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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Closer Look at the Kitchen Renovation - Subway Tile Backsplash

When we first decided to replace the countertops we had a thought to keep the existing backsplash. The variegated square stone tiles weren’t too bad. However, once we decided to go with Corian countertops the bottom tiles needed to be removed for the countertop installation. Upon closer inspection we knew there would be no way to salvage the stone tile as they had been applied directly to the sheetrock. There were also a host of other issues.

It took about half a second for me to answer when Mr. Décor asked what type of backsplash I wanted to replace it with.

Subway tile.

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If you have ever visited my Pinterest Kitchen Board it’s quite evident that I have had an ongoing love affair with subway tile for several years now.

Lauren Conrad’s Chic Beverly Hills Home

There are several ways you can install subway tile. There is the classic “running bond” pattern shown in the above photo. Or you can do a “stack tile” layout, shown below, which is quite modern in feel.

Beaded board and simple subway tile gives a kitchen cottage style. More kitchen island inspiration:

My favorite is the “herringbone pattern”. This pattern is VERY labor intensive. Which is why you usually find it done in small doses.

Transitional and Traditional Interior Design Ideas - Home Bunch - An Interior Design & Luxury Homes Blog

Then there is the question of what color grout to use. The hot trend right now is to use various shades of gray for contrast.

Via Lonny

Given that the brick wall in our kitchen is laid in a running bond pattern we decided it was best to keep the same pattern for the subway tile.

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The mortar used to set the bricks is gray so I probably could have used a gray grout.

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But I wanted a really clean look so I selected “bright white” unsanded grout. We used “unsanded” verses “sanded” grout because the subway tile we chose was made of ceramic and had a sheen to it. Sanded grout could have possibly scratched or dulled the finish.

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A traditional subway tile is 3” x 6”. As our kitchen is on the small side I thought a tile smaller in scale would look better. We found sheets of subway tile, at Home Depot, that individually measured 2” x 4” which was perfect.

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Once again here’s a “before” photo taken right before we moved in last fall.


Budget details: With our military discount we paid around $2.00 a sheet. $40 for a backsplash treatment? I’ll take it.


To close a few of you had asked to see the smocked curtains in the kitchen nook area. My wish is your command.

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This is an window covering option that I am really happy with right now.

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All in all we are very happy with our kitchen renovation.



Kathleen TheLavenderBouquet said...

Lovely job! Such a beautiful kitchen and breakfast room!

GSGreatEscaper said...

So nice! I do think the running bond is the right choice. I wonder how much you've increased the value of the house by your judicious color choices?

If our current sale/purchase goes through, I'll be painting my cabinets white (countertops are white already) and am wondering what I should do for a backsplash - there's none right now. This is a distinct possibility - or perhaps a glass tile? Unlike you with your bricks, we've no architectural interest already present...

Sonia said...

Beautiful, light and airy transformation! I'd be cooking in that kitchen all day. Enjoy!

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Oh I love the total makeoer of your kitchen, it is stunning and I am so sure you are loving the changes. So bright and pretty. I adore those smocked curtains on the bay window too. Beautiful.

designchic said...

I am the biggest fan of subway tile - have it in mine too and love it. Your kitchen looks amazing…love following the transformation!!

Art @ Home said...

Your kitchen and breakfast room is so pretty! I'll be pinning it to one of my Pinterest kitchen boards! I, too, love subway tile. We installed it in our tiny kitchen in our tiny lake cabin, and we used smaller tile due to the scale of the room.

Super post, and I love your brick, too!


Karena Albert said...

Laura I am with you on the subway tile and love the look of your smocked panels as well. You are getting your home so beautifully together and I love following along!

The Arts by Karena
Closer: Michael Clinton

Maureen Wyatt said...

Such a timeless and clean look for your backsplash. Perfect with your counters!

Charm Bracelet Diva {at Home} said...

I have always loved subway tile backsplash. Unfortunately, the tile in our current kitchen really isn't bad, so no go on the renovation! Oh well. Your kitchen looks awesome! White rules!


Laura your kitchen looks gorgeous and so pristine in white with those wonderful subway tiles. Wish I could do my backsplash like that, but we redid our kitchen 4 years ago and hubby raised the same almost white granite stone as in the counters into the back splash too. It looks great but I would have loved the tiles.

Carol said...

Love the subway tile, Laura! I think your kitchen looks amazing!

Auntie Em said...

Your kitchen looks so cool and spotless. A clean and efficient place to prepare meals with out it being too commercial looking or bleak. I think you have hit on a perfect balance. Love the tiles. Almost 8 years on and I still haven't decided on what to put on the backsplash in our kitchen. I will get there someday! lol
Enjoy your beautiful room! :)

Rue said...

Your kitchen is so beautiful, Laura. I know you wanted marble, but it really turned out well and the subway tile is perfect. I'd love to cook in there :)


Magali@TheLittleWhiteHouse said...

Your kitchen is gorgeous, I love the choices you made to transform the room!

Monica Benavidez said...

This looks great, and it's amazing how much progress you've made on your kitchen. I've been in mine for 5 years and can't decide on espresso or white cabinets. Beautiful work! :)

-Monica @

Blondie's Journal said...

I love subway tile---I had it at the lake and now hat we have to redo it, I'm going to remember the grout you used. Your kitchen is stunning!

Jane x

Nellie's Cozy place said...

Wow Laura,
What an amazing transformation, your kitchen is absolutely stunning. Love all the subway tile and a white kitchen just makes
my heart
When you should the before pic, I remembered seeing it............Yall did a great job, it really is light and airy and beautiful.
Bet you really enjoy cooking in that kitchen...............or just being in

Blessings, Nellie

Rita C. said...

This transformation is utterly amazing. In a world of glamorous stone choices, I have been wanting to update my kitchen with Corian like you have. I really like it, and the subway tile is perfect. I have always loved that smocked curtain style, and had that type in my daughter's nursery (too) many years ago - classic, and never out of style. Beautiful kitchen, Laura, and well deserved feature in blogland. Congrats.

Ivy and Elephants said...

Thanks for sharing your beautiful kitchen with us, it is featured this week at Ivy and Elephants! Feel free to stop by and grab a featured button.

Ivy and Elephants said...

Thanks for sharing your beautiful kitchen with us, it is featured this week at Ivy and Elephants! Feel free to stop by and grab a featured button.