A Kitchen Remodel Inspired by...Hummingbirds?

Sometimes kitchen remodels start with a very specific inspiration. In this case, that inspiration was these little guys.


I'll be honest. This was a first for me. A lot of designers probably would have insisted that the hummingbirds be eliminated, but I was determined to make them work. It presented a bit of a design challenge, yes, but also an opportunity to help my client create a unique space that she and her family would absolutely love. 

So I began this project hunting for tiles and granite slabs that would play nicely with these little feathered creatures.

I found the granite first. Madre Perla. Perfect shade of green and a very subtle pattern...almost like marble. (For locals, it was from 

Da Vinci Marble

 in San Carlos.) My client fell in love with this immediately.

Then I found this beautiful onyx and marble border piece, which was actually being discontinued as we were looking at it. My client loved this too, and we bought it up right away.

We knew we wanted to use the hummingbird tiles behind the stove, and I had to find a way to incorporate them without making it look cheesy. And although my client said it would be no problem to get more hummingbirds if we needed them, I assured her that would not be necessary. 

After drawing up a number of tile design options, we landed on this one. I opted for a 4x4 creamy white field tile to match the background color and shape of the hummingbird tile. I put them on a diagonal for a little variation since everything else was running straight. (Coincidentally, I'm just noticing that the interior mosaics are also running at a diagonal. Huh. Must have been one of those subconscious design decisions...) And I wanted to set the hummingbirds off against a bolder background, so I incorporated a mini-brick mosaic in the same green marble as the decorative border piece. The green brick was framed with a ceramic liner in a similar hue. Geez! It sounds so complicated when I write it all down! The truth is, though, tile design can get very tricky. Especially when there are hummingbirds involved.

We kept the rest of the backsplash pretty simple with creamy white subway tiles intersected with the border piece at about 2/3 the height of the backsplash.

My clients opted for white cabinetry everywhere but the island. I love how the rich wood tone helps keep the space warm. We also went replaced the existing flooring with a wood to match the rest of the house. 

The woven barstools are from Cost Plus World Market. They were too high for the counter, but the contracter fixed that problem easily by chopping a couple of inches off the legs.

The pendant light fixtures are from 

Schoolhouse Electric

. They have such cool glass shades. 

And here's a little before and after of the kitchen office area...



And the adjacent bar...



And the overall kitchen, which you might have seen on my 





Aren't those chairs great? I suggested my clients keep their old ones and paint them this fun coral color. (There's a bit of coral in those hummingbirds.) And the table they scored at a bargain price from another client of mine who was getting rid of it. See? It can really pay to work with a designer. Contrary to popular belief, we can 


 you money. Or, at least help you spend it in the right places.

This was such a fun project to work on. My clients were amazingly open to so many of my ideas and executed many of them themselves long after I was done consulting. They said they learned so much from me - so much that I pretty much taught myself out of a job! Not sure if that's the mark of a successful designer or not. Oh, well. Bottom line: they love their new kitchen. And that, to me, is the ultimate mark of successful design. Well, that and working peacefully with a group of hummingbirds. Those little guys can be pretty demanding, but we made it through without any major battles.

If you need help designing your kitchen around hummingbird tiles, or any other feathery friend,  give me a call at 650.867.3896 or shoot me an email at kelly@artestyling.com.