Hi Christine! It's Elizabeth N. from Ohio. I'm a longtime reader of your blog, and a huge fan. I am finally putting aside my shy apprehension and coming to you seeking help in my kitchen.
We recently renovated the space and bought new cabinets and appliances. While there are a couple of things I would have done differently, I'm generally quite pleased with it. But now I'm stumped on three final decisions: (1) pendant lighting over the island, (2) backsplash, and (3) window treatments. I could use your help.
I love to cook, and in all honesty, I thought I was renovating the kitchen to give me better cooking space and to help us stay organized with our after-school paperwork. However, now that we've spent so much $$, I'll admit that I want some wow factor there. I want a kitchen that is stunning. I want to love it every day. I want to turn heads at parties. I want to hear 4-letter words under the breaths of even the most stalwart non-swearers. You get what I'm saying? I don't want a stale room that lacks visual interest.
That brings us to the backsplash: I love simplicity and my husband loves drama. I like white subway tile with a heavy bevel and gray grout. My husband says, "Great but you have all this space behind the range. What are you going to put there? Oh please don't make this boring..." I had thought about a field of stainless behind the range (with a shelf), but I ditched that because I don't want to keep it *that* spotless. A tile shop owner suggested white subways with tiny glass multicolored subways in a line through the middle of the backsplash, going up and around the range area in a rectangular formation. I think that's nice, but I don't think it's the look I'm going for. I don't want it to be fussy-looking, or forced, or glitzy-weird. I can't stand "froof." Any thoughts on this or the other two areas of indecision? Can this marriage be saved?
Thank you, Christine!
Are you the Elizabeth that comments and gets my sense of humor? If you are- then I wanted to say- thanks for laughing at my jokes. ;-)
I will try to be especially thorough in my response as a thank you. I with I had read your e-mail sooner- and I would have been both thorough and fast. But it's too late for that....
We will start with your backsplash. First of all- your kitchen is really lovely. You are doing a fantastic job. I like the idea of a subway tile backsplash. It is uniquely timeless. Beware of trendy in something as permanent as a backsplash.
I also like your idea of a subway tile that has a deep bevel and gray grout. Also look at tiles that are hand-made. The imperfect nature to them is really great. The photo below is a handmade tile, the photo above is a machine made tile.
I would have to agree with you and disagree with your husband. When I look at the kitchen above- I don't think it needs anything over the cooktop- and that cooktop is much larger than yours. The rectangular designs above a cooktop are called picture frames. Picture frames look better and are more appropriate with larger spaces. It is one of those things that people will see in a magazine over a 48 inch cooktop and try to imitate above their 30 inch cooktop- and wonder why the effect is so entirely different. But- let's say we want to humor him.
1. You could change the material from a white tile to a Carrara marble. This gives the room more of a wow factor.
Now let's pretend he still wants a picture frame over the cooktop. You can keep it classic by using all Carrara marble. Use a Carrara marble ogee chair rail, or large pencil liner- and fill the center with a different shape- same material.
So- now for over-island pendants. I would keep it traditional- and beautiful. Something like this one from Ralph Lauren Home: Less expensive versions of the same look would not be hard to find.
A different thought altogether would be to go with your white beveled tile like you imagined- and bring in some interest in wallpaper and window treatments.
Select a wallpaper that has both white and additional colors in it. I really like this one from the Masters Collection - Ronald Redding.
Add a Roman shade on your window in a different pattern- but also bringing in your color:
The fabric above is from Lee Jofa
Add a third pattern on your table- the runner below is from William Sonoma.
Now- in 10-15 years you can update and change the entire look of your kitchen if you'd like to by re-wallpapering and changing your window treatments. You get an entirely fresh look- without busting out any tile.
Option B- would be to go with the Carrara marble- with that I would keep it all a little more formal- with a fabric like the one above for your Roman shades- (also Lee Jofa) and paint your walls a soft gray- or use a more monochromatic wallpaper like the newsprint paper below from York . I would add a black edge to the fabric above to help it to pop.
Two more things:
1. Layer your Roman shades with a woven roller shade in coordinating tones.
2. Add live plants. Notice the live plants in the kitchen photos above. They really do add a lot. They give your room life.
Anyone have a preference to share with Elizabeth- white tile with colorful paper and fabrics, or Carrara marble with shades of black and gray?