March 27, 2014

Backsplash Dreaming

We've been wall paper striping and painting up a storm up at the cabin, but after all that brutal work, we still have a huge eyesore going on in the center of the kitchen.  Remember when we stripped this floral wallpaper:

To reveal this:

We didn't bother to paint over this orangesicle dream because the plan is to install back splash tile above the counters on both sides of the kitchen.  The first step is to plan the look we are going for in this space.  While we refer to this place as a "cabin" and will use it as such, there's no denying that this is a 1960s rancher.  So unless I completely gut the kitchen and most of the house (which isn't in the plans or the budget), we're never going to achieve a truly rustic kitchen like some of these beauties.

The goal instead is to come up with a vibe that fits the architecture of the house, but feels warm and lived in with rustic touches.  I know I'll need to live with the dark wood cabinets (specifically my parents said I would have to wait until they die to paint them, because they are dramatic like that), but that's okay, because I think the rich, dark wood tone can look great.  Although I'd love to make new doors for them at some point, but that's an entirely different blog entry.  

I also know that we plan to install wood floors throughout the main living space, which will likely be a rustic maple or hickory to play off the various wood tones throughout the space.  These kitchen are much more modern then we are going for, but they give you a good sense on how dark wood cabinets and rustic hickory floors can live together without the "overwhelming wood" effect.

But let's get back to the subject at hand- back splashes.  Knowing that I'm working with dark wood cabinets and rustic wood flooring, I searched the internet for inspiration, and instantly fell in love with options that brightened up the space with white counters and white tile.  Like this:

See it here
And this one with the amazing farmhouse sink and vintage faucet.  I'm going to need one of those.
See it here

And this one with the Ikea farm house sink and faucet- more in my budget.
See it here
Notice what all those have in common?  Simple, white subway tile back splashes.  That narrowed the field pretty quickly.  Subway is cheap, timeless and easy to install.  We thought about a few variations, like this skinnier version: (all from the Lowes website)

Or smaller mosaic:

Or beveled edges:

Or this slightly more vintage looking pattern:

But in the end the group (The Hubs, my parents and I) agreed that the simplicity and price of subway tile is hard to beat.  Plus, we loved it in all our inspiration images.  I was really pushing for a herringbone pattern install like these:
See it here

See it here
But we were worried that with just the 18" space between the counter and cupboards this pattern wouldn't have time to really make an impact.  We did agree, however, that a slightly darker grout was the way to go to give this tile more interest and a vintage feel. 

So now that we have a plan, it's time to get moving.  You guys know I can't wait another minute to get this party started.  Operation Adios Orange is in effect!


  1. Over the holidays, we moved into our dream beach cottage. The kitchen has been repainted but I really want to put in a backsplash. I can't seem to find what I want - it should be modern but with a rustic flair. I keep looking around for some great ideas - and I remember we had that old-fashioned orange color in our previous home. We never got to change it! I guess the new owners are sure to make that a top priority!

  2. Great post and the kitchen looks lovely. thanks for sharing it.

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  4. The cabinets looks perfect. I am really amazed with the texture of the wood. The wood really gives warm to the place. I love the color. Try to visit more quality hardwoods.