2016 Resolution: Tidy Up

Last year, in 2015, I made a resolution to make my bed everyday. I figured it was something 30 year olds do, so I should comply. I also committed to improving my penmanship (check – love my handwriting now!) and painting my nails regularly (lasted 3 weeks, turns out I hated having manicured nails). But back to the bed. It took a couple weeks for the habit of getting out of bed every morning and immediately making the bed to set in, but once it did? I loved it. It’s not like I parade people through my bedroom all that often, but somehow it seemed that more often than not, I ended up taking guests upstairs to show them something and our bed was a disaster. Making my bed daily changed that – I’d happily waltz people upstairs to show them my Kon Mari’d closet or what we were planning for our upcoming renovation for our disaster of a master bathroom (afters are here if you missed them – our master bathroom remodel made this my favorite room in the house) if the topic came up.

I’ve never been a crazy messy person, but I could definitely be tidier. But this Fall, I felt like I had no control over our home’s cleanliness. I’d put things away and they’d be right back out. I’d clean the floors and Nell would spill milk everywhere at dinner that night. Right as we were starting our renovation in October, it felt even more out of control than before. And that’s partially because it was – when your house is in renovation mode, it’s hard to feel settled. I was also just emerging from the 1st trimester which kept me nauseous or exhausted most of my days. But excuses aside, our house felt chaotic and unclean. I thought it was just me, but B looked at me one night and said, “What do you think hiring someone to do a good, deep clean of our house as soon as the bathroom is done?” I said, “What do you think about reworking the budget so we can have a house cleaner once or twice a month?” We both thought it was a great idea. I started collecting names from our neighborhood Facebook page every time someone recommended their housekeeper, figuring that come January 2016, I’d be pregnant enough to justify the expense of a house cleaner.  We’d had a house cleaner before – when I went back to work after Nell was born, we hired a housekeeper to clean once a month. And can I be honest? I kind of hated it. I hated feeling like I needed to be out of my home, or out of her way, for a full morning once a month. I loved how clean my house was when she left, but I didn’t like just sitting in my house while someone cleaned around us. It just didn’t feel right to me. So, when Thomas started preschool, I let our house cleaner go in the name of the budget – but really, I just needed an out. So I had a slight hesitation about hiring a house cleaner again.

But a funny thing happened. In mid-December, our bathroom was done enough that we could move back into it. It was beautiful. I didn’t want to put anything on the counters. I removed my shampoo and soap from the shower after every shower. I wiped down the shower doors and counters daily. And the bathroom stayed tidy. Not just clean – the toilet scrubbing, floor mopping, shower and bath tub sudsing that happens once a week isn’t really that big a deal. It takes me maybe 30 minutes to clean all 3 bathrooms in our house once a week. That’s not a lot of time. It’s the tidying that made the biggest difference: Not leaving my glasses on the counters when I put my contacts in every morning, putting my hairdryer away as soon as I’m done with it.

It dawned on me as I spent the month of December putting things away in the bathroom as soon as I used them (a novel idea, I know) that if a surface is cluttered, the room overwhelms me and feels unclean. It also dawned on me that I’m good at taking on new routines in small doses. When I committed to making our bed, I did it, because it was a small thing and not overwhelming. When I KonMari’d my closet last May, I kept it up. With our bathroom shiny and new, I committed to keeping it that way, and I was doing a darn good job of it. The issue, I realized was not the physical cleanliness of our home – I actually do a good job of physically cleaning our home – it was the lack of tidiness. What I wanted in a house cleaner was a magical way to keep my entire house tidy. And a twice monthly housekeeper wasn’t the answer to that problem.  Our kitchen is the biggest culprit when it comes to my house feeling “untidy” – it’s so open to the rest of the house that the counters are an easy drop-spot for books, papers, backpacks, etc. But, because it’s open, it’s also where everyone ends up. My dear friend has a spotless house in general, but her kitchen is always immaculate and she keeps her counters clear at all times. Every time I walk into her house I feel so at ease, but somehow I couldn’t replicate that feeling in my own home. When people drop by, my kitchen is the room I feel the most need to apologize for – even though I don’t believe in apologizing for the way you live, the fact that it bothered me meant that I needed to solve the problem. I reflected and realized that if I   tackled the kitchen, the whole house would feel tidier.


