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Backsplash help, please :)

Posted by AnnaS8963 (My Page) on
Sat, Apr 13, 13 at 22:18

I've been looking at GardenWeb since last July and you all have answered so many questions for me. Thank you! Our kitchen is nearly complete and we'd like some help with the backsplash.

Here's our current plan: Rows of glass-mosaic tile above the granite, lined with metal border, and then with off-white tiles above that in diamond orientation. Above the cooktop would be a tile mural from Stone impressions. What do you think?

- The granite is "Aurus"; faucets and hardware are oiled bronze.
- Sinks are brown Silgranite
- Lighting: The kitchen faces south with lots of sunlight; we have LED overhead and UC lighting. We also have an oversize skylight.

Link to the tile mural we like

View of Kitchen:

Tile mosaic border:

Granite and off-white tile:


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

I am not a fan of your tile choice. On my monitor, your granite looks more yellow or gold.
Is is travertine? I would rather see a ceramic tile I would be tempted to pick up the grey-blue in the granite.


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

Your kitchen looks fabulous; great job! I am not the best at envisioning everything finished but the backsplash elements don't seem to work together. The mural seems tuscan/rustic, the glass mosaic seems modern and the metal tile seems transitional. Have you seen all these elements used together somewhere? I also think the large tiles look like they have a pink undertone which doesn't work with your beautiful granite. I may be overly sensitive to the issue because my kitchen has a travertine backsplash that doesn't go at all with the granite (it was here when we moved in). We are working on ripping it out and fixing it now. Here is a pic of our mismatched backsplash/granite counters:

From Kitchen


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

Oh thank you both for your input! I really appreciate the responses so far.

The tile isn't travertine - it is a ceramic.

Thank you, too, for your picture, Kiko. That was helpful. Good luck on your project, too!

I haven't seen a glass, metal, and rustic backsplash kitchen. I wondered if it might work, but it sounds like I need to pick. I thought that might be the case!

Do you think a blue-gray ceramic or stone tile would work with the Tuscan-style mural? Then we might need to change the wall color (but paint is easy). I wonder if I could still do a green paint...? I love gardens and a cheery green wall color was one of the things I was hoping to keep as it frames my own outdoor garden. We have a lot of gray skies in our area and I am trying to create a warm, happy space inside the kitchen.

Any more ideas? Thanks again!


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

How bout a plain glass subway tile in a color that goes with your granite. That way the back splash won't be competing with your beautiful granite, which should be the star of the show.


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

I missed looking at the mural my first time around. I think a ceramic with a hint of the blue in it would go with your mural.
If you want a border, I would not do the metal with the glass.
My mantra has always been "less is more." Some might say boring.
Yes, we do like to say on GW that there should be one star in the kitchen. Yours is the granite, and some do add murals although they are not as in favor as they once were.
This is your kitchen and the bottom line is go with what you like. But, we have seen too many people make errors and have to have a do over. I find if the majority of posters agree with something, it should be taken seriously.


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

I love you kitchen!! It's beautiful and looks like a very happy place!

The tile mural is beautiful, but it doesn't feel happy and cheery to me. It feels more calm/serene. What if you forego the tiled mural in favor of a more simple tile and instead put a beautiful painting on the wall next to your sink? That would be something you could easily change as the mood strikes of if you later want a quick update, whereas tile is not.


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

Thank you!

I am listening and am so grateful that you all are willing to help me. I have learned so much from this group!

I won't do what I originally suggested! I do like the idea of picking up the gray-blue in the granite (as long as the wall color can be cheerier). What do you think about using the glass tile mosaic along the entire wall under the cabinets and putting it also on the wall with the windows about 18" high? Is that glass too modern with my kitchen? Or not the right color? If I did that, should I do anything extra interesting above the cooktop? Here is an idea:

grey tile idea:


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

Your kitchen looks great, but I don't like the backsplash combo. Too many elements and on my monitor the colors look off. Small mosaic and metal too gray, travertine too pinkish. And the metal and mosaic look too modern for the mural. I'm also in the less is more camp and prefer one material in the backsplash.


