Backsplash color opinions. (Help get me out of ABB!) Pix heavy.

Angie_DIYOctober 31, 2012

Dear friends: I have been stuck on the BS for far too long. Can you give me some feedback?

I had decided I wanted a vintage vibe. To that end, I decided to do lowly 4.25x4.25s in a brick pattern with a pencil liner, like this:

My goal was to get tiles that looked vintage by virtue of being hand-glazed (with color variegation).

As for the overall color scheme, I had long been planning a 1930s scheme of pale yellow, sage green, and copper:

However, as many of you know, I "missed" on the yellow of the walls and wound up with a much more saturated yellow:

You can also see the other kitchen colors in that picture, viz., the cream and salmon travertine floor tiles, the oxidized copper DW (and the fridge is the same), and the grey/black soapstone counters.

Originally, I was going to use a gray-green tile. Here are some samples that I got:



However, I was not sure how this would look in a large scale. I was inspired by oldbat2be's recent photocopy efforts, so I decided to do something similar. I purchased some drywall and painted it a light gray green most similar to one of my potential tile choices. I was not really thrilled with the result:

So now, I am rethinking everything. I am rethinking the gray green. I am even rethinking ceramic tile. The recent 1826 rowhouse thread had a marble BS in about 4x4s laid in a brick pattern, and I thought it looked fantastic:


I bought a 12x12 marble tile from my local budget home center. I could easily cut these into 4x4 tiles for the wall. How does this look?

So, any and all suggestions welcome. I should say upfront that I don't want glass tiles, I don't want tumbled travertine, and I don't want a small-tile mosaic. I am wondering about what color or color family would go well here. (Cool? Warm? Gray? Creamy? Parchment?) I am also wondering about how you think the marble idea would go. Specific tile suggestions also welcome!

Thanks so much! A_D

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Angie-are the walls staying yellow? If so, perhaps what we used might work:
They are Horus Art Tile, Broadway in Crema.

Ours are obviously 3x6.
The only opinion I have, and it is just that, with respect to the marble, is that I think it distracts from both the soapstone and everything else you have going on in your beautiful, unique kitchen.

Here is a link that might be useful: Horus in 4x4

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 11:57PM
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Angie - I've admired your efforts and learned a lot from your input since I joined. Now I'm chiming in with an opinion on bs that you asked for, and one on the paint that you didn't ask for. I think the color you were looking for is something like Farrow and Ball's Off White (below). May I ask why you aren't re-painting?

Making a bs choice is going to be much easier for you once you get the paint color right. You loved the copper right away. You loved the soapstone right away. You ought to love your paint,or change it. Otherwise no matter which tile you choose, you're not going to be happy with the overall look. I know painting is effortful, but compared with cutting and installing your own soapstone, it's not that hard.

Allow me to pass on some of the best advice I got regarding tile: if you want 4" x 4" tile, buy it already cut. With subway tile (rectangles), you can cut your own and minor variations are hard to detect. With square tiles, any variation in dimension is immediately visible. On a floor, you can try to mask imperfections with large grout lines. On a bs, no can do, and you will waste more material and time than you can imagine as a result. Below are marble tiles that might work for you.

4" x 4" Arabescato Carrara at for $10.35/sf

4"x 4" Afyon Gold from for $7.95/sf

4" x 4" White Venatino from $59.25 for 6.6 sf box (=$8.97/sf)

Depending on how busy the stone you choose, you could still have your pencil if you like, with Teos marble, or ming green.

OR you could intersperse some onyx tiles at random intervals (a classic vintage look) with your marble. Below are honey and green onyx, both 4"x 4" that sell for $8 and $12/sf respectively

Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 12:54AM
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I apologize -- I should have made this clear in my initial post. While we did misjudge the color, we have grown to like it. I am open to changing the color, and realize it is not that big a deal to repaint, but I am not currently planning on repainting. The current color is warm and inviting, without being too bright. Everyone that comes into the kitchen admires it. (Of course, they could be just being polite! :-)

EAM, you are right that I was trying for something like the F&B color you showed above. I am grateful for your picture because, if I do decide to repaint, I'll have a big head-start on the paint-selection process; possibly don't even need to make any decisions at all -- just get that one!

I wanted to get my response to the color out of the way first. More comments on your excellent posts coming up.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 10:26AM
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Personally I do not like the cool tone of the marble and think that one more variation of natural stone would be too much for your kitchen. I liked your ceramic idea that you have had in the past much more, keeping towards warmer tones.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 10:43AM
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We just went through this dilema. Some elements similar to yours with a soapstone countertop, 1920's house, shaker cabinets, warm coloured floors and a saturated yellow on the walls.
We went with a cream/linen coloured hand made subway tile. We didn't want to introduce another colour or pattern (ruling out marble/mosaics) but wanted to keep an 'older' feel to the finish - so avoided tiles with too perfect a fit and finish.
With your wood cabinets/copper finished/tile floors, you have more warmth than in our kitchen so you don't necessarily need to add to it with the backsplash. I would avoid greys as this is a very different tone than what you have established.
I like the idea of a white based (white/cream/linen/etc) tile with some accent tiles to pull in some of the other more permanent colours - maybe copper or floor colours?

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 11:27AM
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I tend to make positive, polite, complimentary comments when I visit someone's house, esp. if they have recently done some work. Yes, it's telling them what they want to hear, but usually they don't intend to change anything and it's what my mom taught me to do. If I hated a wall color, I'd just not say anything, but not always.

It just seems to me that the paint should go with the BS, not the other way around. There are so many options with paint, not to mention the relative ease and low-cost (although a PITA for sure).

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 1:10PM
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Okay, finally getting another chance to respond during my lunch break! A lot of good stuff here!

Leela, thanks for sharing your lovely tile source.

For leela and athomeinva, I share your concern about introducing another attention-demanding surface. Are you familiar with Florantha's "there should only be one clown" analogy? I had a previous thread some time ago (embarrassingly long ago) where I asked for help on the tile pattern. It was there that Florantha offered that advice to me, and I still think it is good advice. Therefore, I would only do marble if I can convince myself it would fade into the background. I am not sure of that at this point -- still seeking.

EAM: WOW! You have gone above and beyond! Thank you thank you thank you for those lovely tiles you found. I fancy myself to be a fairly competent internet shopper, but I did not find 4x4 marble tiles in the cost or appearance ballpark that you did! This helps a lot. That Afyon Gold is tempting -- maybe some samples are in order.

AthomeinVa: regarding the cool tone of my marble sample, yeah, I agree. It was the only light-colored marble tile my favorite budget home center had. (At $5/sq.ft., I had to at least try it!) It was the warm tones in 1826's Calacatta Gold that caught my eye, I think. I had hoped that the grey in the one available to me would go with my soapstone, but I agree that this example does nothing for the rest of the palette. This feeds into Caspian's point, who agrees with you about the gray tones.

And Caspian, I am glad you can empathize with my situation. In fact, I would LOVE to see some pictures of your kitchen!! Anyway, your ideas of an off-white (linen, cream) tile seem appealing to me. I think I have always had a fear that such colors would look dingy, but I guess I have seen so many lovely counterexamples on GW that perhaps I should get over that! :-) I had wanted to avoid decos for simplicity's sake, but perhaps I should revisit that, too.

Linelle: perhaps we are sisters! My mom taught me the same thing. Here, I am explicitly asking for your opinion, though. I promise not to be hurt. My choice of colors was not intentional, so I am less emotionally attached to it than I would be if I agonized over my decision and found just the right shade. I think I can read between your lines well enough to infer that you are not nuts about my present color?

Again, I don't have a great fear of repainting. I could do it, or I could hire my favorite painter; she's great! She even lets me work with her, where she does the high-skill cutting in, and I do the easy-peasy rolling. We did one of my bedrooms that way recently. Not many people would allow the customer to help in that way. Then she undercharges me and I overpay her, and we are both happy!

The hardest part for me is making a decision on a new color. Plus, I really do like the current color. However, I am indeed open to the notion of repainting if that is what it will take.

Okay, lunchtime over. Please keep comments/suggestions coming!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 2:09PM
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Angie, my mom came from the school of if-you-can't-say-anything-nice-etc. I really am programed to say positive things. I have a friend with a kitchen that has granite that goes right on top of the original counter and semi-gloss peach walls. It's awful, but they love it and are very nice people, so I just enthusiastically tell them they have a great kitchen.

I realize your yellow walls didn't come out as planned. I have a bathroom like that. Die Philadelphia Cream!!! Yellow is beautiful, except when it isn't. :) I also realize that photos don't always tell the true story. I don't think your current yellow is *that* bad, but I'm not a fan of mid-tone warm woods and yellow together.

But really I wasn't so much tiptoeing around your yellow as to mean that you have less choices and more expense with a backsplash. It's hard enough to find something just right. I think it's much easier to not factor in an existing paint color that you don't love-love and come back later and find a paint that ties it all together.

I have creamy tiles in my backsplash and they never come off dingy.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 3:12PM
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Hi Angie! You are very welcome. Perhaps these mash-ups will help you make up your mind. The Afyon Gold is beautiful and worth getting a sample of so you can see it in your own light and space. I think it'll be pretty with your current wall color or a lighter shade - it was my favorite at first. After putting these together, I will say my favorite is now the white venatino with onyx (yellow or green) accent tiles. It adds a brightness and color that I find appealing. But whatever you choose, it's going to be gorgeous.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 5:03PM
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Angie-DIY - Count me in! If you could please take a few pictures straight on, then I'll be glad to try to photoshop options for you.