So on New Year’s Eve 2015, while B and the kids were out shopping for my birthday, I tackled the kitchen. I took everything off the counters, scrubbed them within an inch of their lives, and replaced only the necessities. I moved our onions and potatoes off the counter and to a cupboard drawer in the bay window. I moved our mixer to the cabinets, because if I only bake once or twice a month, there’s no reason for it to be out all the time. I pared down to the bare minimum on the counters – without things taking up visual space, it automatically seemed cleaner to me. I got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed the entire kitchen floor with hot water and vinegar. And then I made a promise to myself: The kitchen will stay this clean. It’s my 2016 goal.


And do you know what? I’ve kept it clean. And not just clean, tidy. Granted, we’re only 3 weeks into the year, but my kitchen has stayed clean and tidy. Instead of leaving the breakfast dishes in the sink until I get back from school drop-off, I put them in the dishwasher immediately. If the dishwasher is clean? I empty it so I can reload it ASAP. I wipe down the counters at least twice a day, sometimes after every meal. And it’s easy – because there’s very little on them. I gave Thomas a designated spot in the office for his school work to sit when he’s not working on it so that it doesn’t sit on my kitchen counters. As I cook dinner, I rinse things and put them away. After dinner, I do a quick wipe-down of the counters, quickly swiffer the floors and run the dishwasher. My house feels clean. And with that feeling of cleanliness comes such a sense of ease. And joy.


I realized last week that I had conquered the kitchen, so maybe I could take on more than one room a year. I mean, devoting all of 2015 to making my bed was good and I still jump out of bed every morning and make my bed even though it’s no longer 2015. But if I take on one tidy-ing chore a year until it becomes so ingrained in me that it’s natural, I’d have an all-the-time tidy house by the time my kids are out of school. In which case, most of the mess will go with them and what was the point of all this anyhow? So that’s my resolution for 2016: gradually become a tidier person. Room by room. Kitchen in January, our home office in February. I’ll keep you all posted. Now, I know this is nothing revolutionary: Put things away (where they belong) as soon as you’re done with them. But breaking it up into little pieces, giving myself permission to really handle one area at a time until it’s natural has changed my house. My kitchen sparks joy in my heart all day every day – so at this rate, I think it’s going to be a very joyful 2016.

Painting Oak Grain Cabinets


Painting Honey Oak Cabinets

Well, the kitchen cabinets are done.  I would say I’ll never paint cabinets again, but I’ve got two bathrooms full of honey oak so that would be a lie. It was a process. A labor of love. And far from perfect. But they’re painted, and it’s been a game changer for the overall feeling of our house.

Let’s review: When we bought the house, the kitchen was sage green, the island was chocolate brown, and the cabinets were orange honey oak that blended into the hardwood floors. Taste is so personal, but let’s just say this wasn’t ours. But the layout was good, and we knew the potential of paint. After painting our cabinets in our last house, we knew the impact that white cabinets could have. We like bright and cottagey, so painted works well for us. Don’t get me wrong, I can totally appreciate beautiful, warm wood cabinets, too. But these builder grade orange oak monstrosities weren’t working for us.


Six days after we moved in, we hired painters to paint our two story family room and when they said they could paint the kitchen walls for an extra $50, we told them to do it. Could I have painted the kitchen myself? Yes. But time is money and I wanted the sage and brown out as fast as possible. B and I agreed we’d paint the cabinets during our first summer in the house. And then we found out Peter was on his way, which put a halt to my involvement in painting. Any painting that happened in our house over the next 9 months was either hired out or done by my mom and mother-in-law while the kids and I were out of dodge of the fumes (even the no-VOC paint we use can add some VOCs in the tinting process, and the fumes are very obvious to me while pregnant, so we just play it safe). Anyway, the gray paint made a difference and helped the entire house flow much better, but we still couldn’t wait to get rid of the honey oak cabinets.


