Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Because the Couple That Tiles Together Stays Together, Right?

About a week before we left for our trip, Derek and I decided that now would be a perfect time to finally tackle a project we'd been discussing for some time:  tiling our kitchen backsplash.  I mean, it wasn't like we had a trip to pack and plan for or guests coming to stay with us immediately afterwards, was it?

The thing about tiling is that it sounds like a good idea before you start, and when you're finished the transformation is a little staggering, but when you're in the middle of it you frequently stop and say, "I don't want to do this anymore."  But you can't give up because only half the wall is tiled and you and everything around you is covered in mortar and you haven't even begun to think about grouting.

It took us the better part of three days:  Derek manning the wet saw, making what felt like thousands of minute adjustments so that the tiles would fit just so around the outlets and window and in the corners, while I had the more satisfying task of actually applying the tile to the wall.  My job made me filthy.  Derek's job made him filthy and made him bleed, as the spray of water would fling tiny shards of tile onto his bare skin, and when he tried to brush them off they would embed themselves into his flesh.

And yes, it was Derek that repeatedly stopped whatever he was doing and hopelessly intoned, "I don't want to do this anymore."

He only allowed himself about twenty seconds' worth of riding the tiling depression spiral, however, before he'd shake it off and get back to the wet saw/ bloodbath.

That's what we did Saturday and Sunday, around trips to the hardware store and church.  Monday I spent all afternoon grouting and cleaning and sweetly pleading with the kids to Get Out of The Kitchen GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN GETOUTOFTHEKITCHEN!

Then Derek got to spend super fun times fixing all the outlets and the light switch so that they lay flush with the new tile.  Obviously he did all the fun parts of this whole business.

Still, we worked well together... although there toward the beginning I had a rather manic five minutes' worth of freaking out when Derek was out back cutting- the tile and his skin, one on purpose, the other on accident- and I had just started mortaring.  I had a big glop of mortar on my trowel and somehow managed to get in not only on the wall but also on the lamp I was using, on my face, in my hair, and on the dishwasher.  It was one of those moments where things just keep going wrong and every time you try to fix something you end up making an even bigger mess.  I felt like I was in one of those early silent films that relies on slapstick comedy for its laughs, except my soundtrack was to the tune of my helpless and increasingly hysterical laughter.  I got it together before Derek came back inside, and made sure not to tell him until the wall was half-done; I was afraid he wouldn't let me help anymore.

Monday night, we were both so happy with the way it looked that we decided to go ahead and paint the kitchen, too.  And by "we" I mean "I."  I was going to paint the kitchen.  We picked out a kind of medium green, I painted Tuesday, and decided Tuesday night I didn't like it.  Wednesday I went and got new, more greenish-gray paint, decided I hate myself, and painted again all day Wednesday.  (This decision was spurred along by a promotion Valspar paint is doing, where if you paint your wall with one color and don't like it, you can go ahead and buy a second color and Valspar will reimburse you for the price of the original unwanted color.  All you have to do is fill out a form, include both receipts, take a photo with both paint colors, cut off a lock of your firstborn's hair, and write an essay about what your obituary might look like someday.  I sent all that off in the mail yesterday- well, almost all that- and am hopeful that it will all result in an actual check headed our way soon.)

There's still a bunch of little things to be done in the kitchen- ah, the joys of home ownership- but Derek and I have both decided that we're done for a while.  Thank the good Lord.

Now for some quick, low-quality Before and After pics:

The "Before" backsplash:

We decided painted wood paneling just wasn't for us.  We're snobby and pretentious that way.

The "After" backsplash:

White subway tile!  I was the one who wanted the darker grout (because I'm lazy and didn't want to have to worry about keeping lighter grout clean-looking, and because I've read that darker grout is more vintage-y looking, and I think I've established what a sucker I am for anything with that label).  Derek was a little leery about the darker grout at first, but it's definitely grown on him.  I'm pleased as punch about the whole dang thing.

And the bigger picture "Before":

Fine.  It was fine.



  1. Gorgeous! I'd love a tile backsplash, but if we ever start planning that I think I'll hire someone :-)

  2. When you said backsplash, I pictured maybe 8 to 10 tiles. But that is a HUGE area of backsplashiness! What a project. It looks beautiful! As do your countertops.


Studies show that that people who leave comments are kind, intelligent, generous, creative, and have really nice hair.