Another Backsplash Plea for help

vwhippiechickMay 16, 2014

We completed our kitchen reno in 2008. The help offered by the people on this forum was invaluable. Without doubt I know that all the info shared here totally rocked my kitchen plans in a good way. And the KF humor helped me keep my sanity. With that said, I could not make a decision at the time about a backsplash so we moved on to other projects and have been without one all this time. I retired recently and am happy to have some time to get some of these loose ends tied up. So here I am again hoping for some great suggestions. I am open to using tile or really any material that will wear well. Our home was built in 1872 but the kitchen was added in the early 90's. A lot of the original details were kept in the rest of our home - woodwork, doors, etc. There has been one change since these pictures. The dark section of the cabinets now has a matching wood backsplash as well as a matching wood facade for the dishwasher. So this area looks like a built in hutch. The areas on either side of the range are the key areas as well as around the sink. Thanks in advance.


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Lovely kitchen and home! Your pictures made me smile; what a bright, rich, warm space you've built. Each shot is a vignette.

I really like the color you have on the walls in the kitchen; suggest you match this with a tile of some sort. Get the tiles, make up a few sample boards with grout, and photograph them in place; I'll be pleased to photoshop them onto your space for you.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 11:12PM
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I like the kitchen and what you've done, and if it were me, I'd be inclined to be very simple. Beveled subway to match your cabinets. Something that would not take away from the many nice elements in your home. You picked the stove backsplash with the cushioned pattern and competing with that might be tough.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 12:37AM
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I like the diamond pattern in your stainless bs, and it brought to mind a lovely stone mosaic made of Athens Grey marble (below) that would look beautiful with your counters and cabs. Subway tile mounted in a herringbone pattern would be another lovely option.

Here is a link that might be useful: Marble

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 3:20AM
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You know what? In this kitchen I'm not sure a backsplash is warranted. The simplicity of a scrubbable paint is visually very appropriate to the other elements and to the simple, quiet aesthetic in general in your home. If you try to put anything textured in as a backspash (tiles with grout lines, beadboard, pressed tin, etc.) then you will introduce a cacophony of lines that will disturb your current very good balance. Right now you have tile grid on the floor, embossed lattice on the stainless backsplash panel, veining in the soapstone. You have a lot of significant line in the raised paneled cabinetry surfaces. You have a rather sophisticated grained and lined island piece. The PLAIN wall goes perfectly with these. I know backsplashes are all the rage and the dominant decorative element in a lot of kitchens today, but look really carefully at the big picture here. What you have is WORKING, now!

This post was edited by beautybutdebtfree on Sat, May 17, 14 at 9:21

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 9:20AM
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I love OB2Bs suggestion, it's a good one. I think you could use a little more visual texture in your kitchen than you have now, and clearly so do you. Your cabinets are white and save for a little veining, your counters are grey. Your walls and floor are the same color. Your island is the opposite of busy. I think you could use a little contrast in your space.

I have noticed that peoples taste in bs materials has a lot to do with their age. Consider the cartoons you watched when you were little. Most GWers grew up with classic Looney Tunes, so a limited color palette and wide open blocks of it (think Road Runner's western vistas). I'm a bit younger than that. My cartoon of choice was Dexter's Laboratory (a Cartoon Network confection) that had a broader color palette and so much more detail drawn on each image. My nephews watch Adventure Time, which hardens back to a simpler aesthetic. We tend to respond to the degree of visual complexity we grew up with.

You have a beautiful kitchen as is. If you would like to finish it, just look for materials that fit your aesthetic. Good luck!

This post was edited by EAM44 on Sat, May 17, 14 at 11:32

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 11:21AM
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Here's an image of the herringbone that would echo your diamond stainless nicely.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 11:23AM
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And the relative simplicity of Wile E Coyote (a Warner Bros. cartoon)

This post was edited by EAM44 on Sat, May 17, 14 at 11:31

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 11:28AM
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Okay, I've heard EAM mention her theory before to pooh-pooh those "older" posters and their boring taste. She probably won't understand how offensive that can be taken until she herself reaches a certain age. Good taste has no age barriers.

I grew up watching the Flintstones and I like simple and classy, like Wilma with her pearls, though I appreciate lots of other styles. I don't think you need a bs. You're talking about a very small area to tile, mainly around the stove, which is the most likely area to create a conflict with the pillowed diamond stainless. It's a very strong element.

Do you normally keep your counters so empty? I think that's what makes you think you need a bs. I'd put something on the counters near the range to fill the void.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 11:40AM
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Come to think of it, Wilma probably didn't wear pearls since there was no ocean in Bedrock. So her choker was probably stone or bone. Anyway, she knew how to rock a choker and animal skin dress.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 11:45AM
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Hmmm. What was the kitchen like, on Lost in Space? I do remember the Brady Bunch one, but couldn't speak to what the backsplash was. Not sure about this theory EAM44, but no offense taken, just always love seeing the tiles you post. The white herringbone is lovely.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 12:26PM
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BBDF: My DH has consistently said we don't need a backsplash so he will be happy that several of you agree with him. I prefer the counters relatively clean ("empty" to you Mayflower :-) I have tried a few decorative items but nothing seems right. It seems I can get the "big" items in place - cabinets, counters, furniture, floors etc but it's the finishing touches that challenge me the most. The herringbone is lovely but I will look for some decorative items and see how that changes things first. Thank you so much for your compliments also. It is nice to hear that others appreciate my choices.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 6:44PM
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I don't remember any cooking on Lost in Space. Maybe you mean The Jetsons?

