Need Help - Backsplash in Contemporary Kitchen

gwentmApril 4, 2010

Was always going to use a matte black tile with dark charcoal gray grout(picture shows black) for my backsplash together with white quartz countertop in a contemporary kitchen remodel. However, I am starting to be concerned that it will be a too stark and or dark combo for my small kitchen. Other considerations for countertops were Silestone's Mountain Mist or Alpina White from their Mountain Series. Granite is of course an option. Also now considering a softer glass tile for the backsplash. Would love to get your opinions and suggestions --- and also to see pictures of what others have done in contemporary kitchens. Cabinets will be natural ash with slab doors designed with horizontal grain.

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Can you post pictures of your cabinets and countertops for us to get an idea of what you have so far? Do you have a lot of backsplash area or more of a focal point type of backsplash. Trying to get an idea of how contemporary and modern of a look you are working towards...

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 12:51AM
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We are at the end of the design phase- backsplash, countertops and pulls the last choices. The cabinets are custom so I can't show you exactly but this is a rendering of the design if that will help. Some colors are deceiving. The cabinets on the DR side of the peninsula are the same color as the kitchen cabinets. The DR built in will be wenge and the floor tile is terra cotta (much more orangey than the picture shows). The toe kick will be a brushed metal. Waiting for some photo shop pictures from an artist friend of mine who volunteered. Will post them when recieved.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 1:21AM
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I love the dark tiles, but it's hard to tell whether or not it would be too dark or stark without seeing the actual materials. Will you have windows or a lot of light?

My kitchen is not totally contemporary, but does have a contemporary feel, at least to me. We have dark oak cabinets, light granite, and matte taupe tiles (Casamood Neutra in tortora). Different color scheme, but the tile style is similar, which is why I'm posting.

Here is my backsplash:
From kitchen remodel From kitchen remodel

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 8:10AM
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I should be getting started on my cooking for the day, but here I am TKO.

I'm in the final planning stages of my small contemporary kitchen remodel and have been searching all over the web for a clean looking contemporary backsplash as well. You have to check out Someone on GW recommened it. I am choosing this product because of the clean contemporary lines and tile size 12" x 35", less grout lines. Right now I am torn between the Perfil Glass and the Perfil Lino of which I am going to run a single band of stainless steel horizontally around the kitchen to run into my stainless range backguard. This should be a fairly easy install since my electrician is eliminating all the wall outlets and switches.

Daki, your kitchen is beautiful. Love the ceiling beams. My layout is exactly the same as yours. How tall are your ceilings?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 10:38AM
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We used glass tiles (varying size narrow strips--Opera Glass from Artistic Tile, comes in about a dozen diff colors) in our contemporary kitchen. I do like the tile you're considering--will be very clean, yet dramatic.

daki--don't recall if I've seen pics of your kitchen before (probably have, but forgot!)--but I LOVE it!!!!! I could be very at home in your kitchen!

Here's mine:

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 11:06AM
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catmom-what color is your granite??

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 2:45PM
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If you are using dark backsplash, make sure you have enough natural light in the room.
You are already using glass in the cabinets, I like the idea of sheets of glass or large sized glass tiles.
Since there are already floor tiles, the backsplash tiles also have to relate to the floor tiles.

DR: are the uppers cabinets or panels of Wenge veneer? If that is veneer panels, what about paneling the wall left of the frig also? That wall kind of stand out as a bit of odd drywall... Is that wall a structural wall or have mechanical electrical? If not, you can just replace it with 3/4 inch panel. I am not sure, you should play with it. If you panel that wall, it will carry the theme of paneled walls from room to room, especially since the back of the penisula is wenge. I am not quite sure one way or the other, but you should play with it with software and see.

I might consider paneling the DW. This way, the two glass uppers will be the focal point without competing with the DW down below. The sink wall has alot of drama with the double glass uppers.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 3:00PM
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We used 2 different types of glass tile, the small subway tiles are Hakatai Mirage and they seem to tie everything together color wise. The Bluish tiles over the range area are by Porcelanosa - IMAX steel lined glass, we wanted to have something more on the modern side over the range.

@Daki, I love your kitchen, you might not be able to tell from looking at it, but I spent a long time admiring it in the FKB while making decisions on what to do with mine. Very nice!

