Whoops, didn't mean to plan THIS much for kitchen reno

wi-sailorgirlOctober 9, 2012

We're just under a year and a half out from a half-house remodel (a serious one that involved ripping off the top half of the house and putting it back on higher) so we're still dealing with the emotional and financial trauma from that. Sprucing up the working area of the kitchen (eating area was done 3 years ago) has been in the plans since we bought the house 10 years ago and we're finally recovered enough to start thinking that direction. It's not a gut, but a spruce up (new upper cabinets, refacing lowers, new counters and backsplash). We told ourselves, though, that we would save the money for this project in a special account and pay for everything in cash (well maybe not cash, but not charge anything we can't immediately pay off and not borrow any money). So we're saving, but I've been working on estimating the costs so I've been pricing out finishes, etc.

Until yesterday this was all very theoretical. And then the backsplash tile came. See, we both fell in love with the tile and feel of this kitchen that was featured in Coastal Living last year.

But I've been worried that when the time came I wouldn't be able to find tile like that. So I called up the tile company in Key West (mentioned in the article sources) that did the tile and had them send me a sheet of this mother of pearl tile so I'd know exactly what it was. It arrived yesterday and I about melted when I unpacked it. My husband saw it hanging on the wall and loved it.

I realize that it's probably a bad idea to START your kitchen design with the backsplash, but I'm pretty sure that's what we just did. Just have to find the quartz counters that work with it and the other existing elements in the room.

All of which is great (one thing I learned from our renovation is that it's best to have EVERY decision made before you even start), but it makes me want to say "Screw saving (we're about halfway to what I'm guessing the cost will be). We're doing this NOW."

In the interest of not keeping myself up at night I'm hereby not looking at any other backsplashes, no matter how pretty they may be! Must. Stay. On. Task.

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breezygirl

No reason not to start with the tile. As you've seen, many of us, including moi, leave it until the agonizing end. If you love an element enough to build a room around it, that's great! You won't endlessly wander tile stores with glazed eyes and spend months up until 3a.m. looking at tile on the Internet. You're actually ahead of the game! Take the time now while you finish saving up to consider counter choices, get pull samples, foot lighting stores, etc.

You'll be so proud of yourselves if you wait to save and spruce up your kitchen without borrowing!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 12:30PM
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badgergal

I see no reason why backsplash tile can't be the driving force in your kitchen spruce up. I had pretty much decided what my granite and cabinet wood would be but had not picked out a slab or anything else for that matter when I went looking for backsplash tile. I found the perfect tile for me and bought it before anything else. The kitchen hadn't even been started but I knew I wanted that tile and was afraid it might not be available when I actually needed it. It sounds like you really love that tile you found so I say go for it! Buy it and if you need to wait on the sprucing up just keep it in a safe place until you are ready for it.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 12:40PM
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function_first

If you've found something that makes you swoon, that's a pretty logical thing to start with and build around -- having the inspiration kitchen picture to guild you will be a big help, too. You have to know where you're going to have hope of ever arriving, right? Excellent place to start. You'll surely have something you love when it's finished.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 12:46PM
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buckeyegoldenmom

All I can say is the tile looks beautiful!!! Go with what you love. And of course you have your inspiration picture to work with.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 12:49PM
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2LittleFishies

You have to start somewhere and I don't agree with the fact that many say the backsplash is at the end so don't look until then. Even some tile places told me to get everything else in place first... I think that's a little odd.
Most kitchens have one or two things that really drive the rest of the project and in your case it CAN be the backsplash tile! : ) I think it's beautiful!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 2:11PM
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lascatx

The only problem I see is in knowing how much you will need or having your plans or ideas change and wishing you had more. You could try to keep an eye on it and order or possibly order more if it looks like they are going to discontinue the tile.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 2:38PM
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Angie_DIY

Just think: one fewer "PLEASE help with BS quik!" thread down the line! ;-)

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 4:27PM
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blfenton

The kitchen in your inspiration pic is the backdrop for the tile and the lights. Can you do the same thing without existing elements also fighting for attention? If so, there is no reason why you can't start with tile.

