beekeeperswife_gw

Gray Arabesques + Super White = ?

beekeeperswife
September 17, 2012

Well, I've been on the hunt for something other than white for my back splash tile. I was sure that I could never love another tile as much as I loved my white arabesques in the last kitchen. I still had some pieces of that white tile (the movers accidentally took the extras when they packed us up--whoops). So, I had those taped to the wall and I did think they could be the ones. I went to all the tile stores I could find to look at tiles in person. Either they were too green, or too blue. None were the right gray to go with the Super White. And I kept talking in circles..." I don't want subways....it needs to be unique in the shape...Maybe I can do a subway if it's a large format with the right color....I want it to catch the light...." hmmm, sounds like someone was stuck on the arabesques, no?

I asked my old friends at Mission Stone & Tile for a sample of the beveled arabesque tile in Smoke to check out. Oh, my. It showed up on Friday. I immediately got out the packing tape and taped it to the wall. It didn't photograph well on the wall, but in real life it looks gorge! The tiles have highlighted edges at the bevel which make them even more interesting. So, here are some pictures of the tile laying on the Super White. When I tried to photograph them vertically on the wall, the look like dark blobs. There is under cabinet lighting and to the naked eye, they look great. But, just not in photos, well, MY photos.

I put the white ones up on the wall next to these and I can report that the gray ones are blowing away the white ones in terms of interest, at least in this kitchen.

So, should I do it?

Comments (115)

  • mommyatlaw

    I like your attitude, Bee! After all, why mess with perfection?

    P.S. My Arabesque reveal is coming soon. :)

  • oldbat2be

    Bee - here's the white, quickly photoshopped. If you have other good pictures of tile from straight on, I can add other colors....

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  • oldbat2be

    Bee - here's the white, quickly photoshopped. If you have other good pictures of tile from straight on, I can add other colors....

    {{!gwi}}

  • hobokenkitchen

    Actually I agree with secondhalf - while I would die of jealousy, I think it is worth a try.

    We just bought all our bathroom tile (including a feature plaque of dream tile) from Artistic Tiie and I was dealing with the manager. Maybe I'll ask him?
    Ok so I bought it before our GC waltzed off with all our money so now we have tile but no bathroom or cash to put one together, but we do have the tile! Ha.

    Bee what contest did you win and is it going to be in a magazine again? Let me know the details and I'll send him an email!

  • 1929Spanish

    Hi Bee - I've been in and out lately cuz work's been crazy. I saw this post and only got a chance to read it tonight. Good choice on not going with the gray. It was an energy-suck in that beautiful space.

    I'd ask why the tendency to go so matchy-matchy with the gray or white?

    I look at the sophisticated back splash in your bar area and see in your kitchen something in a complementary color and a more linear shape that doesn't fight with the natural veining in the super white. I don't see the arabesque shape in this kitchen - it's beautiful, but I think it's a more rustic option than what I've seen in the rest of your photos. And you know I like arabesque!

    That is all! ;)

  • francoise47

    I like Prickleypear's suggestions (above) for New Ravenna tiles.
    I love the "Raj":

    {{!gwi}}

    I loved the arabesque tile in your old kitchen.
    But I think you should try something different in your new kitchen.
    Why? Just to be different.

  • francoise47

    I like Prickleypear's suggestions (above) for New Ravenna tiles.
    I love the "Raj":

    {{!gwi}}

    I loved the arabesque tile in your old kitchen.
    But I think you should try something different in your new kitchen.
    Why? Just to be different.

  • lascatx

    If your kitchen has already won an award and is going to be photographed, why not ask about the ones that are out of your budget? See if you can get the material donated or discounted. How often would a supplier already know the site had won an award and was going to be photographed -- a certain publicity and advertising bonus? If you really love one there, it doesn't cost anything to ask. And if you aren't too picky, maybe they have one that was returned or delivered in the wrong color or pattern but would be great in your kitchen. Maybe there is a meant to be that will come at a great price and already be waiting for you.

    I like the arabesques, but I love some of those others. I would have to at least invest a few minutes to make a couple of calls and ask.

