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Cottage Mosaics

Published on September 19, 2016 by sbonfigli

Around the time we were purchasing our home in Grand Isle, we took a family trip that included a stay in Barcelona, Spain. We really didn't have a plan of what to do or see in Barcelona. It was a place our oldest son wanted to visit while studying abroad in Spain, so we figured, why not visit as a family?

Following the crowds we found the many creations all around Barcelona by Antoni Gaudí, a famous architect who was born in 1852 and died in 1926. In one hillside park, Parc Güell, we were mesmerized by all the mosaics on walls, benches and tables throughout the park. We left inspired, wondering how we could do something similar at our new place in Grand Isle, VT.

Take a look at some of Antoni Gaudí's work in Barcelona. That's me and my family with La Sagrada Família church in the background. The church is still under construction today!

La Sagrada Família

La Sagrada Família

Casa Amatller and Casa Batlló

Casa Amatller,  designed by Josep Puig and Casa Batlló, by Antoni Gaudí.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We came up with a brilliant idea on how we could create our own work of art à la Antoni Gaudí! Instead of shutters on either side of all the windows on the cottage, we decided to build mosaic plaques underneath each window. Our initial thought was to build these pieces so that they could be removed and replaced easily for holidays or just on a whim. But after building 15 of these HEAVY mosaic boards, we decided that they would be placed permanently!

Mosaics a la Antoni Gaudí on our Green Cottage.

Mosaics a la Antoni Gaudí on our Green Cottage.

It took more than a year for this idea to come to fruition. We first had to put the second floor on the cottage and re-side the building. I also had to collect the tile.

Even though the cottage was move-in ready that December, our tile collection was only in its infancy. Our framed mosaic spaces under each window proudly displayed "Tyvek" into the following summer. I'm sure neighbors were wondering what kind of crazy people moved in to the neighborhood!

Andy and I are not artists. Building mosaic nature and wildlife scenes out of broken tile wasn't even in the picture, pun intended. But I certainly was capable of arranging broken tiles in a pleasing, disorderly fashion! I also wasn't willing to spend a fortune on the tile not knowing how awful my creations might be. Salvage yards were my shopping mecca. As long as the tile was the right thickness and had a little sheen to it, I grabbed it to add to my collection.

When my scrap tile acquisitions got to be extraordinarily heavy and somewhat varied, it was time to find something that would tie all the panels together. If you look closely at the photo of one of the panels, you'll notice 4 square tiles on a diagonal across the center of the panel.  That's what unifies all the panels. Those are the only tiles that I bought new and at full price. That's the only thing that is consistent across all 15 panels.

Over several days I sorted tiles, broke tiles, laid out patterns of broken pieces, applied thinset and attached the pieces. After that dried, I mixed epoxy grout and filled in the cracks between the tile and the glass beads that I also added for some sparkle. I knew that epoxy grout dried quickly, but it was too fast for me. I had to pull in Andy for this work. Within 2 weeks, I had all the panels ready for installation.

We're very happy about how our panels came out and how they look on the cottage. It's our little work of art on display for all to enjoy. I still have so much tile left over. One of these days I'll tile a table top that will be set on one of the cottage decks. Some day....

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