Um, I’m allowed to change my mind, right? After recently writing that I don’t want tiles, I think I may have just fallen for some.
It all started because I was telling a colleague on Friday that I was headed to IKEA and a dreadful store called Megaflis (translation: “mega tile”) after work to figure out what to do about my backsplash. He jokingly said, “whatever you do, don’t go to Bella on Bygdøy Allé!” Bella is a really high-end tile store specializing in Italian tiles. Famous last words.
I dutifully went to both Megaflis (where I found a few things I could live with, but nothing I really liked) and IKEA, where they have a nice and simple white acrylic panel that can be made to measure called Klingsta that I am seriously considering. I would probably be more enthusiastic about the acrylic panel if it weren’t for the fact that it’s from IKEA, a place I loathe. For someone like me, who easily succumbs to sensory overload, it is a really difficult place to shop. Nonetheless it may still be worth braving the cacophony since the panel has a really nice look and feel.
Out of curiosity, though, I searched online for the Bella website after I got home, and discovered that they have Tonalite “Kraklé” tiles, which have many of the same aesthetic qualities that I really love about traditional glazed Moroccan tiles. Sadly, Moroccan tiles have all but disappeared from the market here in Norway; I haven’t been able to find them anywhere. I had originally planned on Moroccan tiles because I had loved them for years. I think maybe the fact that I can no longer find them is actually what put me off tiles for this project in the first place.
If I were to go with the Kraklé I would get rectangular tiles and lay them in a herringbone pattern with relatively narrow grouting. I adore herringbone, and had originally wanted it for my wood floors. Sadly, herringbone floors would have been way too expensive, but it might be a nice touch to have a little bit of herringbone in the kitchen. The price of the tiles themselves is surprisingly reasonable.
I searched high and low on the internet for an example of the look I have in mind, and the closest I’ve come is this image from a project done by the interior design firm Falken Reynolds, which is based in Vancouver, Canada:
The two options (acrylic panel versus Kraklé tiles) would produce drastically different visual effects in the kitchen, even with the same countertop, floor, appliances and cabinets. If I go with the white acrylic panels, I would paint the walls some color other than white. One color I have long considered is a gray-blue called Alladin. There’s also one called Fredfylt (“full of peace”) that I like, thought that may be more of a bedroom color. The visual “energy” of the room would be in the walls, and I would be able to change it fairly easily with just a few coats of paint. The acrylic panels would be clean, neutral and utilitarian, but maybe a little clinical.
If I go with the tiles I would choose one of the many strong colors Tonalite offers, and the walls would be the same white as the cabinets. That would make the tiles the main design focus of the room, and the effect would be bolder and more quirky than the acrylic panel idea. Here are two of the colors I’m thinking about:
I think the tiles (especially the Viola ones!) would stand out quite dramatically, since there would be few visual distractions. They would essentially function as two solid blocks of color, one on each side of the room, with little to disrupt them, and the rest would consist of a kind of neutral box made up of the matching white of cabinets and walls, the pale ash floors, and the window looking out on the fjord.
ETA: I wasn’t clear! I would tile the full walls between counter and upper cabinets on both sides of the room, not just the areas behind sink and stove. Both walls are about two meters long. Essentially it would look like the picture above that I ganked from Falken Reynolds.