Vertical Backsplash? A Backsplash Regret?

dljmthMarch 30, 2013

Decided to go bold with a vertical glass/stone stick mosaic backsplash behind the range. For those of you with vertical backsplashes, what did you do for the rest of your space? Interestingly, I find people have a visceral reaction to running tile vertically. I think your eye naturally feels like the tile should be horizontal and I was reluctant to go through with it. But after seeing it behind the range hood, it actually feels quite right to me given our space with such high ceilings and windows. With all the windows it actually complements the exterior view of trees outside (hard to tell with plastic over the windows) as it looks like the birch bark and tree trunks outside. It also matches the vertical grain of the rift oak stained cabinets. The outlets are also vertically placed.

It's just that the rest of it doesn't quite feel right. I feel it's too overwhelming but I don't have a good solution for something else. But maybe I should't second guess it and perhaps it will look fine once the space is finished with appliances, range hood, paint and most importantly pendant lighting over the island.

One thing that was overlooked is that when you enter the house you see "the half wall" (see pictures). I suppose putting a piece of art there may help and also once pendants are in you won't notice it as much. Here are some pictures.

The range hood will be an island style with a 6" rectangular base and chimney - yes, the duct is not quite center, but the hood will be. We chose an island style to make it feel floating and to provide some dimension to the space. Thought it would be too flat to mount directly to the wall.

From the front door - you can see the wall next to the range:

Here are some ideas:

1) rip it out - Interestingly, my initial thought was to not have ANY backsplash other than what is behind the range hood because it is such a focal point. It would be least expensive to do this. I could rip it out myself and then pay to have the dry wall patched and repaired. I would then paint the walls. It's only about 10sqft of tile that I am ripping out. Also, I got a great deal on the tile (2) cut it down - Alternatively, the tile contractor said he could cut it down to whatever height I would like. Right now it is full backsplash height at 18". I could cut it down to just below or just above the outlets. The down side to this is that it introduces a horizontal element under the few upper cabinets that might seem odd.

3) Ceasarstone - I could rip it out and replace it Ceasarstone. The counters are a color called Cinder which is a green/grey. I still think there is a height issue. How high should I make it? Above/below outlets or full height at 18"?

4) open shelves - I could keep the backsplash as is and add an open/floating shelf to finish off the wall next to the right of the range. I could put an art piece on it or vases, etc.

5) leave it as is - The designer I have been working with came by said that once the window casings are painted and the hood and appliances are in and I have the pendants over the island, and a piece of art to the right of the range, that the backsplash would start to fade. Right now all you see is BACKSPLASH.

Thoughts? And thanks in advance for your help!! I couldn't have done any of this without you GWers!

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I find the tile on either side of the hood-flanking windows to be too much. T my eye, it takes away the TA-DA drama of the tile behind the hood. How about just a narrow strip of your Ceasarstone there instead? Not a 4" dated strip, but something shorter. As short as your fabricator can safely go. I ended up doing this (2" tall) around my peninsula that wraps around into my DR. I can post a pic of it, but I think you may have seen it already. It's discreet and protects the gap between counter and wall without screaming, "Hey, look at me!"

Those windows and ceiling height at just to die for. Second time this week I've had serious window envy. Just gorgeous.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 5:48PM
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Thanks breezygirl - but what would you do under the upper cabinets? The same 2" backsplash? I love your kitchen and your windows flanking your range inspired me to do the same.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 6:35PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

I kinda like it. Reminds me of a waterfall! I thought I had windows! Wow! I hate all of mine! More windows = less upper cabinets! Not good!

Just my opinion...


    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 6:47PM
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Agree with breezygirl about the BS on either side of the range. I would take it down (or take it all the way up to match height of behind range-but can't even imagine how difficult it would be to grout that high...)

I don't have the same problem with a 4" BS strip, just doesn't bother me like it does some other GW'ers, but the 2" strip to cover counter to wall is OK too. I think you could leave the mosaic under the uppers.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 6:56PM
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Thanks raehelen. I do like it under the upper cabinets as it provides interest to that wall and is far enough away from the range hood. How would you treat the corner where the walls intersect?

desertdance - I measured, measured, measured and believe it or not we are getting more storage space than what we had! There is a pantry and fridge opposite the range wall and some additional storage in the mudroom just off the kitchen. We hemmed and hawed but windows and light trumped the extra uppers. Hoping it all works when we move in! :)

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 7:06PM
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Girl, my windows are the ugly step-sister your gorgeous eye catchers. :) Yours make me wish I had done away with my small upper in the corner and done larger windows flanking the range. I could easily have stored the contents of the uppers somewhere else. And my ceilings are so squatty.

