In remodeling the kitchen of their Wayne, PA, residence, the homeowners were seeking a design that would reflect the period style of the home, and they also wanted to use local materials. Ultimately, the use of hand-crafted tiles helped them achieve their vision for the project.

The remodel was executed by HomeTechRenovations of Fort Washington, PA, and it included the removal of an existing laundry and storage closet in order to create space for a casual dining area. Additionally, a narrow space that had originally formed the butler’s pantry now serves as a spacious bar area, and the center island houses the sink, completing the “kitchen work triangle.”

During the project, there were many penetrations created in the existing walls, and the goal was to keep 85% of these walls undamaged.

The white shaker style cabinetry was produced locally, while the large center island is made from Pennsylvania cherry wood with hand-turned legs. Also sourced from the Northeast region, the remodel makes extensive use of hand-crafted tiles from Lilywork Tiles. Throughout the space, including the backsplashes above all of the kitchen countertops as well as the bar area, the design utilizes Lilywork’s Creme Brulee tiles in a 2- x 6-inch format. The tiles were set in a herringbone pattern, which offers subtle movement within the horizontal area.

Above the range, hand-crafted tiles from Lilywork were used to create a one-of-a-kind piece of art. This element has a centerpiece of 6-inch Bosphorous tiles from the company’s Textured Field Collection, and they were custom cut to accommodate 2-inch, three-dimensional Persian Blue Medallions from Lilywork’s Rosette Collection. The design is framed by cove trim pieces, also in Persian Blue, and it is surrounded by a herringbone pattern of 2- x 6-inch Creme Brulee tiles.

All of the countertops, as well as the center island, feature Belgium Bluestone, which serves to contrast the lighter tones of the cabinetry while also relating back to the dark blue accents of the tilework at the range area.

Installing the tile

Given the fact that the remodel took place in a period home, there were some obstacles due to the age of the jobsite, such as unlevel surfaces. Additionally, the walls were plaster and lathe, which also posed challenges. During the project, there were many penetrations created in the existing walls, and the goal was to keep 85% of these walls undamaged.

In setting the tile for the backsplashes, the walls were repaired with patch plaster and skim-coated with VersaBond thinset mortar from Custom Building Products, which provided a sound bond to the plaster after it dried.

Working with hand-crafted, hand-cut tile required a high degree of skill, and the installation was led by Ken Baker at HomeTech Renovations. Given the complexity of the detailed tilework above the range, this section of the job was installed using rapid-setting thinset mortar from Custom Building Products.

The tile was then grouted using Prism SureColor grout from Custom Building Products, which is made with recycled glass beads and maintains a consistent color. To ensure the longevity of the installation, a water-based sealer from DuPont was applied to the tilework.

Now complete, the new layout of the kitchen creates an open environment in which family, friends and guests can easily interact, and its design palette serves as an effective reflection of the home’s traditional history.