My turn for backsplash advice!

fourambluesOctober 9, 2012

OK, so here I am. Not finished with the kitchen, but we're getting there, and I still have no idea what I want for the backsplash, except for the budget: $10/sqft or less. (I know, I'm making it tough!)

This whole reno I've been guided by this principle: clean, simple lines, but traditional finishes. And here's where we are today (refined farmhouse style, as my DD calls it):

I love it, but it needs a little something. So it's time to turn to the backsplash. I picked out a 3x6 subway that exactly matches my paint color (BM Stonington Gray), which I love, and which is somewhat darker than in the photos. I think that might be too boring, though. So I'd like to dress it up a bit, either with color or with shape.

If I go with color, I'd like subway tile with a whisper of teal or turquoise. Any recommendations? I've seen plenty that I love, but all are expensive. Here is Glazzio Ice Mist matte:

If I go with shape, I love the Merola lantern grey tile at Home Depot. spanish1929 used this tile in white, and it's lovely. But does this snazz up my space, or just look silly with my "clean, simple lines"? I'm not even sure it's the right color grey, but I can buy only by the box from HD, so I don't want to order unless I have a pretty good idea the style will work. (I can return it if the color's not right.)

Note: the trim throughout the house is white. (Yes, just 'white'.) The cabs are ivory cream. I'd originally chosen honed travertine 3x6s for the backsplash to tie those two colors together, but am afraid that the travertine is just too traditional for my space.

Also note that I'm making Roman shades out of this fabric (Iman Home Samoan Plantation), which has dusty teal in it. It doesn't look right with the lantern tile here, but that might just be the color representation.

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I love your kitchen. The granite on the island is gorgeous and I think since there can only be one star (in my opinion) your idea of simple is best. I think a plain subway would be gorgeous, especially if the teal, blue etc works. The fabric for the shades is lovely. I am always afraid of prints. I worry that I would tire of them, but certainly shades are not permanent. Look forward to seeing your choices.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 10:00AM
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Wow how clean and cool!
I actually think U cud use any of these. You're looking at them as individual pieces vs. as the whole. You could easily carry a curvy tile line that's also monochromatic. It wud just be lovely texture.

i think you're a bit too worried about the "look" vs the elements working together. Don't know how to explain that, but I guess I'm trying to say "don't worry"! You"ve chosen thngs that all go, so go with yr Ah-HA!.

beautiful kitchen.
(not bad for typing w/ 1 hand, huh?)

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 12:40PM
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Obviously you're drawn to a clean and simple style and your kitchen is gorgeous and I have no doubt you'll love it just as much in 15 years as you do now. Personally, I think it's screaming for white subway tile, which I think will have just as much staying power as the rest of your kitchen. If you feel like that is too safe, what about doing a "featured" area above your stove (herringbone or something like that with the same tile? Or maybe look for the long and thin subway tiles (3x9 or something like that) for a different look?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 12:48PM
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Also, I think you should consider running whatever you do for the backsplash all the way to the ceiling on either side of the sink window.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 12:49PM
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Nice kitchen and I think it would be enhanced by a vintage backsplash is less than 12 inches high and includes a pencil line in another color. I think that horizontal line would add just the right amount of refined pizazz.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 1:16PM
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sixtyohno, thank you! I'm really hoping to find an inexpensive source for pale teal tile, as that's what I'm leaning towards. (I can't tell you how many times I've gone back and admired your kitchen -- counters and splash especially! You also put me onto :)

CEF, that's exactly it -- I'm worried about the overall look. So far I've picked simple elements that I like and that play nicely. But the look needs a little OOMPH! (Are you polishing your sink with the other hand? ;)

wi-sailorgirl, yes, I do like to keep things simple! White subway might be too plain, though. I'm not a fan of the range feature splash, but I do like the look of the non-standars subway sizes. I'll look into that more, thanks! And I do plan to run the splash all the way to the ceiling.

donaleen, I'm going to houzz right now to get some visuals on that look.

Thank you all, I appreciate your thoughts!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 1:47PM
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Here is one. Though I wouldn't take it too literally. Meaning you can end the tile where you want and put the pencil line where you want. I would like this example better if the pencil line was one tile row down and if the tile ended a little lower.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 1:53PM
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Thanks, donaleen -- I didn't really get what you were describing. I like the look. In fact, here's a picture I've had in my houzz idea book for a while:

Traditional Kitchen design by Seattle Kitchen And Bath Kayron Brewer, CKD / Studio KB

But I like your pencil tile idea better than the mini tile. If I did this, I think it looks best to end the backsplash "early", as you described, otherwise it loses its traditional vibe. But I'm not sure I'm willing to give up my to-the-ceiling tile around the window, since I also gravitate toward that look. Decisions, decisions!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 2:50PM
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I am pretty sure I am using Pratt and Lambert tile called Rustic Bisque. It has a bit of crackle in its finish which I like. We are using 2x4 subway.

