Thursday, November 08, 2007

Putting the electric into eclectic

Years ago when I worked in a furniture store a young woman came into the store and asked if we had any "electric furniture". She said she had been reading some decorating magazines and had read that the electric style was very popular. She meant, of course, eclectic.
My taste is nothing if not eclectic. There are too many beautiful things from so many different cultures that I refuse to limit myself, which has led to a house that looks like a secondhand store. I often think I have become that dotty old lady with all the tacky stuff that I used to roll my eyes at.
I am choosing things for the remodel of the kitchen at the new house and I wonder if I have crossed a taste line, though "tasteful" is not something I particularly aspire to!

Several years ago I bought a ceramic light fixture in Ecuador. We had discovered the Artesa store in Cuenca and loved everything we saw. When I found out it would cost more to ship it than the thing cost, I had them wrap it well and I schlepped it home as one of my carry-ons.

I plan to hang it over the sink in the new kitchen. So from there, I am thinking about the rest of the kitchen. I like the look of terra cotta tile, but the real thing is pretty hard to find around here and it has to be sealed and all. I found this porcelain tile that looks very much like the terra cotta. That rug will be in the adjoining dining room, where the tile will also go.

Another thing I have always wanted in my kitchen is Mexican tile. I am in love with Talavera tile patterns. I found one on the internet that I can order, so I am thinking of putting it on the backsplash. I have been playing around with configurations in Photoshop. Here are some ideas I've come up with:

Note that the brown at the top represents the dark oak cabinets, the green at the bottom represents a Corian countertop.

The tiles make a great secondary pattern when you can put four or more together. Rusty red—yum, yum. One of my favorite colors. But—it's all pretty dark. Here's another try with a light tile:
Nice, but I miss the red.
One row of the Talavera—hmm, interesting. I kind of like the zigzag that makes.

Oh man, I'm so confused! Has this become a jumble of too many patterns? Is it all going to look like a Mexican restaurant? And that Middle Eastern rug—how's that going to work? And I haven't even gotten to my greatgrandmother's antique china cabinet and my mother-in-law's old oak table and my sort of Queen Anne-ish chairs.



  1. Anonymous4:54 PM

    I like the first one (2 rows of red, no light tile) best. It is a little dark but that is only one part of the kitchen--right? You'll have that window to lighten things up. What color will the walls be? I think it's going to be great and very Terry. (And I've always loved that look.)

  2. Anonymous6:37 PM

    I also like the first combination best. Another combination that occurs to me is putting a double role of the patterned tile along the bottom and then a double row of white/light tiles. This gives you the X secondary pattern and brings out more of the colours of the tiles but also gives you a nice wide band of light colour to rest the eye... (What fun to indulge in vicarious home decorating! Our kitchen has white cabinetry and splashbacks with a charcoal countertop and we have no plans for revamping any time soon.)

  3. Anonymous10:15 PM

    Here is another redhead saying right on for the red. If I could do my own decorating without Mr C butting in, I would have such the eclectic, colorful home. I love everything you are working with so far.

  4. Anonymous11:40 PM

    Add me to the redheads for red list! I like the bottom choice though, as I think the pattern resting on the counter and getting progressively lighter as you go up (potential to blend well with creamy walls and/or trim). As for eclectic -- I say go for it. I consider the rug a neutral, but then again, that's coming from one who's house is furished in Persian rugs, 1940s hand me downs, German roadside finds, IKEA basics, and a few European antiques -- all buried under kids craft projects and homework, and my fabric, of course, so take my advice with a grain of salt. Oh, and there's nothing wrong with a bit of Mexican restaurant. Now I'm hungry!

  5. Anonymous12:09 AM

    Is there a special reason for floating the talavera one row above the counter? I keep thinking I'd like that single row right against the green counter, with a lovely expanse of the red tile above. I'm not sure about the double-row; while I like it, I also think it might be one of those things which dates badly and is a bit overpowering. The single row looks elegant as well as suitably eclectic & lively, IMO.

  6. oh I am a sucker for mexican tiles. I love the bright earthy colors you show here. The rug mirrors the design a bit doesnt it. As for dark, I think it looks rich and warmly inviting. Love where it is heading.

  7. So exciting! I love every detail and I'm just happy for you as you begin this new adventure.

  8. No comment on the tiles (didn't read it carefully) but all your 'things' represent CRAFTS, and TEXTURE and maybe COLLECTIONS -- something like my own collectionS of seemingly unrelated things, until I looked at my baskets, my quilts, my wood, my glass, my fabric, my line drawings, my wood antiques, and realized they are all crafty things. 8-)))) That's what your decorating style might be.

  9. hummmm....where is the terra cotta tile going?

  10. Long ago, I painted my own tiles and had them fired. You have such a gift, why not try your own?

    Maryland China is where I ordered my tiles and they were fired in the small kiln my MIL owned.

  11. I love all of that Mexican tile as well. My mother lives in the southwest and most of her house has terracotta with hand painted inserts. Yummy. I love the first selection -- but, given the lightintg in Oregon most of the year -- maybe the last one? And no, it won't look like a Mexican resturaunt -- it will look like the home of a vibrant and colorful artist!