Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My Kitchen Part 3 - Backsplash

Remember that time, I designed my own kitchen and then took F O R E V E R to show it to you? Yeah, sorry about that! Good news, I'm back today to tell you all about how Brent and I DIY'ed our backsplash.

So, last we talked our marble countertops had been installed and the space was really coming together.

The finish line was in sight and with 3 weeks left until our wedding we were grasping for that light at the end of the tunnel. If you've ever renovated a space before, you know that the whole process goes really fast and then really slow and then really fast and then really slow. It's the whole hurry up and wait scenario. So, we demoed, which wasn't exactly fast, but fast-ish compared to the 6 weeks we waited for cabinets. Then, the countertop people rushed out to template the tops and then we waited for a week for the install. Once the tops went in, it was time to put rush into overdrive and get the backsplash installed. We had from Friday afternoon until Sunday, exactly 2 1/2 days to install our backsplash before appliances went in on Monday. 

We had long ago decided we wanted a brick backsplash. We planned to paint it white and take it to the ceiling. Because the space is small and we already had some focal points in the yet to be revealed refrigerator panels and the veining in the marble, we wanted the backsplash to be powerful, but quiet.  So we researched around and ended up purchasing brick pavers from a local tile store.  

All green space (in the first picture above), aside from inside the refrigerator opening, would be getting bricked. Looks simple enough, but there were a lot of cuts to be made, around the window, at the ceiling, where the brick would meet the underside of the cabinets, around the vent opening, etc. There was a lot to consider and it is at moments like that when I am SO thankful to be married to a brain. A brain that rises to the occasion during uber technical situations like this. Brent took measurements and began cutting the bricks with his wet saw.  Because we have neighbors and the wet saw is loud, we didn't want to be cutting too late into the night, so Brent made sure to get a lot of the bricks cut before the sun went down so we could get them installed as late as we wanted. Once the bricks were cut and ready to go, we applied thin-set mortar, like butter to the back of each brick

and stuck the bricks to the wall. 

Initially we had planned to grout in-between the bricks, but after lining it up, we decided we liked the look of the bricks butted together with no mortar lines between.  The process was messy, but thankfully there was a clear film on the countertops which protected them from the brick dust and thin-set mortar drips. All brick had to be installed by the end of the day on Saturday so the thin-set mortar could set up and dry and we could begin painting on Sunday. It was late and we were tired but we got it up there.

Bright and early Sunday morning we got out the Benjamin Moore White Dove Paint (same color as cabinets and wall) and went to town.

Because we didn't have mortar lines between the bricks, there were gaps where many of the bricks met, as many of the pieces were not perfectly rectangular.  We liked this look because it gave the wall depth and texture. However, painting these little nooks and crannies was THE hardest part. Trying to push paint in tiny little holes, with no drips and without getting paint all over the other finished parts of the kitchen was challenging to say the least. The painting literally took hours and a few coats, but the transformation was so powerful it was incredible watching it come together right before our eyes. 

Standing back and looking at our work that Sunday night was SO satisfying. Every step of this project was fun and important, but for some reason these bricks really made the space feel alive. As I've said before, anytime you design a space with a reoccurring color (for this space it was white) it is imperative to mix up the textures to create interest and depth and the bricks did just that. Once it was all said an done we were SO happy we skipped over the grout because the spacing between the bricks (the black part) creates the perfect amount of drama.

The next day the appliances rolled in and our renovation train kept on chugging along, but that's a story for another day, another blog.

All photos are my own. 

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