    I'm not helping, am I? ;-) Well, whatever you do, you have a lot of good choices. The one you pick is what makes it yours.

  • AboutToGetDusty

    Oooh, love the Raj. Would love to see that photoshop'd! Now that I see the white arabesque "in" the kitchen, I'm not digging it as much. By the way, anywhere I could find a quick tutorial on how to photoshop like some of the talented GW folks can do? It's very helpful!

  • francoise47

    I love the arabesque tiles. But, as others have pointed out, they seem a bit too rustic/ethnic for your very refined kitchen. The chandelier over your island is one of the most dominant design elements in your kitchen and it seems much more Versailles than Marrakech.

    (At this point I know that some Gardenwebbers will chime in and say, "But wait! The aesthetic at Versailles was deeply inspired by the great aesthetic melting pot that is the Mediterranean world, with even rococo/style Louis XV influenced by turquerie and moorish design.")

    If you had some dark wood in your kitchen (or even the rustic shelves that Michelle16 has in her gorgeous new kitchen) I could see that the arabesque tiles would be perfect to "marry" the refined and rustic elements.

    But, as your kitchen reads right now, with your beautiful blend of traditional elegance with clean lines, I think there may be better choices than the arabesque. Not that the arabesque won't look lovely as well!

  • gardenamy

    Bee - Congratulations on winning another contest!!!! You must be so very excited!

  • chiefy

    Oh my gosh Bee - lascatx is totally right. You are GUARANTEEING free publicity to whoever provides the backsplash tile. You have leverage to ask for at least a discount.

  • Jody

    I really like the pic you posted, the one available in either silver or dove. Someone said it looked too rustic for your kitchen, I don't think it does. And IF it reads that, sometimes it's more interesting to have something that's not matchy, matchy style wise.

    Your arabesque tile was gorgeous in your former kitchen, but I am liking these stacked tiles for your new one.

    Jody

  • Jody

    I really like the pic you posted, the one available in either silver or dove. Someone said it looked too rustic for your kitchen, I don't think it does. And IF it reads that, sometimes it's more interesting to have something that's not matchy, matchy style wise.

    Your arabesque tile was gorgeous in your former kitchen, but I am liking these stacked tiles for your new one.

    Jody

  • Jody

    Sorry for the multiple posts ... Using my iPad. And not very well I guess!!

    Jody

  • beekeeperswife

    Hmm, I never thought of the arabesques at rustic. Really? The thing I like about them is when grouted the entire bs reads as "one" vs individual tiles. I can't tell you how many people would come into the old kitchen and think it was a sheet product that was manufactured.

    Really? Rustic?

  • islanddevil

    I don't get a rustic vibe at all from the arabesques shown here. Sure if it was matte unglazed clay with an uneven surface, but not with these smooth beveled gems.

    Congrats on winning the contest; please tell us more! And you've won one before? Do you mind filling in a newbie who missed the info. What was that for? Thanks.

    Agree with the others, you should definitely work the free advertisement angle and see if they tile companies would offer your "money no object" choice at a deep discount. But that said I don't think you could go wrong with your first love. You more than anyone should have no qualm about trusting your instincts! I'd turn you loose on mine.

    Bee, can you please share the make and model of your door handles? Love them and the detail of your door style visible in one of your close ups. Is that still considered a Shaker style door front?
    Thanks.

  • beekeeperswife

    Thanks Island. The pulls and handles are from Amerock, Highland Ridge. They are polished nickel.

    Not sure what you would call the door. I thought I was going to do just a simple shaker door style. But then this was that same look but with a little routed detail. What was interesting was when I was choosing a door style, I probably would have looked past this style because they showed it in a stain. But then I saw something similar in a painted finish and was hooked.

    Regarding the previous contest, it was simply entering the kitchen in a contest for Mission Stone & Tile, they were giving away the arabesques. The kitchen was picked to get the tile. They had it professionally photographed. After that, the kitchen got a life of its own. Joni from Cote de Texas was asking readers to submit their kitchen renos for her blog. I did. She loved it (and the fact that it was a DIY on a budget) and referred me on to a stylist/scout for Meredith publishing. And then it once again was photographed and appeared in Real Life Kitchens & Baths this past Summer.