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

Hello everyone again!

Went to the tile store today with DH, and the salesperson showed us some samples. Our favorite now is this glass (but in a 6" length). No design/mosaic above the cooktop - just this glass tile in the entire backsplash area. The grout would be thin (1/16") and a close color match.

Do you think this would look good?
Thank you island, buildinva, ellendi, lisase, and kiko! I will probably just do a pretty (removable!) picture to the right of the window, as you suggested, buildinva. Thank you so much!


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

Glass is too modern a feel for your kitchen. On my monitor the blue doesn't seem to work with your granite.
Let's go back to your original idea of a cream toned ceramic tile to pull out one of the cream colors from your granite. Maybe add accent pieces rather than a border.
Look at 2gemini's kitchen.


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

I don't know if you have thought of this, but what are you going to do on the right side of you counter with the backsplash? Are you going to take it all the way to the odor and down? I had the exact same issue with the counter stopping just short of the door. I can show you pictures of ours done if you want.


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

Thank you, ellendi and teachertile!

First, the easier one to answer! I would love to see pictures of what you did with the tile and the counter stopping short of the door problem! We haven't come up with a good solution - the best we can think of is to do a bullnose along the edge. I would like to line the door with wood casing and have the tile go into that, but to the right of the door (which isn't shown in the picture) is a perpendicular wall of cabinets (including one of my new favorite features - the desk area I am sitting at right now!). If we did casing around the door, the cabinets wouldn't open well.

Thank you so much, too, ellendi for telling me about 2gemini's kitchen and for giving me your opinion about the glass tile I posted that we picked up from the tile store today. The tile looks bluer in the picture than it is in real life. But it is still glass, which may be a problem.

I will try to post another picture with a paper towel behind it because I think the original picture had green from the wall showing through (DH posted all the original pictures - he is much more of a computer whiz than me!). However, the tile is still more cream-gray in real life. My DH says it is hard to make color decisions via computers! I wish I could give you an accurate picture because I respect your opinions.


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

Oh, goodness! I just noticed that the tile couldn't have green from the wall showing through since we put it up against a cabinet! (Insert sheepish face!)

I don't know why the glass tile looks different in the two pictures. This next picture is the closest to actual color, but I can't seem to get a good picture without a reflection.


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

What color is that tile? It looks sky blue in the first and med gray in the 2nd and both colors look far from matching your countertop... in my monitor anyway.


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

Anna - Do you have the name of the tile? Maybe we could look it up online and see the correct color there?


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

Yes, this is one of those times when you are going to be the best judge. Sometimes it is easy to tell and give our opinion but in your case it does seen to change.
Unless you really love blue, I still think the cream is the way to go with maybe the blue/gray accents.


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

My area to the door is a little wider, but I'm SO glad we took it all the way to the door. This is a small detail that lots of people comment on. I love it!!

This post was edited by teachertile on Sun, Apr 14, 13 at 22:11


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

TeacherTile - your tile, wall color, and granite are so beautiful together! Thank you for posting! I will show that to my DH. He is installing in-cabinet lighting right now (on the wall of the cabinets that aren't in my original picture since they won't have a backsplash). He has been so fantastic in all of this - doing most of the work himself.

I am so sorry about the color of that tile being different in the three pictures! It is definitely closest to the last picture. Unfortunately I don't know the name of it, and the tile store is closed.

I think I will go to another store (or the same one) and see if I can find a cream ceramic. Just for comparison! DH is pretty happy with the glass subway-style one and really wants to be done with the decision. But I can see how a light cream ceramic might be fantastic. Should it be glossy since the granite is shiny? Here is a link to a cream tile I found online:

Here is a link that might be useful: Cream tile


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

Or here is a crackle cream subway tile:

Here is a link that might be useful: Crackle cream tile


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

Anna, that crackle cream tile is great! I think you will like it a lot better than the white/blue/gray glass option earlier in this thread.