You have helped so many of us along the way, I know I'm not the only one who would be delighted to able to return the favor :)

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 8:17PM
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I want to see that afyon gold with your counter top - if you have a chance to snag a sample - it could tie it together but might be too much.
We need another ABB alumni :-)

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 8:44PM
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Here's another view for you.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 10:59PM
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Oh, EAM and oldbat! Your generosity overwhelms me. Thank you so much for your help.

EAM, I hate to admit this, but I cannot tell for sure which tile the one on the upper left of your mock-ups is. I think it must be the Ayfon gold, but it looks so gray. I guess that is just what happens when you shrink it?

Here is a straight-on shot. It is hard to get much field of view because of the size of the kitchen:

A2gemini: Thanks for the encouragement. I would LOVE to be an ABB alumna! I shall get there, I hope!

Another big thanks!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 11:34PM
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You're welcome. It is the Afyon - and I increased brightness before I placed it in the image. You will have to see it in your space where hopefully, it will have a brighter presence. By contrast the white venatino is almost blinding. But I must say the green onyx with the copper and brown inclusions seems like it belongs with those cabs and the copper dw and fridge. It's not bad with either paint. When you get samples or another brilliant idea, let us know!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 12:43AM
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Hurriedly...grey green 1

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 6:45AM
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grey green 2

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 6:46AM
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Farrow and ball off white (I rather like this after initial shock wore off)

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 6:47AM
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    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 6:48AM
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And just because it was the last pattern I'd used :)

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 6:49AM
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Angie I still like the idea of squares with a few diamonds. Check out Jeannie_kitchen's backsplash in the link (you have to scroll down a bit). Also I like the yellow, especially with the stained glass, but could see it toned down a bit. I have Ben Moore Aura Safari with cherry cabinets in my laundry room and really like the combo.

Here is a link that might be useful: Jeannie_kitchen's backsplash

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 8:05AM
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Forgot to ask - what are you planning on doing with the window trim work? That could really change how some of the options work. I'll do some more photoshopping over the weekend. All, if possible, please post pictures which are taken from straight on (vs. at an angle). Much easier to work with :)

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 8:29AM
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What I see from the pics of your beautiful kitchen is pretty much the same color intensity everywhere. (The dark soapstone is a horizontal surface so doesn't break it up much.) Might be different IRL. I can't tell if I like any of the backsplash suggestions, but what I think is needed is a splash with a different color intensity. I'd prefer lighter rather than darker. I like the yellow paint, and think it will look very nice once it's mellowed by the splash.

Good luck in your quest to join the ABB alumnae! (I'm jealous...)

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 8:53AM
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I'm back here to get inspired on my own ABBS er, problem.

Angie, please forgive me but your yellow paint made me think it might be a before picture. The paint is too jarring and it is trying to steal the show. Now we do need to consider that colors and kitchens are so hard to photograph, and I am not standing there in your room. But that was my honest reaction.

I do like natural wood cabs (mine aren't too different from yours), and your floor is fun and flirty. I love, love your countertop, and would seriously consider using more of the same for a backsplash. I would thus look at tiles in that color family, take a sample of your counters to the tile store and the paint store. Ideally, I'd bring a door front from your cabs and a piece or two of extra flooring. And I'd drive farther to the paint store where someone actually helps you think color with everything physically in front of you. I have done that for other rooms with color. I found out which paint store had good help by checking for my home town. YMMV on yelp though; it's not as strong in some markets.

Good luck and now I'm off to the tile store myself...

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 3:58PM
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PS I just studied all your photos again and I also really like the color of your dishwasher door. Have you considered a Backsplash in that tone, with a tone-on-tone grout, and a very, very pale off-white or cream wall paint?

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 4:00PM
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Maybe the wall color looks right in real life because it works well with the copper, soapstone, and wood tones. Why not a back splash tile in that approximate shade with a green pencil? (There are some vintage ones around on ebay.) Then the walls might go lighter.

I'm dealing with something similar - soapstone, yellow walls (C2 polenta, knocked back with raw umber tint), oak cabs stained to roughly the Stickley Fayetteville shade, and a strand bamboo floor that's a bit more attention-grabbing than I had in mind. No backsplash because I can't decide what to do, and need to figure out how to deal with the open shelves. Off white would be one answer, but that might look wrong in its blandness -- something that in its lack of anything going on draws attention.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 7:13PM
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I think the pattern on the floor shouldn't be competing for attention.

While lovely tiles, I don't like the marble or the onyx or any of the photoshopped tiles. It is so good of Oldbat and EAM to do those mockups for visualization. I do like the paint EAM showed, but it needs to really match with the tiles in my opinion. I do like Leela's whitish tile with the grout that matches the stone.

What about Petra's kitchen? The Spanish one with the white tile and the crazy cute zip of color along the upper edge.

While looking for Petra's kitchen, which I couldn't find, I found a post of another kitchen that came up when I searched. This other kitchen has an interesting treatment along the soapstone. It is a short splash. 2nd picture.

And what about that beautiful tile you where looking at months ago, or something similar?

I can't remember the name of the tile company but you've got it, I think, in our records cause you've referenced it before if I remember correctly.

Here is a link that might be useful: dmlinparadise kitchen

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 9:02PM
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OK a few more....window frame touched up and trying to match original inspiration picture

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 10:27PM
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    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 10:30PM
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And darker, copper backsplash:

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 10:31PM
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When I asked for pictures that are taken straight on, I meant sample tile shots if at all possible (the picture you posted is perfect). Comment: your inspiration pictures are a lot lighter. Question: How high would you like to take your backsplash? I've assumed ceiling but that's probably not accurate. Here's one more, with the wonderful green Heath tile (I will put this tile somewhere in my home!).

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 10:53PM
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Oh my gosh. Where to start?!

I had a super busy day at work today, and then a nice dinner. Sorry I haven't had a chance to digest the work you all did (let alone my dinner! ;-) I am overwhelmed with all the effort and beautiful results you have all proffered. Oldbat2be, you have really outdone yourself!! ;-) Thank you.

But, it's late, and I don't think I can properly respond tonight. On top of that, I have a VERY FULL day tomorrow, too. (Lots of things cropped up at last minute. All good, but busy busy busy.)

I can make a comment about the treatment of the window. I am not 100% sure. We previously had a huge honking window casing, which really was detrimental to the look of the window. We are, perhaps, overreacting, and were half-tempted to leave it as it is -- a minimalistic approach. The other option was to just use a half-round. This would only be about 3/4" wide, and I would put it as a bridge over the joint between window edge and drywall. I will have to put up a picture to show you what I mean (and solicit opinions).

Ooooh, thanks so much for your help, my friends. I wish I could hug you all!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 10:53PM
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I want that Heath tile in my house, too. I'm actually liking how it is working with the copper/gold/wood tones - the lights are "popping" a bit. It adds a nice contrast without competing.

The tile enduring posted is an incredible tile. I'm just not sure about the mix of shapes given your floor and if the color plays as nice. It'd be fun to see a mock-up of it.

As I browse through the thread, it seems the GW'ers are getting warmer the further down I go. Curious to see what you think.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 11:21PM
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Steph2000, the tile that I posted is one collection and agree that this pattern may not work with Angie's floor. I just did a search and have linked their site below. Take a look they have some very pretty things.

Here is a link that might be useful: North Prairie Tile in Minneapolis

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 11:38PM
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Thanks, Enduring. Egads, those are lovely. I am a sucker for the ones with the color variation. Nice they are from Minneapolis, my old stomping ground.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 12:28AM
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Oldbat, how are you doing these mock-ups? What program are you using?

I really like the copper, although I don't think I'd take it to the ceiling. I also like both greens you posted. I can't decide which one I like better, maybe the solid color but those are sure pretty tiles....

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 2:33AM
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colorfast, I'm using photoelements and paintbrush. Open picture, define a layer and then apply a pattern to the layer. I am unable to visualize what a tile/color will look like so this has been a huge help to me.

angie_diy - are those lights peeking down the LBL lava IIs? Funny the details you notice when working with a blownup image:)

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 8:26AM
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Angie_DIY - just noticed your backsplash only goes up to window ledge. Here's copper color and tile up to that point:

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 9:01AM
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Angie_diy, if you are cringing as you look at these options, please forgive me! I'm slinging ideas out left and right with no consideration as to your lovely kitchen style (I am clueless with respect to Arts and Crafts).

I did just try to search for arts and crafts tiles, and saw the victorian garden by trikeenan; maybe I get a little more what you are trying to do?

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 9:09AM
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Two more, then I promise I'll stop!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 9:25AM
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And higher up, I have no idea of scale of tile and am just making it fit.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 9:26AM
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Oldbat2b that Trikeenan splash is beautiful! I really like the top part, maybe with squares under instead of diamonds and a bit shorter. The green looks so nice, wonder how it works with the green in the stained glass? Angie if you get a chance maybe you could post the view of your oven with stained glass here too.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 9:37AM
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Oldbat those are nice. We all know that Angie is busy as she said above, but while the cats away, the mice can play - right?