So, with Peter’s baptism scheduled for July 12th, I decided to start this project at the end of June. We were leaving on vacation in the middle of July, so I knew it was now or never for getting this project done this summer. We used Benjamin Moore Advance paint in Simply White. I primed with Zinsser BIN Shellac Primer to help prevent the heavy oak grain on our cabinets from bleeding through the paint, and followed up with a coat of Kilz on each side of each cabinet, as well. With anywhere from 4 hours to a full day drying time with these three products, it was a process. I started on the island, then moved to the upper cabinets and then the lower cabinets. We finished installing the cabinet doors and drawer pulls the night before Peter’s Baptism, but had to order knobs for the doors after coming up empty on the style we wanted in stores nearby.

Painted Kitchen Cabinets

I will say that despite my best efforts, the wood grain still shows. And I’ve accepted this – it is what it is. I was hoping for a factory finish, but with the heaviness of the grain on our doors, I was living in la-la land. But, they’re painted, and they no longer blend into the floors, and I love my white cabinets.

Painted Cabinets

The next order of business in here is to do some form of woodwork on the island that faces out to cover up the drywall. I haven’t decided what style I want here, yet, though, so that’s a ways off.

Painted Oak Cabinets

So, that’s our kitchen. I didn’t love our backsplash originally, but now that the cabinets are white, it brings out the lighter tones in the stone backsplash and I actually like it. Eventually we’ll replace the countertops and the sink – B hates our sink. I knew he didn’t love it, but I wasn’t aware of how much until he confessed to me over our anniversary dinner that he dislikes our asymmetrical kitchen sink more than our carpeted master bathroom…and let me tell you, he has strong words for our carpeted bathroom. So, that’s the latest in our house adventures – we’re just making it a little more our style every day.

One Year Later House Tour: Breakfast Nook and Dresser as Dining Buffet

It’s kitchen season over here. 3 years ago at this time, I was just getting started on transforming our old builder grade kitchen into my dream kitchen (painted cabinets, Silestone Marengo countertops, DIY Subway Tile backsplash). And as soon as we wrap up Thomas’s birthday, I’m doing the same at our new house. Well, I’m starting on cabinet prep this week. I think B and I would both like to replace the countertops and we’d really love to install a single basin sink like we did at our last house, but our granite counters here, while not my favorite material (I’m a Quartz over granite girl any day), are fine so we’re going to keep them for the foreseeable future. But before we get to the kitchen redo, let’s talk about the breakfast nook.


Since we moved in, I’ve been on the hunt for an old dresser to use as a buffet and storage in the bay window of our breakfast nook. I’ve hunted Craigslist, thrift stores, antique stores and garage sales for a year with no luck. We’ve had an ektorp bookcase we used in the basement at our old house in the bay window for the last six months as a place holder (mostly because once we moved it out of our dining room, we didn’t have another place for it and the bay window was open). And then, just last weekend, I was out for a run with Thomas (on his bike) and I spotted a dresser in a garage sale two blocks from our house that I thought would be perfect for my vision. It wasn’t old, but it had drawers and doors like I’d hoped and I loved the bead board character of it. And it was chippy enough thanks to living in a house with 3 kids for several few years to pass as older. And I figure after it lives in my house with 3 kids for many, it will look even chippier. It had a broken leg, which I knew we could fix, so it was $15. Done and dusted. Thomas and I sprinted home and sent B with my car to load it in – he was questioning my vision for sure, but he will be the first to tell you that he’s learned over the years to just let me work with my visions because they usually work out, and when they don’t, I figure something out.


My instinct was to paint the dresser a bright color, but since it was already chippy white, I decided to move it into the kitchen and see how I felt about the white. And I’m really liking it – it’s easy on the eye and allows other colors to pop off of it – like the happy birthday banner that’s currently living on it because it’s birthday season here at imperfect.



The buffet is currently acting as my coffee station – I couldn’t stand having the Keurig taking up my precious counter space, so I moved it to the buffet and it’s working perfectly. I held out on the Keurig for so long due to the cost of the pods and the fact that they aren’t recyclable, but my parents gave me this ‘lil guy for Christmas last year, and with a reusable, refillable cup, it’s super convenient. My reusuable Keurig cup and Dunkin’ Donuts coffee lives in the top drawer so everything’s close at hand. And post Whole30, I enjoy my coffee black, so I grab it straight from the Keurig and head straight to the back patio in the mornings before the kids are up to breathe in the cool morning air and have some me-time.


