The kitchen backsplash has been underway for a very long time. It was actually a big shock when the backer-board started going up, covering the jagged holes that had been exposed since we started being able to use the kitchen late last fall. It was so clean and nice compared to the holes that I would’ve been just fine looking at the backer board forever. But we didn’t stop there– we started tiling the backsplash with the wrong tile, which I had bought for the old kitchen. Thankfully, we realized the mistake only an hour in, and ripped it out, leaving us looking at the backer board that was now not so lovely and clean-looking. Then we happened to find a couple of different kinds of marble subway tile at ReStore, which we supplemented with a box of similar stuff from The Tile Shop and a bunch of huge marble tiles that we cut down to size. The whole thing ended up costing just about $50, but was quite a bit of work since the tiles were slightly different sizes and thicknesses.
But there was still one huge hole left in the kitchen. This one was intentional, and it was because Dave offered to make me a little shelf to hold oils/candles/toothpicks/whatever, and install a potfiller. This would involve him doing some framing and plumbing, so it got left until last. I got used to looking at it and used it for a shelf anyway (though I learned that if you push something too far back, it will fall into the wall):
In this picture, you can see that the range hood cover we made out of pallets is done; the cabinet above it is NOT done, the hole in the wall has been framed for a shelf, the potfiller is installed, and Dave remembered to cover my beloved Wolf stovetop with a towel. Normally he forgets and I have to clean drywall dust out of the burners. This was him learning to speak my love language.
The plan was to tile the shelf and sides of the bump-in with marble subway tile, and use quarter-round marble pieces for the trim (which we thankfully also found at ReStore, because they are not cheap). That left the back rectangle above the stove without a plan, which became the source of multiple discussions. There are really three options. One is to do the same marble subway tile in the same pattern as the rest of the kitchen, preventing there being a focal point above the stove. The second is to use the subway tile in a different pattern, adding some “interest” without making much of a break as your eye runs across the kitchen. The third is to use “accent” tile (which makes me cringe, so I put it in quotes) to make a focal point in the form of a rectangle above the stove. Typically option three is my least favorite option, as I find looking at a rectangle above the stove as a focal point not that enjoyable, plus it’s cliche and will look dated 95% of the time.
But, here’s what we did:
Yep, option three. Typically I don’t like option three at all, but I made an exception in this case because I love this tile! It’s called arabesque-something in something-gray from The Tile Shop (sorry if you need an exact name…just call The Tile Shop in Cool Springs and they’ll tell you what it is). It’s really thick and has distressed-looking edges that pull in the colors from the subway tile. The only other place we have yet to choose tile for is our master bath, and doing a wall of it would cost a fortune, plus it’s also really time-consuming to install. My last chance at putting it in our house was this small spot, so I decided to bring home a sample of it and try it out:
Normally I also wouldn’t be inclined to put ceramic tile near natural stone, but these tiles aren’t standard ceramic tiles. They have a handmade feel and to me, felt more like architecture than “accent tile.” So we did it!
It’s actually a throwback to the 1960’s, when it was used a lot, so hopefully that’ll put it in the “classic” category this time around and protect it from being dated. I’ve seen it at some design showrooms and in a few magazines, but it should stay safe unless someone famous starts using it like crazy. 🙂 🙂 🙂
I also think option one would have been great (continuing the subway tile as is), because the marble subway tile itself is pretty and we would’ve had an uninterrupted run of it. Dave wanted option two (subway tile in a different pattern), but I think that has similar dating issues as option three. It seems that everyone is using it in a herringbone pattern everywhere, which I think could end up being more dated than using the arabesque tile. I do love herringbone and chevron patterns, though. If I could, I would put limed oak flooring in the kitchen in a herringbone pattern.
Some of you have asked about the potfiller, so here’s my opinion on it. I originally thought it was unnecessary but then changed my mind. It’s not very hard to fill a pot at the sink and then carry it a few feet over to the stove, but we have an enameled cast-iron sink, which gets metal marks on it if you set a pot in the sink without a mat. Because of this, I thought the potfiller would save me scrubbing those marks off the sink, as well as quickly filling pots already on the stove. It can fill a pot at six gallons per minute and is also good for filling our watering can we keep on the deck for our potted herbs.
A word to the wise, though: potfillers are dangerous! There is no drain, of course, since it’s right above the stove. So if you walk away for a minute while your pot is filling, you could be in for a disaster all over your kitchen to the tune of six gallons a minute. Our kids are not allowed to touch it until they’re grown up.
So there you have it! Our tile job is done, except for the backsplash that will be in our pantry project! A beam is going in soon so we’ll be able to make the pantry area into more kitchen instead of two pantries.
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