Sunday, January 18, 2009

Kitchen & Family Room Redesign - Completed Backsplash

I am thrilled with the new backsplash! It accents the lighter tones in the countertops, actually making the granite look less (muddy) orange. This was one of my goals, and delighted the plan worked! The new subway tile also adds a bit of the elegance present in vintage inspired classic kitchens.

One project many to go?! Let's see if the budget OR my energy runs out first! However, what a great experience for me, as a designer. I think in the future I will have increased empathy for clients going through similar projects.

Apart from empathy, I think what I learned the most from this project is that in kitchens (as well as bathrooms with wall tile in the design) the tendency is to focus on the countertop surface, leaving less thought and budget for the backsplash. Granted the countertop is a working surface that requires a unique set of considerations, but from a purely visual standpoint, backsplashes are equally important. When I stand back and look at this kitchen the backsplash, being a vertical surface, is the predominate feature rather than the horizontal countertop surface.

So, something to keep in mind when working on kitchens and baths. Give the backsplash design proper thought, leaving a bit of money in the budget to do it right. The cost of a backsplash is typically much less than that of the countertop, yet can often be the highlight of the room.


  1. Janel,
    I absolutely love your new backsplash. I like the texture that the beveled edges on the subway tile provides. I have a similar granite in my kitchen and also went for a linear look with texture instead of anything "busy".

  2. Your backsplash looks fabulous!! I'm looooving subway tiles right now and will definitely use them in our bathroom reno (if it EVER gets done). Agree with you about the importance of backsplashes. I went cheap with a laminate countertop in the kitchen and splurged on a mosaic tile backsplash. It's the wow factor in the room, no question.

    Incidentally, your worker bee energy just amazes me. I love popping over here and seeing your progress.

  3. Wow - the new backsplash is amazing in your kitchen!! I love learning from you and your work!!

  4. I absolutely love all you have done. I am curious how you managed to get all the whites working together so nicely. The softer tan on your cabinets, and the white for the subwaytile, and your house trim. Are they all the same or all 3 different? Also do you have a suggestion for what you would recommend for trim paint? Color, brand, sheen. Thanks, Laura

  5. Hi LauraS, both the cabinets and trim are Sherwin-Williams Softer Tan 6141 while the subway tile is a few shades lighter. The reason these work together (I believe!) is that all the whites in the space have warm undertones and the grout color is closer to the cabinet color than the tile, helping the two work together. Several shades of white can work together beautifully and this can be achieved more easily if you limit the whites to either warm or cool tones and vary the surfaces and textures.
    As for brand, etc., I currently am big on Sherwin-Williams (perhaps because a store just opened very very close to me!), semi-gloss is a good finish (wipes up well) and Dover White 6385 is a good color choice for most spaces...a fairly bright color with a bit of warmth. The best approach in picking a color is to bring a color deck home and see what looks good with all the other colors and finishes in your particular space. Good luck!! Janell

  6. Lucky to say my white trim is close to your suggestion, thank you. I am shopping for new cabinets and would love your opinion. I can't find an exact match to my trim, so would you go a few shades darker, more creamy, or keep it closer to the trim color and hope that it blends...Also we have golden oak built-ins in our family room and we are considering painting them or staining a choc brown. Have you had any luck painting oak for a client?

  7. Also curious if you used the white or ivory subway tile. Thanks!

  8. Hi Laura S, I'll answer your easy question first! The color of the Lanka Metro subway tile is Alabaster, which is a light ivory or off white. Metro Tile also offers this tile in white.
    Now, as to a recommendation for your cabinetry color...what look do you prefer? A warmer look or a bright look? My suggestion would be to make sure the cabinet color you select has the same undertones as your trim. Bring door samples home and look at your color options next to your trim, in different light (day, night, etc.) and see what looks best.
    As for the oak built-ins, if they are in great condition staining them will probably work well. If not, paint will hide more imperfections. The key to success here, whether you decide to stain or to paint, is the prep of the wood. Make sure all surfaces are thoroughly sanded to a smooth finish and prime before painting, a couple layers is best. Then if you paint, spraying the paint on will give you the best result, if you want a smooth uniform surface.
    Good luck with all your projects, sounds like you are going to be very very busy! Janell

  9. Hi Janell-
    Just love your blog!! Especially loving your bench project right now! I am doing a subway tile on our bar backsplash and I love your grout color. I am so worried I will pick the wrong color grout and ruin the whole look, you probably don't, by chance, remember what color/brand you went with?

  10. I just came across the box of grout a few days ago clearing out a shelf to take things to the ReStore. So, you are in luck! The grout is:

    Polyblend Non-Sanded Grout in '382 Bone'

    Hope this helps! All the best with your project...Janell

  11. I am having beveled subway tile installed and wanted to know what the spacing is between your tile?

  12. Wow! That looks fabulous. I love the color really "pops"!
    red onyx tile


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