HELP! Can a short granite backsplash be the answer here?

gardenwebnewbieDecember 6, 2012

Update link posted below for all the wonderful folks here who helped me out! Muah!! :-). I'm not sure what happened to the original photos though...whenever I edit a post it deletes my pictures!

Please, please bear with me as this post got VERY long and picture heavy. I am at my wits end with my kitchen backsplash and feel that I may have had an epiphany. i would like to share it with all of you for some feedback.

After four months searching for a ceramic subway tile to go with my granite, I have come to the conclusion that I may be looking for something that doesn't exist. Meaning I am not sure even if the perfect one is starting me in the face, is part of my apprehension due to possibly not feeling the tile backsplash look in any form??

History in a nutshell -

A year ago last month we had a perfectly fine kitchen. 7-8" New Venetian Gold granite backsplash (made it a bit higher when it was put in 9 years ago to cover the drywall where the white ceramic tile counter and backsplash with had been torn out) and no island. Although my kitchen is narrow, I longed for an island. I needed more counter space and hated preparing meals with my back to the rest of the kitchen and family room.

Right before Thanksgiving 2011, we had a slab leak downstairs. We had a continuous wood floor so it all had to be pulled up as well as a bank of cabinets in the kitchen. They tried to save the granite on that side but it cracked so we needed new granite and instead of having to refinish the existing cabinets so they would all match the new bank, we chose to replace
them all while the granite was up. I also had to choose a backsplash. Mind you, I was happy with the one I had before. After it was originally put in and I saw friends kitchens as they redid them over the years (full granite or full tile) I never warmed up to that look. I felt the full granite would be too heavy or suffocating in my kitchen (felt the partial made it feel more open) and had pulled out tile prior to my granite so I wasn't feeling the love for a tile backsplash either. However, it's what's 'in' now and I was strongly persuaded to do the same.

Kitchen PRIOR to reno:

First day the travertine backsplash was put in over my new granite I hated it. It felt weird to me and the color was OFF. This was back in August 2012. I have spent the last four months and posting several subsequent threads to all of the WONDERFUL members here for help on choosing a simply subway ceramic tile that won't change colors like travertine and will just fade into the back round. I have over 40 tiles in a box in my dining room varying from ivory to gold/honey/amber and every shade inbetween. I am feeling NONE of them.

I continued to search google, Houzz, Gardenweb in search of something, anything, hoping that I will know when I see it that it's right. However, I am coming to the conclusion that it just may not exist. Why? Because I never felt tile it in the first place. Is it possible that I am one of those 'one off's' that actually like the short matching granite backsplash with just paint above it? Perhaps I am. is my dilemma. The run of Juparana Persa granite that I have is long gone. I put a deposit down in May. The granite yard has searched to no avail, as have I at many granite yards. The Juparana Persa that is available now is more beige/olive green whereas mine is more golden amber based. When it was purchased, due to the size of the island, we needed three slabs. When I sent to the yard to visualize placement before it was cut, we saw that there was about a third of a slab that was going to be left over. Perfect I thought, we'll have the window seat in the kitchen covered with it too! In hindsight, I felt it made for a 'sea of granite' kitchen, but it was fine. As you will notice the island seating area does not offer the 'recommended' island spacing between it and the bench seat. It's perfect for us though, as we always had a kitchen table there that offered less space than the island seating does now and that worked fine for the past for 14 years. The bench has always been just for show and never used because of this. It can't be removed as it's a false space on the exterior and the inside doesn't go all the down to the slab. It had to stay as is because it's a townhouse which makes it against the CC&R's to alter the structure in any way:

So...and I am finally getting to my point! Have I lost you all yet? Please hang on!! :)

The granite fabricator has told me that he feels he can get the granite off of the bench intact. It's 96 x 20 inches. This will leave me with enough granite
to have a 4-6" (which is better? Or even shorter??) backsplash fabricated as well as a full piece for between the cooktop and microwave! Of course the pattern won't be matched up perfectly, but considering everything other option is not panning out, is that really a huge issue?

I put a brown blanket over the bench area to show how it might look if I have the granite replaced with maple stained to match the cabinets. I threw a pillow on there...I'm thinking I might nix that idea as the bench can't be used for sitting anyway due to space (it hasn't been used in 15 years despite having had a custom bench cushion made) so I need other ideas of how to use that space or I may just leave it empty! ;) I think with the granite gone it will take away some of the 'sea of granite' feeling I have now. I also included a few random pictures of Juparana Persa in other kitchens where they paired it with a short backsplash with the same granite. Add in a creamy paint throughout - could it work? In the picture below of the family room, please keep in mind that we haven't put any thing back up on the walls or any decorations around yet. I have been in a depression tunnel over this whole kitchen and haven't ventured to any other rooms yet... I am thinking the cream color that I choose for the kitchen can also be added onto the far family room wall as an accent to tie it into the kitchen. The sofa is also going to be replaced sooner than later...