@cat_mom yours is very nice too, I love that glass tile!

A good point to bring up while we are on the topic of backsplashes, unfortunately one I personally didn't pay enough attention to, was the placement of switches and outlets on the backsplash. Since you are in the design phase, definitely try to relocate your outlets and/or switches, it gives such a cleaner overall look!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 3:24PM
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sanmaster2--the granite is called Labrador Goldne Flake. it's a soft black with loads of silver and bronze "shimmer" (pearling or mica).

Thanks scottdim--I love your Hakatai Mirage and love how it wraps around the window opening/frame--great look!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 4:19PM
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I used crystal acido from Porcelanosa as an alternative to a glass backsplash.

Unfortunately, the picture is a little blurred.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 5:56PM
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Thanks all. Will try to address all your questions. Have some new ones too. I was just about done and the website went down - lost it all! Writing this one in Word first and will cut and paste! It's a bit long - sorry.

daki - There are no windows in the kitchen or DR but the DR has a large mirror on the wall opposite the wenge built in reflecting the ocean, sea grape covered dunes, and sky. That brings in some natural light.. There will also be lots of lighting added- a halogen ceiling light, recessed lighting in soffits above cabinets, under cabinet LED strips, and 3 pendants over the peninsula. Love your kitchen. Though more contemporary in feel, my other option was dark wood cabinets and a white countertop but I thought it would not fit with my floors kitchen size. Your backsplash is perfect for your kitchen, has the same idea as mine but presents an option for a wider and longer tile with less repetition. I checked out the colors and this is a very good option. Will run it by my KD.

Cat mom - Looks like we have very similar tastes. My inspiration picture had black countertops and dark backsplash . Cabinets are so similar. The tile you used would work for me in that color. My pendants are a white shell and would blend nicely (see link below). If I used these glass tiles, I would probably place them horizontally to go with the direction of the wood grain of the cabinets. Many countertop options with this - dark or light. Another suggestion for KD! How do you like the TV on the counter? I am also deciding between counter or wall mounted TV. I really like your island too. Where did you get your stools?

kaismom - No natural light in the kitchen but plenty of other light sources - see comment to daki above. I am stuck with my floor tiles - to replace them would be too expensive. So yes, they need to be considered. Right now I have small matte checkerboard black and white 1" tiles (1") backsplash and it looks fine so I think the black matte tile would go. Don't think the wood wall you suggest for the refrigerator will work, The entire Wenge DR built-in is veneer but the cabinets on the peninsula are the same ash as the kitchen cabinets. The rendering is deceiving for both those cabinets and the floor, which is terra cotta color - both are more orange than the brown shown in the drawing. Also the refrigerator wall will be required for all the electric switches. On the same page with you about the dishwasher. Have already ordered the KA panel ready DW and am planning to recess it to make sure it is integrated.

scottdim & davidtay- Love your Porcelanosa tiles. Were there any other of their tiles that you were considering along with the ones you chose? I have visited their showroom a number of times during this process and recently brought home some samples. Already have their wood-like slats tile in one room. A friend of mine just used their Metalker on her kitchen counters. They look great. She always wanted stainless steel counters but couldn't afford it since next year she will have all 4 children in college at the same time. If I can get a picture of it I will post it.

Here is a link that might be useful: White Pendants

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 7:48PM
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gwentm - any chance you could post pics of the wood-like slats tile? I really like the way it looks on their site. haven't yet seen it in person. Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 8:07PM
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IMAX steel, cubica, glass acido/ blanco, brunei blanco, ... Deciding on the backsplash tile was probably the most difficult. Ended up with the crystal acido as we did not quite like the pin striping of the glass acido. The nice thing was that the width of the tile fit perfectly under the 36" hood.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 8:08PM
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@gwentm We really liked this one too but couldn't get it to work with our color scheme

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 8:58PM
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gwentm--I like the tv on the counter perfectly well when I am cooking, except when DH is in the kitchen--he tends to stand on top of the TV (can't hear it--and he's not old!), so is often in my way as I'm bustling about trying to cook and get what I need from pantry, fridge, etc. Before I got stronger eyeglasses, I had trouble seeing the screen well while seated at the tabletop, but now it's not a problem.

The stools are from Design Centro Italia: (Baba black leather counter height stools).