I would keep the tile under your upper where you have it. Or, you could take that down also. I think it would look fine either way as the area is quite removed from the showpiece range tile. For the sake of ease and money, I'd leave it. If I look at your third pic and hold my finger over the corner tiled area, it looks pleasing.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 7:31PM
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I think you should wait and see how you feel when everything is in place. Right now, your kitchen is empty and your eyes naturally go to the BS. Really, you could always remove it.
You have a unique set up. I am not sure what tile to pair with this one.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 8:18PM
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I think you should wait and see how you feel when everything is in place. Right now, your kitchen is empty and your eyes naturally go to the BS. Really, you could always remove it.
You have a unique set up. I am not sure what tile to pair with this one.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 8:19PM
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I think that it will look fine once all your other elements are in. I would wait and see. You will still be able to take it out at a later date if you decide it isn't working. If you decide to remove it I would not put any backsplash 2 inch or other size.
I have mosaic tile mounted vertically just behind my cooktop and hood and none elsewhere. In the 18 months that I have had this setup there has been no problem not having a backsplash in the other areas. If you have a good quality paint an occasional spot on the walls could easily be wiped off.
I have actually had people tell me they like the way it looks with having the backsplash just behind the cooktop .
Here it is once again (with apologizes for posting so many times).

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 8:33PM
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Wow laura you're really making progress. I love your cabinets - the grain is subtle but beautiful.

I agree with breezygirl and would definitely keep the tile behind the hood and under the uppers. I think the tile on either side of the windows is ok and will probably be much less noticeable once you have your pendants hung and all your accessories back into the kitchen. I'd keep it for now and leave open the option of removing just those 2 areas.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 10:48PM
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Love your kitchen. The windows are fabulous!!! I would keep the backsplash as is and consider adding floating shelves...but only after everything else is in place. You may find you don't need to change it at all. I wouldn't rip anything out just yet.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 11:12PM
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Love it!

Similar style to ours, just bolder in color. When we picked our tile, I knew we would have it installed vertically. Kind of had a retro vibe, in my mind at least!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 12:12AM
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ellendi - yes, this is a unique set up and a challenging one! Went back and forth on what to do with the backsplash. At first we were going to tile the entire wall with a horizontal wider mosaic, but every time I put it up it made the wall feel like, well - a brick wall with a clear delineation between inside and outside and we love our yard! We considered ending the lower cabinets to the right of the range just 2" past where the window ended, which in hind sight probably would have been the best thing to do and would have solved the backsplash dilemma, but with all the windows we felt we couldn't sacrifice any more cabinet space. This has been a very tricky design but I love it!

badgergal - thank you so much for posting your picture again! I have been looking for it but couldn't find it. No backsplash might be a good option for the left and right side of the range. I may still keep it under the upper cabinets on the sink wall.

cat_mom - WOW! Your backsplash is great. Love how subtle it is. Had a I chosen something like that perhaps I wouldn't be second guessing the BS on the left and right of the range. Yours is so very pretty! Wondering if people get that confused look on their face when they see the vertical pattern. When I started showing people the idea, many seemed to think it was unsettling (causing them to think because it is contrary to what they expect - which is why my architect likes it :)). What about you badgergirl? Do people seem confused? I am really intrigued by those visceral reactions!

annkathryn - send me email and come take a look first hand. I think you will like the cabinets. Very similar in color to yours.

You GWers are so awesome! I can't tell you how much I appreciate your input. I think I will sleep on this for a while. My gut is to rip it out to the right and left of the range (eliminate the all the tile in the corner per breezygirl), but leave it under the upper cabinets. I'm intrigued by the idea of leaving it without any backsplash to the right and left of the range because it feels clean (and was my original plan!). But I think I can decide that after everything is in place. Those parts total about 5sqft so it shouldn't be too big a problem to rip it out and repair the sheet rock especially since there are not uppers to worry about nicking. The window casings will be painted white and that may help too.

Will keep you posted.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 1:25AM
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House Hunter Renovation had a similar kitchen, so I thought it might help for you to see how it looks.

Here is a link that might be useful: House Hunters Renovation

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 9:33AM
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My vote is to leave under cabinets and take out to left/right of range, too, leaving a clean look. I think it will give you more options as well when you decide what you want to put on the wall to the right and if you want to put something in that corner--whatever you decide wouldn't have to "fight" with the backsplash.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 9:39AM
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Your kitchen is coming together beautifully -- love the cabinets and windows. The vertical tile looks great behind the range. My inclination would be to rip out the tile on either side of the range where there are no uppers. I would prefer no BS in those areas, but would use a 2" high strip of your counter material if there is a gap between counter and wall that needs to be covered. The area under the uppers I canseeworking with or w/o the tile, so I would leave it as is.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 10:48AM
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I wouldn't do anything for BS beside the range. I just recommended the small ceasarstone one, if you have any gaps to fill between counter and wall. We had to gouge wall out in a spot around our sink to fit the granite it, so our BS covered that, but we lived with just a painted wall for 3 years. I think just paint would put the focus where you really want it, which is the view out the windows, and the BS behind the range. I think the sooner you take the mosaic off, the less chance you have of major damage to the gyproc. It makes sense to leave it under the uppers because there's a natural end to it, ie the cupboards.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 10:49AM
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I love the back splash as is and find that it seems to anchor your counter top.
I go with the designer and say wait until all is finished and everything gets pulled together.
You have beautiful kitchen.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 11:19AM
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cat_mom - sorry for the hijack, Laura...but can you tell me where you got your tile. It looks like what we have in mind for our kitchen. It's a *WHITE* glass...looks like it has some frosted and some gloss and it's not glass with the green undertone.

