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Design Trends that Sizzled in 2005

by Dy Witt

Everyone who has some major redesigning ideas for their kitchen or bath has a secret desire to know what OTHER people are doing. Even if they do not have any intention of imitating or copying others' ideas, they still want to believe their ideas are not too far out.

This year, 2005, has been an exciting year for hand-painted tile. The overwhelming trend for kitchen and bathroom tile murals has been tropical fish. In multi-tile scenes with their natural environment of corals and rocks, and in single accent tiles to scatter around the room for effect, more people chose fish as their design theme than any other subject.

One reason for the popularity of tropical fish as a design theme, I believe, is because there is such a huge variety of colors that any preconceived color scheme can be accommodated with some or other species, no matter what. Even if blue/green is the main color, the fish can float in their natural color background with no distracting rocks or brightly colored corals.

Another reason could be because the idea for hand-painted tiles to beautifully accent a room's decor often comes, in typical human fashion, AFTER the basic colors have already been chosen. What theme has so many colors to match with as tropical fish?

They are also great as an abstract them as well. They are as wonderful in a whimsical, cartoonish style as they are in a realistic style. Kids love the fun ones in their tub and shower walls. Adults seem to like the more somber, darker colored abstracts, such as the copper-colored weather-vane look, with a greenish patina, an awesome mural in the kitchen!

Silhouettes are popular too. Many fish species have a distinct profile that is easily recognizable in silhouette. Use varying colors and the effect is marvelous! Interspersed with silhouettes of other sea items like coral, shells, and other nautical items, and you have a one-of-a-kind art theme in your own special space.

Believe it or not, even dead fish, done in a realistic style, can be painted to look excellent, rather like the way they look laid out in a market bin. It has a "French poster" look to it that goes very well in some country-style decors. Of course, this style works best with food fish, as opposed to tropical fish species.

There really is no end to the marvelous themes and schemes that can be created using fish as a basic motif, whether food, game or tropical fish are used. Work with a tile artist who is open to all your ideas and she will create a magical space that will be tireless and timeless.

I believe that with so many people catching on to the fish theme, this will be the hottest trend for years to come. Especially within all-white tile walls, the bright colors set off anything and everything you wish to accesorize, and these things can be changed every year and your tile will always have a color within that matches.

Brighten Your Decor Using Hand-Painted Ceramic Tile

by Dy Witt

        At one time, ceramic tile was only for the wealthy. No more. Today, for the same price as you will pay for manufactured cast resin, imitation marble or other polymer, you can have a one-of-a-kind piece of fine art, made by an American artist who is willing to work with YOUR ideas and concepts.

        Suppose you love plants and flowers, but the wall over your sink in the kitchen has no window? Tell the artist your favorites, she will paint your favorite ferns or perennials, in a basket or within its own little garden. What if you moved south and miss your paper birch trees so badly? A mural over your bathroom sink of these gorgeous white and black trees, with or without surrounding fall foliage, will guarantee a lifetime of the perfect view.

        No wall space for a mural? How about accent tiles placed every foot or so of your favorite cooking herbs in an 1800's style, right out of the Farmer's Almanac? Or an easy-to-clean backsplash behind the kitchen sink of fruits connected by flowering vines all in a lively color scheme?

        The best part about tile is you only have to do it once. You choose timeless and tireless motifs and place them where you need something durable. Side-by-side with gold, ceramic is the most durable substance we know. What else has told us the history of human culture as accurately? Nothing the manufacturers have come up with can surpass ceramic tile for lasting beauty. Nothing.

        Working with an artist as opposed to a factory has many benefits. The artist has sentimental memories too, and usually does the work she does for other reasons than moving out volumes of product for profit, so she is more than happy to fill your space with warm homey decoration. We all have a favorite old pattern or print, maybe Grandma's stitching or an old tapestry. Everything eventually wears out and must be discarded. Except ceramic. Have it painted on tile and installed for all time. Have a family crest? These look gorgeous on tile.

        Framed watercolors and drawings do not do well in steamy bathrooms or near greasy cook stoves, gathering dust and needing cleaning way too often. A tapestry or rug painted on ceramic tile will look beautiful inlaid into any wall. In the hall where people always bump paintings is a great idea. Stair risers that always get scuffed up can be painted in a myriad of design motifs, like southwestern, Mayan or Aztec, any colorful design, and fill a dull stairway with permanent brilliant color.

        Do you work too many hours to have pets? A brilliant parrot on the wall in the corner of your livingroom, gleaming feathers shining, will welcome you home, making no noise and quietly demanding no food or attention! No other art medium can imitate the iridescence and brilliance of bird feathers like ceramic glaze. A skilled hand-painter can imitate textures and colored objects from all around the world. Mayan stone carvings, Egyptian hieroglyphics, even cave art paintings all look so real in ceramic. Solid blocks of color in bold graphic shapes is the other end of the design spectrum, sleek and glossy and very modern.

        Color makes a very powerful statement, as we all know. Please do not feel compelled to use what the remodelling stores offer, the dull and unimaginative and very plain tiles they sell in volume. Email a hand-painter and she will help you come up with the only one in the world, a unique piece of fine art that is yours alone. The best part is that you can often get this for the same price or less than the stores' preprinted or silkscreened murals! Timeless and elegant decor is only a few weeks away.

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