Your kitchen is filled with choices in warm tones and traditional elements. I'm having a hard time understanding why you are attracted to the modern, clean look of the glass tiles given all of your other choices.

Perhaps you'd like a large format ceramic or porcelain tile with a rough finish in a warm cream or gold color. This would give you both a modern touch (large format) and a traditional surface (not so shiny or smooth as the glass).

This post was edited by karen_belle on Mon, Apr 15, 13 at 11:21


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

Hi Karen Belle,

Glad you like the crackle cream! I haven't gotten to the tile store again yet, but I will look for a rougher finish. I think I would like that.

I love warm choices in colors, as you can see! I also love traditional and modern. But DH isn't fond of yellow or gold and likes a modern look. So when he agreed to my choice of the granite, I promised him that we would not have a yellow backsplash. We talked about bringing out the blue-gray at that time, so that has been what I have been looking for. Hard to find a good one, though, that wouldn't make the kitchen look colder or too dark. I did find one pretty gray stone that I hadn't posted before now because of those concerns. DH does like it (but likes the glass better). See what you think... Don't have time to switch picture orientation. Gotta run to a class!

I will still go to the tile store to see if there is a cream that isn't yellow...?


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

Your DH has already lost the battle for a modern look in the kitchen. Sorry DH!

I do like those stone tiles in your last post. I've been spending too much time at the Fireclay website oggling all the Debris Series colors for you. They have so many shapes and colors I think you cannot go wrong there.


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

I think you're on the right track looking at cream or a similar light neutral shade pulled from your granite and the crackle subway looks nice. Hope you can get a sample to see in place.

Agree that DH needs to forget about modern. It just doesn't go with your beautiful kitchen. Maybe he can get his yellow fix from wall color or accessories, but not in the tile. A bright yellow tea kettle that lives on the range perhaps. I want a turquiose one!

Not feeling the gray tile at all. Sure it looks similar to some of the gray veining in your granite, but it doesn't fit with all the components. Step back and visualize it with the color and style of your cabs. Too dark and bluish, and now swinging in the opposite direction, maybe too rustic for the rest of what you have. I think it would suck the light and cheer right out of there.


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

Wish I had piped in last night when I first saw your post; because I love the mural. I think it's beautiful and would add such a lovely, individual element that you'll probably not see in anyone else's kitchen. I didn't like the first tile choices that you had around it but I think these later crackle finished warm tiles with a simple liner frame around it would be fabulous! Just my opinion.......good luck, Your kitchen is already beautiful! Enjoy


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

When I see your kitchen - I see warmth. The first tiles don't read as warm.
Your kitchen is beautiful and needs something to enhance the warmth and not suck the life away.
I am training most of this week but if time, will try to find something to make your kitchen happy - but others will chime in as well.


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

I'm so glad you all see warmth!! Yay! Thank you all for taking time to work on my dilemma.

Island: I did find a kitchen that has a similar granite and they did a dark gray tile backsplash and it helped me see that I would rather have a lighter color tile. A turquoise teapot would be fun :)

Sanjuangirl: Thank you for telling me you like the mural! I have wanted something pretty to look at over the cooktop for ages! Honestly, I originally wanted an impressionist/Tuscan-style landscape, but DH didn't like that idea. He had agreed to the flowers (I think since it looks natural since we have a garden) until he saw that many people on garden web thought murals were too permanent of a statement. However, permanent decorations are somewhat safe for me because once I see something pretty that I love, I keep it. I don't change out artwork very often at all. And if I have chosen something that I love, I keep enjoying it every time I see it. For instance, we have had a picture that I have continued to display for 19 years. I still love it. DH is now suggesting a narrow shelf above the cooktop on which I can place artwork if I want. (Which would probably be that mural mounted to a non-flammable backerboard)

a2gemini: Thank you so much for telling me your opinion and for offering your help when you have time!

