Thursday, January 27, 2011

Project Time, Part 2

You can read about Part 1 here.

This project has been a long time coming:  a tile backsplash in our kitchen.

Bionic Man has plenty of tile installation experience.  He tiled both the kitchen and the bathroom in our Connecticut Cottage.  He had promised me a tiled backsplash at least two years ago, but I waffled.

For one thing, I'm not a fan of our countertops.  I've been trying to convince the Bionic Man to install new ones for a long time.  And I'm easy to please--it's not like I'm aiming for granite or marble.  Just new laminate.  But there is one problem: nothing is wrong with my current laminate.  Fortunately, once I covered the Gacky Sage with Antique White, the countertops don't bother me so much.

The other thing that made me waffle was the cabinets.  They are oak.  Oak is fine, but it isn't what I would pick.  I would pick white, just like the ones I left behind in my Connecticut Cottage.  (Sniff, sniff.)  Now, I know half the blogosphere is painting their cabinets, but that's because they aren't married to the Bionic Man.  He is a wood purist.  He has agreed that white cabinets would look a lot better in our house, but he's not about to paint perfectly good oak.  We are not about to fork out the money to replace these cabinets, either.  In the last year, I have entered every single contest out there for getting a new kitchen.  I'm not kidding.  All signs point to the kitchen cabinets remaining oak.  Luckily, once the Gacky Sage left the kitchen, the oak cabinets don't bother me so much.

Note to self: always paint first.

Anywho,  now that I've resigned myself to living with said countertops and cabinets, it's time to get that backspash up.  Here are the choices we came home with from our latest tile shopping trip:
Notice that we have a thing for mosaics?  That's because the walls under our cabinets happen to contain more than their fair share of outlets, switches, phone jacks, and other assorted things that tile has to be cut to fit around.  (Don't look at the grammar of that last sentence too closely.)  So, mosaics will be much easier to work with.
Here's a closer look at the candidates.  The lonely piece of bisque ceramic is there to represent the color of a mosaic that we'd have to special order.

While originally, I though that I would love the look of subway tile, it just didn't seem right for the space.  Our backsplashes are wide and not very tall, so it made for a lot of rectangularity (is that even a word?).

Not only did we like the added convenience of the mosaics (they come on a 12x12 sheet that can be cut with scissors), we like the way all those tiny squares look in our wide-open kitchen/dining/family room.  We also like the fact that they add color variations in small doses, not a big punch.

This piece was originally our top pick:
 We love the way it not only picks up the creamy tans of the wall and countertops, but it played nicely against the browns and slight orange of the oak cabinets, too.  Those browns are especially nice when you keep in mind that we have lots of oil rubbed bronze and chocolate leather in this space.  (Cabinet pulls are going ORB this spring.)

On the downside, it's a little busy, don't you think?  Not to mention, the price of glass tiles is definitely higher than that of ceramic.  We decided that if we went with this style, it would have to be as an accent (most likely a 2" stripe) along with some plain ole' ceramic bisque mosaics.

Here's the other contender:
This is a glazed ceramic, which means that the cost is considerably lower than the glass tiles.  It has a matte finish, and quite a bit of color variation.  Besides the creamy tans you can see in the picture, there are notes of darker brown and rust--again, complimenting the cabinetry.  However, it's a little more subtle than the glass tile mosaics, above.  With the neutral color scheme and the lower cost, we could afford to cover the entire backsplash with this tile--not just use it as an accent.

So, what do you think?  Which one gets your vote?

Linking up to Tidy Mom's "I'm Lovin' It Friday".


  1. I actually like the ceramic tiles. I too found myself drawn to the first glass mosaic you showed, but I think it might read dark in the room. I like that the mosaic you're leaning toward would add some depth to the walls without being heavy. So fun!

  2. I'm for the glass. I like the contrast, and I think it blends the cabinets and countertop together better. I hope you guys don't have as hard of a time picking stuff out for your house as my parents do, though.....

  3. My vote is the second one you showed, the glazed ceramic. I love what you did with the lighting in your room, too. Found the couch on RC willeys for $220 more! Have fun!

  4. I really really like the ones with the browns in it. I feel like it will give you a little bit more wiggle rooms in terms of decorating your kitchen. A lot more colors could play off of that one! Good luck with the project!
    Wearing It On My Sleeves