people with open shelves or no uppers

michoumonsterJanuary 25, 2013

Hi all, I know many of you have stunning kitchens with no uppers or have open shelves. I was wondering, what did you do for backsplash? Did you choose to tile all the way up to the ceiling, take the granite all the way up to ceiling, or just leave the wall painted, or do you just tile under the shelves? Any pics would be greatly appreciated.
I decided to do open shelves on one wall, but now cannot figure out what to do about backsplash. thank you for your insight!!

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I have only painted walls in my kitchen, no backsplash . My kitchen was completed almost 7 yrs ago. I am still very glad I only did paint :) The color is Thyme. My home is an 1890 Bungalow. I have open shelves on the sink wall. The dishes get used all the time except for the top row. Dust etc hasn't been a big problem. Here is a close up of the area and one of the area before I hung the art work...which was done by a friend in NOLA. c

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 8:46AM
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I also have painted walls only. Here are a few pics from my inspiration file with a backsplash.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 10:11AM
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Our plan was always to run the BS all the way to the ceiling as a design element. I considered adding shelves of some kind, but it's now been almost three years and I haven't added any. So I must not need them! Of course ours was an easy decision, as the range wall "alcove" made it easy to determine where the BS would stop and start.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 12:03PM
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Mpagmom has a sink wall with no uppers. I'll link her beautiful finished kitchen thread where you can see how she handled the tile.

The very first kitchens that jumped to mind when I saw your thread were Trailrunner and Pps7. Great that they both jumped in already!

I don't have uppers next to my range hood, but have windows instead. I plan to tile the whole wall, counter to ceiling and wall to wall.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mpagmom's kitchen

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 12:22PM
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Circus Peanut

I wanted to tile all the way around the room and thought tile all the way up to the ceiling would make the space too cold, so I made up a tile wainscoting that extended to a bit above the bottom of the lower cabs and looked good on the cabinet-less walls too.

If I had done shelves, I probably would have tiled up to the bottom of the first shelf and stopped there -- although in the right space, a fully-tiled wall is stunning, like the photos above in this thread.

Honestly, I think it's hard to go wrong with tile and shelves! :-)

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 12:50PM
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Circus Peanut

Caroline, what's the brand of paint you used for your shelf walls? I think the only thing that would stop me from having paint right behind the shelves would be its vulnerability to water spot stains. We USE our shelves, as I know you do, which means sometimes glasses with some residual rinsewater get put away on them.

That said, we used BM Aura Kitchen & Bath in our bathroom and the stuff does seem bombproof. But there's also something tactile and attractive about wiping off tile -- it's so smooth and sexy.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 12:57PM
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Here's mine..painted walls (and a 9' window on the other wall), no tile:

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 1:48PM
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When I decided to get rid of upper cabinets and go with the handmade glazed tile look, the cabinet person told me "you can't do that." Nine years later I'm still glad I did. My kitchen inspiration was Swedish tile stoves. The kitchen always looks more yellow in photos than IRL because the color is so mutable. Cabinets and wall paint (Farrow and Ball's House White) are a perfect match.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 2:20PM
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Some nice looking kitchens here... eye candy for sure.

rococcogurl, how do you clean those dish racks?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 2:24PM
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Here's mine...

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 4:21PM
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Gorgeous eye candy for sure ! I just love open shelves and plate racks ...and all these kitchens.

cp...the paint is BM Matte. They don't have Aura where we are. It is scrubbable . There are no water spots or grease spots or wear at all after 7 yrs of hard use. I love it !!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 4:26PM
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donaleen, the plate rack requires almost no cleaning -- there's rarely anything in there. The dowels all can be removed if necessary but I can go in between with the vacuum micro hose.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 4:49PM
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wow! it is astounding that there are so many different styles of beautiful kitchens.

trailrunner, i am glad to hear your paint has held up well. i was planning to tile behind my sink because of the water. but sounds like not tiling anywhere is also a functional option.

pps7, thank you for the inspiration pics. your own kitchen is one of my favorites. would you mind telling me what is your paint color?

breezy, i am eager to see your tile all the way to the ceiling. what tile are you planning on using? thanks for the link to mpagmom's kitchen too. i love her tile too and it is on my shortlist.

circuspeanut, i really like your tile wainscoting. it really lends to the charm of your kitchen. i am not sure i can pull it off though because i have rounded walls (mediterranean style). one big question i have is how to end the tile if i choose to tile. i guess i will have to play around with my space to figure it out.