I know that I ABSOLUTLEY will have some drywall repair
and casing replacement to factor in...the casing is horrible the way the tile folks left it. I am planning on a matching fabric valance of some sort and just a simple shade tucked underneath to pull down for privacy at night.

Do think this can actually WORK?? The thought of the possibility of this long tunnel finally coming to an end is making me giddy!! I know that there are others here that have been going through this for a lot longer - I need my saga to end before I lose my mind!

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU Gardenwebber's!!

Inspiration photos:

Here is a link that might be useful: Gardenwebnewbie's updated kitchen

This post was edited by gardenwebnewbie on Mon, Apr 22, 13 at 14:53

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I'd put some herb plants on that bench, under the window, myself! I mean, if you really don't think you'll sit on it.

I, too, did not "feel" the "tile thang." I like other people's tile, but I couldn't see the picture of having it "in real life."

It looks like maybe your backsplash was 6" tall - did you like that? Ours is 4" because the height of the countertop and the height of the windowsill differs by exactly 4". It was fabricated such that the BS is thinner than the countertop material, less chunky/contrast with wall, and tile would give another "step" of contrast and in my opinion look strange. Above the 4" backsplash - Benjamin Moore Super White paint. Other kitchen wall colors: Super White. All kitchen trim, Super White.

There may be those who say here that the short granite backsplash is dated. If you have a lot of people coming into your kitchen that you think will say "wow, she updated everything but what's she doing with that unfashionable 4" backsplash!" inside their heads, well, I don't know what to say.

This post was edited by drbeanie2000 on Thu, Dec 6, 12 at 18:02

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 6:00PM
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Went with 5" cambria backsplash myself, I also wasn't feeling the "tile thang"!

Put what YOU LIKE in YOUR kitchen, you know what you want! Go for it!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 6:25PM
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It seems to me that you have struggled long enough with your previous backsplash decision and now your current indecision. I think in your heart you really want the 4-6 inch backsplash. While many on here think it is unfashionable, it is still a very prevalent look and as your inspiration photos show it can look very nice.
It is your kitchen and you should do what makes you happy. So, do what you want and don't worry what what others feel is the way it should be done. Good luck.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 6:28PM
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Go for it! I agree with the above and don't worry, when it comes back 'in fashion', you'll be ahead of the curve!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 6:50PM
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drbeanie2000~ Can I just say I LOVE your kitchen? It's stunning! I am not much of a cook...but I would become one just to hang out in your gourmet kitchen!

I also love other peoples tile and have a million photos saved of kitchens done with the creamy subway tile. I just couldn't get the concept to work in MY kitchen. Most recently I did a mock up board and it just looked so wrong to me.

Thank you for the kind words. I am inspired and determined. ;) One teensy tiny caveat though (HA - NOT!) When my fabricator told me that he could get the bench up no problem, that was a month or two ago via text. At the time I was pondering using bits and pieces of the bench granite as accent pieces with the subway backsplash - in an effort to help me better accept the subway decision for my kitchen and tie it all in. Well...after I posted here today I decided to actually call him and speak with him. It was then that he told me that the left side wall of the bench is not plumb. I guess it took him and two guys (I do vaguely remember them struggling) to wedge it into that space and when they pushed it down in the center into place it was tough. He thought for sure it would crack...thankfully he didn't tell me that at the time and thankfully it didn't crack! He's not confident he can get it back out without cracking it. :*( He is going to come by in a few days and take a peek as well as check his yard because they finished a kitchen a couple weeks ago in the same granite and has scraps he thinks might match. I'm not hopeful about the latter as I have seen too many JP slabs and the varying colors to know how hard it is going to match. Stay tuned...

hags00- Love yours too! What color of Cambria is that? What do you think of the Cambria and how did you choose over the granite? I must sheepishly admit (and the idea is not off the table yet - until I get this sorted out) that as I was looking for matching granite recently in the yards I have also been contemplating started completely OVER with the countertops and have looked at Cambria at several show rooms. I really liked the Cambria Bellingham. Absolutely the last resort...

