Choosing the Best Backsplash

Choosing the backsplash of your modern Italian kitchen is a great way to infuse your unique tastes.  It is also an opportunity to create a focal point or play with the way the space appears.  For example, vertical backsplashes will make the kitchen appear larger and taller.  Marble, a classic choice, can be used to make your modern kitchen backsplash feel royal – especially with an uncommon counter-to-ceiling wall application. The only limit on your backsplash options is your imagination.  Wallpaper has resumed its popularity in the last few years and a simple coat of paint will never go out of style.  The challenge with both of these options is that they won’t protect the walls from spills and stains over time.

The following options are recommended because they are easy to clean and are perfect for complementing any modern Italian kitchen design:

Tile is the most popular backsplash choice.  It’s also the most overwhelming in terms of options since there are hundreds of styles.  Tile is available in a huge variety of sizes, colors, textures and shapes.  There are also many options within a specific tile size.  For example, there is an abundance of options for   subway tile.

When redesigning my own kitchen, I was overwhelmed with amount of options and photos available of tile backsplashes; all equally exquisite.  I recommend keeping it simple by choosing a tile that mimics the floor you have chosen.  The result will be a sense of uniformity and sleekness in tune with modern Italian kitchen design.

You can create a unique tile design by adding accent tiles made of metal or glass above the sink, stove or focal point of any wall with a backsplash.  A great way to highlight the character of your modern Italian kitchen and create a sense of continuity is to add a border approx. two-thirds the height of the backsplash.

Glass and stone mosaics are currently very popular.   They are perfect for a kitchen backsplash because they are impractical for most other kitchen surfaces.

The use of stone in particular is a great way to soften the edges of an industrial modern kitchen.  As you can see in the photo, the use of natural stone along the walls infuses an element of warmth into the modern kitchen.

Stainless steel is ideal for a very clean, modern look.  Stainless steel backsplashes are perfect for the kitchen because they are easy to keep clean and look especially beautiful in modern settings.  As an added bonus, they are eco-friendly.

The placement of a single sheet of stainless steel can create an element of sleekness and is practical for kitchen use.  There are also miniature stainless steel tiles available which add an industrial edge to the modern kitchen.

This post has been brought to you by the good folks at Berloni America, leaders in modern Italian kitchen cabinets , modern Italian sofas, and modern Italian home design. We’d love for you to connect with us on facebook and twitter for more tips on designing the home of your dreams!

SOFTEN THE EDGES     The look of this industrial modern kitchen is softened by designer Randy Weinstein with an ivory subway-tiled backsplash and contrasting rich wooden cabinetry around it. Four open shelves allow the backsplash more function by providing visible storage space, while adding a decorative quality with eclectic dishware and accessories.

Nothing is more eye-catching than a sparkling mosaic backsplash. Designer Linda Woodrum created this kitchen's focal point by combining reclaimed stained-glass tiles in gray, white and yellow to create a stunning, detailed backsplash against the entire back wall. The colorful glass tiles complement the dark wood cabinetry and the kitchen's overall urban edge, while also integrating a bold dose of color to match the golden-yellow work island.

Focus In    The first thing you notice upon entering HGTV Dream Home 2010's kitchen is the dramatic floor-to-ceiling backsplash in soothing hues of aqua and turquoise. Designer Linda Woodrum wanted to ensure that the backsplash was the star of the kitchen by keeping the cabinetry low and by using soft, subtle neutrals in the surrounding decor. Inlaid in recycled aluminum, the sleek glass tiles coordinate well with the contemporary stainless steel furnishings, while also lending a colorful and artistic element to the space.

WARM IT UP To add visual warmth to this urban kitchen, designer Tina Muller used tumbled natural stone along the walls for the backsplash. When paired with stainless steel appliances, white fusion granite countertops and dark-chocolate maple cabinetry, the backsplash instantly appears clean and contemporary.

UNIFY YOUR DESIGN    In this contemporary kitchen, designer Erinn Valencich takes the glossy blue-gray backsplash all around the room to create a unified design with elegant and romantic appeal. The mosaic glass border, with hues of brown and blue, provides a sufficient dose of color and pulls in the scheme from the adjacent dining room for a consistent look that appears subtle yet captivating.

Make it pop  This stunning gray backsplash makes a colorful statement against crisp white-lacquer cabinets and countertops. "The backsplash is so highly reflective that it looks wet and reflects so much light around the room," says designer Samantha Pynn. To further play up the backsplash, she coordinated the gray tiles with gray living room decor, such as the sofa and other accessories, for an open and cohesive look.


'Ciao' Down on Pasta

When it comes to pasta, there are many ways to ‘ciao’ down. Pasta comes in a variety of shapes, lengths and widths.  Most pasta is made from durum wheat semolina flour and water, and some has eggs.  You’ve probably seen a variety of colors which reflects ingredients such as light green from spinach or basil, or pink from tomatoes.  Tonight, I am pairing a fresh spinach salad with spinach and Chive linguini and stuffed cabbage.  It may sound like an odd combination, however my family loves pasta!   We eat it up to five times per week, often as a side dish.  I will sauté garlic in olive oil and toss it with the pasta add some Grana Padano parmesean cheese.

In the U.S., most restaurants offer angel hair, farfalle, fettuccini, gemelli, gnocchi (made from potatoes), lasagna, linguini, manicotti and spaghetti.  In Italy, diners are usually offered many more options than an American could possibly imagine.  Surprisingly, Italians accounted for 250 different pasta types and shapes at the end of the nineteenth century.  Today, that number has been reduced to approx. 55.

I can never eat enough pasta and enjoy finding and trying new varieties for my family.  When making new recipes, it is helpful to know which pasta types are ideal for the meal at hand, esp. in case one must substitute for the type of pasta specified by the recipe.

Pasta for Baked Casseroles- I prefer tubular shapes for baked dishes because the seasonings, cheese and ingredients seep into the pasta creating a flavorful bite.  Also, tubular shapes such as ziti holds up to longer baking times.  In my experience, mostaccioli, bombolotti and rigatoni are best size-wise.

Pasta in Sheets for Layered Dishes- Pasta types cut from larger sheets and divided into shapes used for baking pasta in the oven so that the layers fit the pan include lasagna, tagliatelle, pappardella, farfalle and cannelloni.  Like most Americans, I only use lasagna when it comes to layered pasta dishes, and love it!

Pasta for Soups- Smaller pasta shapes are ideal for soups so that they easily fit on a soup spoon along with other ingredients.  I’ve found that the following work best: sea shells, ditalini, elbows, orzo or acini de pepe.

The secret isn’t always in the sauce.  There are also ideal pasta types depending on the sauce.  Thin spaghetti is paired best with lighter sauces that use minimal oil such as fresh tomato sauce or seafood based sauces.  Fettucini and linguni are ideal for oil or cream based sauces.

If your favorite sauces are dairy-based or robusto, rich in flavor, choose a tubular shape like penne or shell-shapes like orecchiette.  Their ridged surface is ideal for trapping rich sauces inside and out; each bite will burst with flavor. The same holds true for ridged pasta which are best paired with heavier sauces that are very thick such as chunky meat, pesto or spicy sauces.

No matter what pasta type you choose, 'Chi mangia bene, vive bene' or He who eats well, lives well.

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