When you left us last, we had a sad little shell of a kitchen after demolition a la Scott and Todd. We had removed the countertops, nasty appliances and backsplash (along with the wall behind – d’oh!) and were left with the existing cabinets, luckily still in good condition. The perfect top for our existing cabinets was the quartz countertop that I so smoothly got with a designer discount from an installer that we work with at my design firm. Quartz is a great alternative to granite, the traditional stone countertop of choice. It doesn’t require the annual sealing that granite does (because it’s partially made of man made products) and in my biased opinion, it has a much more modern look. Swoon.
Hello, beautiful countertops. Our next step was to replace the walls that were so gingerly removed so we would have something to attach our new backsplash tiles to. Most of the time, a kitchen backsplash can be applied to standard gypsum board (drywall) but we decided to up the ante and install some super strong cement backer board. This decision reminds me of the Friends’ episode where Ross shows up at the laundry mat with Uberweiss, the east german uber strong detergent. Backer board is our Uberweiss. I guess we wanted to make sure our kitchen was equip to stand up to a typhoon or an exploding kitchen faucet. Either way, the backer board may not be typical for a kitchen (necessary in a shower, but not a kitchen) but we decided to go the extra mile.
We decided to go with white subway tiles (another modern choice to update our kitchen) with a splash of blue and green glass tiles. Originally we wanted to do the whole backsplash in glass tile, but this proved to cost more than a pretty penny. This may have been a compromise, but a good one in the end.
Installing backsplash tile is easy as pie. We simple got some trowels and spackle and went to work. Basically, you spread the spackle evenly on the backer board (or drywall), run your trowel notches thru it to create something for the tile to grab onto, and stick the tile on. Really, that’s it. The only semi difficult part is making sure that the tiles are straight (spacers help with this) and trying to keep your kitchen clean from the explosion of spackle that will ensue.
We did this fancy little number above our new undermount sink and faucet, thanks to a suggestion from a friend. We had intended to only do a horizontal line around the whole backsplash (horizontal lines ooze modern), but the picture frame we created above the sink really added that extra pop that our backsplash needed to scream “I’m freakin awesome”. After all of our lovely tiles were installed, we grouted (grout, sponge off, sponge off again, sponge off again… you get where this is going), caulked at the crack between the countertop and backplash, and voile! Our lovely new kitchen was complete. We popped in our new GE black appliances (so much less than stainless and they added a bit of contrast to our light-toned kitchen), sat Charlie in the middle of the floor and took the final picture. What do you think?