Wednesday, January 4, 2012


A year ago my husband and I made a crazy—but wonderful—decision to build a house. We’d lived in our previous home for six years and everything was tailored to our likes. Pretty colors painted on the walls. Beautiful hardwoods in the family room. Furniture hand-selected by the two of us to go in every room. But we desired more space to spread out games on the floor to play with our children, more space in the yard to run around, more trees between us and our neighbors. We wanted land.

So we bought it.

Living in this house has been wonderful, but it doesn’t have pretty paint on the walls, and we certainly didn’t have enough furniture to fill the place. When you build a new home, they suggest you wait a year before painting. Something about nail pops and settlement cracks.

Who knew?

Well, technically I did know, but I didn’t realize living a year without color would make me feel BLAH.

Before Christmas my hubs asked me what I wanted, and I smiled and answered, “Backsplash.”

Yes, folks, my poor kitchen walls were the most painted in the whole house. Food, water—whatever—splashed and speckled the white walls. I wanted warmth, color . . . life, not chicken, pasta sauce, or anything else.

He laughed. There was no way Santa could creep down the chimney with care while carrying hundreds of pounds worth of natural stone, grout, caulk, etc. He’d make a huge mess.

So I filed my desire away for the next time the hubs asked what I wanted, but not for long. This past Friday he measured the kitchen, whipped out his “How to Tile” book, made plans, lists, and said, “Let’s go to Home Depot.”


We hit the road with smiles on our faces and ideas of grandeur in our heads. Three hours later we were the proud owners of lots of building materials and two very cranky daughters. A trip to McDonalds quieted their cries and my husband and I were free to start our DIY project—we just had to take down the Christmas lights first. Luckily what goes up usually comes down much quicker!

I won’t go into the gory details of how painstaking our kitchen project was, about how we worked tirelessly for hours and hours, measuring tiles, cutting tiles, cursing tiles, or about how the mastic adhesive fumes burned my nose, made my head hurt, and stuck to my fingers. You don’t really need to know how messy the muddy remnants from the wet saw made our driveway, our hands, the garage door, our clothes, and our faces. I’d tell you about how grout really hurt our skin when we realized it was easier to use our hands than that grout applicator thingy, but eh—how about I just show you the before and after pictures and let you decide how much work we put into it?!


Now we still have to replace the outlet covers, but whatever, I’m labeling this project as finished!



  1. I love this kitchen. Mostly I love happy wives. :)

  2. Oooh. That's so pretty!

  3. Thanks, guys! I'm over the moon! Every time I walk through the door I smile!

  4. Oh, wow! That looks fantastic. And so cozy!

    We've been having work done on our house over the last several months so I completely empathise with the hassle and eventual feeling of satisfaction.

  5. Thanks, Paul. It's definitely given the kitchen a new feel. Welcome is how I'd describe it!

    You sharing pictures of your work?

  6. Oooh, I'm not so sure. We don't have much in the way of Before pics, and there's so much still to do and we've had so many delays and issues crop up I'm not sure I want to keep a record of it! :-p

  7. Well I definitely know what you mean there. Maybe one day when it's all finished you can tell the story and show only the after pictures?

  8. It looks great!
    I love how you used different tile under the window. I wouldn't have thought of that.
    I especially like the copper around the stove.
    So easy for clean up isn't it?
    I may steel that one. :-)

  9. Thank you! We used the same 6x6 tiles under the window that are around the bottom of the rest of the splash, but we had to chop off the tops. ;-)

    The copper is very easy to clean.

  10. Anonymous1/04/2012

    Wow. Okay, you and the hubby totally beat me hands down at the DIY thing! That's a fab job. Don't think I could manage it. And I don't think it's that I couldn't actually do it if I put my mind to it, more that the thought of it makes me scream in abject horror! :) Well done!

  11. THE HORROR! Honestly, the next time I (I'd love to emphasize I) want to do a DIY project like this, I MIGHT SCREAM! LOL. It was a ton of hard work.

  12. Anonymous1/04/2012

    Oh WOW! I love it! And I am jealous that you have so much wall space to put up a backsplash.  I have one tiny cabinet worth of backsplash. The rest is a giant window that is always dirty. But I need new floors. Want to take on the challenge?

  13. NO WAY! That is all. ;-)

  14. Anonymous1/04/2012

    Your kitchen looks great! I have those same cabinets. Hmm. Wonder if I can do it.

  15. Thanks, Kristen. If I can do it, I know you can. It does help to have an incredibly smart husband. :-)

  16. That looks so classy! Good job!

  17. Thank you! I'm very happy with it! Especially the price. Much cheaper to do this stuff yourself. ;-)

  18. I am so jealous. That looks fabulous!

  19. Barbara Dehaba1/04/2012

    Leave it to you to make a home project into an interesting read!

  20. Wow!! VeryveryVERY nice! My hubs and I (mostly me) have been redoing our house one room at a time. We are now starting on the living room after 2 bathrooms, a kitchen, and our bedroom. BUT the end results ar SO worth it!! If interested, pics at I love the way that it makes me feel!

  21. Great job! Kitchen looks fantastic and well done. Worth the efforts I'd say :)


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