A Kitchen Backsplash Transformation


If you follow me on Instagram you may remember that I came out late last summer to reveal some kitchen changes I made that quite frankly I was somewhat embarrassed by. After only two years of living in our newly built home, I decided I could no longer live with the decision I had made regarding our kitchen backsplash so, last summer I finally decided to save up and swap it out for something I could live with and that I knew I would love without question! And now, I’m finally dishing on how all of that went down so please buckle up and enjoy this story of the sometimes crazy glimpse into my design life!

In 2013 we moved across the country to a small west Texas town but before we moved, the company my husband had just accepted employment with sent us to the new town we were to move to for a 10 day house hunting trip. While house hunting we were blessed to find a home we liked that was still early enough on in the construction process that I was able to make all of the design decisions and personalize the home to our liking. The only two things I didn’t get to pick (because they had already been installed) were the exterior brick and the fireplace. With that said, my back splash saga begins! Let me also mention here that normally I would never change out a home decor item this large, this quickly (due to cost and other factors) but in this particular case, my husband and I both agreed that it needed to be done and that it would help this space flow much better with the rest of our home so we went for it.

But first, here is a glimpse of what it looked like during the construction process and please excuse the old, grainy iPhone photos…

So once we finally wrote a contract on the house in our short 10 day period we had to get all of this done, that literally only left me with one day to pick several of the finishes for the home before we were to hop on a plane back to our current home at that time. In that one day, I picked out flooring for the whole house, all of the back splashes (kitchen, bath & laundry),

counter tops, and I met with the cabinet maker to go over cabinet organization for the kitchen, bath, laundry, and mud room/areas. Phew, that was a lot to do in one day, and a day I will never forget! It’s a good thing I regularly stalked Pinterest and Houzz for inspiration so that I already had an idea of what I wanted in our next home. Here is another construction shot to give you more of a glimpse into what that backsplash looked like before we changed it and then I’ll fill you in on what my issues were with this tile…

One thing I had not considered yet when it came time to unexpectedly make all of these choices in one day was the backsplash! I knew I wanted white carrara marble countertops, white cabinets, large stainless bar pulls, and a commercial style faucet but I had not given one iota of a thought to the kitchen backsplash. But, at the time I felt like I wanted to break up all of the white with some color so I went with this glass and marble mosaic seen in the photos. Prior to installation, the color in the glass looked to be a muted aqua (my favorite color) that was subtle and lovely but once it was installed, that pretty, muted aqua turned into an ugly sea foam green. At first I ignored the obvious and didn’t say anything to any one (especially my hubby) but after moving into the home and as time went on, I struggled greatly with other design decisions in the kitchen/living area because of that ugly sea foam color peaking through in the backsplash. So, after 2 long years of “dealing” with it, I finally just had to chalk it up for a design decision gone wrong and then saved my coins from a couple of design jobs I was working on at the time so that I could move forward with installing a new backsplash, of which I will reveal in a moment. But first, here is one last look at it the way it was. This photo was taken right before the new backsplash was installed…

Before I move on to what the backsplash looks like now, let me add that the old backsplash was lovely and may work very well in another setting. I realize a lot of people use this particular one so please note that I’m not knocking this one, it’s just that it didn’t work in this particular setting. My kitchen is large so in addition to the sea foam green issue, all of the movement in the tile became very busy over time and most days made me feel a little crazy because it was just too much! With all of that said, I am happy to reveal to you what the backsplash looks like now and I/we couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out! I can now use whatever color accessories and flowers I want to style my counter tops with without feeling like it’s over done and, this neutral backsplash no longer effects other design decisions in the space since the kitchen is open to the living room. Here is a photo of the new herringbone carrara marble backsplash the day it was installed…

The carrara herringbone was an easy decision because #1 it’s white and #2 it’s herringbone. Herringbone is super on trend right now but is also a classic so it won’t go out of style anytime soon. It was the absolute perfect choice for this space and I’m so glad now looking over my shoulder that we sucked it up and made the change!

Another huge thing I did as well during this process was to take out all of the outlets to the right of the cooktop. This may not be to code the way it is now but it is so much better not having all of the outlets there cluttering up this wall. There were two electrical outlets and one cable outlet that were never going to get used in my lifetime in this house (and that were completely unnecessary) so for me they had to go. I did the same thing on the opposite side of the kitchen as well and couldn’t be happier with this decision. My husband did all of the electrical work so that part of the reno didn’t cost us a dime.

And here is the finished, finished product below in the next several photos. I think the best thing about this whole debacle is that I learned a huge lesson (again) in being patient and more thoughtful about making big design decisions like this. Even though I was basically forced to pick something out in one day due to our travel arrangement mentioned above, I probably should have told my builder this was one decision that would either have to wait until we were back in town for good in two months or, that I would have to make this decision long distance. If you find yourself in this scenario in the future, just know that you aren’t alone and that yes, even designers and others that have been designing spaces for some time make bad design decisions from time to time. It’s unfortunate but it happens and then hopefully a lesson is learned like in my case.

I hope you enjoyed my crazy design dilemma story and please let me know if you have any questions. You can always find me at ZDesignAtHome.com anytime with a number of similar stories, design tips, and stylish finds that I’m always happy to share!

Xoxo, Bree

Z Design At Home