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Maria Killam's BS Advice

Posted by Steph2000 (My Page) on
Tue, Mar 26, 13 at 4:11

I ran across this tonight, during one of those "How did looking for range hoods get me all the way over here?" googling episodes. I thought it worthy of discussion here.

She posted a little you-tube and blog post on the issue of "the best backsplash tile for your kitchen". In it, she states:
"The only time a patterned tile of any kind (above) looks good is with a solid colour countertop. Even then, keep in mind, most patterns are super trendy and will still be the first thing that dates your kitchen."

She has a strong bias towards white subway tiles and white kitchens, by the way, for those of you who don't know her.

Do you agree?

Is the BS the first thing to date a kitchen?

I think I generally agree that a solid tile works best with a patterned counter and the only way I would personally do a patterned tile would be with a solid looking counter, but does a solid BS really protect against a kitchen becoming dated as soon, or just tend to be more liveable to more people and for a longer period of time? Or, neither?

I'm posting this in hopes it might be helpful to folks to consider these issues, including me.

Thoughts?

Here is a link that might be useful: Blog post

This post was edited by Steph2000 on Tue, Mar 26, 13 at 11:15


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Maria Killam's BS Advice

I've been to her site a few times and that is the same impression I got. She definitely prefers white kitchens and white subway tiles.


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RE: Maria Killam's BS Advice

I think the title to the post is appropriate. BS. Yup.

Lots of things will "date" a kitchen. There isn't a date-proof kitchen unless it's one that really hearkens to the home's architectural roots. The backsplash is just one element of that, not the primary offender. The trendier any of your choices are, the quicker they are most likely to fall by the wayside in favor of the next trend. (Can we say white subways! LOL!)


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RE: Maria Killam's BS Advice

i definitely thought this was a huge criticism! ha ha! "bs advice"

Personally I feel that if you can't afford (as I cannot afford) unusual beautiful expensive artisanal tile and have to go shopping (as I do!) at the big box stores to get cheap and cheerful tile, and if you don't have a really really good design eye for turning dross into gold (which I don't), then yes she has a point. A splashy backsplash speaks loudly and is probably going to date your room more quickly.

I also thought her reality check was funny - if you wouldn't commit to a turquoise couch, why are you putting turquoise in your house as a permanent fixture on the walls instead of painting it on the walls?

That said, I'm still doing it! I think the room is going to look dated anyway in ten years so in for a penny, in for a pound. Also I am definitely a turquoise couch kind of person.

I totally love subway tile and put a variation thereof in my bathroom but let's not kid ourselves, to my kids basic white subway tile is going to look like basic 6x6 gloss white ceramic from the 80s does to me. Definitely fine if installed well and clean but not exactly cutting edge. And I deliberately chose this example because I know 6x6 is back and I am behind the times!


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RE: Maria Killam's BS Advice

well, I always had a special little place in my heart for Maria. Not sure I love all of her advice.

However, she did do a post titled The Hottest Trend in Backsplash Tile... And in that post to my surprise was my old kitchen with its arabesques (she liked it).

So, you know, I gotta like her....

Here is a link that might be useful: blog post with my arabesques..


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RE: Maria Killam's BS Advice

I do agree with one star in the kitchen. But if you like busy, then go for it!
My Rixi Crema subway tiles were installed in 2009. Some say kitchen start looking dated after ten years. But, people are still installing subways. So, does that mean I will get an extra four years out of mine? :)
Bee, just when I thought I heard all of the stories about your previous kitchen, you pull another one out of your hat!


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RE: Maria Killam's BS Advice

I agree with sticking to something simple and classic, but I don't think white kitchens and subway tiles are a guarantee that you'll love today's design choices two decades from now.


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RE: Maria Killam's BS Advice

Agree with GreenDesigns - lots of things date kitchens. My full granite backsplash, while it garners praise now, will in 20 years be "so 20 years ago." So yes, BS's do date kitchens, but so do aging appliances, trendy cab styles and color, and the countertop du jour. 80's tile with wide grout, anyone?

