Monday, November 7, 2011

Tile Backsplash Update

Our renovated kitchen has existed in a nearly complete state for several months now, but we're still several details short of proclaiming it fait accompli, so I'm going to post about some of the interim stages before revealing the full thing.

the bar sink corner now grouted
When I left off telling the tale, we were in the process of tiling our backsplash (read about it here).  We did this job ourselves and we're very pleased with the results.  We used now ubiquitous subway tile in an ivory colour, but we think it goes well with our house, which was built in 1889. 
Our looming decision was grout colour.  We wanted one to contrast with the tile enough to show the pattern but not so much as to be distracting. What we really wanted was something like the shadow line cast by the ungrouted tile.  After much debate and vacillation, we chose a slightly cool gray called silver (from the Mapei line of sanded grouts).  Our reasoning was that the cool gray would provide some opposition to the ivory of the tile and prevent the wall looking too warm or muddy.  We think we made a good choice. Looking at it now, the grout is a good match for the shadow line of the inset cupboard door--just what we'd hoped for.

Serendipity was at work for us. The ogee trim tile we had left over from our bathroom renovation was an almost perfect match for the moulding our cabinet maker used for the under cabinet light valance (although we did have to order 8 more pieces from California), and we were able to file down a special little corner piece to finish off the line of ogee tile without having it stand proud of the column.

serendiptious match of ogee tile and light valance moulding

We'd originally thought we would clad over our cement and brick column (read about that epic saga here), but in the end we liked the cement and decided to let it stay and just run the tile all the way up to the ceiling on the other side.  I love how this corner turned out.  Our cabinet maker did a beautiful job of scribing the cabinet to the very uneven wall and, now tiled, the corner looks seamless.

tile to the ceiling at the glass corner cabinet

We decided to forgo any special tile pattern over the range, because we thought it would be largely obscured by the plate rack (our modified IKEA Grundtal rack).  We're thrilled with our hacked IKEA rack.  We're not the first to do this, but really, it couldn't be better.  N cut each stainless steel rod of the disassembled IKEA rack to the correct length (42") with a pipe cutter, popped out the little piece meant to the recive the screw using a dowel and a mallet, and epoxied the little piece back in the newly cut rod ends.  The brackets were mounted in chiseled-out recessed niches in the studs behind the range.  We tiled right over the brackets and now we have the best over range shelf anywhere.  We mounted it high enough for plates to catch the most rays from the heat lamps on the range hood.

behind the range backsplash and tiled-in, cutomized IKEA Grundtal pan/plate rack
What you can't see in the photograph is the line of cigar tile pieces that we put behind the pot rack and which allowed us to configure the layout so that we could end with a full tile under the hood (yet another serendipitous point in our tile layout planning).
Even though we chose a medium colour, and sealed the grout, we do have a bit of staining on the grout above the grill on the range from our daily cooking dramas, but it's really barely noticeable.

another view of the corner cabinet and tiled wall

So ends the tile and grout saga.


Roncy Vic said...

Your kitchen is absolutely gorgeous! So many beautiful details. The glass side on the upper cabinet - wow. The tile job looks incredible, and i too like the grout choice. I also think you've elevated the Ikea Grundtal to a whole new level. Can't wait to see the full reveal.

S and N said...

Thank you Roncy Vic!
We knew we'd made the right choice when it just somehow looked 'correct' to our eyes.
We'll try to get back in the groove of posting.