opportunity and wishing to share that with the world.”

Artist Dove Drury is a painter, muralist and ceramicist who speaks about color metaphorically, passionately, and personally.

“Color has spiritual and emotional resonations. I wear a lot of strong colors and vibrant patterns – which I feel is a way of really living and interacting with color. The celebration of color is the celebration of my life. Color really means for me a connection to higher forces and to the universe and to God and to flowers and the natural and mystical and ferocious world around us. I have a tendency toward bright colors, and have a joyful connection to red, yellow and blue.”

Modwalls Ceramic Clayhaus Tile

Modwalls Ceramic Clayhaus Tile

Drury describes his ceramics as a “way of making colors stand up.” His says his aesthetic tends towards assemblage, found objects, bric-a-brac, and sentimentality. They are “disregarded things – torn and rough around the edges – that one cannot throw away, coming from a place of love, and caring and repair.”

BROKEN BITS

His current ceramic work was born from an unexpected and displeasing discovery. He opened his kiln and found that the object he had fired had broken into many bits. Not wanting to throw the pieces away, he mused on their hidden potential or “potential in any form.”Dove Ceramic Jewelry2

“I had experiences in my prior kiln firings where pieces would accidentally touch and fuse together. I thought about the connection of assemblage and utilizing this process for my benefit to create new objects, with a kind of found composition and spontaneous form.”

TO PAINT IS TO DANCE IS TO PAINT

Drury comes from a creative family. His mother is a dancer and a painter and he describes his painting process akin to dance. Some of the murals he has painted were done by hanging off a ladder and jumping across the walls. “I would fill a broom up with paint and then smack it against the wall to create a dynamic energy and spontaneous mark.”

He describes his creative process both internally and externally. “One has to practice the routes of inner attunement so as to really listen. I go on long walks for hours winding through the city.”

DOING THE WORK

In contrast to the internal world of urban wanderings is the focused and diligent hours of solitary studio sessions which focuses his creative process. “I’ll sit in my studio and tinker with my tools and toys. It’s a routine that creates an energy that embodies a pathway of working – getting your gears rolling and being in that fluid space, and it’s not always possible or predictable when it happens, but at least it’s good to set up the conditions so as to stimulate those situations.”

88 Prince Street Mural

His murals have been commissioned by private clients for their homes and Drury brings a keen sensitivity to place and function. “When I’m working on a commission, I pay attention to the aesthetic and intention of their space – so maybe a huge, red, energetic flower wouldn’t be that soothing in your meditation nook. Creating a certain emotional tone or atmospheric quality that compliments or mindfully contradicts and cohesively heightens the space is key.”

IT’S ALL ABOUT COLOR AND…Queen Stephanie

The word love is often expressed by Drury when he talks about his work, materials, process and community.

“I have this love affair with nearly everything – or nearly everything with a certain vibration. I like to collect things that are joyful. I love things that I can pick up and touch, and remember my family and my friends and the life we are building together.”

He adds, “I would say to live one’s color is to live one’s life with acute and compassionate honesty. If I am truly living my color, I am viewing my life as an abundant opportunity, and wishing to share that with the world.”

To contact Dove Drury, please email info@dovedruryhornbuckle.com and see more work and information at dovedruryhornbuckle.com

November 13, 2015 at 1:21 pm Leave a comment

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Rebecca Lonergan


Founder and Creative Director of modwalls.com, a designer of modern tile with an online showroom at www.modwalls.com. Modwalls are colorful tile designs with a uniquely modern sensibility in a wide range of materials.

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