I found about 15 tiles today!!! Hopefully one will work. DH and I talked about it and I will post our current favorite. It is a travertine. Showed it against a wall that is a creamy-yellow instead of the green, since we will likely adjust the green color of the wall anyway. I do want green on that kitchen wall since it frames our garden, but not sure of the shade. My phone doesn't seem to be taking pictures completely true to color, since that creamy-yellow wall is showing a hint of green on my monitor! The name of the wall paint there is Benjamin Moore Windham Cream.

Karen_Belle: thank you so much for spending your time looking for tiles for me! I did look at those Fireclay Debris tiles. There were many pretty tiles and kitchens, but I didn't see one that I thought would be a perfect fit. I may look more, but I would prefer to buy from a local store because it is hard to know for sure what a tile looks like online. The glass mosaic that I showed at the beginning of this post I bought online and it cost $28 for shipping! Yeesh. And if I send back, there is a restocking fee.... Don't want to do that again. I know the kitchen as a whole cost a lot more than that, but like many people, by the time you get to the backsplash, the budget is tight and you feel each dollar leaving the pocket!


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

Hi Anna I agree that the gray picked up the gray in your countertop, but didn't think it went with with your cabinets and the look of your kitchen. glad you're looking for something different.
And now you'll want to kill me, but I don't see that shade of travertine as a match either! Your granite is golden and the travertine has a pinkish undertone. Again the monitors and pictures may not relay the color accurately, but the granite looks consistently more gold and clearly yellow in undertone in all pics.
I like the brick pattern though, what size are they? Can't tell scale in that close up. Thanks.


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

An almost totally black and white kitchen…We did decide to go with the light backsplash.

I thought the first granite we chose would be too busy with the light marble, and I thought it would detract from the light backsplash sort of compete with it, so that your eye wouldn’t know where to focus. With a black and white kitchen, the light multi-colored marble backsplash gets all of the attention.

This post was edited by kitchenbacksplash on Tue, Apr 16, 13 at 2:36


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

Hi Island! The tile is 2" by almost 4". Totally agree with you that the granite is gold/yellow! That tile, though, doesn't seem pink to me in real life. A friend of mine, who is pretty good with color, came by my house tonight and she thinks it goes well. We are excited about it!


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

I first picked out a travertine backsplash, and I'm soooo glad I finally went with porcelain. Travertine is just too fussy and I was worried about clean up since I use my kitchen daily and have growing kids that also use the kitchen. I don't think the subway travertine that you have picked out looks good, but things look different on the computer. It looks like it doesn't match like Kikos kitchen. I think you need to keep looking...


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

Anna, if you find a tile online that you like, you should be able to get sample tiles sent to you for only the cost of shipping. I still have a box full of gray tiles from Ann Sacks, none of which worked for us. They were pretty, though, and getting the samples helped me understand how hard it was going to be to get the right gray (our kitchen is a warm gray, most of the ceramic grays are way too blue).

I agree that the travertine you posted doesn't look great on my computer. You might try putting a standard white item in your photo and then getting your photo software to adjust the image color based on the white standard. That way we can be more confident that the colors you're posting online are true.

I also want to warn you that lighting makes a big difference, especially in the blue and yellow tones. You should take the pics using the actual undercabinet and ambient lighting that you will be living with. I panicked for a couple of days in the middle of my project because in the store the colors looked right but at home they were completely wrong. It turned out to be because one place had incandescent lighting and the other had fluorescents. ugh.


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

Hello island, teachertile, and karen_belle,

Thank you so very much for helping me with this! I really appreciate your opinions and expertise. Looking at the tile this morning in natural light, I am wondering if I agree that it isn't the right fit. I think the problem may be that we want to be done! Poor DH is exhausted. I spent months planning everything but the last few months he has been working so hard at installing everything and he would really like a finished kitchen. He works at work, then works at home. I'm sure many of you have been in the same situation. He is trying so hard to make me happy - and I am - except for being sad about national and worldwide events. Very happy with the kitchen. It functions so much better than the old one! Our old cabinets kept falling apart and he would have to staple them together. Now we have soft-close full extension drawers, a super susan, etc. It is incredible after waiting for years.

