Backsplash gurus help...Yellow River granite is in!! Is this back

millingtoncbMay 26, 2011

Hi everyone,

We just had yellow river put in and I have built a small board of a backsplash idea and wanted to get input on if it was too busy and would take away from the granite.

Here is the kitchen, excuse the mess, we were getting ready to evacuate from the threat of flooding, luckily we were spared. The cabinet colors are really the color on top, not the orangish on the bottom from the shade. There is also another corner section of cabinets behind me.

Here is the floor, shoe molding arent put back on, but this is just for reference

Here is the granite:

Here is the backsplash board with the granite:

On the board, I split in into 1/4ths and have put 3 different grouts to pick a color, bottom left section is not grouted yet.

Grouts are:

top left-mapei chamois

bottom left- laticrete parchment

top right- home depot- earth

I need help determining if the BS is too busy for the space. The way it is set up will require minimal cuts so I got that going for me, lol.

This test board is using tumbled noce that has been sealed but not enhanced, I have already built another one and will be enhancing it and testing the same grouts.

Thanks in advance


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it'd be too busy for me. I think it detracts from the granite.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 12:27PM
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With the floor and the granite, I also think the BS is too busy, both because of the pattern and the variation in the tiles.

We have Yellow River installed and we're going with a simple cream colored subway. I know it's boring, but I didn't want anyting to compete with the stone. I'd post a pic, but the tile hasn't arrived yet.

And your countertops are gorgeous (but I may be a bit biased)!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 12:58PM
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I, too, think the BS is too busy for your granite. The BS is lovely and would look nice with a simple granite, but Yellow River is such a beautiful granite on its own and the BS competes with it for attention.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 1:03PM
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I think a monochromatic backsplash would look best. Maybe in a cream or gray color.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 1:05PM
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any other suggestions?
I also have a board built that it a pinwheel pattern with just the noce, built with 4x4 and 2x2. The nice thing about that is that cuts on bottom match cuts on top.

It would be all one color with pretty much a matching grout. Still seem too much??

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 1:33PM
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IT's not so much the color that's coming off too busy but the combination of many different sizes and shapes. If you like tumbled stone, I'd go with one shape in one color of that medium.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 1:58PM
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Is the sample board combining multiple different natural stones? Or is it just the variety in a single material?

I like how the lightest stone ties into the light color in your granite. However, I agree that the combination of busy materials (natural stone) + (what appears to be) multiple different materials + multiple shapes + pattern = too much with your busy (stunning) granite.

Can you share a picture your other sample board?

Personally, I would opt for a single material and a fairly simple pattern or at least mostly one material with a very simple pattern in a second material.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 2:08PM
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the other sample board is using one type stone, a tumbled noce, but it has a pinwheel of 2x2 and 4x4 sizes, but it is the same type and color range stone.

The original one I posted above is all tumbled stone, some chiaro and some noce, so there are no mixed materials on the backsplash just two main colors

i'll take a picture of the other board when I get home tonight and post it

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 2:28PM
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I would go with something way more solid. I may be in the minority, but I think even tumbled stone competes with many of the granites that have any significant pattern or movement.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 4:15PM
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I love your granite and it matches wonderfully with the
cabinets. I think the tumbled bs is not the right shade to
match your fantastic granite. Maybe it is just my monitor.
The tile seems to have a peachy pink but the counter has
more of a yellow brown shade to it. I wonder if you could
get a different shade in the same design?

Here are some ideas that might not compete with the
beautiful stone but rather let is shine....

This is from Lowes called American Olean a ceramic tile

Brittany and Coggs hand made tile

Notice how this simple BS does not compete with the granite.

Glass mix tile sheet

Maybe a tone like this one with a more simple design.

glossy subways in a simple shade

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 4:23PM
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All the stones "match" with granite, but with the different tones and textures it becomes the "main event" verses complementary to the *wow* granite. Obviously you like patterns and I don't know if you would be happy with subway tile. If you do a pattern I encourage you to use tiles in the same color tone, thought I agree with remodelfla that different shapes and sizes may be too busy. I might lean towards ceramics, not natural stone, because there is less variation, but if you go natural I agree that the lighter stone really compliments the counter.

If subway is too boring, what about a herrigbone pattern, or use all squares set like diamonds, versus trying to incorporate squares, diamonds and small rectangles...

