This Kitchen is Quiet on Color, But High on Sparkle, Texture and Light Thanks to Recycled Glass Countertops

Posted by Steven Schrenk
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Stepping into the kitchen of Lucy and Serge’s home, you feel a sense of warmth and tranquility. Just the atmosphere this couple wanted for their new kitchen – the room that is the center of their University City home in San Diego, CA.

Feel and mood were very important to the couple, and before they began the renovation process, they needed to find ways to achieve that peaceful atmosphere with a neutral color palette.

Unlike the mid-century modern exterior design of the home, built by William Krisel, an architect who brought modernism to Southern California tract housing, the couple’s sensibility leans to transitional style. They sought to bring neutral calming elements in that style for the kitchen design.

The starting point? Vetrazzo’s Martini Flint, a neutral toned recycled glass mix with large and small pieces of clear glass reminiscent of the classic cocktail. When the couple spotted a slab at Stoneville USA, they knew instantly it needed to be incorporated into the design. From that point on, the entire kitchen was designed around the countertop material.

“We weren’t looking for recycled glass at all, but when we saw a slab of Martini Flint, it absolutely spoke to us,” said Lucy. “It was clean and contemporary. It’s warmth, color and form appealed to us. Although there is a lot going on with the design, it doesn’t read as overly busy. The overall feel of it is very unified.”

Lucy also appreciated it’s handmade quality and attention to detail. “The more we told her about how it takes eight guys 10 hours to make one slab, the more she could see it’s handcrafted quality,” said Amala Raj Swenson, Creative Design Director at Stonveville USA. “She really appreciated the craftsmanship that goes into it and she was sold on it,”



Martini Flint incorporates a dynamic mix of large and small recycled glass pieces in a white cement background.


Serge installed everything in the kitchen himself, apart from the countertops. Lucy did most of the designing, but worked with David Graves of Kitchen and Bath Experts, Inc. on the basic layout.

The couple own, manage and maintain several rental properties in San Diego, and have redone 15 kitchens in the last few years. They chose quartz and granite countertops for these kitchens, but for their own, they wanted something different. Vetrazzo’s uniqueness stood out to them.

They made the Vetrazzo countertop a focal point with the island in this clean, simple design. The perimeter countertops are Pental Quartz in cashmere polished. The quiet, cream-colored, uniform countertops complement the movement in the recycled glass island and allow the visual texture of the Martini Flint to be centerpiece in this neutral space.

See 5 Recycled Glass Alternatives to White Quartz


Pairing a Vetrazzo island or bar top with quartz countertops is a popular choice among architects and designers. See a project like that here with a focus on sustainability.

As Lucy sees it, “The Vetrazzo is the jewelry and the rest of the cabinetry is the plain clothing.”



The three Alina Grande Smoke Pendants closely match the color of the glass in the Vetrazzo countertop.

The cabinetry, purchased from Kitchen and Bath Experts, Inc., are Wood-Mode Brookhaven door style Nova Recessed in Matte Shale for the exterior and cream colored for island. It’s a fairly traditional look made modern by the contemporary hardware and cabinet finish treatment

When the Vetrazzo countertop was installed by the fabricator from Sicilian Marble and Granite, Inc., it was a simple, quick process. He was able to simply cut and polish the edge, no lamination needed. That’s a welcome change on the West Coast where slabs of natural stone and quartz typically have ¾ inch (2 cm) thickness, forcing fabricators to build up the edge to achieve a thicker edge profile.

“Those projects like Vetrazzo don’t usually need an edge build up. It’s pretty cut and dry to work with the material,” said Lilliana Bosforo, Owner of Sicilian Marble and Granite, Inc.



The Wolf cooktop hides itself away as it sits flush to the countertop, giving a clean, contemporary look. The gas piping comes through the island. This design allows the countertop material stand out, rather than cooktop.


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The integrated knob controls are inside the cabinet on the rail, an uncommon feature which carries the clean and sleek look Lucy wanted to achieve.



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The floor, made of Porcelanosa Madagascar Beige 17"x26" tiles, gives a contemporary, quiet, warm look.


The pattern of the floor tiles give the effect of wind blown sand. It’s a nice contrast against the rich dark wood floor in the living room next door. The backsplash is BV Tile and Stone's Mosaic White from the Wind Series echoes the ripple movement of wind over water, playing well with the floor.


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The  backsplash tiles were originally 12” x 36” tiles. Serge cut  them to 9” x 36” so the seam would appear in the middle.  He sunk all the electric sockets for a neater appearance.


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The large picture window looking out to the backyard floods the kitchen with natural light and highlights the recycled glass countertop, playing off each glass piece.


The large window by the sink and sliding glass door allow an abundance of natural light to flood into the room. Vetrazzo has an inner luminosity to it that catches and throws light giving the surface a look of movement. Working at the cooktop Lucy and Serge can enjoy the play of light from outside and the soothing neutral tones of their interiors.

Vetrazzo’s recycled glass countertops are often selected for their wide range of colors from bold reds to cool aqua blues, but it’s neutral shades like Martini Flint continue to be a favorite among designers who favor a natural palette layered with the visual textures of patterned tiles, textiles and wall coverings.

See our range of subtle tones in our Neutrals Sample Kit featuring Martini Flint, Palladian Gray, Umbo White, Cubist Clear and our latest color, Fair Pearl.

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Topics: Martini Flint, Neutrals