NYC based portrait and family photographer, Malinda Goldberger shows us design is personal in her new kitchen made to match many other elements in her home and her family’s personality.
First, can you tell me about yourself?
My name is Malinda – I live with my husband Eddie and our two-year-old son Shiloh. I work as a children’s portrait and family photographer. We share our upper east side apartment with two cats, two chinchillas, and a large house rabbit.
What is your design philosophy?
Design should be personal and not so focused on what ramifications it will have (or not have) on the resale value of one’s property. My family life is fun and a little eccentric, and I wanted our apartment to reflect “us”. There was some concern that we were over-personalizing our living space, but we are the ones living in it…I couldn’t design for the “what-ifs” and “when”.
Where do you find inspiration?
This is going to sound very funny…I look through real estate listings of apartments and houses that are well above any price point that we would ever be able to afford. Looking at properties that are 20mm and above gives you a whole new sense of design – I find that rooms tend to have more personality…because if you have 5 bathrooms, why not take a risk in one or two of them?
How did you come up with your overall design?
Our kitchen backsplash was the last element of our apartment to be installed, so it had to fit in the overall design that had blossomed since we renovated and moved in two years ago. We have an open-concept apartment which is fantastic on paper, but in real life it’s challenging. You can see everything from everywhere! Our kitchen is directly across from our dining area which is wallpapered with Andy Warhol selfies (from FlavorPaper) and next to our entrance which is dramatically tiled (from Nemo). I wanted something to tie all of our fun elements together. The Pulse tile collection was a perfect fit.
What were your main goals for the space?
I wanted the space to maintain its clean feel while being “fun” – I didn’t want to do something extremely trendy (like white subway tile) because I knew I would get bored with it.
What made you choose the tile you did?
I found the Pulse collection after going through every single one of Nemo’s tile designs, and when I saw the cartoon accent tiles, I almost fell out of my seat. I called my husband over and I am not lying when I say that it was the first time he has ever gotten excited about a design. I made an appointment the next day with Akilah Hoyte to order the tile.
How did the installation process go? Did you face any challenges?
The installation process was made a lot easier by having a fantastic contractor. I interviewed several contractors before hiring Edvin Blushi. All of the Pop tiles are unique – he was willing to work with me and my hand-drawn tile layout. We did face a few challenges – the patterned tiles do not cut as well as the smooth tiles, so we had to place all smooth tiles on the top row near the upper cabinets. Edvin also found that the tile sizes differ slightly from one another (up to as much as 3/8”) so the corners don’t meet up as evenly. He placed the tiles in a way that minimized this imperfection, but if he didn’t tell me about it I would never have noticed it.
What are some trends you have seen lately?
I see a lot of either white tile being used in kitchen backsplashes, or aqua-colored glass. Both trends are beautiful, but they are very safe choices. Great for resale value but not for everyday living.
All images: Malinda Goldberger