I love those tiles you just posted. Did you take a look at the link I put up? There are some stunners there too. The site is a little hard to navigate but might be fun for you to play around with.

You are so generous to do these photoshops for others.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 9:41AM
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Wow!!! I am just checking in briefly before I go out for an event. I continue to be stonkered by your efforts, OB2B! And thank you to the others, too.

Quickly: Yes, I am only intending to go up to approx the bottom of the cabs. (I think I will go to the bottom of the cabs proper, which is about 1.5" above the light rail you see, so even with the bottom of the doors.)

I really like that mossy green harlequin! Do I need Florantha to give me the "one clown" lecture again? ;-)

I have a difficult time asking for more help, but..... would you mind photoshopping the Calacatta Gold Marble (in your post of 12/2/12 at 6:48) but going only to the bottom of the cabs? That may be a winning look.

Re: the pendants. I had purchased expensive pendants from a "name-brand" lightmaker. Then I found the ones you see in Home Depot for a pittance. I had to swallow my pride and get the HD ones! I REALLY like the ones you posted. Perhaps I will upgrade to them after the budget recovers....

Enduring, yes, that one from Prairie Tile makes my heart sing, too. Hmmmm... $35/sq. ft. x 33 sq. ft. hmmm.....

THANK YOU ALL!! Off to my outing.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 9:42AM
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Calacatta to hopefully right height:

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 10:59AM
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I don't care for the marble in your kitchen. Oh my! $35/sf is expensive. I never looked at the price :)

Look at the example of the tile on the post by MISTY. 9 post down, May_flower shows a wall of tile that goes above the cabinets that is very nice looking. And the detail at the mopboard is clever and simple.

Here is a link that might be useful: MISTY's Need Help with Backsplash post

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 11:42AM
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And one more... with wood trim.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 3:05PM
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Oh, boy. You all have really outdone yourselves!! Thank you so much. But instead of helping me zero in, you're giving me too many good ideas! ;-) I feel like a kid in a candy store.

A few comments: OB2B gray-green 11/2@6:45 I like the mixed tiles. I was inspired by that in a state park restroom, of all places. Requires the right color balance. OB2B F&B off-white 11/2@6:47. That helps -- I agree: I like it, but it was a bit shocking. Maybe a tad more buttery would be better.
You know, I am not nuts about the full wall of onyx. Probably better as a few decos, as in EAM's original attempts.

Athome: I had considered diamonds. (That was two of my mockups in the "Ideas for offbeat, vintagey BS pattern" thread.) You raise an excellent point -- that way I could vary the amount and the tone of matching elements.

fouramblues: You know, you are right. I hadn't noticed that the color intensity was uniform. "I like the yellow paint, and think it will look very nice once it's mellowed by the splash." Not sure what I will do yet, but this is definitely one route I am rooting for!

Colorfast: Re: color looks like a before picture. Don't worry -- no offense. That is a powerful statement that I will keep in mind. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for all the other nice thoughts. (Believe it or not, where I live I walk to two different paint stores!)
I have considered copper tone BS. My sister showed me some SS/copper metal backsplash tiles. I just don't think I can bring myself to do a non-traditional BS material....

Chester: That is an interesting idea. I would be happy with a BS in the color yellow I have now, and I would be happy to paint the walls butter yellow, too. Hmmm....

Enduring: I did find Petra's kitchen. Ironically, just earlier I recommended something very similar to a friend who is thinking of redoing her kitchen, also in a 1920s house. That also has the advantage noted above that I could "tune" the other colors...
Awww, you had to go and show that latticework BS again, huh? ;-)

OB2B and Steph: That Heath tile is beautiful. In my "Towards a Unified Theory of Tile" thread, I discovered that what I think is the right vintage look is: color variation BUT with straight edges to the tiles. I don't think Heath makes this combination (IIRC).
You know, OB2B, I actually don't consider mine an A&C house or kitchen. More like a hygienic-phase kitchen, I suppose. There are plenty of A&C houses and bungalows in my neighborhood, but my house is a Mediterranean revival. I am going for a more clean-lined vintage look. But God help me, I love those green harlequin tiles. I can feel Florantha pulling on my sleeve, though, sternly intoning "One clown! One clown!" ;-)

Athome: okay, I will post the oven shot in another post.

OB2B: I do like the marble splash. Thanks for doing it only halfway up. Enduring, can you describe why you don't like it? (You don't need to, but perhaps the words can come to you.)

I know I have offered many thanks before, but, really, I earnestly mean it. I cannot repeat it too often. OB2B, EAM, enduring, athome, everyone! This was really generous.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 7:07PM
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Angie, I don't like the wall tiles shown with your floor because:

First, I have this gut feeling that comes over me when I see it that it is not right. I think your floor is the spot that gets the focus in the picture. The floor is so dramatic and beautiful. I prefer the plain wall colors that are photoshopped to any of the tiles, unless the tile really recedes in the background and there are no samples of that. The stain glass is also vying for attention and looks good with your floor.

second, I think the running bond of the marble vs the straight laid floor fight each other in this case. The colors do not complement each other.

Third, the next element I'd like in your room might be a pattern/floral/anti-geometrical item. Something lyrical. Like your inspiration picture, the wall paper is soft and flowy. You could bring in this soft element with pottery, curtains, towels, beautiful handmade wall tiles :) etc. I'd like to see another couple of colors brought in as accents but not with your tile.

When I see bold statements of shape, line, color, light/dark - I like to see a space of visual rest.

I've linked a Houzz search that I did on B&W floor tile. The first one is a yellow kitchen too. Your tile isn't as bold as these examples but I think the principles are the same. What I see in these pictures, is that everything is giving the floor the honor of being dominate, without letting it overwhelm.

So, what do you think of that missy?

Here is a link that might be useful: Houzz B&W floor tile

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 8:00PM
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I've been putting off posting because I feel like I'm being slapdash drive by, but here's another day, still short on time... so I'll take the plunge. All my personal design opinion, and I am not a designer so freely ignore....

I think your counter could benefit from the 4", or whatever custom height, soapstone backsplash to help bring in more of the dark, such as found in the bottom left photo of enduring's Houzz link. And when I look at your kitchen and it's wonderful floor, I think of Sadye's kitchen. I would take inspiration from her composition.

Love your kitchen. Thanks for sharing the journey and allowing me to express my opinion.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 8:12PM
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I can't resist adding my $0.02 here. Your floor is such a focal point,that I can't see any kind of tile working for a backsplash. And I think the yellow is all wrong for the tone of the cabinets so I'd paint the walls the F&B Off White, and use the soapstone for a 3-4" backsplash. Otherwise, IMHO, there will be way too much going on and it's distracting from your lovely cabinets and floor.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 10:10PM
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I believe that dsumma and onedogedie may be right, as Florantha pointed out you have many elements that are already competing for attention and almost any backsplash tile would add to that. A short splash made up of your soapstone and a wall color that allows the white window trim to blend in a bit would be a nice finish to your beautiful kitchen.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 8:57AM
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I also think that the tile choices are competing with the strongly geometric floor. I like enduring's idea of a floral or lyrical tile.

If you did the 3 inch soapstone splash, you could use board and batten on the wall and around the window instead of a plain painted wall. It's an easy DIY too!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 9:37AM
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I also love this coppery accent tile. I think it's from Sonoma Tile but I'm not sure.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 9:41AM
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i am a big time lurker and not a big poster but first off i just HAD to ask- what does ABB stand for? (i have a feeling im in it too whatever it is :) have been obsessing over backsplash for about 2 months now and i know its not nearly as long as some others but it is too long for me!)

ok anyways now not that i have nearly as much experience/knowledge as the rest of you i just wanted to say that i am really not a fan of the marble backsplash- i just do not understand how it fits into the rest of your kitchen- which has such a cool unique vibe to it. your kitchen is so nice and warm and the marble is almost too clean and elegant? if that makes any sense.

honestly, i dont know what happened to your first idea. i think i like that best out of everything ive seen here... i mean yes the gray green paint did look awful next to the yellow lol but then why not go with the same 4 x 4 in cream (still with some variation in color) and a copper liner? i would love to see some copper in ur backsplash as i think that is such a cool element in ur kitchen to bring out.

anyways best of luck! cant wait to see what you decide on

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 10:36AM
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Late realization that the Houzz pictures do not display the same for everyone.

Here is a link that might be useful: Soapstone counter

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 11:03AM
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I agree with veevs. I can't advise an a specific tile but just your idea of the 4x4s with a pencil line. The 4x4 color should just be soothing. I would pick a black pencil line to tie in the soapstone but copper might be nice too.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 11:23AM
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Angie, thanks for letting us give our opinions about your backsplash choices. I don't really have any design chops to speak of, so I'm just a person who might wander into an open house and express opinions to my friend. :)

When I was choosing a tile, I had some colors I liked, plus marble. Enduring was one of the few people who politely but firmly told me they weren't good choices. I really trust her opinion. I still wish I had a marble backsplash, but I know it wouldn't have been the right choice with my counters.

