Brigid Saah, owner of Tile Market of Sarasota, was brought to this project through a recommendation from Missi Bart of Renaissance Design Studio, the client’s designer. The client desired something bold and beautiful in a pattern without going too daring and something in a neutral color palette for her kitchen.

Tile Market offers an extensive variety of custom, stylish mosaic materials to select from, so the husband and wife independently placed post-it notes on their favorites to help narrow their choices. The tile that made the cut is a water-jet sculpted marble (pictured at the top left). The end result was a clean, crisp and classic kitchen with a bit of oomph thanks to the wallpaper-effect of the mosaic tiling. “The feeling of waves in this mosaic backsplash complements the coastal feel of the home,” says Saah. And yet, there is something about the tile that tricks the eye into questioning if it is tile, wallpaper or even paint. Wallpaper itself has been spotted everywhere as a hot design trend in recent years. The drift toward decorating with more wallpaper has inspired homeowners and designers to redefine their perceptions of tile. Smooth, flowing lines, which were more often associated with wallpaper than tile, can now be achieved with water-jet sculpting of glass, stone and even metal. Tile mosaics also offer a textural element unlike wallpaper and resilience for areas near water sources such as kitchens and bathrooms where the use of wallpaper is simply not applicable. For homeowners who enjoy customization, tile mosaic also offers an opportunity for designing a pattern unique to their space. “The result is a durable surface that blurs the line between tile and fine art,”says Saah.

Homeowners must consider all elements of the space when choosing the right tile. The size of the space will dictate the scale of the tile, mosaic or pattern. Wallpaper-effect tiling fits seamlessly in modern and traditional spaces as long as the tile chosen complements the existing architectural and decorative elements. “The wallpaper effect is achieved with pattern,”says Saah. “Bold or subtle, the pattern can be textural giving a tone-on-tone effect or created with color mosaics.” Multi-colored tiles are also a great way to tie together colors found in the cabinetry, countertops and flooring.

This kitchen in particular was an ideal space for a major tile statement due to the fact there are no upper cabinets on the range wall. “It is a welcome twist that breaks convention but really makes the backsplash a major feature of the kitchen,”says Saah. “The tile is absolutely gorgeous and the homeowners are happy. What more could you ask for?”