Countertops, Compromises & a DIY Backsplash

Despite all the stress that came with this renovation, I can honestly say we had the time of our lives. We love this stuff. We actually plan on doing some house flipping someday down the road. So the planning, and designing, and all the hands-on DIY we got to do was like living my dream job.

But doing a renovation like this with your spouse can have it’s challenges. Through it all, we learned a lot about each other. Mostly we learned about how well we really do work together, and how our various strengths and ideas complement each other. But even though most of the time we were on the same page, there certainly were a few compromises. And the place where our style differences really came out the most was in the kitchen.

You see, his idea of a dream kitchen looked something like this:


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And mine looked something more like this:

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Ummmm…  see a problem? If I’m being honest, the final result really leans more my way than his (did I mention he’s like the best ever?). But we really had a hard time finding middle ground on the countertops. White cabinets weren’t a hard sell, since we both agreed we wanted the house to feel light and bright. But he wanted dark counters and I wanted light.

We also spent a lot of time debating what material we were going to select for our counters. When we started talking about the kitchen I just automatically assumed that we couldn’t afford natural stone. In fact, I never even priced it out and went straight into researching solid surface options. But it turns out that by the time we got into the high-end lines that had the look of natural stone that we wanted, they were more expensive than just going with granite.

But black granite was a no-go for me. Marble was a no-go for him. So mix the two together and we landed on this beautiful, mid-tone netural color “Venetian Gold.”

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And just like that a real life kitchen emerges!

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All we were waiting on at this point was the plumber, and we were DONE with contractors in the house. It’s all DIY from here!

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We weren’t originally planning on doing a backsplash right away. But I mentioned in my last post that some damage to the drywall during demo sort of forced our hand. And this was another place were our styles were quite different. I would have loved to do subway tile, hubby wanted stacked stone. But we found this gorgeous split face travertine and met in the middle again. It’s funny how you can summarize in a couple of paragrahs what was really months and months of binge-Pinteresting and lively “agree to disagree” discussions.

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Here’s a little tip. When we went shopping for backsplash tile, I grabbed a piece of scrap left over from when they cut the counter tops. This helped us with color matching…but damn ya’ll was my purse heavy!

Also, when you’re buying natural stone tile, ask if the samples at the showroom are sealed. If they’re not, wipe the stone down with some water to get a more accurate picture of what they will look like when they are sealed. It will be a shade or two darker.

We (as in the hubs) did the backsplash completely ourselves (himself), and it was a pretty easy project… for him. The interlocking sheets made it easy to install, and he used a wet saw to make the cuts for edges and corners.

It does need to be sealed. Especially since we are using it in a kitchen, we need it to be easy to clean. We grabbed this stuff at Lowe’s and did three coats.

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Another hack, stick an old spray bottle nozzle in there for easy application.

The hardest part was the outlet covers. Because of the rough, uneven texture of the stone, they did not sit flush against the backsplash. My husband actually used a drimmell to grind the stone flat behind each faceplate so they would sit even. It was incredibly tedious, but really the only way to get it perfect.

 

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We also did the Ogee edge on the counters, and I am so glad we did. It just gives them a little extra sass.

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And here’s a sneak peak at our FINISHED kitchen!

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All our “meet in the middle” compromises came together to really create something beautiful that is equal parts him and me… it’s really “us.” And to me, that is what making a home and making a life with someone is all about.

Blugh… sorry I got sappy there. Let’s talk DIY again please.

I will be photographing an official “after tour” soon, but first I have two more projects I want to show you before we can wrap up the kitchen story.

Stay tuned!

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3 thoughts on “Countertops, Compromises & a DIY Backsplash

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