I love how the breakfast nook is coming together. The DIY painted industrial pendant plays nicely with the wood and metal tones on the table and chairs, and with the buffet being white, it doesn’t compete for attention. I like an element of surprise in every room – whether it’s an antique piece in an otherwise new furniture room, or a pop of color amongst my normal white and gray and wood tones, I think having something that’s us but not expected helps to inject our personalities into each room, and makes the difference, for our family at least, between a house and our home.


A Pop of Fun: Painting a Warehouse Pendant

how to spray paint a warehouse pendant

So, when we last left off replacing light fixtures, we’d installed a classic school house light in our front entryway to replace a dated builder “boob light”. When I was buying that light, I also threw an industrial warehouse pendant in my cart – I wasn’t convinced that the finish was right for our home and was pretty sure I’d end up returning it, but I knew I liked the style so I figured I’d buy it with our “Just Moved” coupon and could always return it. Our coupon brought the pendant light to just about $25, and I brought it home where I decided the stainless steel finish just wouldn’t do in our space. It screamed industrial kitchen, and I’m far from a gourmet chef. And this room needed some personality.

how to spray paint a warehouse pendant 4

I put it in my car to return it, and thought about what I wanted for a couple days. I didn’t really want a traditional kitchen light fixture. I have my eye on the Eldridge chandelier at Ballard Designs or something similar for our dining room, and I didn’t want more of the same in the kitchen. I just couldn’t shake the idea of the industrial pendant, I wanted something funky and fun. But again, that stainless steel wasn’t cutting it for our space.

Painting the pendant my signature green definitely crossed my mind from the beginning, but I was scared – that I wouldn’t like it or that I’d ruin it as spray painting’s not usually my strong point.  And after it was painted, I certainly couldn’t return it. And finally, on Thursday I had a pep talk with myself, “Em, it’s $25. If painting it screws it up, life will go on. And if painting it makes it less timeless, so what? It was $25.” So, I pulled out a can of Rustoleum Fern spray paint  (my shade of green) and went to town.

This is what we started with:

how to spray paint a warehouse pendant 2

I didn’t prep this at all except to tape off the holes at the top because I didn’t want the inside to be green. I used a plastic tarp in the grass as my work station. Not a great call. I highly recommend you do this on cardboard on a hard surface, not the grass – I had issues with the plastic sticking to the light even though I taped the tarp down down – after I took this picture – which required me to sand. Don’t do that, just use cardboard.

After one coat, I was skeptical – of my color choice and the ability of this metallic lamp to look good glossy green.

how to spray paint a warehouse pendant 3

But three coats (and a little sanding plus a fourth coat because of my grass and plastic choice…again, use cardboard) later I had a perfectly glossy, fern green pendant light for above our kitchen table that I adored. I let it dry for a day, then it was install time.

Mr. B took down this late 90s faux finished beauty:


And put up my green girl:

spray painted industrial light 2

And I’m smitten. Perfectly classic and timeless like my school house light? Not at all. But so much fun, and the perfect pop of color our breakfast nook was so desperately lacking. I love how it brings the green of the family room back to the kitchen:

painted industrial pendant

And mostly I love that it says we don’t take ourselves or our home too seriously. The stainless steel was too harsh for our space, and just wasn’t “us”. But the green? So very us, and a hit of whimsy that our house has been missing. I’m smitten. What about you?

And that concludes our lighting updates until I decide on a dining room fixture and bite the bullet on the price. Pretty sure whatever I choose will cost more than these last two switches combined. Hard to beat $70 for two new light fixtures.