badgergal - I think you're right. This feels a lot more 'right' in my heart that the other options that I have looked at thus far in my actual setting. It's would also eliminate that nagging, sick and anxiety ridden weight on my chest that is taunting me...."what if you choose another tile and you don't like that either...? I know that I like the short granite backsplash. I have lived it and never had a negative thought about it. Typing this out it all sounds so silly. It really is the sweating the small stuff when there is so much strife and sickness in the world, isn't it? The only way I can explain it is home is my sanctuary as I am here 90% of the time being a stay at home mom. I live and breathe my surroundings and need to be comfortable in them in order to be the best person I can be.

deedles ~ True! LOL Everything comes around again sooner or later. Although in a perfect world I would steal Beekeeperswife kitchen (either one!) in a HEARTBEAT. Every single detail, especially the backsplash she chose. Sadly, even if they had a color that would have gone with my granite, Mr. Newbie nixed it. Adventurous he is not his strong point.


What do you think about the idea of putting wood stained to match on the bench seat in place of the granite? Would that be the most practical choice? I do have some black furniture (tv armoire in the family room, black dining room table set and coffee table in the living room) so do I incorporate that into the kitchen as well or leave the black accents from the appliances to take care of that? Afraid that adding more black might make a dark kitchen even darker...

Thanks everyone!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 8:34PM
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I say go for it. Clearly, you come back to that, and I think your inspiration pictures look lovely. You were fortunate to have that extra piece of granite installed!

I have been struggling with my backsplash, and have had two threads where people generously helped me try to identify my best option. MANY, many people argued for a short splash for my situation. Perhaps they are not as "dated" as often reported!

Here are the threads:
Help me pick my backsplash (part 1)
Help me pick my backsplash (part 2)

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 11:55PM
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gardenwebnewbie - glad you like it! That picture was taken a couple of days before we moved in. I can assure you it looks, um, more lived-in now. But more like a kitchen that people actually cook in! With various things on the counters - not too many, but some - the 4" BS is no longer noticeable at least to me. Haven't had company yet, and I'm pretty sure that everyone that we would have over would NOT mention it no matter what they thought.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 12:20PM
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You should do what makes you happy. Sorry you're struggling with this so much. I agree that a creamy white sub does not fit your kitchen. I've been without a bs for a year and am NOT looking forward to going back to tile stores to look again.

I had planned no bs around my peninsula, but my fabricator made some mistakes that lead to this compromise proposed by me. I like it now, despite never wanting the matching stone bs. I think the fact that it's so low at only 2" makes it seem more modern. Maybe you could consider a 4" or even 2" strip instead of the more dated 6" strip?

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 12:36PM
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Hi Newbie! Iwas thinking about you and wondering what was going on. I like Breezygirls idea of a shorter backsplash.
Looks more current somehow.
You really gave the search a good old college try. If ever you do another kitchen this will be a lesson learned. Your same story has happened to so many of us on here. I was lucky to find the Rixi, but if I had to do it over again, I would have a different granite and BS.
Next up, I am sure you will find an interesting paint color to tie it all in.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 3:06PM
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Just curious.... did you insurance cover all of your replacement costs?

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 3:49PM
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Gwnewbie-i agree with the short backsplash (and crossing my fingers for you that he can get the granite off of the bench with no problem). To me the short backsplash looks cleaner and simpler and will probably be what I do.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 3:56PM
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Here is a bad shot of my low granite backsplash and granite behind the cook top.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 3:56PM
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It's Cambria Darlington. I chose it for the low maintenance aspects and for the fact that most granites are too busy for me. The Darlington is one of the busiest tops I have put in but the color variations are fairly subtle so I like it. I used Cambria Sussex in my kitchen I did in 2011 and Uba Tuba granite in the "flip" I did in 2010. I love Cambria, two of my favorite things about it vs other quartz is that all colors are at the same price point and they make the thin material (1 cm) that my backsplash is made of. I think they are the only manufacturer that offers it that thin.

Now I know why people like busy never looks dirty! My Cambria Sussex showed everything (even water spots) and I was constantly walking by and polishing it up!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 4:48PM
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I personally like the "dated" 4 inch counter backsplash look, and put it back into my kitchen. Interestingly, we found that our kitchen's original 1961 walls were tiled about 2/3's of the way up, (4 inch square subway tiles) with paint above the tiles, but no tiling in the backsplash area. For some reason, this was common--don't know why the part that gets splashed didn't get tiled, but the rest of the room did---???
I think the whole 4 inch counter backsplash look came about because there was nothing to prevent spills from running down the back of the cabinets.

I think it would look great in your kitchen, and you should get what you like.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 5:08PM
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I think too it is an easy way to "fix" possible gaps between the wall and counter.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 6:38PM
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Whew! Busy weekend and not much computer time left over so I could reply back to all the replies. Wow, thank you all!!