On my monitor it's quite amazing how your cabs and DW go with the floor. For me, that's enough of those colors. I would need a break for the walls/bs. You might have picked the wrong gray-green before (it looks blue to me) but I love a soft gray-green with warm wood and/or copper. Or a creamy white, some break from the warm browns. It's like when your favorite food is pie or fish tacos and you eat it for every meal and then one day you go, enough, I gotta eat something else. Too much of a good thing. :)

As I thought of writing this, I look at my own kitchen with cabs, walls and BS essentially the same color. I didn't plan it that way and I probably wouldn't do it again. However, my counter is very dark and my floor is very warm red oak, so in a small space they cut into some of the whiteness.

I do believe that my counter choice limits my bs choice. I didn't think of that at when I chose it, but so it goes.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 11:35AM
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Speaking of 2 cents, have you thought of a penny backsplash? I think it would be neat to run the soapstone up 4 inches and then have a penny backsplash above that. Either that or I like the idea of some sort of floral pattern. I am not a fan of the marble. It looks cold compared with the warmth of your kitchen. Just my opinions, no design experience here, but I do like old houses and I am enjoying your kitchen.


ABB = all but backsplash

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 1:12PM
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Oooh, lunch time and I get to read new messages on my break! That is awesome.

But first, here is the photo of the range area that I promised. Please excuse the mess of a kitchen-in-action shot:

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 2:05PM
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Enduring, thank you for putting your thoughts into words for me. A lot of what you say hits home.
I get your point on geometrical pattern vs. organic/curvaceous form (or no pattern at all). That rings true; I will have to give that one some thought. It is hard for me to think of what non-geometric element would work. The vortex tile from North Prairie would work, of course. It would bother me, but wouldn't kill me, to sink another grand into the kitchen. A short splash, as others have suggested, and a plain painted space above is another possibility.
I think the saddest realization you have made me see is the discord caused by the running bond. It is not evident, of course, in elevation sketches, but it is fairly evident in OB2B's post of 11/3/12@10:59. I really had my heart set on running bond. To my mind, it was the perfect blend of a little different, but still classic, using 4.25x4.25's.

Onedogie: what a compliment to put you in mind of Sayde's kitchen. I did have her in mind when I chose my floor! Thank you for your suggestion of the short splash. I think you were the first, but obviously you weren't alone! It would be a solution: I DO need a BS, as evidenced by the deterioration of the wallboard behind my sink, but it does not need to be full-height.

dsumma and athomeinVa, thanks for your thoughts, too. I may wind up painting, but I am not there yet. I do feel the push, however!! :-) Another 2 votes for a short splash. (I am probably the only one on GW getting that advice these days!)

May_flowers, I think I have to agree with you about enduring's point. Thanks for the totally alternate suggestion of board and batten, which I would not have thought of in 100 years. I will go off to google for some more pictures. (And another short splash vote!) Nice decos, too!

Veevs, thanks for delurking for me! ABB="all but backsplash," meaning it is the only thing I have to complete yet.
Yes, your comments on the marble DO make sense.

Veevs and DebraK: In my heart of hearts, I think your last idea may be the best: use creamy or parchment 4.25s, and probably tone down the paint if still needed.

Linelle, thank YOU for giving your opinions!! Yes, Enduring has earned my trust. She first blew me away with that herringbone backsplash, and it grew from there.
Thanks for the kind assessment of the cabs/DW/floor. Sounds like it is time to get more tile samples along the lines of your suggestions!!

MC15, do you mean penny-round tiles, or actual copper pennies. I actually did think of using copper pennies at one point, but it would be MASSIVE amounts of work. (There is a couple who did that and wrote it up somewhere on the net.) I am afraid I think that regular penny-round tiles would be too strong of a statement for my taste, but thank you for an alternate, non-rectilinear suggestion.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 2:53PM
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Now, some pictures. I bought some cheap beige tiles from Habitat Restore to make up a sample board. I mounted them in a running bond, as this was before I read enduring's comments. Here is the picture:

I think they look a little warmer in real life. It could be the fact that they are NOT the warmest element in the field of view, or it could be my camera, but they look a little stark in that shot. I think I DO like this direction compared to the greens I had chosen before. Whaddya think?

Here is another couple of patterns from my previous thread. These were partly inspired by gregincal, among others:

I had rejected these patterns, but they have a lot going for them. The diamonds break up the look of a plain square-set (jack-on-jack) bond. They tie into the floor that is set on the diagonal. I can use cream-colored field tiles to fade into the background, but use deco tiles in the diamonds to tie in to the other colors. Hmmm....

And here is a mockup of enduring's vortex suggestion:

I really feel like we are making progress, even though I don't know what the answer is yet!!!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 3:11PM
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That beautiful vortex tile is from North Prairie Tileworks. As much as I love it, I couldn't have the pattern in the photo Enduring included. It gives me vertigo just looking at it on my monitor. However, the example you show right above this post is awesome!

Here is a link that might be useful: North Prairie Tileworks

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 3:57PM
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Could this work? I love it : )

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 6:28PM
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Hey Angie, when I mentioned something curvy in my last post, I meant as accents in the room, not tile. As I contemplate your kitchen things are starting to gel for me, along with the help of other posted images above.

I like the short splash idea and that board and batten mockup that May_flowers shows. I also like the solid color backsplash in paint (or maybe tile if understated). The tile needs to be functional in my opinion and not eye catching.

Everything that is posted here is very nice but most wont work in your kitchen in my opinion.

I like your drawings that are posted today, but the floor isn't shown with the drawings. I think that is where the issues keep coming in for me. And the vortex tile looks beautiful in your drawing today but I doubt it will go with your room as others have pointed out. I think it is because of the floor. Can you extend the elevation to include the lower cabinets and the floor pattern/color? I think that will be helpful.

Going back to May_flowers image, see the plain backsplash and then look at those very cute cups in the shelves and the floral vases that break up the linear aspects of the cabinets, counters, etc. That beautiful wood salad bowl in your kitchen is very nicely seen with the plain back drop. You could get some beautiful scenic or patterned art tiles that are framed and hang them in the room instead of installing tile as a backsplash.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 7:11PM
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Not sure if this has already been suggested, but how about soapstone square tiles with a copper pencil liner?

I'm out of time this morning but here are a couple
Grey green

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 7:19AM
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F&B off white with shorter backsplash:

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 7:24AM
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Yellow wall with soapstone backsplash.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 7:25AM
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I just wanted to say that this is thread is so helpful to many of us. You'll get there Angie--I agree with the others--keep that gorgeous floor the focal point. I love the tiles that you & OB2B posted but I think they compete with the floor.
I agree with enduring"You could get some beautiful scenic or patterned art tiles that are framed and hang them in the room instead of installing tile as a backsplash". I like that idea. I also think the yellow paint color is not helping to bring out the beauty of the copper/floor/cabinets.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 9:11AM
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AngieDIY- You're posts are one of the ones I always look for and value when looking for help.

Looking at your kitchen I wasn't going to comment because its not my style (I'm a much more subtle color/finish person). I liked the 4 inch backsplash because anything else will compete with your floors. Also I didn't like the walk color until I saw it in Oldbat2be's last post. Your wall color with the 4" backsplash really seems to highlight the other finishes and patterns in your kitchen and really seems to bring them together. I really like your kitchen in that

Thank you for your awesome diy-ness. I am a future soapstone counter diy-er.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 9:16AM
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I'll put my vote in for a short soapstone back splash with the current paint color. Not all kitchens need an elaborate back splash and yours is one of them. Imho, you don't need anything competing with that beautiful stained glass.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 9:32AM
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I LOVE the yellow color on the walls. It looks like you captured pure sunlight, just beautiful! I also like your original idea of using the square tile (I would use creamy white) with the black pencil liner. It's a classic look, simple and elegant.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 10:25AM
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Thanks to all for your continued input.

Linelle: Yeah, I also got a little weirded out by the vortex that enduring posted. I do like the somewhat simpler one.

I actually thought/think it WOULD go well with my kitchen. I put curves in a number of places. I have the arch in the stained glass, the curved range hood, I made elliptical arches over the doorways, I used Kichler Spyro main light fixtures.... I think of curves as a theme of my kit.

Gr8day: That is too weird. Those are rainforest brown mosaic tiles. I went out last night looking at tile at big box stores and my budget home center. (Too late for tile stores to be open.) I had an inspiration to consider buying rainforest green floor tiles and to cut them into 4x4s. I think the colors would be awesome. However, I also think it would be way too busy. I love it, but not in this application. (A faint voice, repeating: "One clown, one clown...")

Enduring: another short splash vote. (More on this below.)
I am confused by this: Can you extend the elevation to include the lower cabinets and the floor pattern/color? I would be happy to do whatever you ask, but I don't understand. Doesn't an elevation exclude the floor by definition? Or should I make a "moodboard" type shot that includes the floor?

BTW, I have chosen some artwork for the kitchen that is awaiting framing. I will keep it a secret until TBR (The Big Reveal). :-)

OB2B: I don't think anyone has suggested soapstone TILES in this thread. However, detroit_burb and Mamogoose had suggested that to me long ago! Funny, one of my inspiration photos used black subway tiles, which may be a similar look:

Thank you so much for mocking up the short soapstone splash. I just went looking and can get Mumbai grey 12x12 tiles from M. Teix. for $8.50. Thus, I could do a short splash for less than $100!

Eatrealfood (and I STILL love the name): thank you for the encouragement and for sharing your thoughts on the art tiles and the color.

Iowacommute: Awww, thanks for your sweet, kind words. If you even need any cyberhelp on the soapstone countertops, feel free to give me a shout.

