Finally, the final phase of having to hire people to do things: the backsplash. Being overly paranoid as I so constantly am, I decided we needed to cover everything to avoid getting grout splattered everywhere. I knew the backsplash wouldn't be as dusty as putting the floor in was since there wasn't any demo that needed to happen, but it's better to be safe than sorry. And it's also just easier to toss plastic coverings than to try and wipe stuff out of millions of tiny nooks and crannies.
Lucky for us, the plastic coverings that our couch came in fit perfectly over our buffet + kitchen cart and our dining table. Much easier than using the plastic drop cloths that are just flat sheets, whereas these actually had edges making them more like cubes.
Before the tile guy got there I marked where I wanted the tile to end. It was important to have a level line because the kitchen shelves that I'm going to put in will sit on brackets for the bulk of their support, but they'll actually also sit on the tile for some added bonus support. So, I needed the tile to be perfectly level so my shelf will be level. Don't want my wine glasses sliding off, after all :)
You can hardly see it in this picture, but I used my laser level to draw a line 22" from the counter, which is just about where the wires come out of the wall. Can you see it? Barely?
The laser level is pretty nifty. You just put it against the wall and make sure it's level, then turn the laser on, and you have a level line all the way across your wall!
I came to decide on 22" using a very sophisticated methodology called taping a folder to the wall. You may remember this post from a while ago when we had red walls and pink tile. Oh, how far we've come!!
I basically just taped that folder up at different heights and tried placing things up there, making sure I could actually reach. So, the lower shelf will sit at 22", and the upper one will sit at 34.5".
Now for the beautiful tile. Hello, 5" travertine hexes of my dreams. I scoured Austin tile stores and the internet alike to find you, and eventually discovered you at Daltile.
For grout, I decided to go with Linen. Not too light, not too dark. Juuuust right.
And up it went!
As you can see, in addition to the plastic coverings I put on the furniture, I also covered every inch of our counters with cardboard box remnants from all of our furniture building. The thought of those tiles chipping the counters was more than I could handle, and after seeing how many tiles were rested on the counter for easy tile-man access, I'm glad I did it.
After one day of laying them and one day of grouting, we were donezo. It's amazing how fast it went up! You may notice the random wires hanging down--those are for the lights that will be installed under the shelves to remedy the shadow cast by them.
On the other side of the kitchen, the middle of the backsplash actually ends a few inches below where the upper shelf will be. Allow me to explain, and hear me out because it's a little tricky. The upper shelf is a whopping 68" long. That amount of wood is decently heavy, plus the hood for the stove will be hung from it, which adds some more weight, and not to mention all of the stuff I'll store on it. The brackets I'm going to install to support the shelf will not go into studs because they would look extremely strange placed where the studs are.
So, the shelf needs some extra support. I thought through a slough of different solutions, but the best one was to screw a piece of wood to the wall above the backsplash, making sure to go into the studs. That way, the wood would be very securely in place. Then, when I hang the shelf, it will rest on this secure piece of wood and will get some extra strength from it. Or at least that's the plan... fingers crossed. I could have just rested it on the edge of the tile like I am for the lower shelves, but since it's going to be so long and heavy and the tiles are essentially just glued to the wall, I thought it would be safer to go this route.
Through the door is a sneak peek at our future loft couch!
Isn't that fabric cute? Kind of like a nod to your grandma's couch but in an updated way?
Come on, just kidding. That is not the fabric of my dreams, and it will be recovered soon. But that's another story.
This story will end with a little secret: the brackets are hung. And primed. And painted. Tomorrow, the shelves go up, and then I will fill them up with all of the wonderful kitchen wedding gifts we've received!!
We're so close I can taste it. And I love this tile! The hexes are fun, but since it's travertine I think it stays calm looking, rather than making a huge crazy statement. It's not boring, but it's not wild.
Stay tuned--these shelves are going up in a jiffy!