Elements of a Dream Kitchen and a Giveaway

Two years ago, we turned our limited space kitchen into our dream kitchen for the existing footprint. From a functionality standpoint, I had different layout dreams, but from a finishes standpoint, I had my dream kitchen. Crisp white cabinets, dark gray counter tops, a classic subway tile backs plash and a deep single sink and dark oil rubbed bronze hardware. Leaving our kitchen behind – especially that sink! – was one of the hardest parts of moving this month. That and the memories. But I keep reminding myself that a kitchen and house are just that – a place to prepare food and shelter over our heads. It’s the memories and work we put into a kitchen or a whole house that make them feel like home. And so, I’m eagerly planning my “dream kitchen” for our new house. The layout of our new kitchen is almost exactly what I would have designed myself, save for our lack of pantry, and I cannot wait to explore our options and turn this kitchen into the heart of our home: the room our kids will likely remember most from their childhoods in the future. Click to read the rest of this post below and enter for a chance to win a $50 Williams-Sonoma gift card!

Wilsonart Dream Kitchen

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Cozy Modern Breakfast Nook

Oh, the breakfast nook. If you’ve read imperfect for 35 seconds you know the breakfast nook changes about as frequently as Taylor Swift changes boyfriends. Originally, it was just a round table and chairs. Then I bought a rug. Then I returned the rug. Then B and I embarked on a year long banquette-building project. Then I bought a new table and chairs. Then we finally finished the banquette. Then I hung an IKEA picture hanging wire to display artwork and cards which I never took a  picture of because it never looked right. Then I moved the banquette to the playroom. Then Mr. B went out of town to play golf with my dad and my brother, and Mama Caroline stepped in to take charge of her daughter’s indecision.


I knew that while B was out of town, I wanted to get rid of the picture hanging thing. I love them when I see the in other people’s houses, but it never worked in this space. I was going to replace it with gallery ledges, but I wasn’t convinced. And finally Caroline said, “You are thinking about moving in the next year or two, and if you really think you’ll love the ledges, do it. But in my opinion, it’s just another personal thing you’ll need to take down to list the house. I’d do a mirror.” I knew I didn’t want another square mirror, so I set out to find the blog-famous quatrefoil mirror at Lowes. They didn’t sell it anymore, but I stumbled across a cheaper and identical one at Hobby Lobby and scooped it right up.


Mr. B, my dad and brother left town, and Caroline and I embarked on house projects, starting with the kitchen. We moved the banquette back to the kitchen. It still houses toys, but that’s just the way it’s going to be for awhile. Thomas likes to crawl under the table to retrieve his bowling set, and it’s practical storage while also being practical seating. We hung the mirror and immediately loved the difference – I can see the front of our house from the breakfast nook now, it’s far more airy and open.



We rehung my old chalkboard in a more reasonable location – it used to sit right next to the door as you walked into the garage, and I loved having a place to hang our keys but it always felt out of place and far to small for the long wall. On the small wall, it’s perfect. A place to hang my keys and not to small . Sometimes, you just need another pair of eyes to help you figure out how things should work.


 So that’s the first project my mom and I tackled last month while the menfolk were out of town. What do you think? Tell me you have a room you flip flop on in your home. I need company.

Kitchen Chair Makeover {Overstock Tabouret Chairs Painted}

Last Fall, we brought home the Jackson dining table from World Market for our breakfast nook. I loved everything about it – the industrial metal base and the rustic wood top, and after pining after it for 6 months and cursing our budget for keeping me from impulse buys, it was mine. 

But the Tolix knock-off chairs – even on sale – added an additional $400+ to the purchase price. And Overstock sold very similar chairs in a set of 4 for $199. So I bought the Overstock chairs.

When they arrived, I was disenchanted with how the finish worked with the table. It was a very flat silver – more space age than vintage Tolix chair knock-off – and the silver stood out badly compared to the finish of the table base. When I ordered online, I thought they’d match perfectly because the World Market website shows a lighter finish on the chairs and table and the Overstock chairs look darker. Both were incorrect depictions of the products and the result was George Jetson inspired silver chairs with an industrial rustic table. I wanted to paint them immediately, but my mom convinced me to wait to see if the finish grew on me.  It didn’t. See how the bright silver just doesn’t jive?

