To incorporate some color and detail into one of the most used rooms in his home, a skilled Californian chef enlisted the help of an established local interior designer with more than two decades of experience to create an enticing kitchen backsplash. “[The] client is a skilled cook with much of his pots and pans coming from France and decorative items from Italy,” said Kelly Morisseau, Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer (CMKBD®) and Certified Interior Designer (CID) of MSK Design Build in Walnut Creek, CA, a design-build firm in northern California. “We wanted to bring some touches of old tile detail and color into the backsplash. They might have gone with a plain subway tile backsplash if I hadn’t been involved.”

Since the owners already had a Provence Blue stove from La Cornue in their kitchen, they were looking to tie in a blue-colored tile for the new backsplash, which led them to choosing a hand-painted, traditional decorative tile from Jeffrey Court. Morisseau utilized 24 pieces of 5- x 5-inch tile from Jeffrey Court’s Chapter 4 Alentejo collection, which has since been discontinued. The tile brings out the colors of the stove, while also incorporating yellow and white throughout. “We fell in love with this tile,” said Morisseau.

The decorative piece has a subtle trim — 11 pieces of 1- x - 12-inch tiles from Jeffrey Court’s Chapter 5 Dome liner collection in Cotton — and the surrounding walls, as well as the walls above the sink on the other side of the room, are clad in 41 square feet of 3- x 6-inch ceramic tiles from the Riva series by Lanka in the color “Snow” to balance the burst of color. The walls also incorporate 11 pieces of ½- x 10-inch tiles from Grazia’s Melange series in the color “Milk.”

For the sink deco, the homeowners selected 4- x 4-inch tile from Epro’s Winslow series — the Wall Floral Deco — in Caribbean Mist, according to Morisseau. Approximately 50 square feet of tile was used to renovate the kitchen, all of which was supplied by European Tile & Marble in Lafayette, CA.

Finding the right color of sink deco tiles was the one problem Morisseau encountered while completing this job. “This is the color we fell in love with,” she said. “Then, we found out that the manufacturer could no longer add lead to the glazing, so the tile was turning out [to be] a rich mossy green color instead of a French Provencal blue. It took a long time for the original, then trying to get more samples before finally giving up. We could never find one that was that Provencal blue so went with a dark design.”

Despite the minor complication, the installation was finished in less than a week, and was completed using Laticrete’s PermaColor grout in Silver Shadow. “The clients really love it,” said Morisseau.  

Private Residence

Walnut Creek, CA

Designer: MSK Design Build, Walnut Creek, CA

Tile Supplier: European Tile & Marble, Lafayette, CA

Tile Installer: Pargette Tile, Walnut Creek, CA

Installation Products: Laticrete International, Bethany, CT