rococogurl, what is the name of your tile? i like the softness it has.

hlove, your kitchen is so sweet and well-thought out, like it has always been there! i like how you painted the shelves too.

jakabedy, i think your tile backsplash plus range hood is the star of your kitchen. i agree you don't need any shelves and it would conceal that gorgeous tile. is that onyx mosaic?

mahlgold, thanks for sharing your kitchen. i like how simple your tile choice is, yet it is very interesting once you soak everything in. did you use a different size on the bottom from the top?

i guess the good news is it looks like i can't go wrong with any of the choices. thank you everyone!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 7:27PM
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michou...that is the can't go wrong if you are happy with it. We all have different views ...makes it so interesting !! Such a nice thread. c

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 8:43PM
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No uppers on either side of the range/hood. I wanted to hang art. The center is tiled from range to beneath the hood. I wish I had stopped it there, but DH can be a messy cook, so I went three high on either side. It's a close enough in color that I don't even notice it anyway.

Another wall has a hutch with copper sheeting backsplash (so does the main level laundry room) and a second hutch in hallway between kitchen and laundry has a pine T&G back.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Kitchen

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 9:20PM
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rococogurl, love your tile. What is it?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 9:31PM
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I originally was going to go up to the ceiling on the range side, but decided just to do an extra high backsplash so that the it covered up to the hood (installed at 34") and behind both shelves. We installed the reclaimed wood shelves directly to the studs and put the bottom up one a little higher than normal so that we can fit a tall kitchen appliance under if need be (we only wanted 2 shelves so it was fine). Ours our 5 feel long and fit all our everyday dishes, very convenient.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 10:54PM
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oooh more eye candy!
allison, thanks for your pics of your gorgeous kitchen. my range wall is very similar to yours where it is between two arch doorways and a similarly shaped hood, so i really appreciate seeing how you did your backsplash. one question, do you find any grease splatters on your artwork by the range?

ratrem, how thick is your backsplash? did you have to do anything on the top edge to be able to rest your artwork like that? i love your countertops also!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 11:30PM
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Ratrem, I don't think I've seen your kitchen before- very nice.

Our paint color is BM gray wisp.

The paint has held up very well. We used the Regal in an eggshell finish.

We don't have drywall behind our sink. It's all windows so I'm not sure about that.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 12:29AM
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What tile am I planning on using??

What?? You mean not choosing one for 14 months is some sort of problem?!?! ;)

I have no clue! I need to start looking again so I don't become president emeritus of the ABB club.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 12:56AM
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I hadn't seen Ratrem's before, either--nice! (And fun to see because the space is a lot like ours, and that's a layout we considered--the one we wound up with is very similar, except without the peninsula.)

We have shelves like Ratrem's except that they are on the same wall as the range. We also hung the lower one slightly high and then tiled up to it (19"), so you can imagine the room with the tile ending at the shelf edge. It goes back up over the range, and then drops back down to the shelf height to the right of the range, even though there are no shelves there. I would love to have gone all the way up the wall given the option, though--we were DIYing the tiling and my husband wasn't excited about doing that much of it, so we didn't. We do have a black pencil liner that traces the top edge of the tile around the room, though, which helps it look finished.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 12:57AM
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Remodeling kitchen as we speak. Opting for open shelves in sink area. Back splash extends to ceiling - white subway tile with grey grout for pop. It is very attractive but you must demonstrate restraint when deciding on grout color. Some color is stunning. Too much color is overdone and tends to look dirty/moldy. Lighter grey pops white tile without looking sloppy.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 5:31AM
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My tile is Ann Sacks Sur La Mer, Mexican made. A few of us used it back in 2004, when prices were gentle. It is soft, michou, with a watercolor wash effect on the surface plus the high gloss glaze. Here's the same ochre I used in a single color, staggered, in a friends former kitchen (done right after mine).

Here's a similar look to mine (not staggered) from Steven Gambrel but with Moroccan tile, which is what I'd use today.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 8:09AM
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What a gorgeous thread. Thanks, Michou. We also have drywall only, including behind stove, but a lot of wrap-around windows instead of wall and shelves. Love the very simple, uninterrupted look. I have good reason to think the painter cheated and switched paints to a lower grade than requested, and I do have a few little spot stains over 4 years now, but you have to look for them and the wall does clean up nicely anyway. Not time to redo.

