Yes, it's time. The tile is UP and Grouted.

beekeeperswifeOctober 18, 2012

Don't scroll down and skip the story.

As you know I ended up choosing to repeat my beveled arabesque tiles in the new kitchen. I found every tile I brought home I would compare to the arabesque. I wanted to do something different though. I had so much help from all of your suggestions, I even did try a gray arabesque tile, but it was too dark. Some of you suggested I ask if it could be made a lighter gray. I did. And guess what? They are making a lighter gray. But I had a deadline and could not wait. So, I ended up back at square one. The white beveled arabesque tile. It is the tile that was in my head when I designed this kitchen.

With the desire to do something different still in my heart, I did a sample board with gray grout. It was lovely. Most of you expressed your opinion that I should do gray. As we all know this was not an episode of "Run My Renovation" and it was not an actual vote to determine the grout choice. I like to think of all your feedback as an opportunity to hear from you why you liked gray or why you thought white would be best. And there were powerful arguments for both sides.

However, none of you were here to experience the light in my kitchen, and the overall look of the counters, which are busy. As we often say to each other, "only you as the homeowner really know what looks right and what looks wrong". So, ultimately, the decision had to be made based on how the tile looked in this kitchen.

Corgimum was so kind to do various photoshop mock-ups for me. They were very helpful. I loved the way the gray emphasized the bevel and the shadow.

I did make a decision that I was 99% confident would be the right decision. But I still wanted to wait to see the first part of the wall done to make a final decision. After seeing the tile without grout and having the darker shadows my decision was finalized.

It's not what you might be thinking.

I went white. Again. My dh didn't care for the gray from the first time he saw it. And I was so scared that with the gray the first thing you would see was the tile when you walked into the room. It was actually distracting, and it didn't enhance as I had hoped. I needed the bs to read as "one" vs a sea of tiles. Another factor that came into play was the tile looks brighter with the white grout. It had a creamy look without grout. But when I added the white grout, it brightened up.

I did change one thing though. I went with unsanded grout. The joints were tight enough to do this, and I was able to have very small grout lines compared to last time. I actually think there are more shadows this time.

It took 2 full days to install the tile. It took me about 10 or so hours to grout it, which I spread over 3 days. My fingers are cut up and very sore. I still need to caulk, but I don't have any finger tips left to do the apply the caulk. I'll wait for Mr. Bee to return to the hive...he's off at a conference in Florida.

I just want to thank you all for your opinions. I do value all of them, and I hope this won't turn into a case of "why do we even give you our opinions if you do the opposite". I was so torn about which way to go, but in my heart, I know this is the right decision.

Without further adieu...

A template was made from styrofoam to be able to cut the tiles in 1/2 perfectly. Once we realized that there was going to be 76 tiles that had to be cut in 1/2....the time to design and cut out a template was well worth it.

This wall took about 3 hours.

ungrouted

grout on right, no grout on left

closeup

Last night I cleaned up all the icky grout supplies. I started to play with ideas for styling the kitchen for the photo shoot. Here is a quick vignette. I'll be playing around with the kitchen to figure out the right look. It's going to be a January magazine. So, I'm thinking the story will be "prepping for a dinner party" Colors will be yellow and blue. Ben Moore's color of the year is a yellow, and we have been seeing lots of of blue too.

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newlywed2011

Yea! I didn't vote because I'm a newby here without much clout but I was screaming in my head "White! White! White!" It's going to be gorgeous! Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 9:45AM
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fouramblues

Worth the wait! It's really stunning, bee. I hope you'll treat us to more shots, especially of the overall effect in the whole room. More eye candy, please!!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 9:54AM
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angel411

Whoo hoo! Bee, it's lovely. The tight grout lines really made the difference. Congrats! Now, relax and enjoy that beautiful kitchen!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 9:55AM
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drewem

Beautiful! I see you went up to the range hood, instead of the shelf. That looks lovely also! Did you use an edge piece again? I like the Owl bookend, very cute.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 10:11AM
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mjher1

Absolutely stunning! I love it.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 10:12AM
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writersblock

Oh, I'm so glad you did the white. It's perfect!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 10:15AM
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mamasheshe

