Although the use of mosaics in design dates back centuries, the applications of this art form have become more commonplace in recent years. And while residential design had traditionally employed mosaics as an accent, they have now diversified into all areas of design. Homeowners, in particular, have become more in tune with the idea of using mosaics extensively in their residences.
“People are really going all the way,” said Sharon Brandt of Granite Connection, LLC in Potomac Falls, VA. “ I see mosaics being used in flooring as well as in other interior decorations. Mosaics are now used on entire walls in showers, in powder room niches and even on fireplaces.”
Moreover, glass and metallic mosaics are allowing for more contemporary designs. And with the consumer demand of mosaics escalating, the availability of the product has also increased. “They’re really hot,” said Brandt. “Even in Home Depot I see them, where six months ago I didn’t.”
Brandt took many of these concepts and applied them to the renovation of a private residence in Washington, DC, where her company served as the tile installer and she also aided in material selection. Mosaics helped to achieve the objective of blending contemporary flair with modern comfort, she explained.
In the kitchen, a Spa Ohara Silk mosaic blend - manufactured by Lunada Bay Tile - was employed for the backsplash. The mosaics complement the antiqued Cambrian Black countertops, which were fabricated and supplied by R. Bratti Associates, Inc. of Alexandria, VA. “This setting offers a great spot for entertaining - with the cantilevered bar top,” said Brandt. “It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail before heading out on the town.”
To harmonize with the Antique Verde Electra vanity top, Juniper mosaic tiles from Waterworks’ Georgetown location in Washington were selected for the walls and counter backsplash areas. “The mosaics are exquisite,” said Brandt. “The countertop and mosaics really complement one another.”
The same neutral-colored mosaic blend found in the “her” bath also carries into the powder room of the home. “You can blend neutral tones and still give it texture, so it’s not bland,” said Brandt.
“I was present at all installations for a period of time to ensure that the clients needs were met,” she said.
After the completion of the home, the clients held a cocktail party inviting the entire team as a thank you, in addition to neighbors. “It was very kind of them to invite us to show our work,” said Brandt. “The clients were ecstatic about the final project.”
Similar mosaic trends can be found inside a private residence located in the suburbs of Chicago, IL. The home contains an extensive amount of stonework, including mosaics, and they are used throughout the interior design. “The client was trying to use a diverse range of material,” said Perry Liu of Bestview International, which supplied all of the stone for the project. “The home was definitely going to have some manmade furniture, but then we wanted to incorporate as much natural material as possible. With that came mosaics for some special applications.”
Mosaics, which are primarily comprised of marble, glass and onyx, can be found in all six of the home’s bathrooms, a powder room, the foyer, surrounding the home’s fireplace, on the kitchenette’s backsplash and bordering areas of the main flooring throughout. Typical size pieces include: 1 x 1, 1 x 2, 2 x 2 and 3 x 6 inches.
Another feature point of the home is the fireplace, which showcases a surround made of Mother of Pearl mosaics. And in the kitchenette, glass mosaics were chosen for the backsplash. The glass pieces are in shades of gray, copper and light blue - reflecting the colors found in the granite countertop. Liu explained that aside from the main kitchen, this room would be used for routine kitchen duties.
Liu explained that the biggest challenge was making sure the materials kept their “identity” during the installation. “The different stones have different ways of being installed, so it works differently how you put them together without losing the individual features,” he said. “And then with using a wide variety of material - from glass to marble to travertine - you have to make sure to keep the designs related to one another so the overall design is cohesive.”
“The end result was very good,” he continued. “The client tells us that when they have guests, everybody really enjoys seeing the variety of materials.”
Besides the residential sector, mosaics have also taken a prominent place for applications in corporate settings. For a recent corporate project in Pittsburgh, PA, mosaics played an essential part of the design for two executive restrooms, as they were used as flooring. A variety of colors were selected from Mosaico Italiano of Pompano Beach, FL, to suit the owner’s desires, and the remainder of the bathroom was designed around the floor. “[The idea was] to mimic colors from India that the owners fell in love with on their travels,” said Tina Krashna of Ceramiche Tile & Stone, Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA, which served as a designer for the project, working in collaboration with Bethany Demi of Lami Grubb Architects in Pittsburgh, PA.
Honey, Green and Copper Red onyx mosaics in a “fish-scale” pattern were selected for the floor of the 225-square -foot executive restroom spaces. Krashna explained that the only challenges came in selecting the materials. “There’s too many options available with a custom mosaic factory such as Mosaico Italiano,” she said.