Laura - I LOVE all the windows in your kitchen. That's fantastic. With all the cabinets you have, it seems like you won't miss uppers at all and it's going to be absolutely lovely.

While I love cat_mom's tile through the entire backsplash area, your tile has a lot more going on and I think that with yours I would be inclined to do what badgergal did and just have the tile behind your cooktop.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 11:28AM
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What a beautiful kitchen and space! I would wait to remove the undercabinet areas until you see it all together, especially the hood installed. That being said, I think I would prefer the "waterfall" effect at the range to be a shooting star, without the other areas distracting from or supporting it with repetition. I think it loses some of its effect that way. They seem too much of a very active pattern and a distraction from the range area. I don't really notice the cabinets with the vibrant backsplash there. But that's just how I feel about it! And it could read quite different when all is in place.

Great job! Those windows are fabulous!

This post was edited by snookums2 on Sun, Mar 31, 13 at 14:01

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 11:35AM
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I think the tile is very pretty and I think it looks great that you had it installed vertically. Is the center section of tile where the 2 walls meet the same height as the tile under the cabinets because to me it looks shorter. Maybe it's just the angle of the pic.

I think the shorter tile sections would make more sense if you did add open shelves to the empty wall space. I also think it would visually balance out the cabinets. I think it looks like there is something missing.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 1:08PM
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I can see why it might be advisable to remove the left/rt portions of tile, but I would be inclined to wait until ithe kitchen is completed before deciding. If, as your gut tells you, it "needs" to come down, nothing is really lost except a little more time with it up. Perhaps knowing you are not "locked-in" or committed to it, will help give the perspective to view it more objectively while deciding for sure. This way you will not only have the chance to see it with everything else in place, but you will also have the opportunity to get used to it, before deciding if you truly dislike it, or just haven't gotten used to it being there.

As subtle (in color) as our tile is, after months of looking at white painted Sheetrock, it still looked "different" and stood out when we looked at our kitchen. Once we became accustomed to it, we couldn't imagine our walls without it. That's how I am with many things--after living with a blank wall or empty space for any period of time, even a long awaited piece of furniture or decor item jumps out at me, and almost seems like too much, until I get used to the vacant space being filled.

Thanks for the compliments on our backsplash Laura and andreak100! It's the Opera Glass tile from Artistic Tile (Stilatto pattern) in Wolfgang White. It does read greenish-blue(-grey) in certain lights or times of day. We had to think about that one while deciding if we wanted to use it, and obviously decided to go for it!

Good luck Laura! Honestly, whatever you decide will look terrific!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 1:20PM
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You know what? I think it's going to be perfect the way it is. When all the other elements are in place, I think you'll see that you made the right decision the first time. You could have done any of the things others are suggesting, but I think the original plan is a good one.

Also, when you get my opinion, you also get my husband's 2 cents as a bonus as we occasionally consult on these things. He really likes the way the undercabinet bit leads your eye to the corner and then over to the right of the stove. He does think that you might want to do a floating shelf over on the right, but wait until all is in to make that decision.

Congrats on a lovely kitchen!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 1:43PM
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I don't think vertical has anything to do with it. Even if horizontal or solid glass it's the windows to the counter that chops up the usual BS area and makes it tough to figure out where to put or end it and probably more obvious due to the small scale multicolor pattern of the BS. It's those 2 short BS areas with nothing above them that look off.

But it's also an incomplete naked kitchen! You don't even have your hood up yet, so I'd wait until everything is in before deciding if anything needs to be changed.

It's a great space with all those windows and I'm sure it will be beautiful when complete. Looking forward to seeing it!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 3:00PM
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island - you hit the nail on the head. It's the windows to the counter and no uppers on the range wall that make it tricky. It's beautiful behind the range and underneath the uppers. It's just the rest of the range wall that is odd.

mahlgold - yes, the backsplash is the same height all the way around at 18" - except of course for behind the range hood.

Overnight it's growing on me more and it might be wise to wait until the naked kitchen gets dressed. I will hang up some mock balloon pendants and mock floating shelves to get a better feel.

It seems to be growing clearer that there are really just 2 options. Keeping it below the uppers and behind the range but then either keep it as is to the left and right of the range perhaps adding a floating shelf or to rip it out and leave it plain. I don't think I would put a shorter Ceasarstone back splash in its place. I would still be contending with the "what height to take it to" issue.

I really do love it behind the range hood. It was a very bright, sunny day here in No.Cal and the light glistened on the stone.

Will keep you all updated and post pictures when we are finally complete! :)

Thank you again GWer's! You are all so wonderful!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 11:58PM
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