I think if you can make the kitchen beautiful, it might come to look dated, but it will always be pleasing to look at.


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RE: Maria Killam's BS Advice

Personally I think an all-white kitchen can look very cold and sterile. I think you should do what you look, unless you're only in your house a couple of years and are interested in re-selling quickly. But I doubt many people can do that in this horrible economy.


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RE: Maria Killam's BS Advice

Yikes, I was so tired last night I didn't even realize BS would look like an insult. Or, is that because I am becoming so GW'erfied? In any case, no offense intended!, though I wish I could claim I am intentionally that witty.

Enjoying everyone's comments, which I think all have a lot of validity. And, Bee, your kitchens always turn out to be such stars!

My favorite part of the dialogue over there is in the video. At one point, she says something about people being busted, with their 7 tiles lined up along their counter for months, even years.

It's a really good point that the only kitchens that probably, in the end, don't look dated are the ones who are purposefully dated to fit the year and style of the house. That's a point for the purists.


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RE: Maria Killam's BS Advice

White-on-white in the kitchen is not my cup of tea, so she is not the expert I'd go to. And you'd have to pay me (a lot, including the cost of a cleaning service!) to have white floors in my bathroom or kitchen.

I agree that it could be tricky - though not impossible - to design a proper patterned B/S with a countertop that has a lot of movement.


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RE: Maria Killam's BS Advice

I recently came upon some shelter magazines I purchased when we bought our current home - 11 yrs. ago. One featured kitchens from a nearby upscale area whose homes were part of an annual fundraising "Kitchen Tour."

Browsing through the old magazines, the first thing that jumped out at me in several of the kitchens were the backsplashes - particularly tile designs above the ranges. While they still might be pleasing to the homeowners who installed them, I think most people would consider them to be dated and something they'd want to replace if they were buying the home.

I'm don't mean to argue for safe choices. Just remarking that I think something that is such a distinguishing,prominent feature is going to draw the eye and very much define the space. So while I believe people should do want they like, I can understand where Maria Killam is coming from when advising a general audience,


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RE: Maria Killam's BS Advice

People like the blogger referenced here seem to forget that vanilla is also a flavor, and one that you can get just as sick of as any other. ;-)


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RE: Maria Killam's BS Advice

The backsplash dates this kitchen? Nahhhh...

(This is what my kitchen looked like when it was new. My bathroom still looks like this.)


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RE: Maria Killam's BS Advice

I've never heard of Maria Killam before. But I find it interesting that she says "The only time a patterned tile of any kind [...] looks good is with a solid colour countertop." I thought I'd browse around her site a little bit and came across her kitchen.

Maria Killam's kitchen

Now I do like white kitchens. And I like muted kitchens. But this kitchen has practically no pattern, color, or texture going on, with the exception of the extensive collection of decorative items displayed on the counters and the shelves. For me, this kitchen itself falls flat. If you took away all the decorative items, it's just a blank white canvas. I would never be happy with all of those items cluttering the countertop or getting dusty on the shelves. (Yes, I realize open shelving works really well for some people. Unfortunately, not me.) I think I would like it a lot more with a more interesting backsplash: color (even muted color), or texture, or pattern.

I would agree with many of the statements in responses to this post that you can't pinpoint a specific element of kitchens in general that make them dated. In my current unremodeled kitchen, it's the countertops. In my brother's pre-remodeled kitchen it was the cabinets. It seems like things look most "dated" when you follow a trend that gets over played to the point where it becomes nauseating, or if you pick something so visually loud (or several somethings) that it can overpower the rest of the design. But just as often simple outdated technologies (old appliances or trendy now unpopular appliances) really push a kitchen to look "dated". No kitchen is really truly timeless such that it will never go through a period of time where it looks old or dated or tired. Fitting any remodel into the style of the home will certainly help. But I don't think interesting backsplash tile is the thing that will have us crying "witch!" errr... "dated!".