So, I mentioned to my cousin Sarah (one of my favorite house-talk buddies) when she was over a few weeks ago that I wanted to paint them and she said, “Then let’s do it!” So I did. I bought four cans of Rustoleum’s Metallic Spray Paint in Black Night. I did a really light dusting of paint – two coats, allowing a little bit of the silver to show through for a more zinc oxidized/vintage finish – I was looking to soften the glaring space age finish and add dimension to the chairs – figuring I could always just coat them with more black if all else failed. 

I love the chairs immensely more now – they work so much better with the finish of the table and don’t look like I took the cheap route. Even though at $199 for the set of four chairs and $20 worth of spray paint, I totally did.

Here’s the view walking down the stairs now just so you can get the full effect:

You might also notice the banquette is gone – not gone gone, just moved for now. But that’s a story for another day. Maybe next week, I’m making progress over here. And I’ve decided that what this barren breakfast nook needs is wainscoting. Don’t hold your breath, though.

Thoughts? Definite improvement for the table the chairs are sitting at, right? 

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Breakfast Nook with Banquette Seating

If you’ve been reading imperfect from the start, you know that I’ve flip flopped over Banquette Seating for, ohhh…3 1/2 years now. Then, last February we bit the bullet and started construction. Yes, that was almost a year ago.  After much debate, I finally came across a real estate blog that recommended a one wall banquette over a corner banquette for resale (due to difficulty that getting in and out of a corner booth creates) – I’d link to that blog if I still could find it, but interestingly enough, 2 years later, I no longer have a record of it. But back to the banquette – my main concern with this project was always resale – and a vent underneath the window in the nook. Not to mention that one window is fairly low and wouldn’t be great to sit against. So the one wall approach helped to alleviate that venting issue that neither B nor I are handy enough to tackle ourselves, and also made me feel better about the long-term saleability of a banquette.  Still not convinced, though, I realized that we could have a built-in looking bench without actually building it in. Buh-bye resale hang-up, time to get started.  Here’s what we were dealing with:

Just an empty corner nook. The size of the nook prevents a rug from being very practical (vents and doors would open into the size we need), and there was no softness (a white curtain that didn’t photograph well). We needed fabric. We needed some color. We needed seating.

I consulted Ana-White.com’s plans to see if she had anything that would fit the bill for a banquette – she had a few bench ideas, but nothing that was what I had in mind. And then I realized that I could modify the plans for the storage bed to make a bench. I did some rough calculations, handed them over to my resident engineer for “approval” (we all know I don’t give two hoots about approval…I just needed my long division checked.) and we were off to Home Depot and Lowes for the parts.

6 months later…we had this.

Don’t be alarmed, the cushion isn’t staying long-term.

I don’t love the cushion. It’s temporary – I cheaped out and bought a thin piece of foam thinking that thickness didn’t matter. Then I made a sloppy cushion out of clearance fabric because I wasn’t sure what I should do for fabric. It will do for now while I’m saving my house money envelope to re-do it…which will cost more in the long-run. Don’t cheap out is the moral of the cushion story.

I made square throw pillows from fabric projects around the house – I love bringing the whole house together with fabric. The geometric green is from my DIY Ottoman/coffee table in the adjoining living room, and the floral is the fabric I used for the kitchen curtains. I stole the grass green ticking from Caroline’s fabric stash with some excuse like, “Your house is blue and yellow, this would look way better at my house”. I’m an excellent daughter.

I’m on the hunt for the perfect (reasonably priced) locker baskets for the six cubbies, so for now this is all the decor that’s happening. But when the baskets are here, I’ll use them for paper plates, smaller appliances that I use less frequently, table linens, and the far end one for Casco’s leash, harness and collar. But in the mean time, it’s a less frequently used cookbook hang-out:

With the banquette complete, and our kitchen recently updated with painted cabinets, new Silestone countertops and a subway tile backsplash, I decided the rest of the nook needed an overhaul, too.

I stumbled across the Jackson Dining Table at World Market last year and took bad phone pics for Mr. B. But we never pulled the trigger. Right before Thanksgiving they had a huge furniture and I snatched up the table, intending to buy the matching chairs for myself as a birthday present in January. But that lasted 12 hours before I ordered almost identical chairs on Overstock. Happy early birthday, I guess?

