kitchen depression

AdlineFebruary 16, 2013

My torquay countertops were installed yesterday and I'm very happy with them. Mine were very much like the sample I ordered. However, when I saw my backsplash I disliked it very much. I live in a small cape cod house and have a tiny u-shaped kitchen. I didn't want to feel closed in so I choose to do a three inch backsplash. I don't think it is the three inch splash I dislike (I saw one I liked very much in House beautiful a few months ago) it is the thickness of it. I was under the impression quartz backsplashes were much thinner than granite. I know it's my fault but I really dislike the thickness. My kd told me I could live with it and if I still dislike it they can take it off. Could someone recommend a backsplash. I want a calm and soothing kitchen. Would white subway tiles be to much white? The kitchen isn't finished I am going to put in wood floors. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you.

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Fwiw we are doing torquay with white subway tiles. Subway tiles are inexpensive as well, so it wouldn't be too costly of a change. If it a month or two though.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 5:35PM
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It's really looking nice so far, Adline. All white can be lovely, of course. It usually involves adding subtle interest by varying textures and degree of reflectivity. As in since your counter is glossy, maybe a flat backsplash? Also, bringing in various whites often seems to work better and be easier to achieve than matching one white or two.

I also like calm and soothing, and I've learned that for me that's best accomplished with a generally monotone color scheme--all main surfaces one color in various tints, shades, saturations so it all blends calmly. Then accent colors and contrasts, just enough of the latter as needed, brought in as desired. My kitchen today would probably be described as "whites," except the overall color is a honey tone ranging from white wood surfaces warmed with a honey tint, to a honeyed pale "cream " on the walls, deepening to honey-colored pine floors.

It won't be your choice, of course, but if that were my kitchen I might just choose a good scrubbable wallpaper in a subtle pattern with either the background or main pattern the same color as the cabinets. The choices are so many I'd be sure to find something I really loved, and it doesn't hurt at all that I could always change it out someday in a way I probably wouldn't feel free to with tile.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 5:37PM
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Calm is great, and it doesn't have to be boring.

One of the things that makes your kitchen pretty is the contrast between the counters and the lovely beige paint. If you go with a tiled white bs, you might lose that contrast and the visual interest it creates, and lean into institutional white territory.

You have several good options to retain your neutral look without becoming boring. It makes sense to live with what you have for a while. The thickness is something only you notice. It looks great to the rest of the world.

Option 1. Choose another 3" or 4"bs in white. This could be long, thin sheets of white tile (Claymonde), subways, or even glass tile. Just don't choose carrera marble. Nothing makes quartz look more like fake stone than similar real marble sitting next to it. Thassos marble tile (white with no veining) would be fine. The one below is 3" x 8". The glass tile is 4" x 12". Both are 3/8" thick.

Claymonde Sheet large format (35 1/4" long) tiles are "ultrathin" although the web site (link below) no longer specifies thickness, and come with a bullnose edge if you want one. Their native height is either 5 3/4" or 11 11/16" but these can be cut to whatever height you want. They come in white.

Option 2. Tile the entire height of the bs. If you do, consider using a crema marfil (top), or other beige tile that works well with your paint. I know you want calm, but I'm also adding a stone and glass mosaic that keeps your neutral scheme but offers contrast within the mosaic, just to give you some visual texture.

Here is a link that might be useful: Claymonde

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 7:20PM
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It is odd that they did not offer you the thinner Cambria for the backsplash. I agree with you, I don't like the thickness. I choose Cambria specifically because it is the only quartz that manufactures 1 cm thick for the backsplash.

I chose a 5" 1cm Cambria backsplash for my current kitchen, I was going for simple and didn't want a wall full of grout lines. I like the clean look of your 3" backsplash but the thickness would bother me too

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 7:26PM
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I think you should wait until it is all finished, It's amazing how everything starts to take a backseat when there is so much else to look at. Also, if you do put tile above it, it will diminish the appearance of the thickness. Personally, I think the thicker looks more substantial and expensive but if your preference is not for this and it's not what you were expecting I completely understand. It seems like I have had something go wrong with everything we have done, some minor some full blown disasters so I do understand.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 8:38PM
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Sherrie Moore

Once you add a backsplash, I feel it will look just like you are hoping it will.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 8:55PM
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I like the 3" bs. Have you asked why it is that thick? Can it be cut down?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 11:17PM
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I just had 2 bathrooms done in cambria and they both have the thinner backsplash. I didn't ask for it. They told me they do all of them with the thinner backsplash.
The same company did my 3rd bathroom in granite and they also used a thinner backsplash there too.