You are such a tease, posting all those pics for us to oooh and ahhh over before revealing the grout. Love the tight lines. it is gorgeous!!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 10:50AM
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breezygirl

I knew white was the best choice! It looks great! Congrats on being done. (or.....999.8725478758% done since your poor little fingers still need to caulk. ;) )

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 10:56AM
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cat_mom

As you know, you have to go with what is in your heart (or gut!)--glad you did. Now you can enjoy your beautiful kitchen, without regrets. :-)

My preference is always "blend-in" grout. In your case though, I really think you could have gone either way and ended up with a terrific-looking backsplash. Though I liked the white (of course!), I actually (surprisingly, for me) thought the grey grout looked great as well. It (the sample board with grey grout) just gave it a slightly different look, not better, not worse. In other words, there really wasn't a "wrong" choice. So, that being said, I am happy you chose the option that made YOU the happiest deep down.

Lookin' good bee!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 11:14AM
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petra66_gw

Lovely, Bee, as always!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 11:22AM
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2LittleFishies

Looks gorgeous! I actually listened to you and read through everything even though I really wanted to scroll down quickly to see gray or white! lol

I don't think anyone would think "why do we even give you our opinions if you do the opposite"? It truly is just good to hear arguments in both directions to help you decide. Sometimes you get a 50/50 response but at least you usually lessen the chances of ending up with an unexpected result b/c of something you didn't think of! People around here are so great at coming up with just about every angle : )

Enjoy your beautiful kitchen!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 11:31AM
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marti8a

It looks wonderful and is the perfect choice I think. Sometimes things we love are worth repeating. Not only does this one make you happy, it's almost your signature. Look at how many people you have inspired with it.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 11:31AM
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Linelle

Bee, it's gorgeous. Seeing the pic of one side grouted, the other not, tells the whole story. It does read as one, yet you can still see the individual shapes.

Thanks for your reveal story. I didn't peek until I read it. It's perfectly okay to ask for opinions, mull them over, and then make the decision that's right for you. Others' input helps clarify how you're seeing things and how you feel about it.

Initially I did like the look of the sample with the gray. But it was a small piece and pretty much in isolation from the whole kitchen. Scale plays a huge factor.

You did real good! Again. :)

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 11:47AM
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michoumonster

bkw, lovely choice. congrats on another stunning kitchen! i missed the details about a photoshoot. are you doing another magazine spread?

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 11:50AM
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louisianapurchase

Perfection! You're talents always amaze me. That last picture is wonderful. It evokes warm and comforting homeyness. Perfect for friend and family gatherings and of course cooking! Can't wait to see pics of the full effect.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 12:07PM
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autumn.4

Very nice! And wow what a process! You do such a nice job documenting the beauty in it's transformation for all of us to learn from. :)

I didn't vote and since everyone was in agreement that it would be great either way how can you go wrong...so instead I've been waiting for this reveal post and stalking continually for it!

Your kithcen is beautiful - enjoy and quick healing to those fingers!

Oh and I too followed directions and read before I scrolled - it wasn't easy but I am a quick reader, lol!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 12:22PM
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gardenamy

Congratulations Bee! I betyou are so relieved the decision is made and they look beautiful! When you have time please post a full shot of the kitchen. Can't wait to see more, and have fun at the photo shoot!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 12:46PM
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caminnc

It's so beautiful Bee! I had a feeling you would go with white. I think in your heart of hearts you knew it as well. Enjoy your new kitchen. Looking forward to seeing the new photos.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 1:36PM
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chiefy

It looks great! (And I voted grey!). What are you apologizing for? You listened to 50% of the people that voted ;) and the only votes that really mattered were yours and Mr. Bee's.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 1:39PM
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Debbi Branka

I love it! White is my favorite anyway :) It's amazing!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 1:43PM
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Angie_DIY

Oh, it is lovely. Well done!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 1:55PM
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starinasgarden

Oh my! BKW, you're very talented. It is simply perfect.

