This last phase, of tiling the backsplash, grouting, caulking and touch-up painting, took quite some time. But it was kind of nice to break it up into lots of smaller projects the could be done in an evening. Again. as a reminder, here is what the kitchen looked like when we bought the place two years ago. And here it is now.
We ended up having to buy a wet saw to cut the subway tile. There were lots of corner notches that we had to cut to go around outlets, cabinets and window moulding that you can't cut with the score and snap tile cutter we already had. I think the wet saw we bought probably isn't professional grade, and wouldn't work that well for stone tile. But it worked great for the ceramic subway tile and cost about the same as renting a wet saw from Home Depot for one day.
There was some debate between Nate and I about where to end the subway tile. I was almost of a mind to just tile every wall in the kitchen from floor to ceiling, or at least from floor to the level of the underside of the upper cabinets. I finally agreed that that would be a little excessive and expensive. I think I'm pretty happy with where we decided to end the tile. In this corner above, I didn't want a floating square of tile on the far wall, so we just didn't tile it at all.
On this side we ended at the edge of the upper cabinets, but used bullnose edging tile along the edge. So even though you can see some bare wall behind the fridge, it looks finished.
In this corner, since there was a defined end to the tile with the window moulding, we ended up tiling the space between it and the counter on the far wall.
This was the hardest to figure out space. We ended up tiling behind the stove, but just from the level of the counter up. We screwed a piece of wood into the wall during the tiling to keep the tiles level with the counter. Then on the left we stopped at the edge of the microwave. The end of the tile is hidden, just barely, behind the stove. We didn't want to tile the whole area behind the stove and if we extended it any further there would be tiles floating in the air. If I had to do it again, I might have just tiled all the way to the door jam and down to the floor so it looked like we tiled behind the whole stove.
Since we did almost everything ourselves, there are definitely a lot of little imperfections in this kitchen. But I'm willing to live with them since doing things ourselves saved us A LOT of money. I think also having put so much hard work into it gives us even more of a pride of ownership.
Living with and cooking in the new kitchen has been really great so far. There is so much more counter space with the microwave, coffee maker and toaster oven not sitting on the counter. Keeping the coffee maker behind the tambour doors in the hoosier cabinet has worked out really well. We even found a smaller toaster oven that fits inside the hoosier cabinet too. And it toasts so much quicker than our old one. I think my only complaint is that cat foot prints, and all dirt/food debris, show so much more on the new countertops than on our old beige speckled laminate ones. I don't think we are going to convince the cats not to walk on the counters any time soon, but at least the counters are super easy to clean.