Would like to do a natural stone that isn't yellow for the backsplash - since that was DH's one request when he agreed to the granite I loved. Perhaps a slightly tan travertine? I think I may be heading back to the tile store again.... DH also likes sticking with decisions so I don't want to make him unhappy by suggesting another option. But I am a little concerned about the travertine we found. The salesperson who gave it to us said it was one of the few travertines that weren't pink or yellow in tone. Hmm. I did try ceramics, but DH and my friend liked the travertine better and we liked the idea of natural stone, so that is the one I posted. Teachertile - maybe I should re-explore porcelain.

Found this link on garden web where someone seemed to have a similar situation:

Here is a link that might be useful: Another similar kitchen


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

I was also stuck on natural stone, but after going through about a million samples, we decided that it wasn't going to happen. After selecting the porcelain mini brick, I feel like I dodged a bullet not picking a natural stone. I love the combo we created with our granite & backsplash. Keep looking and you will find something you love!!!


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

Here's something in a totally different direction: lagos azul. It's a grey/brown limestone. We used some of this in our backsplash.

If you read through the thread you linked above I think you will find that the OP was heading toward a cream ceramic because her travertine was too pink.

If DH is getting tired of the back and forth, just tell him you will not discuss the backsplash at all until you are ready to offer two or three options, all of which you yourself will be ok with. Then let him choose which one he likes best and be done with it. You can use this forum and your friend to help you sort among your options. It sometimes takes a good long while to pick a backsplash. This is a time for patience, not rushing to be done.

Here is a link that might be useful: lagos azul


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

Ooh! Karen_Belle - I like the lagos azul! Very, very nice! You have good advice regarding not presenting DH with every option I'm considering. Good advice all around, actually. And I agree that in that other thread the OP had pinker travertine. The travertine I am considering seems to me to be off-white. Went back to the tile store today before reading the most recent comments. Did get another sample, which is on the right side of the picture I'm posting. The travertine (the middle tile) is still my favorite. Most of the time I don't see any pink undertones in the tile. My cabinets do have a touch of pink undertones (which was mostly eliminated with the stain) and I could see that tile looking stellar while being pretty neutral (and very Tuscany, which was my goal!) covering the entire wall from the cooktop to the upper cabinets. The salesperson suggested the grout which is taped to the right of the tile. Oh, and my floor is white oak stained red oak amber - so a golden, reddish-medium-brown. It has some "character" which has been such a blessing with a dog who you can see shedding as he wags!

Teachertile: I sure do like your pick of granite and porcelain mini brick! They look fabulous together. I just haven't found a porcelain I like except one on which you could tell the color didn't go all the way through.

In the picture, the tiles are lit mostly from the right with LED u/c lighting. There is some lighting coming from the left that is halogen (our fan assembly had halogen pre-installed).


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

I still do not see bluish tile working at all, but obviously I'm only looking at pictures over a computer and honestly I can't tell anything from the last picture. It's so washed out the granite doesn't even look golden and it's the same no matter which of our 3 computers I view it on.

Agree with not showing your husband every tile you look at. Spare him the ones you reject. But even though you're both at the point you just want it done, you do not want to make a rash decision that leads to an expensive mistake you have to look at every day. Remind your DH what a great job he did and you don;'t want to spoil it with a bad choice.

I've seen quite a few threads where people regret the backsplash they just installed and some hate it so much they replace it. Seems to be a common complaint for those who bought a home and like the kitchen except the backsplash. Usually the problem is not so much that it's ugly or dated, rather it's the color or material that does not go with the rest of the kitchen.

And then there's the bigger group that finished all but the backsplash and call themselves the ABB club, I think. Funny. I'd rather be in "the club" and like them paint the wall and live with that for a year rather than rush the backsplash.


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

You seem to want travertine, so best of luck with it. There can be issues with it and that is probably why is is currently not as popular as it once once.
Just be aware that when you place your order, it might not look anything like the sample. All depends on how the stone color runs.
Also know that some can have a pink undertone when installed or even go grey.
All that said there are many people who have beautiful backsplashes that are light without the odd undertones.
Also keep in mind, that when you seal it, it looks much darker. Wet the stone and that is the color it will look like when sealed.