It does sound like we have similar taste in kitchens!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 9:37PM
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Nice turnout of the modern folk on the board! I love the idea of the monochromatic stacked tile, or even brick pattern in the long tiles. Ours is more of an organic modern (rough beams, pine ceilings, interior garden) than a clean modern, so we went with a mosaic. But I think our finishes are similar to yours, so it will give you another option. The tiles are Sumi-e from Lunada Bay in the sendai/silk color/finish.

Here is a link that might be useful: Our kitchen

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 10:04PM
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    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 9:46AM
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If you are in the design stages now, do you have to make a decision on backsplash yet? I think it's much easier to do that once you have at least samples of the other elements (especially counterop and cabinets).

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 11:58AM
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malhgold - Here are some pictures of my Porcelanosa porcelain tile "wood" floor. There are 3 widths in this style but I did not use the widest one. You can decide your own pattern. I wanted to alternate one and one but the tile guy insisted this was the way Porcelanosa suggested (2 narrow 1 medium). I disagreed but relented and when he ran out of the narrow width tile he agreed I was right! It looks fine this way so I didn't make him do it over. One change I would make if I did it again is the grout - would make it darker so that it would be less noticeable. The grout I have is the one that Porcelanosa suggests. You may have to mix grout colors. It is not an easy install so if you do this make sure to get an installer who is a perfectionist and has experience with this - AND watch!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 3:04PM
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    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 6:42PM
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Catmom - My kitchen colors are similar to yours. I'm thinking of Silver Taupe (soft black, with bronze lines and grey) or Masabi Black (Vibrant black with light/medium grey spots and moderate mica/quartz) granite. My cabs are a cherry shaker style door, the color looks like yours - a medium tone with a slight teaky (brownish orange). I'm not sure what color blacksplash to do..what color glass tile did you use? My KD wants me to use a beige base tile with silver/gold/black/plum accents.

Davidtay - love your kitchen, too! What color is your granite?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 7:07PM
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The color is called Wolfgang White (Artistic Tile Opera Glass). The tiles are clear glass (not low-iron, so they do read greenish-blue at different times of day), they are painted on the backs. I knew I wanted to keep the walls in the kitchen (LR and DR) white, and wanted the backsplash to blend, but not, if that makes sense.

Both of your granite choices sound nice. You can look at granite, wood, and tile samples next to each other, or wait 'til cabs and granite are installed, and then bring home tile samples to prop up on the counters.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 7:37PM
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@sanmaster2 Thanks, my granite is Black Galaxy. Was leaning towards Quartz, then took a sudden turn to granite...

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 12:24AM
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My friend, who is a professional artist and product designer, photoshopped my DH's kitchen design posted above- adding tile choices, my actual appliances & pendants on order, faucet, some of her original paintings and even a a picture she took of my DH and I walking in the park - not to mention the bowl of artichokes! The pendants are not as long as shown, OTR microwave is too far down, DW will be paneled, and colors are not perfect but it is a good rendering showing the backsplash and counters. Floor is not as dark orange and cabinets will be more orangy - not as light. DR built in will be Wenge. Interested to get opinions of which combinations, if any, you like best and why.






    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 1:26AM
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In the current mockups, I prefer the darker gray tile, with the lighter gray second.

I wonder whether you have these rendered with more natural light than you'll really have? We have a din-ing room with no windows and a huge mirror reflecting light from another room, and honestly, it's still really dark in there. And that's with a 7-foot opening into a room that's all windows along one wall.

For that room, we're considering a might want to consider that as part of your work here.

So far, you are spoiled for choice, it looks like it's going to be a lovely room!


    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 8:46AM
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love these ideas. On my way to order moda mosaics- Walker Zanger and am second-guessing my choice.

ps- scottdim- Love your backsplash !
I laughed when I saw your dining room "kitchen". It looks exactly like ours !

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 4:20PM
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I'll weigh in and just say I think of all the drawings the first one is the best. not sure why, but it looks great!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 5:02PM
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Squigs - I've pretty much settled on the first one. The cabinet wood color will probably be slightly brighter but that's the look I'm going for. I am constrained by my floor so I will embrace it!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 3:05AM
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I know this is a really old thread, but I'm hoping some of you might still get notifications. Cat-mom, if you see this, how do you like those rules years later? How are they ti keep clean?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 8:49PM
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