On another note, I can't believe how excited I was to see this post :-D

I hope your poor fingers heal very quickly.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 2:20PM
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ladeeda

Just lovely! No matter which grout, white or grey, I knew it would be beautiful and it is. It did seem like you were leaning toward white but more hesitant because you did it before than liking grey. My dd11will be thrilled to know she picked same as you,lol.
Enjoy your beautiful kitchen!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 2:34PM
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mtnrdredux_gw

Still gorgeous.

Hey, if you are going blue and yellow, get some props form Beagles!

As for "why do we even give you our opinions if you do the opposite", I feel that way sometimes too. But I think it is, or should be, an unwritten rule, that the OP should consider and respond to feedback, but is in no way obligated to take it!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 2:42PM
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blfenton

It looks "beeyoutiful".

I don't think anyone ever judges our final decision because when it comes down to it we aren't living in your space and we have never seen it IRL - we don't know how the light plays or how the different elements interact and so make the best decision for ourselves. What we can do is just point out different things to consider, our pick and the reasons for it. (But then white was my choice).

Now, I hope you will post the formal shots when done. Or any other pics you want to share.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 2:42PM
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finestra

Congrats! Beautiful kitchen. I love the yellow and blue accents. Adds a lot of warmth for a winter mag.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 2:45PM
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corgimum

It looks great! You couldn't go wrong with that tile.

I think if you had listened to all our differing opinions, you never would have put up any tile or grout!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 3:43PM
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Pipdog

Yay! It looks great, Bee. Can't wait to see the photos in the magazine!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 5:22PM
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ellendi

Congrats! So happy that you have this done! Thanks for including us in the journey. :)

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 5:30PM
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desertsteph

looks great! and since you didn't get to enjoy it in the last kitchen for a very long time - now you can keep on enjoying it in the new kitchen.

don't remember if I 'voted' on your thread by typing it out but I did in my head - for the white. I did think the grey grout would make it too busy.

enjoy - and hope your fingers heal soon.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 6:07PM
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terrinm

wow that is gorgeous. Hope you don't mind if I pin this to my inspiration kitchen pictures? I've got to find a way to use these!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 6:19PM
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beekeeperswife

I'm baaack!!! Hope you didn't think I was being rude.

My computer tanked this afternoon and I couldn't get back on and reply.

Just let me say thanks for the kind words. I will post some more pics in a bit. I'll start another thread and ask for some styling tips...what do you think looks better in the photos, etc. (square or round plates....white or yellow...blue or white napkins...etc.)

Thanks again
Bee

PS--it hurts to type with 2 holes in your pointer finger :(

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 6:51PM
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secondhalf

:)
Love it. And you're so kind to give such a detailed explanation to everyone who voted.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 8:22PM
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hobokenkitchen

I had a feeling this was what your gut was telling you. Looks great - congrats on being done!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 8:27PM
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taggie

Beautiful job, it looks fantastic! Congrats.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 8:42PM
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momo7

It looks absolutely gorgeous! I really love that tile.

Have fun styling up that kitchen!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 8:46PM
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MIssyV

Beautiful job! Glad I hopped on to catch the reveal :)

You have great taste, it amazes me that you even doubt your judgement!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 8:54PM
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a2gemini

I was right! You went with white!!
It looks awesome and so you!
I love the smiley tile and your template - your backsplash is a labor of love!! Zowie!!!!

You made the absolute right decision - I kept vacillating on the computer pictures - but only you can see it live and in person!

Love your theme - how could I not - maybe make it "maize and blue" - In reality, I am not a true blue Wolverine fan despite my handle and location. (If I am home and nothing else to do - will watch a game)

Can't wait to see your award winning pictures in print.

Congratulations on an awesome kitchen and backsplash!!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 9:24PM
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glo1751

I've been following your dilemma and was excited to see what you chose. Very lovely. I enjoyed reading your post as much as seeing your pictures I know your are relieved.

Great job. Did you cut those tiles? Awesome job around the outlets!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 9:39PM
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KBSpider

Because the white grout looks so nice, I only cried for five minutes that you didn't go with the gray grout. I am in Chicago after all, and figured the multiple votes I submitted under fake names would actually get through... ;)

In all serious, and as others have said, you really couldn't go wrong with either color, and the white really does look stunning!