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

The ABB club. Do you have to have a six-pack to join? Because otherwise, I'm in !!!

Great input/feedback on this forum. NO need to rush. DH doesn't want to regret a choice made, after all the hard work and excellent style choices thus far.


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

Hi island and ellendi,

Thank you both for your comments.

Here is a closer picture (not sure if it is better).

Ellendi: I think I will need luck if we order the travertine due to color lots. However, the salespeople assured me over and over again that the stone isn't pink, so if we do end up with pink stone I should hope they would make it right. Better get that in writing. Grey might not be so bad due to the fact I was looking for gray tile originally. But you're right, I really want the creamy white of this travertine sample. I just wet the stone like you suggested and for my sample it didn't change the color, so I think that is a good thing.

Island: I so appreciate you looking at this thread on three different computers! Thank you. Not sure which one is the bluish tile. ABB club - I can understand why people are in that! I have been telling DH about how great a job he is doing; he is amazing to me, actually. Thanks for reminding me I should do that, though!


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

LOL. What a funny hubby you have, Anna.


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

I've been following the thread and haven't really chimed in b/c I don't have any great alternatives for you. On my screen, it doesn't look like the ones above really go well with your gorgeous granite. What about a more simple creamy subway tile? Or some other simple color? Just a thought :)

Good luck!


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

YourDH - I can't believe you snagged that name, honey!!! Welcome to the conversation among whom you have called for months "my garden web friends"! You must have been typing at the same time as me. You're not giving your abs credit, though :)

Msrose: I have a fantastic and very clever funny hubby! Best decision ever (and easy one) to marry him! I just like listening to him. He makes me smile every day and feels like the sun went behind a cloud if he is away too long.


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

rkb21: Thank you for chiming in, even if it is just to say "keep trying"! Creamy subway might work - have to find the right one, though. I did find this 6x6 (the tile in the middle) but thought it was too white - but maybe not:


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

Re: the sink wall--I would not tile that at all, especially if you are planning to put artwork there.

And regarding my earlier advice against the mural, I will add this: if you love it THAT much, you should go for it. Surround yourself with things you love, things that are beautiful and speak to your soul. It's YOUR kitchen!!


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

Just popping in an alternative... of course it comes down to your own personal taste. My thought is that the granite color has a lot of energy to it. It would be nice to not detract from that with something above it that fights it. My own personal taste is glass tile. I like the following because while it is monochromatic in style, the occasional glimmer adds some detail. It comes in various colors but I'd stay on the lighter shades for your kitchen. http://sfgate.houzz.com/photos/468037/Kitsilano-modern-kitchen-vancouver
Good luck with whatever you choose!


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

Hi buildinva and neshanicguy! Thank you very much for taking the time to help us! I am grateful for your encouragement, too! At this point, though, we are not planning on doing a permanent picture. I am thinking of a slim shelf above the cooktop on which I can place a small picture of some sort.

Considered glass tiles - but that does swing us toward modern. It would have been very pretty!

We ordered the ivory travertine (I type this feeling badly as I know that some of you will cringe). In real life it just looked good! Even a saleslady from another store (so no profit to her to recommend it) thought it matched the creams in the granite really well, but isn't very busy. We think the beveled edge is a fun touch, too. As far as travertine being outdated... well, by the time we sell this house it may be back in style! We just like it, so we decided that was what we needed to put in.

Blessings to you all who put thought into my kitchen! I really, really appreciate it.

Now, off to cook dinner! Love, love, love cooking in this space!

Oh, if anyone knows of a good shelf for behind the cooktop, we still do need to order that. I found one on amazon I really liked, but there are concerns about it tilting forward for some people, which would make it difficult to place items on it!

Here is a link that might be useful: Possible shelf


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RE: Backsplash help, please :)

Decided about the shelf! I figure we can just use L-brackets to help bolster the strength of the shelf, and then cover those with tile.


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