Home Update · interior design · interiors · kitchen remodel

One little change can make a huge difference!

I have always admired the “loop” of homes that sits at the top of our neighborhood. They have gorgeous backyards and have amazing, stately homes to go with it. This neighborhood was being developed when my husband and I were relocating from the bay area back in 2004 and we actually made our very first home offer on a house just across from the new development. The person we were “buying” the house from was in the process of building a new home in this new development. Needless to say he turned down our offer (mother plucker!) and we found another house about a mile away.

Fast forward two years later, we purchased our second home just down the street in the base of that new development and today I am helping update one of those houses at the top of the neighborhood, one room at a time. As my friend Chris likes to say, “The upper crust!”


On my first visit to the home, we went through the whole house noting all the “wishes” for the update. Needless to say, almost every surface is a line-item on the spreadsheet we created after the meeting. To do all these updates would be thousands of dollars and quite overwhelming to take on all at once!

So…we started with a small change in the kitchen: the backsplash.


What a change, right?!

What to Change?

We loved the white cabinets, and the contrasting hardware. That wasn’t going to change. First thought was: let’s change the countertops! But in this space, we have a LOT of countertop! That would be a huge pile of cash to make that happen…and remember our spreadsheet of wishes? Plus, we kind of like that this granite adds a contrast and movement to the pretty neutral space. For now, we are going to keep the granite countertops. Lastly was the dated backsplash. That busy backsplash was what made this room feel ultra-2004!

Tile Selection

The client and I visited our local CFM and ordered a handful of subway tile options. The final selection was a creamy, slightly elongated, glossy subway tile that has a slightly irregular surface which gives it a handmade look. Does it look familiar? We also used this tile in the Woodrose Kitchen , but in that case the color was a bright white and we set it in a stacked format which is more contemporary vs. a brick set which we applied here.

Tip: If you have a traditional house, with traditional interiors, brick set subway tiles is a good idea. If you are looking for a more contemporary look, set your subway tiles in a stacked format.

The Bar Area

To continue the flow through the house, we also replaced the backsplash in the wet bar which is next to the dining room, just down the hall from the kitchen. By doing this, it really helps create a flow to the whole main living area on the first floor.


It’s a little hard to tell in the photos, but we extended the tile to the right all the way to the end of the desk area (it use to end at the counter) and we also tiled to the ceiling over the main window. By adding these details it really elevates the space and creates a consistant visual for the whole kitchen.

Rule of thumb: every room doesn’t need to be fully gutted to get a fresh look! Changing out the main things that bug you (like a dated backsplash) can really make a room feel new again!

Tile: Country Collection by Equipe color: Ivory

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