The story of a custom kitchen backsplash

The story of our Tree of Life backsplash: from commission to completion

kitchen backsplash tile by Natalie Blake

Last year at this time (December 2012) a couple from Washington contacted us to discuss commissioning a custom kitchen backsplash. They’d seen our website and found images of our Tree of Life that they really liked.  They emailed us the image that they liked best, commenting on how they liked the way the roots looked, and the overall shape of the tree. They also asked whether we could make the piece in cream and brown, to complement the stone in the stove area.

After getting the measurements of the wall where the backsplash was to be installed, we Photoshopped an image of our Tree of Life into the image of their stove area.  We determined that 4, 12″ x 12″ tiles would be the best size for the space. This size would also allow for a 1″ border tile to set the piece off from the rest of the stone backsplash.  We recommended that the tree be offset, rather than centered, to mirror the asymmetry of the stovetop:

Their response was “So beautiful!  The tree design is fantastic!” Once we had the design nailed down, we worked more on the glaze color to use.

glaze colors by Natalie Blake StudiosThey emailed us images of the stone that would comprise the majority of the backsplash. Based on this image, and their request for cream and brown, we sent them 3″ x 3″ color chips of our yellow and our cream glazes and showed them how each glaze would look against their stone.

We all agreed that the cream glaze would be the best choice for the piece.  The piece was completed about 6 weeks later. We sent the couple an image of the tiles, fresh from the glaze kiln:


handmade, ceramic, art tile, backsplash by Natalie Blake Studios

Backsplash, glazed in cream


Their response: “They look so beautiful!!! We can’t wait–thanks for keeping us appraised on your progress. We couldn’t be happier:)”

They asked us about what sealant we’d recommend putting on the tiles since they are installed behind the stovetop.  While all of our tiles have a low sheen that is scrubbable it’s not imperative that a sealant is used. However, if a client wants to seal the tiles we recommend using Miracle, 511 Porous Plus, Natural Look Penetrating Sealer.

Here are images of the piece, installed. The border tile that was used is tumbled Turkish Travertine, available at most tile stores.

handmade, ceramic kitchen backsplash tile by Natalie Blake

handmade, sgraffito-carved, ceramic, backsplash tile

24″ x 24″ Tree of Life kitchen backsplash

“We could not be happier with how our tile backsplash turned out…we are so grateful to have found you for our project. We wanted this to be the focal point of our newly remodeled kitchen & to have it be a representation of something important to our family. This is perfect!! Thank you again for working with us to make this happen!

We’ve had a few holiday gatherings this month & have had SO many people ask where we got these beautiful tiles!!!  They really set everything off perfectly.” –Brad and Kim, Washington State

handmade, custom, ceramic backsplash tile






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4 Responses to “The story of a custom kitchen backsplash”

  1. Kathy February 6, 2014 at 7:29 am #173177

    Beautiful! Offsetting the tree was a great recommendation. There’s not a price given for the tiles made to order for this project. Would it be possible to get that information? Thank you! Kathy Hummel

  2. NB Studios February 6, 2014 at 8:57 am #173225

    Hi, These piece is comprised of 12″ tiles. The price for this piece is $1,600, plus shipping. Thanks

  3. Cheryl Dunlap May 14, 2015 at 7:19 pm #558940

    This is just what I have been looking for. If I send you the measurements behind my stove can you make me one of these of the Tree of Life? The colors, everything is exactly what I want. Please email me with your contact information. I am in Alabama. Thanks

  4. NB Studios May 15, 2015 at 11:46 am #559068

    We are ready to work with you and make a Tree of Life. Please send us the measurements, and I can let you know the cost.

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