For the pencil line, we are using one of their intaglio liner tiles (style G) in a darker color than the subway.

Here is a sort of photo, meaning our sample is not subway tile and the liner is a little lighter than what we plan to use, but it should give you the idea. I love the crackle finish. I want a bit more value change than these two colors have.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 3:06PM
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Glad ur on the home stretch.
Hope to see on a computer this weekend - just didn't want u thinking I was ignoring u.
I will be watching ur ideas!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 3:11PM
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Love the crackle, donaleen! And the pencil liner is too cool. Looks like ancient alien runes. In a good way. ;)

You're sweet to check in, a2! I figured you weren't hanging around here as much lately. But I'll bee looking for the upcoming reveal WITH TABLE!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 4:39PM
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I'm lousy with BS ideas but just wanted to say that I really like your kitchen. Have you thought about doing a plain backsplash using subway tiles but then picking up the island counter colours and doing some sort of a mosaic behind the stove. I think I would keep the main backsplash more subdued than flashy.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 4:51PM
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A few options for you I found at glass tile oasis searching by price.
Glass mosaic in Beach for $5.45 for a 13" x 13" sheet

Blue Eco-Glass mosaic for $9.10 12 1/4" x 12 1/4" sheet

Raindrop Mini Pebbles $8.97 for 11 1/4" x 11 1/4" sheet

Snow Random Bricks porcelain mosaic

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 8:09PM
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Thanks, blfenton! I've never been a big fan of the range feature splash, but it is a lot of square feet with nothing going on. I'll go back to houzz to see if there are any that make me change my mind.

EAM44, thanks for the suggestions! All of those read 'busy' to me, except the last. I like that one a lot.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 8:57PM
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I love the snow! Does that come in a larger format? Just curious - maybe a larger format with a feature strip would be nice.

Call me crazy, but I've photocopied (like 20x) the sample and taped it to the wall. Still undecided, but it's one approach!

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 12:08AM
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My first reaction for your backsplash was something that reflects one of the tones in your beautiful island granite. Just to pull it in a little more.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 7:35AM
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phylhl, you are not alone in making creative use of your photocopier! Check out oldbat2be's thread on this. Pretty good idea, might just have to get my printer fixed. (It died mid-reno, I suspect from construction dust.)

MareLuce, that's one reason I liked the travertine -- it complements the island top nicely. It was suggested to me that travertine in a larger format might look more contemporary than 3x6s, but I just don't know. And then there's the whole "pink elephant in the room" problem. (Will the travertine stay beige, or will it turn pink in the room?)

Ack -- this is hard! Maybe I like the painted splash just fine!

Here is a link that might be useful: photocopied tile

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 8:40AM
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The snow is my favorite as well. It's on sale right now for $8.36 (usually $15 per sheet) for a 9 3/4" x 11 3/4" sheet at the link below, with an additional 5% off at checkout and free shipping on orders over $99. It also comes in other colors:




Here is a link that might be useful: Snow

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 8:50AM
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four - thanks for the link - hilarious! And I LOVE her tile as well. That is a stunning backsplash.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 10:09AM
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While I like some of the options I have for my backsplash, I don't really have an "a-HA" tile. Actually, I think I do, have had for a long time:

(Vihara Annica silk 1x4x)

But it's about 4 times my budget, if I recall correctly. I'm not actually sure it's right, because I haven't had the heart to order a sample, given that it's too expensive. I don't know, maybe I should just wait a (looong) while and save up. In the meantime, I really do like the grey paint. :)

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 10:33AM
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One option is to go with a more simple tile around the perimeter and then frame the Annica silk and put it behind the stove. That way you can have some of what you love without breaking the bank. FYI- I don't normally suggest behind the stove tile features but it could easily work in your space. Just a thought.

You may as well order a sample because then you will at least know whether or not it will work. Then you can decide how much "money's worth" do you love it.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 12:02PM
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blfenton, that's something that might get me behind the idea of a range feature splash! There's a place about 20 minutes from my house that has samples of the Vihara that I can borrow. I'll go on a field trip next week! :)

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 1:36PM
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