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 4:29PM
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it is the lighting and camera phone quality. The tiles have zero peachy color to them, they are actually the same color as the third picture from the bottom that you posted, probably exact same tiles, true noce tumbled marble/travertine from lowes

the small subways are just like the ones in your last pic as well.

I'm definitely going stone with the granite, and will post the pinwheel pattern later today

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 4:36PM
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I found this on a blog I read called "Colour me Happy". She has great advice

Here is a link that might be useful: Which backsplash goes with granite

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 5:38PM
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I found this picture (link below) yesterday with a backsplash/granite I absolutely love. The granite is Typhoon Bordeaux, looking similar to your Yellow River. I think the backsplash may be Crema Marfil, but not sure.

I have the same dilemma as you. I really want (soon to be installed) a granite with drama & movement. Maybe Typhoon Bordeaux, Sienna Bordeaux or Yellow River, or............

But, I also don't want a completely plain subway tile backsplash. DH has strongly expressed that he doesn't want a plain backsplash. In fact, I am having to restrain his wishes for a bolder backsplash ;-)

This Crema Marfil, with a slight pattern by way of layout, may just be what we choose to go with our bolder granite.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 8:38PM
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I agree with Frankie in Zone 7 - the tumbled marble takes away from the impact of such gorgeous granite. A crazy thought - what about using the same granite as the backsplash? The tumbled stone looks like you were trying to match the granite, but it just doesn't quite make it. If not granite, I agree using a cream colored subway tile would be classic.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 8:53PM
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Geees, and I thought I was a "Loaner", drdannie, as far as doing a backsplash with the same granite as the countertops.

We have Arandis Gold (Brazillian with a lotta movement).
We love the granite backsplash, can see the granite without standing over it, and myself, I have seen as much grout as I care to see if a life time--I still have it inthe 3 bathrooms. Besides we usually have bouquets of roses on the counter top and they reflect back off the granite-----I just don't think grout lines would do anything for those reflections---do you?

Anyway we've had it since 2006, my wife's twin sister also did a granite backsplash, and like us, She still loves it.

Ya can't beat the cleanup!!!
No worries about what goes with it---etc----etc---etc!!!


    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 9:13PM
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Sorry to de-rail this thread for a minute, but Boxerpups, can you tell me more about the lowes tile you posted a picture of? I have just spent an hour on their website and haven't found it. It looks like it could be a contender for my backsplash if they still sell it.
Thanks for all the photos you find - know that many other people are looking and learning from your ideas.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 10:08PM
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Try this for the American Olean Tile

Here is a link that might be useful: tile

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 10:25PM
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Hi Cindaintx,

Sorry I tune in to GW in the mornings and I am on
the East coast so you are probably still in bed.
But here is what I have. I hope it helps, seems like
a great price. I believe you can find it on kaboodle
and even various tile supply stores too. Good luck.


American Olean 20"W x 12"L Costa Rei Brown Ceramic Tile
Item #: 294355 : Model #:CR831220MS1P2
0"W x 12"L Costa Rei Brown Ceramic Tile
� Recommended for residential walls, floors, counters, and backsplashes. Also suitable for pool linings.
� Variation of shade and texture is an inherent characteristic of all tiles.
� Please inspect tile prior to installation. No adjustments will be allowed after installation.
� Wall, floor, decorative and trim tile are manufactured to "coordinate".

Here is a link that might be useful: American Olean 20

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 7:05AM
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I'm going to chime in with drdannie and dodge59 and just add a little food for thought. We, too, went with full granite BS when we gutted our kitchen last year. It's been in 11 months and I still smile wide every time I walk in the kitchen. Ours is a totally different color (Volga Blue), but the effect of the continuity from counter to wall is awesome. And, when compared to the 5 different types of tile BS we were considering, full slab granite was LESS expensive than 4 of the 5 when taking into consideration the tile, grout and labor charge. I am so thankful my sister, nephew and cousin (they are the decorators in the family, not me) suggested it. I don't want to clean grout any more, either.

The first thing nearly everyone that walks into our house for the first time (or the first time in 11 months) mentions is the granite. If you can still match your slabs, it might be worth considering.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 9:28AM
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I think what bugs is that the mottling on the tiles and the granite are too similar. I think you need to choose tiles without mottling.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 11:52AM
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ok, I'm back and thanks a bunch for all the input so far.