As for the theory, we also grew up with pop art. I loved Peter Max.

This post was edited by may_flowers on Sat, May 17, 14 at 18:50

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 6:48PM
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Oh jeez, people, no offense meant. There's nothing wrong with wanting quiet tile. It doesn't mean you're ancient. My nephews, and perhaps some day my own kids if I am so lucky, will probably prefer quieter visuals than I. There have actually been psychological studies that show the tolerance for visual texture to be generational. And somewhat cyclical. End of story. And there are always exceptions to the rule, by the way.

If you're offended, perhaps you need to figure out why being a product of your generation makes you feel bad. I never said Looney Tunes was ugly, I tried to explain that whether you are aware of it or not, having watched it in your formative years may have affected your aesthetic. As for reaching "a certain age," I hope I get to. My mother didn't.

VW, take your time. It's a lovely kitchen.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 12:23AM
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EAM44 I love both your suggestions.
My opinion = that kitchen is screaming out for a beautiful and interesting backsplash.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 12:34AM
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I am not easily offended especially with feedback on my design choices. Here are some comments my friends and family made after our kitchen remodel. Friend - your home is like a bed and breakfast inn! Mom - you try things I would never do. Sister - it looks as if no one lives here (Mayflower I think that is what I get for having empty counters, ha) Closest friend - It's beautiful. So I try to choose things that I love, that satisfy my husband's functional desires and just enjoy them. We all know - you can't please everyone. I can't believe our kitchen has been completed for this many years. Since retiring from a very stressful job I have the time to think more about my surroundings and consider some changes. I thought that our home could use a little refresh. Inside and out! Thank you all for your thoughtful responses. It's wonderful to be able to go online , ask and receive such great help. It's all good!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 9:24AM
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Your kitchen is charming & I like the quilted pattern. Staying along those lines, what about arabesque? You'd have to remove the quilted stainless panel.

This post was edited by romy718 on Sun, May 18, 14 at 13:22

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 12:06PM
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I adore your kitchen and house. Beautiful!!! One of the prettiest I have seen on the forum. Good luck on your BS.
For some reason I like the whimsy of this backsplash in some form, for your kitchen:

Traditional Kitchen by Bloomington Interior Designers & Decorators yaminidesigns, llc

Some of the others posted, while beautiful, seem too modern, too Moroccan or too current for your cozy kitchen. I like the touch of black the carefully placed small tiles add and the larger diagonally placed field tile gives it a feeling of timelessness. It would not take away from the elements already in the kitchen and would compliment your total look nicely.

This post was edited by gr8day on Sun, May 18, 14 at 12:58

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 12:46PM
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    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 8:00PM
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Gorgeous kitchen!
With your BS behind the cooking area, I would keep it simple. Either subways or squares

I like your wall color as well and you can go on without a BS as well

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 8:49PM
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Thanks OB2B, MareLuce, and vw. I appreciate your kindness.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 9:32PM
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Romy, The arabesque is to die for... but not sure I want to lose the stainless. It is so easy to clean. But that is something I had not considered. It's worth thinking about if the stainless pattern is limiting my options.
Gr8day, I love both the black and white selections and they may be just the ticket to echo the quilted stainless pattern. If DH is still holding out I may just update some of the decorative elements, curtains, art etc and wait another few years.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 10:05PM
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Love your kitchen! It's the same color scheme as mine, so that could be why ;). We chose a light tan ceramic backsplash with cream grout. This was our inspiration:

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 11:26PM
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With the arabesque, change your stainless to plain stainless. Another backsplash that might be pretty in your kitchen is beadboard or shiplap. I'll have to find a pic.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 1:19AM
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I like your stainless because you don't see it used often. I also like your curtains.

My eyes lit up at romy's suggestion of shiplap, but with the stained cabinets already having a wood panel, it could be too many wood-look wall coverings for the little wall space you have.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 9:58AM
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After finding a pic of beadboard, I don't think it's the right look for your kitchen. And I agree with May_flowers about the shiplap.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 12:01PM
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If you think about the diamond square as a tile, you can see that anything in the same size range will compete. I think you can change the scale and go very large and possibly even use a pattern, like oldbat's backsplash, which almost looks like wallpaper. Or you could use a monochromatic mosaic like Ickaisgirl's mural. It's not a mosaic that looks too modern imo.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 12:57PM
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vwhippie-not to derail your post but where did you get that quilted stainless for behind the range? I think it looks great. I'll leave the suggestions to the creative peeps that are chiming in. I will say though I don't think your kitchen looks like it's 'lacking' or 'nekkid' without one. :)

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 12:45PM
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Autumn I ordered the stainless online. I will search for the site but it's been quite a while go.

Shiplap, hmmm, I will look for some pics of this. I seriously considered bead board at the time of the cabinet install. But wasn't ready to commit.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 4:57PM
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