How we made the cake-inspired tile mosaic in our kitchenette

If you didn’t catch it, we were recently featured on the home renovation show In With The Old, on Magnolia Network. I’ve been doing a deep dive into each space we tackled. Last week it was all about the Scandinavian folk-inspired staircase and kitchen and this week it’s the tiled kitchenette. Today I’m talking the process behind the cake-inspired tiled kitchenette.

Here’s how it goes!


Click here for all the before and after photos from the home renovation
See the full kitchen renovation here
Read about the kitchen cabinets here
Click here to read more about the kitchen hardware.
If you’re interested in seeing the oven, click here.

See how we turned the fridge into a cabinet

How we made the cake-inspired tile mosaic in our kitchenette

I don’t exactly recall how the idea hit me to turn the kitchenette into a decadent layered frosted cake. Maybe it was seeing how many colors, Fireclay Tile had? I can’t recall! All I knew is that I wanted my team to be able to come to work and have the most delightful experience. A trip to the kitchen should ooze with whimsy (especially one where you don’t actually have the cook or bake anything–that is a score in my opinion). We’re never trying to be too cool around here, just tap into what makes life fun! And that’s a frosted layered cake, obviously.

Colored Tile

Fireclay had so many options of colors and I spent a good amount of time trying to figure out the combinations I liked the most.

Inspiration for the tile mosaic

I looked to classic cake frosting ideas like these over the top ones with lots of swags and rosettes.

At first I went to town with this idea only to realize that these cakes actually got their inspiration from interiors in the first place. So the idea circled back on itself.

Designing the cake mosaic

I realized I needed to modernize the idea so it didn’t feel too rococo and started to play with simple shapes. Please disregard all these color combos!

I didn’t feel like the shapes were going to read “cake” enough so our intern, Emily, came up with some frosting. I loved this direction! 

But I couldn’t quite figure out how to incorporate the frosting. Did I have to customize some tile? Or Did I have to turn it into a wallpaper so I could do any shapes I wanted?

Finally I realized that the mouldings and trim could all help with the effect of the decorative cake idea. I found some ornate crown mouldings (from here) and polka dot baseboards here. They’re so over the top that they are perfect for it. Please note, our trims guy kind of bailed on us so we haven’t yet installed the baseboards.

Not knowing how to bring the frosting part onto the tile, I finally realized I could do it with the shelves. Maybe I could create some 3D component? I found this yellow pantry with the scalloped shelves and it was game over. So good. So then I looked into how to make the scalloped shelves. I figured we’d have to DIY it, but ended up finding some already made trim on Etsy here and then we just attached it to blank shelves and then painted over it. I talked more about that in this post.

Mock ups of the design

I couldn’t gauge the scale of everything so I cut out the exact shapes of the Fireclay tile in paper and made a mock up. I talked with the guy who was going to install the tile and he indicated that you could cut any of the tile down so I could really customize any shape I wanted.

That came in helpful when working with the half circle tiles. They didn’t have any blank color surrounding it so we just made some with more tile.

I hung the mock up in the space to see if I liked it and we had it there while we placed the tile order and waited the few months for the tile to be made in California.

In the meantime, I made more of a plan with some photoshop mock ups with the lighting, cabinets, and appliances.

Adding in that great crown and baseboards really sealed the deal.

Our ceilings are only 8′ tall so I had to be mindful of getting anything that would come down too low. I ended up going with a single pendant.

While we waited for our tile, I envisioned more to the design that we ended up not really having time for. I wanted to add in some paneling on the two walls.

Drawings for the kitchenette

And on the opposite wall, I wanted to add in a custom banquette. I think we’ll still be doing this at some point, but who knows!

I really wanted to have fun with some custom hardware, but we also didn’t have time for that. Maybe one day!

The day the tile arrive was a very big day. It took about 3 months to hand make all the tile so yes, I was on the edge of my seat. Our tile guy, Mike, was so great to work with. He encouraged me to lay out the design so we could see how it would work in the space.

Lay out the pattern on the ground

This is when we could adjust some measurements of where we wanted the tile to be. You can see that the circle tiles come in a square. I wanted most of the whites to be taken off.

Testing out the pattern

Then he put one row up from top to bottom to see what would be cut off at the bottom. We were able to get two of the circle rows in. I would have loved to have seen another row of blue and white in there too, but there was no room for that. Yes, I was freaking out–I was in love!

Adding in the grout

Mike put the tile as close together as possible. I really wanted the pattern to show through and that was the best way to do it. I really like seeing the spaces though. It’s kind of fun to see it without the grout in yet.

Adding on the scalloped open shelving

Pat came to the rescue once again with the shelves. She bought some from Home Depot and then added on the scallops. We used these shelf brackets.

This is the day we shot the show in the basement that didn’t actually make the cut.

What’s left to do

There’s still some things we need to do to the space like add on hardware, paneling on the walls, and the banquette on the other side, but overall, it brings me happiness every time I walk in. And it brings Jasper happiness too because he likes to climb on the shelves and get the candy. I will be taking those down and replacing them with cake stands soon.

Ok! Let me know what you think! Would love to hear your thoughts!!



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