Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Nitpicking: Because Design is In the Details

Somewhere in my computer, there is a much better picture of this island backsplash in which you can see that this backsplash on the left was cut about 1/8" shorter than the adjacent backsplash on the right.  Those who know me will understand that, once I discovered this, I was driven to distraction by it.  It looked like a dark line between the backsplash and the raised bar countertop, and it stared me in the face and mocked me while I made my morning lattes.  If I could find the picture I was looking for, perhaps you would understand why this was so unacceptable to me.  Perhaps not -- but sweating the details is what I do for a living, and I spent too much money on the new countertops to be disappointed every time I look at that seam.

Bernie remembers that, during installation of the countertops, an adjustment was made to lower the island countertop slightly for the sink installation, and he thinks they may have already cut the left backsplash when the counter was sitting higher because the backsplash on the right was cut second and it fits perfectly.  In the end, however, too short is too short.  Tile Collection sent a repair technician out to change the caulk from translucent to white in hopes that the gap would be less noticeable, but no dice.  I asked for that backsplash to be replaced with a new one cut from the leftover pieces of my granite slab, and Tile Collection obliged.

The tricky thing about this is that initially, backsplashes are cut from adjacent parts of the stone so that the movement or pattern in the stone flows as uninterrupted as possible from one piece to the next.  Since the countertops adjacent to the backsplash were already installed in my home, the fabricator wouldn't have them in his shop as a reference when cutting the new piece.

My solution: Crayons to the Rescue!
I have a roll of heavy white butcher's paper in my sewing room that I use for making patterns, and I used it to make templates of my countertops indicating where the major veining patterns were located.  While I was doing this, my husband was looking at me like I was a wild-eyed crazy woman. 

I took pictures too, naturally, and those were invaluable for showing which colors I needed to have in various places.  I took my pictures to the granite fabrication shop along with my paper patterns, which I laid out right on the leftover piece of granite and found a place where the veining lined up even better than on the original backsplash.
Isn't that fabulous?  SO much prettier than before.  Scroll up and look at the original backsplash again.  I wasn't wild about the Big Black Blob on the original piece, and this one matches perfectly with all the beautiful golds and greens in exactly the right places.  I should tell you that in order to get this perfect piece of backsplash, they had to cut my little strip of stone right in the center of the remnant at about a 45 degree angle, which pretty much ruined a large remnant that they could have sold to another customer for a sink vanity or table top -- and to their credit, no one batted an eye.  I love these guys!  Everyone has great customer service before you sign the deal and stroke the check.  It's really important to me to know that my workrooms and suppliers are willing to go the extra mile for me at the end of the job, making adjustments and corrections until everyone is satisfied with the installation.  I highly recommend Tile Collection to anyone in the Charlotte, North Carolina area for stone countertops or tile work.

The same day that the backsplash was replaced, they also installed my red laundry room sink with its little granite counter.  Bernie and the installers were joking around that my sink is so big, all I'm left with is a granite sink frame instead of a countertop.  Whatever.
This little countertop was also cut from the remnants of the CD Volcano slab we chose for our kitchen.  After I butchered one of the two remnants for my Backsplash of Dreams, this was the only piece left that was big enough for the laundry counter and splashes.  It would have been nice if there was a smattering of the red and green in this piece, but the red ties in with the leftover kitchen fabric that will eventually be used for a little valance on the window in this toom to tie everything together and cheer up my laundry room.  The red enameled cast iron sink was special-ordered from Kohler, and it's the exact shade of red in my fabric (Monado in Havana colorway from Vervain).

The faucet is going to be the Venetian Bronze Delta faucet that I bought for my kitchen about a year ago, but the plumbing isn't connected yet.  Also, there is a nasty fluorescent tube light fixture in the laundry room that is going to have to go.  It casts a horrible sickly light and makes my colors look gross.

Hood Classic Globe from Rejuvenation Hardware
I really like the new Hood pendant with caged glass from Rejuvenation Hardware, so I think I might get that one for the laundry room.  It's based on industrial styles that were common from 1910-1920, and the wire cage served the useful purpose of containing broken glass if the globe should shatter.  It comes in 12", 14", or 18" diameter and uses a single 300 watt bulb.  I just think it would add a nice splash of personality and character, complement the dark bronze and opal glass fixtures in the kitchen beyond, yet it's a simpler, more functional style that's better suited to a workspace like a laundry room. 

-- Ooh, wouldn't it be fun to rip out the perfectly serviceable tile floor in the laundry room, and replace it with vintage-style 2" hexagonal mosaic tile like this?

Merola Tile Old World Hex with Dot from Home Depot

I'm not even going to suggest that to Bernie; I can't risk a mutiny.  Still, IF I was going to do it...  I like the way this particular background tile ties into my granite, but not so much the black dots.  The dots would need to be a more subtle contrast for me, maybe more of a golden/rust/brownish color on the same spectrum as the golds in the drapery fabric and the tones of the cabinetry.  So it would probably have to be custom-ordered instead of conveniently purchased from the local Home Depot. 

At some point, you just have to say that enough is enough and call it "done."  For now...  ;-)

1 comment:

Sun Citian said...

Thanks for your adventure in replacing your granite. Tomorrow I start the demolition and replacement of perfectly good granite that I hate. I hope at the end of the week I like mine as well as you like yours!