I have to say I love the Cambria even better than my granite. It just seems so clean. But I do love my granite too which I also have in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 11:57PM
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Do you need the BS? Personally, I don't like it. To me, it's breaks up your BS area abruptly and makes it look shorter/more cramped. But, that's my opinion. If it were my kitchen, I would either [Option 1] remove it everywhere except, perhaps, behind the sink and just paint it OR [Option 2] remove it everywhere and put in a BS material the entire height b/w the upper cabs and the counter - all one material.

If you leave it just behind the sink (Option 1), I would (1) make it the entire height b/w the window sill and the counter and (2) try to make it more interesting like adding a curve or a stepped down waterfall effect as it's gradually eliminated past the window.

Is your sink centered under the window? I can't tell for certain, but it actually does not look like it from the picture.. If it isn't, then I think Option 2 above is your best option.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 1:52AM
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I was going to use Caesarstone behind my bath vanity, but my fabricator told me they only do the 3 cm, which I thought would look chunky and be a dust collector. It's your KD or fabricator's responsibility to explain the options and order the right material, so they should replace it with the thinner quartz.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 9:28AM
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The fabricator told me they can mill down Caesarstone (and other quartzes, although it sounds like Cambria fabricates special pieces for this purpose) to make a backsplash piece, so I think it's more about what your fabricator is able/willing to do. So that's one option or maybe get rid of it all together. I don't think it looks bad as is but I agree that the extra thick piece, especially at 3inches, is a different look than you might have expected or wanted.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 10:10AM
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tmunson, thanks for your imput. Subway tiles might be a better choice for me.

Rosie, I really appreciate all of your advice. Flat would be better than glossy tiles with the Torquay. You are right about being able to easily change it though... which is why I didn't do subway tiles in the beginning. Just afraid If it was to much white that I could't change.

EAM44, thank you for the link and different options and for taking the time to reply.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 10:44AM
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Hags00, Your kitchen and backsplash is one of the ones I looked at and liked.

Gr8day, sorry you've had so much go wrong in your own kitchen. Hopefully something positive comes from something negative.

Thanks, buckeyegoldenmom.

Motherofthreesons, My kd gave me the impression it was standard. My Dh thought perhaps it could be cut down also. Not sure though, it came out of Atlanta, so I don't know who cut it. I still owe half the money, so I will ask.

Minty88, This is the first quartz countertop I'v seen with a thick backsplash.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 11:09AM
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Buehl, I appreciate your honesty.

May_flowers, It does look chunky and I have called it a dust collector.

Wi-sailorgirl,Thanks for your imput. I just expected a much thinner backsplash. Hopefully, It wil look better in the end.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 12:27PM
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Hard to tell on my screen but it looks fine. Seems like wood flooring would provide the warmth you are looking for along with warm UCLs.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 3:15PM
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Is it possible to get a quarter round piece to ease the transition?

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 12:06AM
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Have you thought of a white subway with a beveled edge?

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 7:56AM
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One thing I have in my current kitchen is a 3.5" wide shelf on the backsplash. It's so handy to set the salt and pepper, other spices in nice tins, a couple of cute decorative things. Mine is higher than bs height but I've often wished that is was at bs height. The shallowness doesn't interfere with anything on the counter, either. Just thinking that adding a deeper cove type piece on top of the bs might give a 'purpose' to the deep bs and provide a little function/decoration option.

I guess I like to have things out, though and maybe you aren't that kind of person.

My shelf: sorry for the bad angle and the mess underneath.

Here is closer to what I mean for you, other than this is higher than yours would be:

Contemporary Home Office design by Atlanta Architect TerraCotta Properties

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 9:40AM
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Thanks zeitgast. One reason I picked Torquay was to hopefully pull the tan color out for the floor.

Ileen-84 and Aliris19,I had not thought of either of these ideas. Thank you. The more ideas I have the better.

Deedles, Thanks so much for posting pics and another option to consider.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 11:05AM
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Adline - or even a pretty row of border tile. There are so many amazing ones and some of these tile salesmen are very knowledgeable. If you explain what you're about, diminishing the drop-off, they may have creative ideas with some edging stuff. Seems to me it might be a great opportunity! I love that edge stuff. I got some travertine molding edge that was higher on one side than the other so it stepped up the depth to a hunk of fossil I owned that because of its wooden backing was much thicker than the surrounding sandstone. It looks so great together, IMHO. That was 100% the tile-guys' suggestion; I would never have thought of that.

Also, I completely second the suggestion to just wait. It's amazing how one's feelings about stuff changes when it all gets done incrementally. There's plenty of time to fix this later; don't fret right now!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 12:28PM
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