Please HELP! Maple Cabinets & White Subway Tile Backsplash

nik211April 7, 2010

I'm hoping I could get some input :)

I currently have maple cabinets (medium color, not dark not light) in my kitchen and a Corian countertop (the color is Maiu - it is a grayish color with specks of brown/amber, cream and black). I have stainless steel appliances and oil rubbed bronze hardware on my cabinets (and the same on all the doors knobs/hinges in the house). The walls in the kitchen are painted Benjamin Moore Ladyfinger. I have a black table and chairs.

We *might* have money to upgrade the countertop. I would love a black granite but I'm not quite sure if it is in the budget and how easy it would be to keep clean (since I like Absolute Black and hear it shows every mark). If we keep the Corian I am going to have it professionally re-surfaced because there are tons of scratches & gouges from the previous owners :(

In any case, we are going to need a backsplash. I've always envisioned white subway tile with white grout but I'm not sure if it will look too stark next to my cabinetry? I love the look of white subway tile paired with black granite - but if we keep the Corian I'm having a hard time picturing white subway tile (or any tile!) in the kitchen. I think a white backsplash would help brighten up the kitchen (it's in the middle of the house and there is no direct window) but I also have a fear of it looking too bright. All the inspiration photos I find are of white cabinetry and white tile - I haven't found any good photos of my color cabinets with white.

My husband and I also like glass tiles - in the amber family - something with yellow, red, brown, black - but I'm not sure if that would be too busy in our kitchen (especially if we keep the Corian)?? Plus, I am a little afraid of doing something that is too trendy - I think I'd prefer something more timeless.

If someone can please tell me how to post photos I can share my kitchen with you. I'd really appreciate any ideas, advice, input. We've done a lot in the kitchen (appliances, paint, hardware, accessories) and the backsplash is the last piece :)


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Read beuhl's thread "Read me if you're new to GW kitchen forum"
There is a section on how to upload and post pictures. It's easy once you figure it out. First you must upload your photos to a free site like photobucket. Then you copy the HTML code and paste it into your message box here. Hit preview and your picture should appear. It took me several attempts before I figured it out. Pictures will get you much better advice from the folks here. Good luck!!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 7:08PM
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Thanks Chris!

I am going to try posting a few pictures of the kitchen from a few different angles...fingers crossed!

Hopefully this helps - I need suggestions.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 9:02PM
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A couple of thoughts:
if you love absolute black but are worried about maintenance, look at a leathered finish. It is much more forgiving than the polished finish to smudges, etc.
There might be a reason you aren't seeing a lot of pictures with your color cabs and white tile - you might be right and it might be too bright. Try to get some sample tiles and bring them home and tape them to the wall to get an idea. You might find the answer really fast!
Check the Finished Kitchen blog and Backsplash slideshow (link to FKB below, backsplash slideshow at FKB) for more pics to see if anyone else has done it - there are lots of successful rule breakers here!
Maybe consider an off-white subway. Again checking a sample in your kitchen with your cabs and counter will help.
If you both love the glass mosaic you might be able to incorporate it in a small area - like behind the backsplash or as an accent with 2 or 3 rows of mosaic between rows of subway - there are some examples in the finished backsplashes.
Finally, congrats on making it this far!

Here is a link that might be useful: Finished Kitchens

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 9:32PM
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I think it would look great, but I have natural birch cabs w/white bs and white appl*ances (I'm biased). I don't think it's too bright at all, and I have pretty good natural light in the room. This is not a recent photo, but it should give you some idea. I have a little picture hanging on the bs now so it's not quite so stark. Also, I used square tiles instead.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 10:11PM
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In reading your OP, the same thing came to my mind about the leathered, and I see jrueter beat me to it. There's more than just Absolute Black out there. However, I did encounter a slab of honed AB and couldn't make a smudge appear on it at all. I ended up with Impala Black leathered and it will be pretty bulletproof if it's anything like the sample I have.

I think an off white subway would look great. I would also consider a stainless sheet behind the range, at least partway up, or even a design with your colored tiles just in that spot.

What color are your walls? It's hard to tell with the yellow color of the light in the photos.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 4:32PM
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Maybe you are putting the cart before the horse. I think you need to decide on countertop before you can decide on backsplash and the countertop needs to be installed before installation of backsplash. Ubatuba is an inexpensive granite with some green in it. You might want to check it out. I've attached a picture of this granite with cabs close to the color of yours

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 6:06PM
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I looked at your pictures and imagined the back splash painted white or white subways and just don't see it looking right. Your kitchen is so lovely as it is. Do you have to have a different back splash? I do like the idea of a stainless sheet behind the range (very cheap at Ikea - $20 or $25).

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 6:58PM
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