The Backsplash Diaries

modern backsplash


It seems like Alan and I have been thinking about our kitchen renovation for a while now.  We’ve pretty much debated and decided on all the details, yup even the switch plates but we’re still negotiating the backsplash of choice.  We each have our own strong opinions; I mean we both have good taste – we did pick each other as our happily ever after (I kid)! But a lot like marriage a kitchen renovation is forever.  We’ve gone back and forth about three times backsplash ideas so I’m calling it the backsplash diaries.  To give you some scoop, we’re restoring the original walnut cabinets to a modern splendor,  replacing the pink tile with white quartz stone and installing terrazzo flooring.  That brings us to the backsplash.  I love the look of this diagonal tile pattern with brass grout, while Alan prefers more of a textured back splash a la Heath Ceramics.  Somewhere along the way, we’ve even considered decorative and subway tiles, oh my! I think I’m right and we should go with something that has some character but still fits the era of the house.  I love Heath Ceramics tiles, but I feel it’s a little to expected.  What do you think? Which is your favorite? And for those of you who have survived a kitchen renovation, please spill your secrets!

heath ceramics backsplashmodern kitchendecorative backsplash

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  1. karen
    November 11, 2014 / 9:39 am

    We have a mid-century modern house in L.A. which we recently remodeled. We put in a very modern kitchen with white lacquered cabinets and walnut drawers at the bottom. We put in a milky grey glass backsplash. I’m sure some people would not be happy with the fact that we didn’t try to be in keeping with the era of the house. But we did put in terrazzo tiles in our bathrooms which I absolutely LOVE!

    Those oval Heath tiles are probably one of my most favorite. We actually wanted to put them on our fireplace but OMG, they are so expensive. I think Heath tiles are more in keeping with a mid mod house. Definitely don’t do subway tiles as I think they’ve been so overdone. I would recommend stacking the tiles rather than laying them out in a subway format. I think the other tile shapes you have (ie hexagon) are nice but I don’t like them in the white and I don’t care for having any black either. I think a pop of color might be nicer. Brass grout sounds a bit scary too. Too bling-bling for my taste.

    Have you posted photos of our kitchen as it is now? I’d love to see before and after photos.

    • November 11, 2014 / 10:54 am

      Hi Karen. Thanks so much for your feedback! Your kitchen sounds dreamy. I love the combo of white lacquer and walnut. I think it’s really tough to maintain an original mid century modern kitchen and bathroom without being in love with a mod house. My hubby wants to keep as much of the original character as possible, while I’m more interested in updating while keeping a MCM aesthetic. Pictures of our house when we bought it can be found via this link here: We purchased from the original owners so there is a lot of work to do as you’ll see, but I think it’ll be fun. I agree about Heath Ceramics – so pretty but the price makes me cry! How did you get through the renovation of your kitchen? Any tips for surviving without a kitchen for a few weeks?

  2. karen
    November 11, 2014 / 9:53 pm

    Thanks so much for the link to your house photos. Love seeing the photos, just wish I could get them to enlarge as I’d like to get a close-up of them. You and I definitely have similar esthetics. I love Jonathan Adler, I love walnut, I like clean lines, etc.

    Our house was an absolute disaster when we bought it. The house had good bones but I thought my BF was crazy for wanting to buy it. It was built in 1959 and changed owners too many times. Plus, some of the prior owners made really horrible changes to it. Everything was cheap and ugly. We had to gut the whole house, and I said that I’d only go along with buying it if we stayed in our apartment rental while we remodel the majority of it. That was one of the best decisions we made because the remodeling process was incredibly stressful. It’s definitely tough on a relationship…..just to warn you. My BF and I have similar esthetics as well but when you get down to the details, you still argue over things. But we also have very clear visions of what we wanted and are stubborn, etc. so if one of you guys is more easy-going and open to suggestions, you might have an easier time. Also having an unlimited supply of cash helps. I think if you have a ton of money (which we don’t) everything would be easier and less stressful.

    I did a ton of research. Looking through photos online helped (ie or googling), plus went to alot of stores looking at tiles, flooring, etc. We looked at hundreds and hundreds of tiles for our bathrooms, and ended up going very simple because we wanted something more timeless. We didn’t want to get too trendy (ie. glass tiles or subway tiles) because we didn’t want to get bored of it too quickly or for it to look dated quickly. Btw, you must go to Ann Sachs. You will die at all the gorgeous tiles….unfortunately most are very expensive but we did get one of our bath tiles there.

    As for our kitchen, I knew about low-end IKEA and high-end like Poggenpohl but I had to google to find a mid-range-priced kitchen. We were afraid to do a completely custom kitchen because of the expense and also for fear we didn’t know of any fantastic carpenter. We are perfectionists and picky and sadly there are not alot of skilled laborers out there anymore. So we went with a kitchen from Leicht (a German company) which we designed ourselves. The franchise we dealt with in So Cal was a bit of a disaster and has since gone out of business. But I know there’s a new franchise in the LA/Beverly Hills area. Let me know if you have any other questions.

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