I am afraid that I don't have the greatest outlook right now. I talked to the fabricator this morning. He is still pretty certain the granite bench piece is not going to come out in a manner that will allow it to be reused. UGH! Hopefully after a job they are on now they will have time to stop by tonight and take a look and do some measurements. I don't want to think about the alternative. :*(

Angie_DIY- Wow, you have been through the ringer as well with trying to decide the best option for you and your kitchen. I agree with the thought to get what YOU like. I wish I had spent more time making a decision the first time around. I saw a backsplash in Bedrosian's when I first chose my granite about 4 months before it was put in. It was in a mock kitchen with the same granite as mine and a similar backsplash. I thought I scored when I saw that and all my choice was made. Didn't even dawn on me that the cabinets were cream vs. my dark stain, etc., and that things might not look the same. ;-/

drbeanie2000- and if they did mention it they shouldn't be offended by your obvious eye roll because they deserved it! LOL

breezygirl- are you going to do a backsplash in the rest of your kitchen? For some reason I thought I read here that you intended not to. I think it looks gorgeous without. Very clean and streamlined. I have pondered over your kitchen many times in the last six months. I love the drawings on the precious. ;) And yes, I will certainly consider a 4" backsplash vs. a 6". I love the look of a 2" however with two messy male teenagers in the kitchen at all hours of the day I think that 2" wouldn't be enough of a shield to their messes. Another reason that white cabinets weren't an option. I spend enough time wiping fingerprints off the wall, doors and light switches. Who knew basketballs could be so dirty? O_o

ellendi - thanks for thinking of me. :) What would you do instead if you had a chance to do it over? I know you feel that your granite is a bit dark but what your hubby preferred, is this correct? Would you even entertain using the Rixi again yet with a different granite...? Would you go with a lighter GO granite or something different? Just curious.

kailuamom- what a lovely and spacious kitchen! Your granite looks similar to mine - what is it called?

IowaCommute- welllllll we're not so sure it will be able to come up. My fingers are crossed...and my toes. Where are you in the process of your kitchen and counters?

hags00 - the spot factor on a more solid color of granite or quartz was an absolute concern for me as well. Prior to the island we had a table with a glass top. For five years I windexed that thing several times a day. It's such a blessing when the waterspots, etc., can remain hidden somewhat and only need to be cleaned once a day!

iroll- spills going down the back of the cabinets is a very valid concern! So interesting that they tiled the walls but not the backsplash. Trends sure do change. What we have right now along the bottom 3 inches is a non-grouted round faced onyx mosaic. I am constantly wiping crumbs that get caught in 'valley' areas where the curve of each tile meets. Not to mention one wine glass spill and down the back of the cabinets it will go.

I need to figure this whole thing out sooner than later....

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 5:18PM
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I am actually still in the early planning stages of our house build. We have our current house on the market. We're going to move by my in law's family farm in NE Iowa and build a house in another year or two. I decided I would plan and research what I could now to make sure I would be happy with what I wanted.

I found myself lucky enough to find this site early. I'm a researcher by nature (I have a Masters degree in Library Science and Archival Studies and worked at the National Archives). I love researching everything-even what toilet we should buy.

I also thought it would be better for me to do room mock ups and live with them for a while. Especially when I think I've made a decision, and then I see someone's beautiful kitchen on here. I know the kitchen will be beautiful, but I change my mind so much I am afraid of doing something that's too trendy and growing tired of it. The look I'm going for is transitional craftsman. Does that exist? Well in my head it does. Since we will be building new construction, and it will be by the family farm (my husband is 4th generation on the farm) I want it to feel like this house has always been there.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 6:22PM
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Go with your heart- your kitchen will talk to you.
I think the low edge would look nice and modern - I also did not want tile but did go with tile (I just posted my reveal)
I really wanted back painted glass but too expensive and too risky for DIY(at least for an untalented person)

Iowa - I sent a message to your email - my niece would love to hear about your experience with the national archives - she is also a BS library science archival person! I will be watching for your plans with great grass scenes out your windows!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 9:23PM
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This is terrible, I dont remember the name of the granite. This is my finished kitchen from '07. I'm trying to dig up my finished kitchen post, but I guess its not searchable anymore.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 12:31AM
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In answer to your question about a backsplash for the rest of my kitchen, I do plan to tile in the kitchen proper. It's only been a year without one. :-). Some day, hopefully soon, I will have the mental energy to start looking at tile again. You're sweet for the compliments.

Good luck with the fabricator. Hope you get good news.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 3:21AM
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