I’m madly in love with the table and chars. I adore the industrial table pedestal with the more rustic top.

And the metal tub chairs make me smile as I walk down the stairs every morning. B pulled them out of the box when they arrived and said “These are not chairs I ever would have seen and thought, ‘Em will love those.'” But I absolutely love the combination of more industrial with traditional – and I’ve been lusting after a Tolix chair knockoff for years. 

Should we do one more quick before and after?


And after. Well, after-ish. I still need to remove the too-small chalkboard and find a solution for the wall behind the banquette. And then I need to make that blank wall on the right of the photo above our Grand Central station for keys and bags to hang. I’ve got plans, just need to put them into play!

And, if you’re looking for a dose of reality, Thomas’s booster seat is attached to one of the chairs, and there’s usually a dirty dish or two and a toddler art project at any given time:

So that’s the breakfast nook redo with banquette seating. What do you think?

DIY White Subway Tile Backsplash

The backsplash is done-zo. Mr. B was totally dreading this portion of the kitchen remodel – he cut the first tile and it shattered. I cut the second tile and it didn’t. So he threw his hands up in the air and said, “I’ll take Thomas to the pool, you do this”.  It was a tedious job – we probably didn’t have the best tile saw and the outlet cuts just about did me in.  But, I perservered and made it through my first tile job.

I had originally planned on doing Carrara marble subway tile for the backsplash, but in comparing the cost and what we wanted to spend on this quick little kitchen project, we decided to hold off on the marble and spend a little extra on the counter tops and sink instead. And, with the number of mistakes I made while cutting, I’m so glad I went with Home Depot’s $0.28/tile white subway tile instead of the pricier marble. But, when we ditched the idea of Carrara Marble, I was drawn to the idea of some dimension somewhere. It’s a good thing, you guys all brought me back down to earth and reminded me that classic is better.  Thanks friends, I needed a reminder that I’m not trendy. Ask the skinny jeans I tried on last week.

I LOVE the pure white subway tile backsplash.  But, with the accent tile nixed, the next hiccup was that B and I disagreed on grout color – B (after seeing and really liking the mosaic option I brought home) wanted gray grout to differentiate the tiles while I preferred the look of white grout for our small kitchen. So we decided that we’d just start tiling, and if we thought the tiling job was perfect enough for gray grout, we would consider it carefully.

But the tiling job answered that question for us – it was our first tiling job, after all. Not that there are any glaring errors, but I wasn’t confident enough in my seams to use anything but bright white grout. And I’m glad that we ended up with white because it just makes the tile so sparkly and bright, and I was concerned that in our kitchen – which lacks much natural light – the gray grout lines would 1) be too busy and 2) not allow the light to bounce quite as much.  I had no reason to believe these things, I just did. Sometimes our minds are funny things.

This backsplash was the project that unearthed other projects – like window trim. Our house didn’t come with windowsills (thanks builder). It hadn’t really bothered me, except that I knew how great window trim and sills would look on the big windows in our house. But with tile going up, we didn’t want tile to trim the kitchen window, so our handy neighbor came over one Monday night and installed a windowsill. We’re not done with the top of the window (we’ll do a traditional craftsman window trim), but the windowsill is my most loved unexpected part of the reno. More on that when the window is done.

So that’s the kitchen. Crown Moulding is still in the plans for the tops of the cabinets, we’re just taking a little time off before we start that. What do you think?

Backsplash Choices

So we’re going with a white subway tile backsplash. I’d originally thought that Carrara marble was the route I wanted to go, but the price point of white can’t be beat, and it’s classic and timeless. Which is pretty much my schtick…just ask NameBerry.

But, while I was picking up the subway tile, I couldn’t get an accent tile out of my head. So I ordered a Carrara Marble accent tile just to see, planning to get it home, set it out with the subway tile and immediately return it because it wasn’t timeless enough. But now I’m torn. So I’m turning to you all. Ready?

Option 1, white subway tile. Classic & timeless.

Option 2: White Subway tile with a Carrara Marble Accent Row

What would you do? I am leaning one direction, but let’s see what you all think. Please comment.