    ~Bee

  • pricklypearcactus

    To me the white beveled arabesque like you previously used reads sort of formal and I think transitional (a little traditional but a little funky/contemporary too) rather than rustic. Though I have seen arabesque tiles that looked more rustic too. I think if you love it, go with it. But I think you should definitely consider at least looking at some other samples before making a decision.

    Oddly I was watching Ferris Bueller's Day off, and I swear I saw arabesque or arabesque-like tile backsplash in the Bueller house! Maybe it's a true classic.

  • islanddevil

    And they are beautiful Bee, as are your cabs. Thanks fo the scoop.

    I know what you mean about overlooking something if it's not the finish you have in mind. It makes such a difference.

    I think I want white Shaker how hard can that be? Very hard! Nevermind color, flat drawers or not, there are so many style details just with the door/drawer sill alone: flat, beveled, routed, beaded. Yikes!

    In my head I imagine a white shaker kitchen with a modern or coastal transitional vibe rather than vintage, ornate or traditional. Then I see one like yours which defies definition. It's downright glamorous and chic yet modern AND comfortable. It's true, the devil is really in the details.

    So that's how the arabesques came into your life. How cool is that! Did your current win come with a new droolworthy prize? Congrats you deserve it.

    BTW, have you ever thought of starting your own design blog?

  • francoise47

    Hi Bee,

    Sorry to be confusing.
    Although they can look rustic when done in a different glaze and context,
    they do not look at all rustic in your beautiful former kitchen.
    They look elegant and traditional with,
    as pricklypear said, a little graphic/mod vibe mixed in.
    Maybe that is your style "mod traditional".
    Can we make up a new adjective just for you? "Moditional".

  • francoise47

    Hi Bee,

    Sorry to be confusing.
    Although they can look rustic when done in a different glaze and context,
    they do not look at all rustic in your beautiful former kitchen.
    They look elegant and traditional with,
    as pricklypear said, a little graphic/mod vibe mixed in.
    Maybe that is your style "mod traditional".
    Can we make up a new adjective just for you? "Moditional".

  • p.ball2

    Bee- sorry I have been absent from GW. I am wrapped up in this renovation now that it has started and it is time consuming. No complaints though it is thrilling!

    I think the grays are beautiful but too dark for the kitchen. I think the white arabeques will be gorgeous. I agree, when grouted it does look like some sort of panel. I think individually they can be seen as having an ethnic vibe since arabeques are Morrocan right?, but once installed I see it as very current and fashion forward yet by remaining white they are not boxing you into a certain color or look.

    Congrats on winning yet another contest. Hopefully this involves some cash reward!- you need to find a contest where they are offering a free whole house water softener and win that:)

  • slush1422

    Yah, I don't get a rustic vibe either. You know my vote. Have you made a decision yet? We are grouting tomorrow! I'll for sure post a photo.

  • oldbat2be

    White arabesque, just to lower cabinet height...

  • ellaf

    YES (to your original post) I love the grey arabesque and I think your kitchen is a dream. Bee, you have such great taste... trust yourself.

  • a2gemini

    Bee - Congratulations! I need some lessons on entering contests!!

    I am really liking PricklyPear's suggestion - I think it gives more movement to the kitchen than the arabesque.

    I just ogle your kitchen! It is so beautiful :-)

  • writersblock (9b/10a)

    I also think that either the Raj or the Sophie would be beautiful. I like the Sophie, myself.

  • caminnc

    That Sophie is TDF, also love the Raj.

  • beekeeperswife

    Yes, those are gorgeous. Beyond words. However there are several reasons I don't think they will work here....

    1. Ribbons (from either Artistic or Ravenna), you need a large (tall) area to appreciate the pattern. I'm only doing the 18" between the counter and the uppers. The pattern is sort of large for that space. Although it is gorgeous and it works with the counters perfectly.

    2. It is $100 sq. ft.

    But, I have seen this in person. It is really pretty. It is by Artistic tile too. And it looks great with the Super White. It's the innter part of the freshwater clam. Available in oval and hex. I kind of like the hex.