Akrogirl: Thanks for adding your perspective and the short-splash vote.

I'll put a brief update on last night's tile finds in a separate post.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 11:11AM
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hm i dunno... i do agree that its going to be difficult to find something that doesnt compete with the floors but am i the only one that thinks the 4 inch backsplash looks SO bathroomy?

lets say she nixes the brick pattern and just does straight on top of each other- you guys still think that would compete so much? i think i would do a smaller tile if we went with the regular stacked- maybe 3 x 3?

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 11:21AM
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The short backsplash suggestion only goes to show how we favor/disfavor design elements just because fashion tells us to, not because it is the best choice.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 1:18PM
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Here is the other thing I wanted to relate. I went out shopping for warmer tile last night. As I mentioned, I went on a weeknight, so I could only go to big-box stores and a budget home store. I bought a handful of bisque tiles at each one. My goals were twofold.

1. I want to make a sample board of bisque tile just to see if that tile fades into the background well enough.

2. One crazy idea I have been harboring is a possible cheap way of getting the tile-to-tile variations in color that I desire. Namely, I figure lots of tile companies make bisque, biscuit, or almond tiles. They are likely to be close in color, but not perfectly matched. I have had the idea of of buying lots of different brands and installing them pseudorandomly. However, I didn't think this idea was viable, because I didn't think I wanted bisque tiles, but perhaps that is changing.

Well, one problem with this approach is that there has evidently been a lot of consolidation in the tile industry. American Olean and Daltile, for example. Of the 3 brands of tiles I bought last night, two were identical (right down to stampings on the back). The third was indeed a slightly different tone, though.

Clearly, this idea is not operative with only two different tones, but I began playing with laying them out randomly anyway. Since I did not have a lot of the odd-man-out tiles, I couldn't get very far. However, when I put them in a checkerboard pattern, I really liked it. It is very subtle, tone-on-tone.

I am going to make up two sample boards: one will be just plain bisque, and the other will be the checkerboard. My thinking is that it may pay a very subtle homage to the checkerboard floor. Wish me luck!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 2:02PM
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One way to echo the floor a bit that might be subtle enough is one row of diagonals above 4x4s sort of like linked below (I have linked to Busby Gilbert in your past post, their tiles are so pretty and there are a lot of neat ideas in the galleries.) But I am not sure if the look is right with the era of your house and some of the other tile work that is around.

Here is a link that might be useful: simple splash

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 2:35PM
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good luck angie! i love the sound of that idea- cant wait for pics!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 3:49PM
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Hi Angie_diy, I'm enjoying this, please don't hesitate to ask for other ideas photoshopped. Let's max out this thread!

I like the idea of a $100 low backsplash. You could continue to work with color ideas (if you wished) for above the backsplash, and maybe incorporate something fun at the top. Replacing, if you ever wished, would be a breeze.

After you make your sample boards, please post pictures taken straight on, of them and I will photoshop for you. Then, if you like, you can go photocopy them :) If results don't look great on home printer, take to staples and use the 'photo' setting.

Gotta put in a plug for the tile enduring posted - LOVED it, but not for your space. Neat website too.

I also really liked the Trikeenan tile. Maybe this is not one clown too many but the clown that saves the show.

I really think we should take your lovely rangetop wall into consideration too. I'm not crazy about the white trim over your sink window but I can see how it works with the other white (not sold on this yet, though).

I really liked the black and yellow by your rangetop but not on the other side:

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 7:26PM
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Here is the short soapstone backsplash on both views:

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 7:51PM
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Angie, when I asked if you could include the floor in your elevations, I meant to extend your drawing to include a representation of your floor, in color and pattern. So maybe it is rather like a mood board. I did it to check my floor tile plans and I thought it helped me make choices. Here is one of the BR examples I drew to check out the floor pattern:

I hope I have been of help in your backsplash phase. Everyone is so excited and helpful, it is fun to follow your progress/process.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 8:54PM
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Angie - the thread is too long to read now, so excuse me if someone else has suggested this already and you've nixed it, but what about trying one of those marble 4x4 tiles with a few soapstone 4x4s for a classic black (grey) and white bs? By the way, dorado soapstone carries 4x4s so check their prces too - so much less work...

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 9:13AM
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Athome: Oh yes, I remember that shot of diagonal tiles now. I had rejected diagonal tiles earlier (as "too much of a good thing"), but now I am revisiting this (with the notion of not using strong contrast). See next posting.

OB2B: Many thanks once again for your photoshopping skills and your enthusiasm. It is really helpful. I am determined to resolve this issue and do my BS!
And yes, the whites of the windows are up for discussion. In fact, I think the sink window is still white primer!

Enduring: Okay, I see what you mean. I think the easiest option for me is to put together a moodboard-type picture, with actual photos, but pasted together from "straight-on" shots. I will see what I can do.
YES! You have been of tons of help. As you say, I have enjoyed a lot of enthusiastic help, which has been tremendously useful. I have some more samples to show in the next thread.

EAM: Hmm, marble AND soapstone. I think that may work. My brother has well-worn marble and soapstone in his early-20th-century entryway, and I think it looks great. I am still concerned about getting the right color marble and tone of soapstone and pattern of random soapstone tiles. I am not nixing the idea, but let's see what happens with the tile ideas.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 11:41AM
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Angie, totally of topic, but I'm getting my gumption up to epoxy grout my bathroom floor this morning! Check the bathroom forum in the near future for my post if you dare.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 11:57AM
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Okay, I have been in "radio silence" for a couple of days due to the election, a cold, and making a new sample board. Here are the results of the latter!

I mentioned a few days ago that I had found two different tones of biscuit tile. I put them into a subtle checkerboard. Due to lighting conditions, I am going to post many pictures here. (Sorry for the number!)

Here is the raw product. I thought I took this one straight as per OB2Bs request, but now see I didn't quite manage:

Here it is under a few different lighting conditions and locations:

My initial thoughts: I like it, but don't love it. I think the idea may be viable, but I am not there yet.

I perceive (at least) two problems. The paint color is not right (as I know has been pointed out many times before!! ;-) Also, I think (but not convinced) that I like the subtle checkerboard with the checkerboard floor. However, I think it may look better if the BS were on the diagonal, too. The goal would be to echo, but not compete with the floor.

I also made up a sample board of plain biscuit tiles set in a jack-on-jack (i.e., square) bond:

This does not do a lot for me.

Any thoughts?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 11:59AM
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I like the simple short soapstone backsplash best. I like EAM44's suggestion with the 4 x 4 soapstones too. To keep it super simple (and short), you could even just run one row of them horizontally above the countertop as squares or diamonds. They could be all the same color, or alternate with 2 soapstone shades, or soapstone and marble, as EAM44 said.

Or, to echo, yet not compete with your gorgeous floor, maybe just ONE accent row of checkerboard tiles, and the rest of the tiles can be one color and vertically aligned.

The accent row could be the same size as the rest of the square tiles, OR smaller (in which case you could do 1 or 2 rows) - like smaller tiles in the image below (the whole image is way too busy - I would just pull ideas from it and do a row or two of the accent checkerboard pattern):

Source: via Sandra on Pinterest

Or, you could have a band of tiny accent tiles (2, or 3 rows), like this:

As for backsplash colors, you could stay in the wall color family, go neutral, or mix it up. So many options! Hope this is some fun food for thought.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 1:05PM
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Oops - just saw that athomeinva already suggested the single diagonal row. Sorry about that!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 1:10PM
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On its own, I like the bisque on bisque backsplash. I'd prefer it more if the shades were more similar, or there were more variations and possibly random. I think the two shades are quite distinct and read contrasting than overall a single shade. I do think they echo the floor just a little too much. I would go, oh, love your floor. Oh, the backsplash is kinda the same. The difference in tones between the BS and floor seem more disparate with the same layout pattern.

For your kitchen, I prefer a single color (or shading that blends as one) or 4".

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 3:23PM
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I read through all the threads and my head is spinning and I am sure yours is too.
I would never recommend a four inch backsplash, but in this case it could work. But, I would not do the four inch. i think it is breezygirl that has a an even shorter backsplash border. Somehow it has a more current vibe to me.
The floor is the star in this kitchen. Then, with the splash in place, a really great paint color to tie it all together.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 6:43PM
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Don't shoot me! I was looking at window treatment ideas and stumbled across this photo with a checkered floor and backsplash (oddly enough the window treatment has your color palette) - figured I would toss the photo up here in case it sparks any ideas/thoughts (even if that thought is "yuck!").

Kitchen design

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 11:21PM
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Well, one thing I learned from this exercise is that I do not have the mad Photoshop skilz that OB2B possesses!

Here is my attempt to virtually put up a diagonal BS pattern, using the tone-on-tone tiles. (Honest, they are warmer in real life than this picture makes them.)

