Backsplash decision, photo

strayerdarbJanuary 11, 2014

Hello, I was thinking I'd do a honed marble subway tile, and I still may, but I'm looking at some alternatives because I'm just not sure. In this photo I have 2 sample boards from a local tile shop and I made my own board of some subway.

The island is white macaubus with black paint below; and the perimeter is leathered antique brown with white paint. I am feeling like the honed marble subway is to boring or something. The marble that is diagonal is maybe too traditional. I like the one with the tiny strips - that is a mixture of glass and marble. regardless of what I do on the majority of the areas, I would like to do something different in the recessed area behind the cooktop.

I'm open to suggestions. It's a great room also and has a breakfast table, so I was planning on using all those fabrics, rugs, accessories for the color and keeping the hard surfaces in the kitchen more neutral, but I'm not entirely sure right now.


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The subways look great with the drawers.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 4:25PM
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I like the herringbone best - both the style and color. It is traditional, current and timeless. The pencil tile is very popular right now and will date your kitchen in a few years.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 4:31PM
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If I use subway on the walls, should I use something different in the recess? - the herringbone, or the mini bricks, or another pattern?

Or, if I use the herringbone on the walls, what would go in the recess?

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 4:53PM
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I like the skinny strips more than the herringbone--it's really busy and you have many interesting elements already. You'd think the strips would look busy too, but they seem to blend in the photos I've seen.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 6:30PM
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I like the subway tiles. You can't go wrong with clean and classic, especially if you expect to put things on your counter that will "busy up" the overall look.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 6:40PM
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If you go with anything other than the subway tile, make sure you have an expert tile worker. The heringbone, and the narrow tiles are a nightmare to line up, space, and cut evenly. Cleaning out any excess mortar so it does not show through the grout is very tricky. An experienced tile worker will charge big bucks to set those tiles. Subway tile however, is simple setting work. Anyone that gives a cheap price for the others, or the same for all three is likely not planning on doing a professional job.


    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 6:41PM
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I really like the glass/marble mosaic tile too.

klavier's point that the herringbone sheets can be tricky, and thus more expensive to install is accurate, but the "narrow lines" are not at all difficult. They are rectilinear sheets of tile mounted along level lines. And if the mortar is applied properly (correct consistency with correct trowel) there is no mortar to scrape out between the lines.

Souzie's comment that the mosaic is likely to appear dated soon fails to acknowledge that it is a classic mid century modern design, and far from trendy. It is more elegant than subway tile, which I have to agree is a little boring. Great choice!

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 1:04AM
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Please, more pictures of your white macaubus - it looks lovely!

I spent a lot of time researching and planning niches (but decided against it, at the end).

Love the cleanliness/simplicity of the same tile used with this one:

Traditional Kitchen by San Francisco Interior Designers & Decorators Artistic Designs for Living, Tineke Triggs

Here's a niche with contrasting tile:

Traditional Kitchen by Oregon City Cabinets & Cabinetry WoodWorks INC.

Best of luck!

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 9:15AM
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I also don't agree that the narrow strips of tile in and of themselves are too trendy and will be dated. They are so pleasing to the eye, in the right space, (IMO, and I really usually don't like "modern" much) that I don't think that they will fall out of favor all that much (noting that everything, even "classic" looks, fall out of favor to some degree at some point). I would be concerned about tiles that incorporate colors not often found in nature, like orange, turquoise, etc. but I think that subtle color and/or natural colors will have a lasting appeal.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 10:54AM
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vote for choice # 2, the tile in the middle

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 11:19AM
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Thanks! Here is another photo of the macaubus. I will go tile hunting more today. I am really attracted to the lines of the skinny tiles and the fact that some of them are shiny, some not, and they are a mix of glass and marble and different lengths. I also like the subway, so I am torn. I don't like the herringbone pattern.

I will get a few more examples today and post when I bring them home. Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 12:13PM
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Another fan of the 3x6 here. It drew me in immediately.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 1:04PM
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I like the 3x6 for the main backsplash and one of the others for the recess. My pick would be herringbone for the recess but I like the thin tiles too. Try placing the thin tiles vertically just to see if you like that look as well. The vertical look might not go with all your other horizontal lines, or OTOH it might be a cool change-up to highlight the recessed area.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 1:27PM
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I love your finishes so far. I would do the subway.
The herringbone is my second choice.
good luck!

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 8:41PM
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