  • gsciencechick

    I love the grey, but if they were a little lighter, they'd be perfect.

    LOVE the Sophie! Wow.

    Good luck, Bee. Whatever you pick will be fabulous.

  • taggie

    OMG, ditto on the Sophie. That's the most beautiful tile I think I've ever seen. Wow.

  • pricklypearcactus

    I really like that Artistic Tile hex. Beautiful. The iridescence would go well in your kitchen. I wish I could recall the exact kitchen, but years ago there was a beautiful kitchen with white cabinets and iridescent white tile backsplash (small squares) that was really gorgeous. These hex tiles remind me a little of them.

  • writersblock (9b/10a)

    Are you thinking of scottielee's kitchen prcklypearcactus?

    {{!gwi}}

    I like the hex tile, too.

  • gsciencechick

    That is a good point about the height of the Sophie. Yikes on the cost. Even in our small kitchen, it was something like 25 or 26 sq ft of tile.

    I love the "oyster shell" hex tiles. I was just thinking how perfect an oyster color would be. How big in diameter are the hex? Those look like they would work really well.

  • finestra

    Bee, I love the oyster hex. I have glass hex in my backsplash that are iridescent. They look best in natural sunlight - actually shimmer. But at night when the lights are on, they are not as shimmery. So try them in natural and artificial light to make sure you like both.

  • springroz

    I love that hex tile!!

    Nancy

  • beekeeperswife

    thanks for the tip finestra. I will grab a sample on Monday.

  • lyfia

    I like the white arabesque. Would it look off to use some of the gray ones for accents? It looks like the gray matches on my monitor, but would be too much by itself.

  • corgimum

    So here's another photoshop of the hex. It's hard to maintain the integrity of the tiles when they are small and detailed. The 72 dpi loses alot of detail on the wide shot. The close-up keeps the detail better.

    Bee- is part of the white on your counters bright white? If so, this detail is lost in your photos. The hex white looks brighter in the photos.

    I think part of what makes this difficult is that the counters are a star but this doesn't really show in a photo the way a backsplash as a star will. Maybe you are having trouble deciding because you want two stars to work together and this is hard to pull off.

  • corgimum

    Close up

  • MIssyV

    i think you can see from that photoshop that something dominatily white is the way to go, lets your chandy still be the eye candy in that room, and i still think a little sparkle fits your kitchen bee.....those hex might just fit the bill! i guess i was thinking of pips kitchen....her bs seems to have just a little sparkle to it, but if i remember correctly, she said its not that sparkly in person?

    you are on the right track, and like others have said, you have great taste. trust yourself!

  • Jody

    I, too, LOVE the Hex ... but also liked the stacked tile you posted earlier (available in two color ways). And I don't like the Sophie. To me, that is something you'd tire of quickly.

    Good luck with your choice .... your kitchen will be gorgeous whatever you choose!!

    jody

  • pricklypearcactus

    Yes, writersblock, that is just the kitchen I was thinking of. Thanks!

    I think it's going to be key to see samples of the various white-based tiles against your white cabinets and white counters. I am a firm believer of mixing whites, but you want to make certain they give the right feeling you want in context with the other whites in your kitchen.

  • kitchendetective

    I still like the Raj the best. The geometric shapes in it are a nice counterpoint to the all over pattern of the counter top. They set it off without competing with it, don't look as stark as the arabesques, and aren't as "all over" as the hexes or ovals. I wonder if there's something like the Raj out there that is less expensive. On the other hand, I'm basing this all on photographs of photographs, so the real lfe versions may not have the same issues.

  • breezygirl

    I've always loved a good hex. DH wasn't on board with the shape (said they looked like a bathroom) when I showed them to him last year on our one and only joint tile shopping trip. That one has a pretty sparkle.

    Since everything from AT is sooo expensive, here's hoping this one is a bargain!

  • beekeeperswife

    thanks for thinking of me MissyV. Some of those are interesting. I'll have to take a look.

    I do like that beveled picket mentioned in another thread.

  • drewem

    I wanted to say congratulations on winning the contest! That is great that this new kitchen will be in a magazine! Keep us posted. I am seeing a new career in your future...

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