I guess I am going to have to make an actual sample board up, huh? :-)

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 11:32PM
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As the owner of the calacatta gold 4x4's you posted above, I don't like any of them with your floor. (And although calacatta is usually expensive, I got that stuff for a "steal" at $15 per square foot.) I think the squares compete with the squares on the floor and, on top of that, all of the colors are off. Have you thought about penny rounds? There'd be a lot of grout, but it might look good.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 11:48PM
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That's cork penny rounds, by the way. It was on Houzz.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 12:17AM
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penny rounds is very cool and maybe would go well but then everything besides the soapstone would be the same color- just too much i think.

i really like the pic that bellajourney posted.. i think it could look gr8 in ur kitchen.

anyways angie i think ur photoshop skills r fab lol but those tiles looks so gray its so funny - kinda hard to tell so ya i do think we need another board.

also btw i kinda liked the warmth the paint gave and was originally a fan but after seeing it with those bisque tiles it really made me realize that it is just not the right color (especially for the cabs) imho

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 12:29AM
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Well the paint may need to go regardless of what's picked.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 12:33AM
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Angie - great job photoshopping! I see lots of new ideas to try, will work on this over the weekend.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 8:23AM
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Here is my idea - no pictures. I would use an crema color tile with black/brown/cream mosaic glass accents to pull in that luscious counter, beautiful cabs, and the floor.
If I have time this weekend, will go hunting.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 8:36AM
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Hi Angie, your kitchen is beautiful.

If you want to get more tones of off white, get the glossy and matte versions, that will effectively give you four different looks. Daltile has a number of different versions of off white tones in two finishes. the big box stores don't have all of these, but it is not an expensive choice.

Whatever you do, don't compete with the stained glass window, some of the options above are too busy for the window. a large format tile set without a running bond may work.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 9:21AM
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I looked again at the stained glass window, and I'll make a specific recommendation. You can use basic white or off white tile and fabricate pieces to echo the stained glass window and use a pale grout to make the pattern stand out. I did this in the kid's bath and it turned out the best of all the tile work in our home.

It is a very nice budget option.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 10:42AM
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Just my two cents but I like detroit_burb's 2 ideas above better than anything. Maybe s/he or oldbat2be could phtotoshop that idea onto the sink run with the window to see how it would look there as well.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 10:53AM
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Here's a rough mockup of a short soapstone backsplash plus 4 x 4's that echo the lighter cream tone in your floors.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 10:54AM
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A few more images (this is too fun!):

I like the ideas that others had of keeping the backsplash warm (unless it is an extension of the soapstone). Some said cream tiles. Here's a pretty image of cream subways with some variety in color:

Traditional Kitchen design

And here is a quick photoshop just showing the color in your kitchen (when I tried scaling up the size, it got too grainy - imagine them bigger, lol). I like how the backsplash color mirrors your gorgeous floor:

Or - you could make your lovely sunshine color the backsplash, and use the sage green as the paint color, like in this photo (I'm worried that the green might fight with the blue and red tones of your stained glass window though...):

Contemporary Kitchen design by Minneapolis Architect Kell Architects

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 11:33AM
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same thing with biscuit/white.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 12:42PM
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comparing various backsplash color options -

top left - golden yellow to match the wall
top right - soapstone
bottom left - off white
bottom right - white

(sorry that the off white and white look so similar; should have made more of a difference between them)

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 12:48PM
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I myself really like the tone on tone concept, and think putting it on the diagonal would be a great reference to the floor. I wonder if the bisque sample is just a tad to light in color, though? Maybe two shades that are slightly darker would offer less contrast with the cabinets and the floor. I know people on this forum are all about white/light/bright but your kitchen is deep warm rich, and to me the lighter color is very jarring.

Of course, I'm the one who loves my (faux)dark soapstone counters, rich oak cabs with copper backsplash so what do I know! Well, I know I do love the look of the tone on tone and think the diagonal would be killer if the color is right.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 12:59PM
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Okay, playing with mockups is seriously addicting!!

One more - based on one of the geometric pattern mockups that Angie posted.

I cheated and combined 2 looks in one image. The little accent tiles are the same color as the yellow in the stained glass window. On the left, the larger tiles are white(ish) and the larger tiles on the right are a soft yellow.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 1:25PM
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In keeping with the tonal suggestion - here's a new right side option - sunny yellow larger tiles, with little copper accent tiles...hmmmm...

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 1:33PM
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I'd been favoring a single color, but I like a version of bellajourney's mockup above...As long as the main color is either a match or an obvious variation of the lightest floor tile and the accent tiles pick up something else in the floor. I'm not real good at mixing patterns myself, but I think this looks good *and* intentional.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 1:48PM
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Wow, I cannot believe all these fantastic new ideas, cool mockups, and generous help! Sadly, I have to work through lunch today and cannot respond right away.

BTW, the inner diamond in the stained glass is Hunter Green or Forest Green; I don't know why it looks bluish in some of those shots!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 2:19PM
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left - larger tiles match wall, accent tiles in copper
right - larger tiles match lighter color in floor, accent tiles match darker color in floor (per Linelle's suggestion)

Yet another option (not shown) could be to have just 1 row of accent tiles instead of two...

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 2:29PM
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YES, Bellajourny, I am liking this last post, if not perfect, almost. I also love the one that was posted early on by May_flowers, with the board and batten look on top of a 4" backsplash.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 4:28PM
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Wow Bellajourney, you're good! I like both of them, maybe the one on the left a little better, because the color is warmer, not necessarily because it matches the wall, although that's convenient. :) In your photo, it looks like they were meant to go together, like a line that features floor tile *and* a matching backsplash. Yet, it doesn't look matchy-matchy. AND, it echoes the shapes in the stained glass.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 4:59PM
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Angie- you can do it! We need you in our alumni club! I have been following the thread but others have so many wonderful suggestions. (ABB= all but backsplash club)

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 5:30PM
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bellajourney - love what you are doing, great ideas, keep 'em coming! (Obviously a professional has entered the arena and I will now slink away, most happily!)

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 10:32PM
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The only mockup that really spoke to me was the copper paint oldbat2be did on Nov 2. Given the other diamonds you have, I'd love to see a mockup of copper ceiling tiles. These are by Armstrong. I believe the scale is roughly 2 ft square.

Here is a link that might be useful: Armstrong

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 10:45PM
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OMG, that first backsplash inspiration pic posted by bellajourney just seems to lead the way here... Egads, is that perfection! The 14:49 photoshops are also great - and I also prefer the one on the left there. I'm just not so crazy about the coppery squares interspersed in them.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 11:32PM
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I think Bella has it !!!
The tiles on a diagonal with one row of accent tiles would look great(and vintage) with 4" SS. I think the small SS BS looks nice after all your kitchen is not modern it's vintage. Does that mean you can keep the walls some shade of yellow(Love yellow)BM barley perhaps ?Now where have I seen that color recently ? ha ha
I also like the 3" SS with the battan.
Bella you are good with those mock ups !!!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 11:58PM
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I think Bella's first one works the best. You could also try with field tile as squares and accent tiles as diagonals.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 12:43AM
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There's something about adding too much diamond shaped. Maybe try Bella's rotated 90 degrees - the darker accent tiles as the diamonds and the field tile was horizontal? I think it would be a little more balanced...

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 9:16AM
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So glad everyone is enjoying the ideas! I had way too much fun yesterday!

I played a bit more this morning - and added a rather rough board and batten mockup plus the copper tin tiles idea:

And here are some additional photos for layout ideas (didn't find any horizontal field tile ones yet - will try to look for some later today). Some have 2 rows, some have 1.


Contemporary Kitchen design by Dc Metro General Contractor NVS Remodeling & Design


Eclectic Kitchen design by Los Angeles Design-build HartmanBaldwin Design/Build


Traditional Kitchen design by Kansas City Kitchen And Bath Kitchen Studio: Kansas City/ Sue Shinneman, CKD


Traditional Kitchen design by New York Architect Crisp Architects


Traditional Kitchen design by Houston General Contractor Hann Builders


Traditional Laundry Room design by Other Metro Kitchen And Bath Palmer Todd


Traditional Kitchen design by Atlanta Kitchen And Bath Teri Turan

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 9:59AM
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Here is the backsplash I linked to in the vintagey thread, similar in shape to many posted above.

Here is a link that might be useful: backsplash

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 10:05AM
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oldbat2be - No slinking away allowed! You are terrific! :)

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 10:06AM
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Okay, I am finally have a chance to catch up. I am so excited -- so many good ideas. I continue to be amazed at your generosity.

Bellajourney: (responding to your Thursday posts) Thanks for finding those pictures. Those are actually VERY helpful. I am really taken by the yellow/blue large/small tile example. I am thinking I will try to work up an example of something like that, but perhaps with the accent set on the diagonal. Or the single diagonal accent row as you and AthomeinVa have suggested. (I noticed as a result of this post that I referenced that SAME Busbygilbert example in my earlier thread!) I also really liked the subtle checkerboard pattern that you found. It made me more confident in the tone-on-tone pattern that I did later (even though I doubt that is what I will wind up with).

Ellendi: Yes, my head is spinning. You know, I was really surprised at all the "love" the short splash has gotten. I realize I probably can't/don't want to do that, because I hadn't planned for it. I intended to cover that wall with tile, so it does not have the same drywall texture as the rest of the wall. Also, I positioned the electric outlets to be proud of the wall by the correct amount for tile. It would be a pain to redo them to make them flush with the wall. I think I will do tile for sure.

KevinMP: thanks for weighing in. I do love your marble, but I guess I have to agree it won't fit in here. Thanks for the penny-round suggestion. Yeah, I have considered penny rounds here and in previous threads, and I understand the logic (I think), but I don't think I want to introduce another shape to the mix at this point.

