Oceanside is a coastal city located on California's South Coast. Although it's the third largest city within San Diego County, it is one of the most relaxed areas of the state, where people go to enjoy panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, which are offered from almost every part of the city.

In order to carry this theme into their remodeled kitchen, a couple that owns a beachside cottage in the city decided to employ a colorful collection of mosaic tile from Lunada Bay Tile. "The clients did not want to remodel the entire kitchen. They wanted to make an aesthetic impact without tearing everything out," explained Charmean Neithart, senior designer of Charmean Neithart Interiors in South Pasadena, CA, who led the design process. "We saved a significant amount of money by keeping the existing cabinets and only installing a new counter, backsplash, sink, faucet and appliances; and painting the cabinets."

To revamp the look of the homeowners' kitchen, around 50 square feet of 1- x 4-inch brick-style tiles from Lunada Bay Tile's Agate Glass collection in "Lucca Pearl" were selected and employed throughout the various areas of the kitchen. This handmade mosaic series is created using molten silica and is hand-poured to exhibit the colors and characteristics of naturally formed stone. Available in 14 different colors, fine grained bands of color combine subtle to intense highlights in a microcrystalline structure.

The different shades of blue conveyed in "Lucca Pearl" — ranging from darker to lighter tones — relay the feeling of the ocean and truly embrace the environment which the house is located in. The tiles also incorporate occasional creases, wrinkles, shivers, fissures, chips, irregularities, waves and bubbles, which are typical of hand-made glass, and only serve to enhance the look of the space.

"We were certainly looking for a specific color [when designing this space]," explained Neithart. "We didn't want just one tone; we wanted a blend. We wanted maintenance to be easy because it's a second house. Glass is easy maintenance and we also wanted something affordable."

Although tile was utilized for a handful of areas within the kitchen, Neithart made an interesting design choice for the backsplash to make it more of a statement piece. "What made it much more visually interesting is that we took the tile all the way to the ceiling on the sink wall, which made more of an accent wall," she said.

When completing the design, Neithart said the only challenges she encountered involved the termination point for the peninsula side of the kitchen. "There were no upper cabinets above the kitchen sink, so we needed to use a Lunada Bay Tile liner — 5/8- x 8-inch Frost Silk Finish Flat liner — to finish it," she explained.

Despite the minor complication, the project took about a month and a half to complete, with Neithart and her team onsite frequently to supervise the installation and ensure everything was going as planned. "We were looking for transitions, cut off points, checking spacing and grout color," said Neithart.

The clients are overjoyed with the final product, and since its completion, Neithart has received various requests to complete similar designs. "This project is located in a gated community in Oceanside, and after friends in the same community saw the completed project, we were asked and completed two additional projects in the same neighborhood," she said.

Private Residence

Oceanside, CA


Designer: Charmean Neithart Interiors, South Pasadena, CA

General Contractor: Steigerwald-Dougherty, Solana Beach, CA

Tile Supplier: Tap N Tile, Pasadena, CA

Tile Installer: D. Vaughn Construction Corp., Carlsbad, CA