Ok Backsplash Time

SwentasticJuly 15, 2014

Hey Friends:

So we've pulled the trigger on our cabinets and counters (thanks again for all the help!) and are now debating backsplash ideas.

MCM house although not trying to keep it museum quality matchy matchy vintage authentic blah blah. Just want it to look rad.

Thinking white/grey marble for both - we've got a patient tile guy.

Cabinets are slab birch with a mid-range honey stain, counters will be dark (grey/black) soapstone with (some) white streaks.

We're torn between these two layouts. Obviously the "whole wall" idea is way more expensive and we'd probably have to cut the budget elsewhere to do it. These are 12x24 tiles.

On the other hand I really love the idea of doing a 2x12 stacked bond just up to the bottom shelf, too. This would be way cheaper and actually I think it reinforces the horizontal elements of the space. What are your thoughts? Any challenges I may be missing with either?

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Ok so I can't figure out how to do this - sorry for multiple posts.

This post was edited by Swentastic on Tue, Jul 15, 14 at 12:54

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 12:52PM
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Here's the 2x12 option (I got lazy they're not actually 2x12 but you get the general idea).

This post was edited by Swentastic on Tue, Jul 15, 14 at 12:59

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 12:53PM
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I like the tile just up to the first shelf.

For MCM though, honestly I wouldn't do marble tile. It'll be beautiful, but it doesn't seem to fit as well as a ceramic tile would. But I'm not a designer....so I know really know anything ;-)

Heath has great colors...they even have one called "Mid-century white". I got a sample, and it's a very cool slightly glossy white with perhaps a whisper of blue or grey.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 1:15PM
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Yeeeah I agree on the ceramic but DH disagrees. I'm still working on him. If you know where I can get ceramic 2x12s for $7/sf I'd love to see it - we'd be getting a great deal on the marble and the stuff we've picked out doesn't have too much going on.

I've seen pics where the marble works and like I said, I'm not trying to keep it historically accurate.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 1:30PM
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Love your inspiration picture & if you could find marble tile that is "quiet" as in your pic, it would look great.
As far as your two options, I prefer the larger format tiles & the inspiration pic size.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 1:36PM
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Susie I just looked on Heath - beautiful stuff but egads, $28.75/sf is just too much unfortunately. I do like the look and cleanability of the ceramic but somehow its beyond my budget.

Romy thanks - I think we could get away with it. I'd need to see the samples next to the soapstone to make sure it wasn't too busy.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 1:50PM
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If you've got a marble that you like for $7/sqft, I say go for it! I think it'll be beautiful. I love the inspiration picture. I don't know offhand of any ceramic options in 2X12 that are in that price range, but I have to think that they exist. Daltile has 2X8s.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 1:50PM
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Huzzah! I think I've finally convinced DH to go with glass tile - I found these at Lowes for $9.10/sf and I think the color would be gorgeous.

Does anybody know if doing glass tile in a stacked bond creates any issues? Has anybody else used darker glass tile? I'm wondering about thinset and grout colors next. Any advice would be appreciated.

This post was edited by Swentastic on Wed, Jul 16, 14 at 14:40

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 2:36PM
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No advice but I look forward to seeing photos of the finished job.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 9:43AM
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I really like grey/white marble with soapstone counters. As far as layout is concerned, i prefer your inspiration image to either of your plans. You could get a similar look if you purchase the 12"x24" tiles and cut them into 6"x12"s then lay them in your proposed 2"x12" layout.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 4:34PM
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Thanks for the input! We're no further along than we were before except that DH is on board with glass, and I'm 50:50 split on what to pick. Maybe this will help...

I prefer the stacked glass for the MCM look - I think it looks much more modern than the marble. It also costs about twice what the marble would.

I like the marble because its warm and rich and natural. It looks great next to the soapstone. I'm worried it'll look out of place with the rest of the materials in the home. The only other natural stone is the travertine sills on all our windows and a slate tile floor in the sunroom.

I've found the closest internet approximations of the materials and smooshed them together - I have no idea what the upper wall color will be but the grey works well to show off the other colors.

Can you think of any other materials that might look better but still cost $9/sf or less? What would you pick seeing these two options?

This post was edited by Swentastic on Fri, Jul 25, 14 at 17:18

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 4:59PM
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I don't know about the busy-ness of the narrow tiles but up to the shelf looks more cohesive. The other appears rather chopped up. Love your inspiration kitchen!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 6:21PM
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I like the bigger tiles - less grout. love the inspiration pic!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 5:01AM
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I think the glass tiles and layout look more appropriate for a mid-century home. Looks great!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 8:09AM
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Do you think this will be too busy?