Enjoy your space, and good luck with the photo shoot! Blue is my favorite color, so I look forward to seeing the pics...

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 10:13PM
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ivaniphone

Wow, that range hood is serious.

What brand is it?

Did the hood come with the range backsplash and shelf, or was that custom?

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 10:54PM
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deedles

Lovely, lovely! Another gorgeous kitchen!

Can't wait to see what you do in your next one ;)

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 6:20AM
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debrak_2008

Looks really nice. While I did vote for gray, I totally agree that you had to make your own decision. I like the unsanded grout as it gives a very clean look. Have fun with the photo shoot.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 6:53AM
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Javachik

Bee - So glad you "re-homed" the arabesque in white. Beautiful and crisp!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 7:18AM
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aktillery9

One word...perfection! I cannot even imagine another tile and grout than what you chose. You have exquisite taste!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 7:38AM
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francoise47

Beekeeper -- beautiful!
As always, your attention to details means you get it just right.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 7:42AM
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ak0402

It's beautiful. I was not involved in your other thread about the grout, so didn't see the photoshopped gray images, but I cannot imagine your BS any other way than you've done it.

And, I too just got back from a conference in Florida. Small world - I bet you it was the same one as your DH (the IECA?).

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 8:15AM
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AboutToGetDusty

Beautiful, congratulations! It is true, you really need to be there in person to make a final decision. So many times I thought "oh this is perfect" until I brought it home ;-)

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 9:31AM
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Lyban

Just beautiful Bee. I so look forward to seeing everything you do.
Congrats!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 3:00PM
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slush1422

Yay LOVE it! It's gorgeous. I can't wait to see how you style it. Going to look at the other thread now!

We STILL haven't chalked! Hubby is out fishing this weekend so maybe next weekend.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 3:08PM
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beekeeperswife

MareLuce wrote: "Wow, that range hood is serious.
What brand is it?

Did the hood come with the range backsplash and shelf, or was that custom?"

It is by the now defunct Independent. I bought if from a distributor on eBay who was stuck with inventory when Independent went out of business. They were always so highly regarded by GW members. It is a 1200cfm fan and I love it. It is also 27" deep which is a joy when stir frying on the front burner!

The shelf is part of the 24" back guard that came with the Blue Star range top. We had the piece b/n the shelf and the hood fabricated by a local Amish sheet metal fabricator.

akchicago-he was at K2. It was on Amelia Island.

glo1751--I personally didn't cut them, but dh did.

Thanks again to everybody.
Bee

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 9:01PM
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phiwwy

Bee, congrats. Your kitchen is gorgeous! I too am considering similar tiles with my bianco antico - from california art tile. Enjoy it!

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 10:30PM
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island

Beautiful! I was torn between the 2 colors, curious to see gray, but worried aout gray being the trendy color now. Knew from your last kitchen white was a sure thing and figured the shadow between the tiles would give you enough shadow and contrast and it does. I LOVE IT!!! I could never get tired of this timeless kitchen.
I didn't realize you were doing the tiling yourself. Wow, impressed on so many levels. What a labor of love and it paid off.

Now onto your more recent staging threads. I was traveling and couldn't get to a computer and was hoping I'd find the big reveal next time I logged into Gardenweb!

Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 7:10PM
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outsideplaying_gw

Congratulations on getting it finished, Bee! A real stunner, again. I didn't vote because it's truly hard to really get the full impact in a photo, as you so well described. I've been lurking for the past several days. Saw your yellow and blue staging post earlier today. I will say I like the blue plates with the yellow napkins best.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 10:37PM
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lascatx

I just saw this thread. Hope the fingers heal quickly and feel better soon.

I shared the thought process with you. I loved the arabesques and identified them with your kitchen. That made them right for you, but I could understand wanting to do something different. The grey grout was a nod to different and looked great with the tile, but I think you made the right choice for your kitchen.

You had the last kitchen such a short time that I don't think it is bad to repeat something you loved. The greatest risk is tiring of something too soon, but I don't think that is going to happen here. This also doesn't look like a copy of your last kitchen, I really like the tight grout lines you got this time. It's beautiful.

I did see your staging thread. Have fun with that.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 11:45PM
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