How Designer Amy Dulak Tackled Her Own Kitchen Design With A Little Grit & Moxie


When my husband and I decided to build a custom home, I knew I wanted to make it feel uniquely “us” which I knew would require us to make some bold choices. I wanted a new home that didn’t feel new, I wanted my home to have that “lived in” look when we moved in. I wanted a space with some grit and moxie.

As an interior designer, I had the ability to put our entire floor plan into Sketch Up and set out to utterly over-think every square inch of our future home. It’s a blessing and a curse - I wanted to fire myself on several occasions (ask any designer - being your own client is the absolute worst). But I digress.

Sketch Up a Plan

Render Sketch Up for a Kitchen with Justin Clay Tile

Starting this kitchen design with a plan…

I began to design my kitchen cabinets, trying all types of layouts and pulling inspiration from everywhere. Once I got the cabinets how I wanted them, I pulled back in the model and realized it was very bottom heavy with our high vaulted ceilings. I knew we needed some sort of wall treatment to help connect the top of the vault to the working area. We considered stenciling and wall paper (neither were ideal for a kitchen application); it soon became clear that a patterned tile was the answer.

Starting the Journey

Before Kitchen RemodelThis is the first wall you see upon entering our home and I wanted it to be special. I knew I wanted something with a large repeat to keep the wall from looking too busy, but I wanted something both bold but also fresh and bright. With Sketch Up, I had the luxury of trying out several tiles. I tried several that I thought would be *it*, only to put them in and feel my heart sink. Most of the patterns were too tight for the large application.

That feeling of finding the tile

The moment I put in Clay Imports Justin Tile, I audibly gasped (and I immediately wanted to give myself a bonus for finding the. perfect. tile.). It completely fit the bill. I had been using the stories feature on Instagram to share the progress of my home design. I asked something like “I love this tile - am I crazy?!”. About 95% of people were totally with me. Not that I needed the validation, but you know when you stare at something for so long, you’re not sure anymore. Kinda like when you say fork over and over - it seems to lose all meaning.

This tile was one of the first materials I selected for our home. I bought a single tile and carried it around with me everywhere for months. Once a few more materials began to take shape, the next major decision came up: cabinets: stain or paint. I landed on both. I love an accented island and decided to go wood with the island. Our previous home had painted cabinets and I just loved how bright and cheery it made everything and decided to carry that element into our new home.

Before Kitchen Remodel
Before Kitchen Remodel

Don't underestimate the Paint!

I tried SO MANY paint samples. My husband was beginning to get concerned that I was spending all our painting budget on sample paints. Ok, not really - but I bought a lot, and he DID express some concern. But in the end decided that a slightly darker teal from the tile was perfect. It supports the boldness of the tile without taking away from it. 

How to mix wood and tile

A space with grit & moxie

Now that our home is completed, and we’ve been in for a full year, we still love it as much as the day it was installed. I can’t imagine any other tile there, and it gives our home just the right amount of moxie I was looking for.

Justin Clay Kitchen Backsplash Tile Clay Imports

Kitchen design complete!

We hope this remodelation inspired you! And remember, if you have any questions or require more information, don't hesitate to reach out to us at or chat with us here.