Flooring choice has changed a bit - now we've got 5" hickory installed (not what I thought I was getting but we can't stop now) and the cabinets are going in on Friday so we can't change those either. Today we're going to decide whether or not to go with a neutral wax on the floor or with a whitewash effect. Opinions on that would be welcomed.

Cabinets are still medium (honey?) stained birch veneered slabs so there will be some graining but I'm having them condition the wood first so the stain should go on pretty even. Unfortunately I've been thwarted at every attempt to gain a sample door so I'm relying on memory and pictures.

I've included a pic of the soapstone slab - once its oiled down it'll be nearly black with light grey veins - not very busy IMO but thought I'd run it up the flagpole here and see what everybody thinks.

Haven't purchased tile for the backsplash yet - I'd like to see everything together first before we make a decision. If the consensus is "too busy" then I'll probably go with a glass tile backsplash but if you think we can still get away with quiet marble, I'd like to hear that too. Please be gentle with your criticism - I've already spent the money and am really just looking for some helpful advice about clashing patterns in hard surfaces. Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 2:04PM
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I prefer the stacked look that goes to the top of the first shelf. Much more modern, as you say.

It doesn't HAVE to be glass tho. It could be anything.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 2:45PM
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[continued from last post]
Just throwing this out there:
What about plain white ceramic stacked tiles? Cheap!
And maybe choose a paint colour that's the same as the tile.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 2:56PM
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Oh, and it all looks very nice. I'm excited to see it come together.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 3:00PM
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i looove that floor! i am green with envy:) also think you should keep it as natural as possible since it is so gorgeous!
love the soapstone too and since it is so "quiet" i think you can do just about anything you want for a bs. i know nothing about mcm so i won't comment on design but go with your gut is my advice. so far you have made some extraordinary picks!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 3:09PM
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I like where you are going with your kitchen MCM, but not over the top. I think if you go with the darker gray you should paint the wall a similar color to match. Do you have a lot of natural light in your kitchen? It doesn't look like it and if there is not a lot of light I would prefer to go with the lighter tile and wall to keep it lighter. Love your hickory floor.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 3:53PM
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I love the soapstone slab and floors (and think I'd like whitewash on the floors). I love both tile choices, but see the marble in the inspiration picture as quieter (assuming it is actually quiet - beware of whatever this other poster had and tore out http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/kitchbath/msg021211485938.html).
I'd really rather see the tile all the way up, or at least all the way up to the top shelf. Do the math before you worry that doing more backsplash is going to cost too much - even if you did an extra 20 square feet at $10/square that is only $200 and a lot of visual bang for the buck.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 5:25PM
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Well shucks thanks for all the kind words - I'm terrified to post stuff here sometimes. People can be very... honest. lol

Anyway, I think there are some really great ideas here - Hydragea thank you for the suggestions - I'd never really considered the subway tiles in a stacked bond. I really do love just plain white subway tiles - so classic. I'll have to get some samples and stick them up on the wall and see how that looks.

ardcp - the hickory is growing on me. We originally thought we were ordering 100% blonde wood bc that's what the sample from the mill looked like and consequently that's what I had in mind when I planned the rest of the house. I really love the colors and variation but worry sometimes that it's too much (which is why were were considering the whitewash). I guess we'll just have to wait and see it all together. I'm like a kid on Christmas eve - I probably won't get any sleep tonight thinking about those cabinets!

archie123 - we don't have a ton of natural light in the kitchen - that big window faces west and we have some huge trees in our front yard so not a ton of sun at all. That's got me leaning toward the lighter tiles as well just for reflectivity sake, but man I really love the color of those glass tiles with the soapstone and I do prefer the stacked bond modern look as well. I had the electrician install seven six-inch cans in the kitchen - the two flanking the hood vent will be directional which I'm hoping will illuminate the BS and stuff on the shelves. We'll see how it looks once those are on. Maybe I can get away with it - I'm not totally opposed to dark and moody either if its still functional.

kksmama - I think the marble looks a bit quieter too especially because you're not competing with the pattern of the grout lines as much as you would with the glass, although I did realize those glass tiles are a bit bigger than I originally thought. I saw that other kitchen once before - what a heartbreaker! Honestly I probably would have made the same choice as those two materials look so pretty together but I can see how she doesn't like it. I also really like the idea of going up to the bottom of the first shelf - I did a couple mockups based on suggestions here. I'm still totally split though! I think next steps are to buy a couple boxes of each and stick them on the wall for a couple days.

This post was edited by Swentastic on Thu, Aug 21, 14 at 10:29

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 10:17AM
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