I carried around a hardwood floor sample with me for 2 years while planning our kitchen/house reno and everything had to work with it. Drove our KD nuts - oh well - that's how much I loved the floor.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 5:00PM
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wi-sailorgirl

Thank you all for the encouragement and for not thinking I'm nutty. One thing I learned with the reno is how quickly the budget goes down the tubes and I didn't want to budget for one thing and then fall in love with something more expensive and bust yet another budget. It's hard to be honest with yourself about how much something will cost, but so much better to face it in the beginning than at the end when you're scrambling for money (like we did when our reno went WAY over budget).

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 5:02PM
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may_flowers

I thought a budget was what you could afford, not what things cost. So will you scramble for money for every part of your remodel since you want more than you can afford? (This topic is really about money, isn't it?)

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 5:11PM
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sas95

We started with our backsplash tile. It actually made the rest of the kitchen design much easier. It's easier to find a cabinet color and countertop that goes with a tile than vice versa.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 5:33PM
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wi-sailorgirl

May flowers, I suppose a budget is about what a person wants it to be. What I can afford and what I want to spend are for me two different things, although that may not be the case for everyone. What I know about the way I personally operate is that if I find something I truly love that's within the realm of reason, I will extend my budget to get it if I know I will regret it later if I don't. By having a very good idea of specifically what we want before we even start this project, I can ensure that the amount of money we save for this will cover the project. The whole point of this exercise to avoid scrambling for money. Our house renovation went over budget because there were unforeseen issues that popped up in our 74-year-old house and our banker had advised us to only borrow 10% more than the bid, which we found, in the end, to be a bit "optimistic" from the beginning. Live and learn, I guess.

So for me, a budget actually IS about what things cost, or rather, how much I want to spend on something.

And nope, I didn't think this post was at all about money until you brought it up.

SAS95 ... good point about the cabinet color being easy with a backsplash in mind. Thanks!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 6:11PM
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berardmr

So please don't keep us in suspense, what is the tile and who makes it?? -:)

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 6:18PM
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wi-sailorgirl

berardmr: There was no information with the sample they sent in the way of name or manufacturer of the tile (perhaps to keep me from sourcing it for less elsewhere?)

I got it from the company who did the tile for that Key West house, Island City Tile in Key West, but just surfing the web, it looks a LOT like this tile: http://www.marylandmosaics.com/natural-tiles-p-1313.html?osCsid=42fc7b90269027ad46ac550c1983ff93

What I like about it is that it's not as shiny as some MOP tiles I've seen in photos (although that could be the photo), and it doesn't read as irridescent, just bright.

The Island City Tile person told me the retail price was $25/sq. foot but that he could do better than that if I was buying "a good amount." My rough estimate is that I need about 20 square feet of backsplash (small kitchen).

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 6:26PM
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Madeline616

I would've been thrilled to fall hard and fast early on for a b-splash. I fretted for weeks--okay, months-- until I found the right one.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 7:20PM
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caryscott

We have somewhat different budget approaches - I have learned to love what I can afford. Every budget should have room for a splurge somewhere though. It was my experience that choosing all the main elements before starting was helpful and helped move the project forward (no more shopping). Nothing wrong with planning and acquiring certain things while you save. I think the greater tendency is to put off home renovations too long - what are you going to get more use and enjoyment from than a home upgrade? I'm always a bit sad to see folks fixing up their homes to sell them.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 7:24PM
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may_flowers

"And nope, I didn't think this post was at all about money until you brought it up."

I guess I was confused by all the details about your budget, your financial trauma, and your savings and borrowing plans, along with the title. Since it was only about backsplash, maybe just a photo and a request for opinions would have been sufficient.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 12:58PM
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Jamie

One thing that strikes me about the beauty of that kitchen is the natural bamboo (or whatever) shades. They really set off the other elements and strike a nice note of not-white.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 1:58PM
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