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


A kitchen design success story by Amy Dulak of Wild Juniper Studio 


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 (WILD JUNIPER STUDIO), 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

Sketch Up with Justin Clay TileStarting 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.

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. 

Before Kitchen Remodel

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 l Kitchen Backsplash Tile l Clay ImportsKitchen design complete!

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