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Small Designs Magazine

Small Designs Magazine

Friday, February 28, 2014

Great Mosaics from Florida

Memories of Mosaics is an online shop that brings mosaics to another level. The piece that took my attention is the great colorful guitar covered entirely with tiles. The owner of the shop is Christine Burgess. 

The artist has been working in mosaics for over 10 years now, mostly doing keepsake mirrors and home decor items. But lately she’s been doing special pieces including guitars, mannequins, steer heads and custom pieces. Christine says that she gets some help from her husband on building her bases but she does everything else.

Where did you get the idea for your business and when did you get started?
I wanted to come up with a way I could preserve my keepsakes from my mom and dad. I had jewelry, dishes, metal pins, bolo tiles etc. and decided to make a mosaic mirror that would have the functionality of the mirror while displaying my memories for me to see every day. After making the first mirror I realized that other people might like to have the same thing so Memories in Mosaics was born. This was in 2007.

How did you start this passion for mosaics?
I first started doing mosaic furniture and counter tops after browsing through the "Parade of Homes" in Colorado back in early 2000. Being a creative person I knew I could do what I had seen in the various homes so I just dug right in. My first project was my guest bath countertop and backsplash. It took a while but I was pleased with the finished product and wish I had photos.

What does it take to make one mosaic?
The very first thing I do is lay out the various tiles, gems, jewelry etc. in the colors I want to use. Next I decide what size mirror and base would work for my design and ask my husband to cut and frame my base. I paint the the entire frame and base including the back before I start the mosaic process. I generally come up with my design in my head and go from there unless I am doing a custom order. I lay out a section at a time then glue the pieces down. I cut tiles from various dishes and place them as closely together as I can eliminating wide grout lines unless the grout is part of the design. 
Once it’s all glued down I let it dry overnight and grout the next day. Choosing the grout color can change the entire look of a piece so I sometimes play with this by trying different dry grout colors in some of the spaces around the tiles. Once I choose one I vacuum it out. The next step is to grout and let it dry. I usually start to remove excess grout within the first 15 minutes to get the majority of it off then let the piece dry. I spray a mist of water on the entire piece about every half hour for the first 2 hours of drying to keep the grout from cracking. The next day I remove the rest of the excess grout with a sponge and several buckets of clean water and shine up the pieces. I always go around each and every tile, gem, button, etc. with a toothpick to remove built up grout. I like my pieces to be clean and have as much of the patterns and textures show as possible. The last step is to touch up the frame with paint then apply varnish. A large mosaic can take many days to complete.

 Which one is your best seller?
My best seller is my mosaic mirrors with the “Fan” pattern on each corner. I started this design several years ago and most of my custom orders are with this style.

How do people get in touch with you?
I sell exclusively on Etsy and I can be contacted through my shop at

Christine is currently doing a mid century modern mosaic table using ceramic and glass tiles. She will be listing it in her shop soon. The artist also likes to make custom furniture. However,  due to the high shipping costs she haven't added any to her shop. But right now, she am taking some time off from her mosaics to work on her vintage shop on Esty. When she’ll return she will be changing the style of her mosaics. She says she plans on doing more guitars, mosaic scenes and even some mannequin torsos as it is more challenging and somewhat different than the norm.

I see a lot of people starting their business online. What do you think makes you stand out from the crowd?
My designs are different than many but mostly I believe it is the meticulous work I put into each and every piece. I take the time to produce a clean well made piece and have received many compliments for it.

Christine is also passionate about antiques. You can see her other shop Memories of Yesterday at

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

10 Of the Most Unusual Homes in the World

When it comes to your home, you don’t have to live in a traditional house. A lot of people in the world spend their days and nights in fairy-tale houses.
If you feel like you could use some inspiration to design your future home – or just like checking out the weird ideas some people have check this Top 10 Of the Most Unusual Homes in the World.

1. Transparent House, Japan

Inspired by our ancient predecessors, who inhabited trees, this completely transparent “House NA” in Japan offers you a lot of day light, but not much privacy.

2. Skateboard House, USA

The Skateboard House allows you to skate on all the surfaces, both in and outdoors, and was planned to be built in Malibu.

3. World’s Slimmest House, Poland

The Keret House, inserted between two existing buildings, measures only from 92 to 152 centimeters in width!

4. Old Water Tower Turned Into Modern Home, Belgium

A 100-feet high water tower in Belgium used to serve as a Nazi hideout during the war, but was later transformed into a living space.

5. Dick Clark’s Flintstones Inspired Home, USA

This single storey house in Malibu was inspired by the Flintstones family from the classic 60’s cartoon. Television legend Dick Clark have listed it for $3.5 million.

6. World’s Smallest 1sq Meter House, Germany

This portable DIY wooden structure measures only 1 square meter and is the world’s smallest house, moving around Germany.

7. Slide House, Japan

This three-story Slide house in Japan has a regular staircase on one side of the house, and a slide on the other, which allows you to slide all the down to the first floor.

8. Stone House,Portugal

Although it looks like a massive rock, this house in Portugal actually has a door, a chimney and a window, and has become a huge tourist attraction.

9. Church Converted Into Modern Family Home, Holland

Zecc Architecten repurposed and converted two abandoned churches located in Utrecht, Netherlands into stylish family residences.

10. Giant Seashell House, Mexico

Inspired by the work of Gaudi and Frank Lloyd Wright, a young family with two kids in Mexico City had a seashell-shaped house built for them.