One Room Challenge Kitchen Remodel-Week 5/6 Backsplash & Shiplap


I can’t believe we are already at the end of week 6! These last two weeks have been very transformative for the space and I can’t wait to share it all with you. We are soooo close to being done and it looks better than I could have ever imagined. As I mentioned in a previous post, we ended up ripping out or old backsplash and decided to install a new one. This was a hard decision since there was nothing wrong with our backsplash, but I knew that in order to get the look I was going for it had to go. We went with an elongated matte white subway tile and chose to lay it in a herringbone pattern to add more interest. This was a decision that I regretted several times as we were laying it! Ultimately, I am really glad we went with herringbone now that it is all done. I should add that this is a much more time consuming way to lay tile due to all of the angled cuts vs if we would have done it in a classic subway. Having the right tools was essential to getting this job done right. Below is a list of items we used and highly recommend if you are trying to do a project like this yourself:

  • Level
  • T-Square
  • Triangle Square
  • Tape Measurer
  • screw driver ( to remove outlet covers and pull outlets out to tile under)
  • Chisel
  • File– so helpful with smoothing edges and taking off a little more if needed vs trying to cut off a small sliver.
  • Tile Cutter– the one we have is very old and no longer made. I linked a similar one although there are so many on the market to choose from at various price points.
  • Wet Saw- we borrowed my brothers but you can always rent one from the home improvement stores if you don’t want to invest in one. We were able to make most cuts with the tile cutter but the wet saw was essential for the awkward shaped cuts around outlets and appliances.
  • Contour gauge (helps to get angles around shelves/appliances)- We had this old school one that my dad gave us but I linked a newer version here.
  • Float
  • Notched Trowel
  • Spreader/spatula
  • Mastic-We love The Mapei line
  • Pencil
  • Wet towel
most of the tools we used to tile our backsplash
tile adhesive

We didn’t end up using spacers in between each tile since we wanted the grout lines to be as small as possible and most tiles have a built in 1/16th inch spacing. The tile we chose also has a very wavy raw edge which gave varying sizes of spacing between each tile for a more natural look. Below is a picture of part of our backsplash that has not been grouted yet.

backsplash without grout

Picking the grout color was the hardest decision for us in the entire project. I knew black grout was out because I didn’t want such a high contrast look. It was between white and a warm gray. I loved the idea of a grout that matched the tile for a seamless look where the only thing that would stand out is the texture, but I also wanted our pattern to shine especially since we spent so much time on it. Below are a couple inspo pics:

I love the white/light grey look of the grout with this tile Photo credit Becki Owens via Pinterest
Here is an example with a darker grout. Photo credit Hannah Blackmore via pinterest

There are just so many grout color options and they would all be beautiful in different ways. The two colors we settled on were Avalanche and warm gray by Mapei. At first I brought home the avalanche but the more I thought about it the more I worried about how the white grout would look up against our tile and cabinets. There are so many different shades of white and if the grout and the tile aren’t the exact same color, (which there is no way the could be) I feared that it would make the tile look yellow or the grout look yellow depending on which one was more white (hopefully that makes sense). Instead of having the whites compete, we decided to go with the warm gray. It’s light enough to not be too high contrast, yet it will still give enough contrast to showcase the herringbone pattern. I will share more on grouting next week since we haven’t had a chance to get that done yet.

Pantry Shiplap

When we designed our original kitchen I really wanted a corner pantry that resembled a cabinet, a hidden pantry of sorts. As you can see in the photo below we had it framed in and covered in wood to match our island stain and added shaker cabinet doors.

Old Kitchen

With the new kitchen design I knew I wanted it to be brighter and although I loved the stain it just made the space darker. Since the wood paneling was installed prior to the cabinets and counter tops it wasn’t going to be an easy feat to remove without removing everything. The easiest and most cost effective solution would be to resurface it in place. We first thought about just stripping it and painting it white but I wasn’t sure how well that would look plus I wanted to add some texture. Shiplap seemed like the best solution to our problem. We ended up going with a 6″ pre primed mdf that was 0.375″ thick. I chose the thinest shiplap that I could find since it was going over a surface so I didn’t want it to take up too much space. Here is a list of tools we used for this part of the project:

  • Miter saw
  • Table saw
  • tape measure
  • file
  • pencil
  • level
  • nail gun
  • pin nails
  • fine grit sanding block (to smooth the putty from the nail holes and corner joints)
  • angle finder– such a helpful tool to find angles for more accurate miter cuts. Our walls are’t perfect so this was so essential for us.
  • wood filler– We used this product to fill all of the nail holes and fill in any seams where the angles met as well as surface seams
  • caulk– We love this brand of paintable silicone caulk since it is flexible and crack resistant. We used this product to caulk the inset seams (wherever the shiplap met the crown/ceiling, counter tops, and backsplash.)
Starting to apply the shiplap to the pantry
almost done
still need to putty all of the nail holes, sand, add trim and doors, and paint
Inside view of shiplap-We will add trim to cover the raw edges
Pantry pre sanding and painting
Close up of the shiplap corner. I still need to sand and paint

For the pantry doors we ended up redoing them in the same finish as the rest of the cabinets, white dove. Initially we thought we would frame in the opening and install a regular door stained to match the open shelving. This was going to end up being a little more work due to the width of the opening. It is currently 24 inches so if we were to frame it in and add a door we would lose a few inches making it a little tight. It would probably be fine especially since it is just a pantry but we wanted to break out the drywall to give us a couple more inches in order to put in a 24 inch door vs a 22 inch door. We decided to live with our current pantry doors painted for a while to see if we liked the look of it before we went the route of tearing out drywall to enlarge the opening. At first I wasn’t too crazy about how the cabinet doors looked once we hung them. Seemed like too much white which is why I wanted a really pretty stained door. But it is starting to grow on me so only time will tell what we end up doing with it. Let’s call this phase 1!

pantry doors being refinished in White Dove by Benjamin Moore

This upcoming week I plan to take a scrap piece of our crown into the paint store to have it color matched. Since we used a varnish instead of paint the color is a little off from the white dove we have in paint form (the paint version is a tad more creamy). I don’t want to give away too much this week since next week is the last week before the reveal! I will share a sneak of the grouted tile, a little of the pantry as well as some before and afters of what wonders caulking can do!

3 thoughts on “One Room Challenge Kitchen Remodel-Week 5/6 Backsplash & Shiplap

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