I'm 5'2" and once had all open shelves, including food storage. Loved the very "kitcheny" look but not the eventual buildup of greasy dust. I still love open shelves but would limit them to items that are used fairly often. All but perhaps handful of items would be dishwasherable, shelves would only go up as high as I could reach comfortably (art can look great above), and the shelves themselves would be designed for quick and easy cleaning. A way of having it all.

To point out the obvious, another way of having it all is to go drywall at first, then tile (or ?) when and if something delights you into a change. I'm still stuck at the first stage.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 9:22AM
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michoumonster, there aren't any splashes or splatters on either side of range. We don't fry anything. Mostly holiday meals, soups/stews, pasta, stir fry meals on the burners. The glass gets no dirtier than any other in the house.

My tile was supposed to be staggered joints, but I neglected to tell tile guy (WTH knows why) and by the time I reentered kitchen it was halfway finished. In hindsight, I would have had them take it down and start over. I've told Roc several times I plan on redoing. It would be such a mess... but with Moroccan tile...

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 11:45AM
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I did a 1" backsplash flush with the drywall surrounding the perimeter. I am not a fan of the 4" backsplash and wanted the splash to barely show. My contractor figured out a way to make sure it was totally flush with the wall so that there's not lip (sorry I don't have a pic).

The splash behind the sink is completely flush with the wall too, inset into the drywall so it doesn't sit "in front of" the wall. I wanted a very sleek look.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 11:22PM
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Firsthouse, I love your kitchen and open shelving! What exactly is the splash made of behind the sink? It is beautiful.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 1:38AM
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Thanks camphappy: It's made of polished marble!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 1:40AM
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breezy, i am looking forward to seeing your backsplash sooner rather than later. a not so subtle hint :-)

michaelmcc, looking forward to seeing your kitchen! i agree grout is very tricky. i am struggling with grout right now in my bathrooms.

artemis, do you think 19" is higher than usual for hanging shelves? i wasn't sure how high to put the shelves, but assumed that it should be at the same level as bottom of uppers. but if i hang it lower, i can access the items more easily..

rococogurl, those tiles are so pretty close up! though not sure i can swing ann sacks in the budget. i never knew their tile used to be more affordable.

allison, that's good to know there are no splatters. but you are seriously going to redo your tile?? gorgeous as is, though i must admit, i would love to see you do it first so i can see how the morroccan tile will look (these are tiles that i have been dying to use, but am afraid to use)

rosie, i am also only 5'2 so you bring up good points. i had been thinking to do two shelves one, on top of another, but it sounds like a good idea to maybe limit it to only one shelf and hang artwork since the top shelf might be out of reach for me.

firsthouse, I love how clean your kitchen shelves are against the white. just curious, what is the benefit of having just a 1 inch backsplash versus no backsplash? i am getting quotes for countertops so i need to figure out what I should ask for now.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 4:40AM
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Me too, Michoumonster. Me too. I've been trying to work up enough courage to start a "breezy needs a backsplash" thread, but have failed so far.

Rococo--Is the Moroccan tile from AS? I couldn't find it on a quick google search and know better than to start looking at the AS website at 1:45a.m. I loose all track of time drooling. Been there, done that. Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 4:47AM
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lol If I redo, it won't be in the near future. There are always so many other things on my plate!

Jenny_from_the_block used Zellige Moroccan tiles in her kitchen, having first read about them on Atticmag. Such pretty colors.

Here is the color chart from the collection Mosaic House offers

Here is a link that might be useful: Zellige Tiles

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 7:07AM
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breezy, AS does carry some Moroccan tile but for Moroccan, in general, Mosaic House, which Allison linked above, is a major source (they have sales from time to time, too). The beauty is in the handmade quality and the surface which can be matte or lustre. I don't know where Gambrel sources his tile as I haven't ever spoken with him.

If you want a patterned cement tile b'splash vs solid color there are additional sources for that.

Just for fun and drooling, here's a photo I took at Mosaic House several years ago when I stopped by there.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 9:02AM
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Question, all. I am mounting our hood this weekend. We don't have uppers. Backsplash is going in last. Do I tile around the hood, or remove the hood and tile under it? I think I will mount it so that it can be removed and I can tile under it and remount it. Tll me quick if I'm wrong!!!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 6:58AM
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Mine is over the tile. I wouldn't want grease creeping under the hood and settling on the wall. I don't saute much or wok ever and I'm always surprised at the mount of grease that needs removal. To me, worth the extra effort for the long run.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 9:13AM
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