Decorating Fun · Design Inspiration · Design Projects · Installation and Execution

Fun With Installation- AllState Back Splash

Just to catch you up if you have not been following, I was commissioned to design the working Viking kitchen at AllState Appliances in Scottsdale, AZ. Any cool design element needed to be a promotional marketing donation and this kitchen HAD to be different from the other twenty something vignettes that were planted around the showroom. My only goal was to get people to talk about it… to be memorable.

The materials for the cabinets, floor, countertops and ceiling treatment have all been designed and selected. I have no earthly clue what I want to do with the backsplash. I know quite a few things that I don’t want to do- subway tile, any linear pattern glass tile, anything that is too busy- so that leads me to my end result of back painted plate glass. This is something I’ve done before and it gives me all the freedom in the world to do whatever I want with color and pattern.

Back-painted Glass Back Splash
Back-painted Glass Back Splash

This was a kitchen I did for a remodel in Scottsdale about 7 years ago where the home owner abhorred grout, but we desperately needed color and rhythm if we were to avoid a very boring contemporary space. We used metallic gel paints that were troweled on in layers. It’s luminous in person!

I wasn’t sure what the AllState back splash design was going to be until the morning of the installation, which was the day of the party. Yes, that’s a bit too close for my comfort, but some silly things happened that led me to this scrambling place of eleventh hour.  The entire week before had been wrought with broken promise after broken promise from the glass company, so I wasn’t even sure I would have anything to paint at all until the panels were delivered to my house at 5:50pm the night before.

Earlier that day, I stood in the kitchen looking around at all of the imbalanced color and texture and movement and knew that I needed something large in scale and fairly graphic in shape and color. This is what it looked like then.

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Before Appliances and Backsplash

At 6am (12 hours before the unveiling party) I drew a ridiculously complicated and brilliant design with a slightly retro feel that paid homage to the awesome ceiling treatment that I installed and brought all of the colors around the space and tied everything together. I was excited- it would be really cool, if done right.

The Design
The Design

I drew it left to right on my screen, but we had to paint it as the mirror image- oh, trust me, that makes perfect sense that I would do that, have you met me? And the shapes overlapped each other and were placed across seams, so the mapping out of what to paint first was a challenge in and of itself. The numbers in the squares relate to their sizes. I did the order by looking at the picture. Keep in mind that each paint color required 2-3 coats of paint and we were meeting the installer there at 4:30pm.

This time my crew was larger, consisting of my sister Lisa, of course, my niece Mackenzie (minoring in Art) and my lovely assistant, Shanti. A power team of “Git er Done!” if there ever was one!

Measure Twice, Paint Once
Measure Twice, Paint Once

Stencils were cut, assembly line formed, work commenced seamlessly. The most annoying part of my design was that most of the squares were not painted solid, but were actually outlines, which meant taping inside and outside before we painted. Oh wait, also delaying the execution was that the corners were rounded and not square. Have you ever tried making a rounded corner with blue tape? Welcome to the land of Un-fun.

Kitchen Turned Workroom
Kitchen Turned Workroom

All we really needed was more time on the clock and more people with hair-dyers. At one point, every surface in my kitchen had some component of this project covering it.

The colors in the above design were tomatoe red and apple green with the outlined squares in metallic charcoal and the gray solid ones in silver leaf. I love any kind of gilding so this was my favorite part- one coat of adhesive, two sheets of leaf, done. The red and green both took three coats and the metallic charcoal was a nightmare. It was the perfect color, so when we noticed the word “textured” on the label, we didn’t care because it would be behind the glass anyway. We didn’t know that would translate to the equivalent of painting with oatmeal. It looked solid and filled in because it was so thick and chunky and when we looked through the glass, it was mostly translucent. And it came off with the tape. Rude.

Dry Faster!
Dry Faster!

Now for the final steps. Three coats of Martha Stewart’s Glitter Specialty Finish (found at Home Depot) and a final layer of Killz which also needed two coats. I was always going to use white as my background, but I chose Killz to seal in all of the other paints and become a protective barrier.

Forty Minutes til the Party
Forty Minutes til the Party

We loaded up the car at 4:37pm and got to the site to find a ton of people still working in the tiny space. The appliances were still being put in and the cabinet guy was just installing the hardware… all where we needed to be. No one complained. They just plodded forward.

allstate backsplash
Art Installed!

We finished at exactly 6pm with a few minor flaws, but overall, the final product was nothing short of impressive… especially the last 12 hours of it!

2 thoughts on “Fun With Installation- AllState Back Splash

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