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RE: Maria Killam's BS Advice

No kitchen is really truly timeless such that it will never go through a period of time where it looks old or dated or tired. Fitting any remodel into the style of the home will certainly help. But I don't think interesting backsplash tile is the thing that will have us crying "witch!" errr... "dated!".

lol! And I completely agree.

Re. Killam: perhaps it's the Canadian/Euro angle? - her kitchen looks like a basic IKEA installation. Perfectly functional, but not exactly mind-blowing or innovative. And very white.


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RE: Maria Killam's BS Advice

I think she has a valid "point of view" as funcolors has said about her color advice. Like any designer, she has her own style and preferences, giving design advice as she sees it. What else can she do? lol

I agree with her about quieting the backsplash down if you've already got a busy counter pattern. I, myself, do like mixed patterns and busyness (which she may not at all or ever like), so am sure I could find examples that I like in spite of her sound advice. It's a good rule of thumb to keep in mind, I think.

Sure, backsplashes reflect materials, fabrication, colors and design at the time, so become dated looking in one way or another. I don't think going all white is the answer, though, because something else about it or in the space will still date the kitchen.

Styles that are considered to be timeless and classic will look fresh, acceptable, or not over time and depending on who's looking at them.


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RE: Maria Killam's BS Advice

As a design guide the basic premise is a good one, (complex bs looks best with quiet counter), but as Mark Twain wrote, "all generalizations are false, including this one." The counter doesn't have to be a solid color.

But of course my aesthetic would differ from MKs. Each of us develops an aesthetic from a combination of our generational and cultural experiences, the beauty we've been expsed to and taught to revere, and the environments in which we have lived. Mine is a younger, freer generation than MKs, I'm of Mediterranean origin raised in the midwest, so I'm comfortable being different, and don't need my kitchen to look like everyone else's. I had the opportunity to travel the world with my family in my formative years. Trust me, your idea of whether and how to mix patterns changes radically when you visit Italy, Mexico, Morocco or India. That said, the pattern-on-pattern motifs that look beautiful in context don't always translate well to suburbia.

If you like her aesthetic, follow her advice. If you like to march to the beat of your own sense of beauty, nod, smile politely, and pick a counter and a knockout backsplash tile that bring a smile to your face every day.


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RE: Maria Killam's BS Advice

"Each of us develops an aesthetic from a combination of our generational and cultural experiences, the beauty we've been expsed to and taught to revere, and the environments in which we have lived.

Trust me, your idea of whether and how to mix patterns changes radically when you visit Italy, Mexico, Morocco or India. That said, the pattern-on-pattern motifs that look beautiful in context don't always translate well to suburbia."

So true! Very well described.


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RE: Maria Killam's BS Advice

But...but... I love this backsplash

 photo yellow.jpg

and this

 photo talaverbackspashwork-1.jpg

neither of which I chose, but still. I'd rather have the kids draw a mural for the backsplash that the futuristic airport look of most of Maria's favorites. Let's hear it or color and expression!


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RE: Maria Killam's BS Advice

Amen.



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RE: Maria Killam's BS Advice

I love the title of your post now that greendesigns pointed out how clever it is.

I saw that video a while ago when I was searching for backsplash pictures for my sister-in-law. I remember Maria being almost maniacal in that.

I would personally choose either a busy backsplash or a busy countertop, as evidenced by the fact that I chose a busy backsplash with a plain countertop.

I agree that a backsplash can date a kitchen to some degree. Tumbled travertine was quite "in" for a while, but not so much now (unless you live where I do). Glass is trendier now, but we will likely move on from that. I wouldn't choose white subways hoping to be "timeless", but I might choose them hoping they would look good with my granite.

I don't think it matters if your backsplash is "dated." Who rips out a perfectly good backsplash because it is dated? If you like it, it stays. If you don't, you decide if it's worth the cost and effort to replace it.

I don't agree that most patterns are super trendy, and I'm not against buying a turquoise sofa (disclosure: I recently ordered a somewhat trendy turquoise chair).

I agree that MK's kitchen is not the most interesting I've seen, but then I'm spoiled by all the kitchens here.


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