Veevs, I like bellajourney's photos, too! I think I have to agree with you on the paint. :-( As I say, I am completely open to repainting to match the tiles (rather than try to find tiles to match the paint).

a2gemini, thanks for the suggestion. I really want to avoid glass, but I like the color scheme that you suggest.

Detroit! How are you? Thanks for the matte/gloss idea. I actually had not thought of that (even though my floor has alternating glossy/matte finishes). Something like Daltile is certainly a very affordable option -- much cheaper than the specialty tile makers I have been looking at. Will bear this one in mind.

Your mockups of the end wall are very fetching! It never occurred to me to vary the tile size in the way you suggest. The biscuit/white example (11/9 @ 12:42) is particularly nice.

Leela: thanks for the $0.02! Detroit is good, no? :-)

BellaJourney: Wow, you ARE good at this! I love the color in your 11/9@10:54 post. Frankly, I am not nuts about the cream subway in the next post, but that may be an optical illusion due to the scale.
Thanks for the suggestion of yellowish tile and sagey wall. Honestly, that hadn't occurred to me, but is a good idea.

Boy, you have put a lot of effort into this, and are really coming up with some pretty examples!

Mabel: Thanks for validating the tone-on-tone. I agree that the current tiles are not the best. They are very cheap for mockups, but I would be probably buying better ones for the real thing, so I can find a slightly deeper shade for whatever my eventual tile is.

Bellajourney again: Okay, I agree with the others that these last ideas are among the best we have seen. They are simple, pretty, and tie into the floor and stained glass window. You have done a great job with colors, too. I really cannot thank you enough!

Hmmm, I feel a sample board in my future!! I guess I will need to get out the wet saw, too.

Linelle: thanks for the color suggestion and the thoughts/vote.

Enduring, thanks for your continuing input. You know, I have just come to realize the batten idea is probably off the table for the same reason the short-splash-only idea is: the walls are not prepped for it.

OB2B: Bellajourney is very good, but your images have been fantastic, too!

Lisa_wi: thanks for the pressed-tin suggestion. Oddly, I responded to someone else's query about them recently!

Steph and Eatrealfood: Thanks for the votes and interest. Yeah, Bella is good!

Plans to try:
Here is what I have gleaned from these, and what I plan to try next:

-I still want to try my tone-on-tone checkboard, but set on the diagonal.
-I want to play with some of Bellajourney's ideas, with tiles on the diagonal and diamond inserts/accents. I am going to try to find something matching the floor for the inserts, as suggested, but I will also try Rain Forest Green marble inserts. Those have tones to match the stained glass, too, as well as cream/brown to match the floor. I think.
-I want to try a variation on one of the first pictures Bellajourney posted, (11/8 @ 13:05). I am planning to try an accent made of smaller tiles like that, but set on the diagonal.

Thanks again, everyone for all your help and encouragement. We can do this!! Now off to buy more sample tile and set up the wet saw. (Uggh, I also have to paint some exterior stuff today -- yuk.)

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 11:01AM
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Angie- you probably saw our BS - but if not - this is the area behind the cooktop - the inset pieces are copper colored but are ceramic - very basic. I know the BS color is not what you are looking for - but thought you might like the accent pieces.

We are going to get you out of the ABB!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 12:58PM
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Hi Angie, I'm doing great. Someone above referred to me as he/she...
I've been nursing a baby for the past few months and I am very very much a She, if you know what I mean.

Bella's idea with the accents on the diag would be interesting as the accent would relate to the diag floors and the diag in the stained glass.

You have really generated a following here! It's time to stop killing us and show us the final final!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 9:25PM
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I've just read through the whole thread and I have no idea what to do, BUT I can't wait to see what it is!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 10:13PM
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Angie, I took your tone-on-tone pictures and set them on the diagonal. As you said, different lighting makes them look different, here's the first:

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 7:36AM
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And the second:

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 7:37AM
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And with an accent row... I like the idea but while I think the colors go well with the stained glass, I think they compete with the floor.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 8:23AM
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I still think there are too many squares of the same size with different colors, both of which compete with each other rather than complement each other. Have you thought about using clear (or whatever neutral color is in your stained glass window) wavy glass in the oblong horizontal strips with the mosaic backing?

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 8:53AM
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I agree with Kevin. While I like the tone-on-tone concept, not those colors. They just don't relate to anything else, at least not in oldbat's rendition (which is awesomely done BTW), maybe in real life they do. The color difference grabs my attention since your existing colors are very warm and the bisque looks grayish.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 10:10AM
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Angie, I've been ignoring the elephant in the room. Is it possible you have too?

The dominant element in the room is the floor, so much so that any additional element even if it's white, is going to look fussy. You've been playing with layout options - it doesn't matter if you use jack-on-jack or brick, you are one of the very few who like squares, just like your floor tile. You are looking for color variation - like you have in your travertine.

I think you have to use travertine for your bs. In essence, your bs choices were set in mortar the day you laid your floor tile. Here are some mockups using red and white travertine.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 12:17PM
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    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 12:18PM
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As long as we're playing with pictures, I'd like to see the 4" backsplash out of the counter material with some different paint colors on the walls. Just for fun....

The floor and window are the stars of your kitchen. The different tile patterns of squares or diamonds seem to add visual complexity to the whole. I did like Detroit burbs rendition of the rectangles... that tied in to the field glass of your window and seemed more... flowing?...graceful?...cohesive?

(I can talk smart like I know something now that Bella's mockup skilz fixed my back splash issues, haha.)

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 12:29PM
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I'd love to see someone photoshop the tiles shown in
1 - BellaJ's first pic posted on 13:05 on Thursday and 2 - the picture by BellaJ on 23:21. I really think those are closer to the direction to go here.

I also agree with the squares competing. I'd stay away from square shapes at all, except maybe for a subtle tone on tone accent at most as shown in some of these pics. I think the diamond shape works and the squares seem to create a jarring clash. The other option is move away from both and either do something like a tiled beadboard or paint or something totally different?

To my eye, it seems like some of the colorways are way off here. I know there is an interest in marble tiles, but I just don't see it. Even if they work with the soapstone, they don't relate to the rest of the kitchen well at all, IMHO. The tiles need to relate to the floor, first and foremost, I think. Sorry, but I just do not think the gray/cool whites work. Going towards cream/yellow/gold/copper tones pulls it together with that floor. Or if you don't like that, you COULD add a 3rd complementary color from the stained glass (like green)over the stove, which is lovely, by the way.

Tue inspiration pics and photoshopping here is great. I'm really impressed with the way people are pulling together to help visualize the options.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 1:35PM
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Per deedles's request - "I'd like to see the 4" backsplash out of the counter material with some different paint colors on the walls. Just for fun...." (with the inner diamond in more of a hunter green color, per Angie).

Here it is with a muted green paint color.

Angie - is the outer diamond color correct? Is it pinkish?

(If I have time later, I'll try to mockup Steph2000's requests - unless someone else can get to it first.)

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 5:20PM
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Oh, boy!! So much more input! You guys and gals are the best! There was even significant crossposting on my last update.

Lalitha: I am not sure which you mean by "Bella's first." Do you mean pictures of other kitchens or mockups of mine? The first mockups that she posted don't match your description. I do think the ones that DO match your description ARE indeed, very nice, perhaps best of the bunch.

bmore: Thanks, I will try that. However, my sampleboards have nearly convinced me that diagonal field tiles flow better with the floor.

Bella: I am so grateful for your efforts. I am really glad you find this fun! I think I am going to use tile of one sort or another. How did you find so many totally relevant photos?!!? You even found diagonal, multi-toned greige 4x4 tiles, with and without inserts. You are so good and generous! Very helpful.

Athome: Thanks for reminding us of those nice diamond/square examples.

a2gemin: Yes, I did see them before, but your picture made me go back and revisit your "abt2" thread, where we can see the whole BS. It is very lovely, and is a particularly nice example of one with the lower strip of square-set 4x4s.

Detroit: LOL! Glad to hear that you and baby are well. I would LOVE to shortly show you the final final! Doing my best -- we'll get there!

OB2B: Thank you so much for the photoshopping them onto the diagonal! My effort was not good. As you will see below, I made up a sample board -- but I think your virtual example was maybe even better than the real thing! And thanks for doing both colors; I think it is closer to the second one.

Kevin: Thanks for the thought. I certainly agree that I don't have the color yet! The wavy glass is an interesting idea. I must admit that, all in all, glass doesn't appeal to me in this kitchen, though.

EAM: I have been coming to that thought (of using travertine). I was initially opposed to using travertine, I think for two reasons. One was the fact that many people have used travertine BS and I wanted to be different, I think. The other was that travertine does not seem right as a BS in a 1920s house to me.

In response to the factors that you cite, however, here is what I have been thinking about lately: using ceramic tiles for the field, and using 2x2 travertine (just as you did) for accent tiles. And, frankly, you are really tempting me to just steal one of your ideas and go with travertine for the whole thing.

You photoshop efforts are really lovely. The idea of using travertine pencil liner --just brilliant. I think the 2x2 checkerboard is really pretty, too. Very similar to the first photo the Bellaj posted (the blue/yellow one). And diamonds for the floor. Very nice.

Deedles. Indeed, the majesty of simplicity. I found Detroit's rectangles soothing and pleasing. I think I need a scorecard!!!