Here are some pics of other samples i put together, all same color and same stone, a tumbled noce:

my version of a pinwheel: only squares used, in 2x and 4x

Here is one my wife wanted to see, only used 4x4 tumbled noce:

Again , both of the above are a simple tumbled noce travertine.

I did go to Emser today and look into glass. Found a color called morning fog that goes perfectly with the granite. I was only able to get a sample of mosaic, but am now seriously considering this in a subway pattern, but I'd like larger than 3x6.

Quantum showrooms has another glass that is called silver mist I believe that is the same color pretty much but comes in 4x8 and 4x12.

How do you think this goes?

Thanks again for all the help, I appreciate all the comments

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 10:25PM
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Alto I prefer a granite backsplash, of the choices you shown, that silvermist glass, (To Me) goes the best.
It does not seem to compete or detract from the granite
as the others do, (To Me)---I have a hard time wondering
whether to look at the granite or the backsplash, with the others (Alto I'm old)(LOL).

To Me, with the glass, The Beautiful Granite is
"Still the Star"!


    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 11:16PM
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I don't pretend to be an expert, so take my opinion as just an opinion. But I do feel that even these back-splashes, which are definitely lovely and seem to be well color-coordinated with the granite, do distract from your beautiful granite. Yellow River is such a beautiful granite that it should be the star, and not be in competition with the back-splash.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 11:44PM
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well, the granite backsplash is out of the question. I bought 2 slabs and picked what pieces I wanted to go where and the fabricator used the rest. To me, that was too much granite anyways.

I appreciate all of the opinions so far.

I am , right now, leaning towards the glass. It is simple, linear, one consistent color, shape and surface and goes perfectly with the counters. Gotta get a few sq/ft in a few subway sizes and see how it looks on the wall

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 12:19AM
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interstyle glass has some beautiful silver/silver gray/silver blue colors and a multitude of sizes. I don't know their pricing or availability to where you live but thought I'd post a link.

Here is a link that might be useful: interstyle glass

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 6:12AM
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I would go for a simple subway in either travertine or glass. Any pattern distracts. I think picking the backsplash is the hardest part of this job!

I have a river gold granite and went with subway. Although I dislike the color (wish I had gone with a cream rather than gray), you can get the idea at this link. Click on the picture for the album. From Kitchen

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 7:03AM
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Hands down, the glass tile.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 9:08AM
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OK. I like the squares, that's an improvement. Better than the diamond, which are busier.

The glass is lovely, too - but it's too cold.

This is the same color glass, but more organic:


or the iridescent version (which is much less iridescent in person than the picture on the web shows)


    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 11:12AM
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I prefer the glass. The thing that gets me with travertine is the texture. AGAIN, it's just my opinion and it's YOUR kitchen but, if you're asking. The combination of granite and travertine or any tumbled stone just doesn't work for me. I like the shiny quality of the granite's surface. I love the granite you chose. It's simply BEAUUUUUUUTIFUL. But I think that the texture difference between the very "finished" granite and the very "unfinished" tumbled stone just bugs me. It's a combo I have never liked. I totally don't want to offend anyone that loves the combo. It's just a personal thing that I don't like. I like the clean, simple glass and let that granite SHINE!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 9:58PM
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I have Yellow River and I have decided on a handmade bone colored crackle tile.The manufacturer is Senio and the tile is made in Italy. Most of the backsplash will be 3x6 tiles except for the area above the range which will the same color tile but a mural made with the tile chair rail and 6x6 and some decorative decos. It will be entirely tone on tone.
I think everything except a simple tile is too busy for the granite.
Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 11:21PM
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I'm with doggonegardener...I don't care for the smooth shiny texture of the granite with the pitted, tumbled texture of the stone tiles. One evokes rustic, ancient and the other polished and sophisticated. Just doesn't work for me.

