A colorful aquatic scene was created for the kitchen backsplash and countertop of a private residence in Key West, FL, with ceramic and glass mosaic tile.

The tile pieces that form each fish were mesh-mounted before installation. Once the entire tile mural was installed, grout from Custom Building Products was used to complete the work.

When it came to the design of her own kitchen, mosaic artist Jane Rohrschneider created a vivid countertop and backsplash with ceramic and glass tile that reflect the home’s beach surroundings. The entire mural was custom designed, fabricated and installed by Rohrschneider, and she grouted the tile with grout from Custom Building Products of Seal Beach, CA.

“I live in Key West, [FL], so I like the fish theme,” explained Rohrschneider. “I wanted it to look like an aquarium.”

To complement the dark cherry wood color of the cabinets, Rohrschneider opted for shades of blue, red, white and yellow for the playful backsplash and countertop design, which depicts elements such as a large grouper, a school of fish, turtles and bubbles that create a feeling of movement. “The fish are bright, but not too busy,” she said. “They dance around.”

According to Rohrschneider, the idea for the aquatic mural came about after she had ordered the cabinets. Initially, she thought maybe she would go with granite for the countertop, but then realized it could be fun and more interesting to create her own tile design.

“I hadn’t started thinking about the mural before I had ordered the cabinets,” she said. “I was pleased that the cabinets arrived in only three weeks. By the time they arrived, I had already cut the tile, and it was ready to install.”

The mosaic artist explained that the first step in the process was to draw the mural on a large sheet of paper. “I drew where the cabinets and school of fish would go so it was all laid out,” she said. “I measured it out on the floor so I could see what everything would look like.”

A flowing stream of circular glass tile pieces form bubbles and bring a sense of movement throughout the mural design.

After the drawing was complete, Rohrschneider then began to cut the individual pieces of tile for the fish. “Once the tile pieces for each fish were cut, I glued them to a mesh backing,” she said. “It works really great. Then I was able to install the entire fish [at once].”

Rohrschneider explained that she installed the additional tiles that create the water and bubbles separately. “Because it was my home, I put the pieces on individually, but if I was doing [the installation] for someone else, I would take measurements and set it on mesh,” said the mosaic artist.

As a complement to the sealife in the mural, the artist used round glass tile pieces that look like bubbles. “The bubbles have depth to them that causes shadows,” explained Rohrschneider. “When you walk around the kitchen, they kind of move. The bubbles flow and tie everything together.”

All of the tile used for the mural -- with the exception of the round glass pieces -- were manufactured by Daltile of Dallas, TX. According to Rohrschneider, she chose to use broken tile to create the water on the backsplash, but used squares for the countertop. “I like the broken tiles in the backsplash,” she said. “They give a sense of water. But the square tile is neater for the countertop, since I am actually cutting on it and using the countertop.”

In total, it only took Rohrschneider one day to install the tile mural, and then she grouted the pieces with grout from Custom Building Products the following day. “It was really fast,” she said.

Installation Details

Mosaic Artist/Installer:Jane Rohrschnedier; Key West, FL
Installation Products:grout from Custom Building Products; Seal Beach,CA
Number of Installers:1
Installation Time:1 day to install tile pieces; 1 day to grout