Jo Omar of Funky Splashbacks has created nearly 100 individually designed bathroom and kitchen splashbacks over the last seven years. And, along with her partner Matt, the practical one, she is showing no signs of stopping.
When you step into her cosy kitchen the first thing you notice is the colour – everywhere. “I really don’t like huge expanses of white”, explains Jo. “I’m always looking out for colourful knick-knacks and get my inspiration for the splashbacks from china and crockery I pick up at jumble sales. I just love colours.”
Pride of place in her kitchen is splashback number one. “We had looked at countless tiles but I couldn’t see anything I liked. Then I thought about creating my own patterns and Funky Splashbacks was born out of that.”
Jo and Matt set about researching the technique of painting on glass and making it reistant to heat, steam, water and anything else a kitchen or bathroom could throw at it.
“We have come up with our own unique way of sealing the sheets of glass and, while I create the designs, Matt works out how best to put the splashback in place. It’s not always as straightforward as you might think – we have to factor in vents and canopies over the hobs and sometimes the design runs all around.”
Jo’s designs can be found in houses as far away as Birmingham, Bristol and the New Forest area. There are even some of her bathroom designs in New Zealand.
“We do maybe three shows a year,” says Jo. “We have a pop-up display and we have made a lot of new friends. One of the strangest commisions I got was when the deputy head of a primary school in Harrow happened to see our stand and asked us to provide three glass displays for their classrooms.
“It was very rewarding and I spent a few days with the children in each classroom doing art workshops and coming up with designs.”
Classrooms aside, Jo is happiest when she is creating for kitchens and bathrooms and finds that many people want to base their splashback on her signature circles design or tree motif.
“They’ll add a personal touch – like their pet dog depicted in the corner, or their cat looking longingly at birds on the branches of a tree.
“One client was very into Mexican cooking, so I created a dramatic black background with three hot red chilli peppers; for another commision I was asked to recreate the New York skyline.”
The splashbacks are made from 6mm, toughened, glass with all edges polished and Jo uses water-based paint, once the glass has been treated. Prices start at £500 for a standard piece of 600mm square glass and Jo estimates each design takes roughly four weeks from start to finish. EIther Matt can put them in place himself, or kitchen fitters will do the job.
Although many of the glass designs use vibrant colours, they do not dominate the rooms they are in. They are eye-catching without being too in-your-face and Jo thinks this is part of the appeal.
“People can create something which means something personal to them, it’s also a talking point and gives their kitchen or bathroom an individuality without being too prominent.”
There is also the pracitcal element – the smooth glass panels are extremely easy to keep clean.
Whether you’re planning a brand new kitchen or bathroom or just looking for a bit of a makeover, a funky splashback might just provide the finishing touch.
For more information on Funky Splashbacks visit www.funkysplashbacks.co.uk; call Jo on (01635) 250701 or find her on Facebook.
One of Jo’s splashbacks is also on display at the Ben Heath Showrooms in Hambridge Road, Newbury.