Steph: I agree that those first pictures of Bella's (13:05 and 23:21) were really in the right direction. I also agree (as I'll show below) that the diamond sampleboard flows best IMHO with the floor. Also, I think almost everyone, including me, agrees with you that the marble colors just didn't work. And you are right again -- it is really gratifying to get all this help with ideas AND visualization.

BellaJ: The colors in the stained glass are closest to those in the picture I posted 11/5 @ 14:05. I would describe the colors as garnet and emerald. It sort of depends on whether it is lit from behind or from the kitchen side, unfortunately. But no, not really pinkish.

Okay, finally, here is my latest sampleboard attempt. This is a tone-on-tone checkerboard on the diagonal. (This was somewhat mooted by OB2Bs photoshopping effort.) I am showing it under two lighting conditions. I think that the colors on the left are closes for the floor and paint, but the picture on the right is closer for the BS tiles themselves. Go figure!

What I take away from this is that the diagonals really work better with the floor, especially as viewed in person. They geometrically flow, rather than clash. I consulted my neighbor, and she also stated this, unbidden by me.

So, I plan to try making some 2x2 travertine accents, and play around with some accented and small checkerboard patterns. BTW, in case I hadn't mentioned this, I am not particularly tied to THOSE PARTICULAR bisque tiles. They are a very inexpensive playground! If we can find a promising pattern, I will find some nicer biscuit-ish, warm tiles.

Thanks so much, everyone. This is the best "help me with my BS" response ever!!!!

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 9:08PM
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Angie - this is the first one I really like in both pictures. Tile is a kj patterson ($$$$$ but I'm sure we could find alternatives). I like the color and small checkerboard, think it blends in but adds nice texture.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 7:52AM
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Angie - What is the color of your walls?

Here are two more mockups:

I agree with you that the backsplash needs to be warmer than the bisque tiles shown in the left pic - the center and right are tweaked to be warmer. (Not sure I love the tile size, it seems a bit too similar to the floor. Maybe something a bit smaller?)

And I did some playing around with accent tile placement and color (left was the original, center and right are new):

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 10:31AM
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Oh - I forgot to answer your question. I found all of those images on

Here's one more that I stumbled on last night (when looking for ideas for my kitchen) - I thought the accent row was different and pretty:

Traditional Kitchen design by Portland Interior Designer Jenny Baines, Jennifer Baines Interiors

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 10:38AM
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i agree with bella on the size- i think smaller would look better. also not sure if im remembering correctly but i thought i read earlier that angie said she wanted to try the accent pieces diagonally? so would love to see some mockups like that... just throwin that out there for all you photoshoppers :)

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 3:14PM
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Angie - one thing I noticed when looking for images of 1920's and '30's kitchens, is that when the floor is the star of the show, the bs fades into the cabinetry.

To follow that paradigm, you might want to go with a brown porcelain tile or your red travertine, and choose a light brown for the wall. Accents can be yellow, white and green.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 4:09PM
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What a great thread this is, and so much work on everyone's part!

Mine is a kind of drive-by comment, but maybe some value in fresh eyes...

The floor is fabulous. The current paint color needs to go--it fights with the floor. Likewise, the cool tones of marble just don't work. Seems to me that there is just a bit of warm greige undertone in the floor color, and the suggestions that also have some similar undertone look best to me.

The tone on tone tile also doesn't quite work (although it is a great idea that I might steal), the color is just a little wrong -- although with a different wall color it might be ok -- but they also feel like too much checkerboard.

I like best the tiles that echo the colors of the floor or the cabinets, and with that color then it doesn't seem like too much pattern. There are several options shown that work. I have also liked the 4" splash that matches the counter. I don't know from trendy or popular -- these just pleased my eye the most.

I can't wait to see what you finally choose!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 12:12AM
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OK, here's the thing. I know you aren't into mosaic tiles, you want 4" x 4" squares. They're budget friendly. I know. And I try not to recommend a tile that doesn't really fit someone's "wants," but after looking at more vintage images and trying to find a tile that might blend well with your materials, I found these hexagonal mosaics, and I think they could be really pretty.

Even if they aren't specifically consistent with your vintage dates, they accomplish two things that are consistent with your aims: they blend in the color of the cabinets, and they allow the floor to stand proud without repeating the square/diamond motif beyond all reason.

Just take a look. If it's the wrong direction, no worries. But with these tiles you could keep your paint color...

Hex #1: Rojo Alicante marble $17/sf

Here is a link that might be useful: Rojo

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 12:54AM
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Dark Travertine Hexagonal Mosaic $11.90/sf

Here is a link that might be useful: Travertine

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 12:56AM
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I am back, having gone into "radio silence" for a while to digest this, play with sample boards, and repair some other parts of my house.

This thread is almost at 150 entries!! That is represents some extreme generosity of the GW community on my behalf! I am really humbled and honored. However, as a practical matter, the thread is out of room and I still haven't decided! I am going to start a new thread, and link to it in the next post of this thread. I will use the rest of this thread to get caught back up, to recapitulate the most promising ideas and show you what I have been up to!

Catching up:

OB2B (11/12@7:52). Oh, those are pretty. I wonder just how $pendy they are. Your photoshop job is so nice. Do you think it looks too busy, or is it small enough a pattern to become just a texture?

BellaJ: the walls are SW 6676 Butterfield. If anyone is interested, here is how I arrived at that color.
Interesting observation on the tile size. Hmmm, Complete Tile does offer all of their tile in 3x3...
I continue to like your "diamonds with decos" concept, as you will see below. And thanks for the Houzz info and images. I also like that decorative band.

Veevs, thanks for the vote.

EAM: Re: kitchens from the 20's having plain walls/wild floors: Yes, you are correct. I had been made aware of that during a thread trying to choose my floor. Also, I have a book from 1935 called "C.B. Smith's Home Owner's Handbook" that I rely upon for some period-appropriate information, and that confirmed what you say. Also, here are a few good GW threads:

So, yes, I am committed to not having too wild a wall. (I originally was going to do a two-color hopscotch pattern! Fortunately, I got talked down from the ledge.)

raee: I pretty much agree with you. I am fairly well resigned to painting the walls. And those tiles need to be warmer, I agree.

EAM: Re: the hex mosaics. Oooh, pretty! I like that, although I am worried about the busy-ness. I am going to put that in my second-tier list of options. (Casey, aka sombreuil mongrel, used Rojo Alicante on HIS red/tan checkerboard floor!)

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 5:34PM
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I started the new thread where I hope I can come to a choice from the lovely options you have helped me with. The new material can be found here:

Okay, now I am going to recapitulate the lessons learned and the most promising results from this thread.

One lesson I learned was that I really think the BS tiles should be predominantly set on the diagonal. I agree with those who said the mock-ups that were set square to the counter seemed to "fight" with the floor. The ones with diagonal tiles seemed to flow with the floor much better. (Unfortunately, this eliminates my beloved running-bond 4.25x4.25 scheme.) I could perhaps get away with square-set tiles and diamond inserts.

Another important lesson was that the tile should be warm, something to complement the floor. Probably a parchment/biscuit color.

Another good lesson was that I likely won't be able to work around the wall paint. I am reconciled with the idea of painting it.

Here are the mockups I liked the best from the thread. (Again, thanks so much to OldBat2Be, BellaJourney, detroit_burb, and EAM for their help on this task.)

This one is not diagonal, but I do like the simplicity of detroit burbs idea:

BellaJ's deco idea:

Very interesting decorative band by OB2B:

Give in to travertine by EAM:

Give in to travertine, but have diamonds (EAM):

Okay, I am sure that the kernel of my perfect backsplash is in there.

Here is a link that might be useful: Continuation thread

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 5:35PM
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I finally got the wet saw back out and cut up some tiles to experiment with. Here are some of the new ideas I have been trying.

Here are a few that are inspired by BellaJourney's "diamonds with decos" ideas. The greenish color is a Rainforest Green marble tile that I cut up, and the reddish is the same travertine that is on my floor (as per EAM's idea). The tile is biscuit, but we all agree that I need tiles that are warmer than these. (Also, the flash makes these look really stark):

RFG with many squares:

Less-dense squares:

A little color with RFG + coral travertine:

Interestingly, the diagonal length of a 4.25x4.25" tile is sqrt(2)*4.25" = 6.010". Thus, a subway tile would be the same length as the diagonal of a 4.25" tile, making a decorative band made of subway tiles commensurate with the field tiles. I don't think I have come across this fact before, and don't recall having seen a BS that makes use of it.
Anyway, here is a pattern of alternating RFG and travertine subways. Obviously, I could also use all RFG or all travertine or all ceramic tiles of a color that is matching or complementary to the field:

Inspired by this picture from the last thread,
I also made more intricate patterns with smaller triangles and squares:

Note that the pattern on the left is readily available in commercial, mesh-mounted borders. However, they mostly tend to use quite rustic stones. The pattern on the right would require many L-cuts in the field tile. This is not a show-stopper, but would be a factor in the decision. I tried avoiding the L-cuts by only replacing one diagonal field tile with the four little ones, but the pattern looked too sparse and toothy.

Finally, I tried to meld the diagonal pattern of the field tiles with a rectilinear border pattern. I rather like this, and may have some more to say about it in the future!

Here is a link that might be useful: Continuation thread

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 5:38PM
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