A grey (or other color) glass would, I think look great, as would a plain ceramic tile. If you want something less simple, I could see using some decos that repeat one of the other colors in the granite, either also in glass or possibly in stone. I could even see small accents in a tumbled stone. Just not the whole backsplash. FWIW

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 2:17AM
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I agree with melissastar, I don't care for the rough pitted look against that particular granite. It's too close in color/variation, but not quite the same, so it competes with the granite. Sort of like wearing plaid pants with a plaid shirt (not the same plaid). Your eye can't focus on the granite because it's being distracted by the other tile. If you want stone, how about a filled/honed light travertine? Then you have a smooth surface, and only a little variation.

I'm loving that gray glass tile, and think it would look well with the style of cabinets and flooring that you have. Or you could go with a matte ceramic tile, maybe in a light cream color, with an accent stripe of the gray glass. That would give you something with a smooth surface without an additional pattern to distract from the granite.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 2:53AM
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I agree with Dog and Melissa. Dislike the combo a lot.

The glass is a step in the right direction. It immediately makes the granite and tile relationship look fresh and uncluttered unlike the tumbled tiles which seem heavy, thick, and overbearing. Not trying to be harsh. Ceramic would be very nice also.

You've got a beautiful space shaping up there!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 2:53AM
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melissastar did sum it up better than I was able to. What bugs me is "rustic" vs. "refined". The two clash for me. It's gotta be one or the other.

Someone recently did the most gorgeous green granite counters I have EVER seen and then they put a tumbled travertine backsplash in. I know THEY are very happy with it and that's all that matters but I still can't reconcile the two different looks and it comes down to "rustic" mixed with "refined" and MY brain just can't make it work. Call it MY shortcoming.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 12:32PM
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ditto on the 'color me happy' website info on backsplashes....she basically saved me from making a huge mistake on my backsplash...i have a granite counter very similar to the one in your post, i purchased some cream colored subway tiles (crackle finish) and taped them on the wall to see the effect....and i am convinced that subways are the best option for most granite....if you go to a competing backsplash with your granite ultimately you will end up with a 'busy' look and your eye will not know where to 'land', i picked a granite that i want to be the focal point of the kitchen, so the backsplash needs to be a 'calm' reflection of the colors i wish to emphasize in my granite

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 3:53PM
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I love the glass tile in subway. Glass is the to go. Your granite will thank you.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 6:39PM
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alright, I am making progress. We are going with glass but still trying to get right shade. Yesterday I had a color called morning fog from Emser, but today I have 2 different colors. These were taken off of a mosaic type tile we did our master shower with, a set called sandswept. I went to a couple different shops today and was able to narrow down one of the colors as either American Olean willow or Interceramic Beach. Still working on the other one.

Here is the one we have identified pretty much

here is a comparison of the 2, one on the left I have been unable to identify, closest I have found was celedon from American Olean, and also the 2 with the morning fog posted yesterday

Thoughts? I am thinking the one with the tan, khaki color would be perfect in a 4x8 or 4x12

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 6:52PM
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So much better! It lets that yowza granite shine. Khaki!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 1:44AM
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I agree with breezygirl - the glass is so much better and I also vote for the khaki. I think it will work well with your cabinetry as well as the granite.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 1:50AM
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Love the glass--especially the khaki. Really coordinates with your beautiful granite/

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 2:04AM
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    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 8:38AM
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Great choice on the glass tiles (and the beautiful granite).

I hope you don't mind me hijacking the thread for a brief moment. I saw that you already had your electric outlet plates installed on the untiled walls (in the first set of photos). I somehow got the impression that if you are going to tile the BS, you have to project the outlet plate further out. That does mean that until you got the tiles, your outlets will look unfinished. Is there a way around this that I'm not aware of? In other words, will you need to do anything to your outlets when you install the tile BS? Anyone in the know is welcome to chime in and I promise I'll get back on topic (regarding tile choices) once my puzzle is solved. TIA.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 8:52AM
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Love the khaki! mudworm... when the installers go to install the tile they'll pull out/extend the outlets and then reattach to the tile when completed.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 8:58AM
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yep, there are multiple ways to extend the outlets, all of which can be done at time of BS install

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 2:25PM
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Khaki is a beautiful compliment to your granite. Nice find!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 4:37PM
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ok, thanks for all the help and input so far, it is much appreciated and has helped steer us into what we feel the right direction, the glass is definitely the way to go here

One last question: for our layout, would you do 3x6 subways in the glass or 4x12? My gut tells me to go 4x12

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 1:28AM
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