Well, we've had one for a few weeks now. I'm just failing at blogging the home progress. This is my attempt to catch up!

I now describe tiling as adult arts & crafts. Instead of scissors you get to use a wet saw, and instead of paint you get mud. Adult life rocks!!

Here's what the kitchen looked like the day we started demolition. We ripped out the formica backsplash that was connected to the countertops, leaving behind that ripped-up-dry-wall-border:

Although the wall was painted, that border stayed like that over the next 2 months:

We had been really indecisive about the backsplash, which is why it took a few months to install it. We ended up choosing to go with travertine tile right before Christmas, with no realization that the time of year would delay its transit. We were teetering between glass and travertine, and in the end decided we didn't want the backsplash to compete with the fireplace (since the layout is so open). We also love the texture!

Once it arrived, we laid them side by side and ran a sponge over them with stone sealant. Then we were ready to install!

I arrived home from work and my brother was hard at work. He taught me how to mud, place the tile and use a wet saw, so I was able to continue to another wall. Tiling is my now my new favorite hobby so I've since been searching for other projects around the house to play tile.(the half bath is calling my name!)

Instead of spreading the mortar across the entire wall, we did each tile individually. It prevents a lot of mess! There were a lot of areas to work around (outlets, window, corners, applicanes), which means lots of measuring and cutting. It was easier to take our time with each one rather than spread the mortar across the wall and be forced to hurry and place the tiles before it dried on the wall.

It also helped when we began to grout, as we did not have to worry about sanding down mortar that would have squeezed between the tiles.

These spacers, an occasional level, measuring tape and pencil kept the subway tile installation consistent. We found that one area of our countertops had a slight height difference that would have created a wall of subway tile that would have been slanted down! To fix the problem, the bottom tiles had to be laid slightly higher in areas, creating more space for grout between the countertops and tiles. Thankfully you can't really notice until you have a microscope, but you'd certainly notice an entire wall of uneven tiles!

We let it dry for 24 hours, then began the grouting process. (This just happened to be fun because Hannah and I got to spend an afternoon together while my brother and dad finished up)

It's personal preference as to whether or not you grout the entire tile or just in-between. We decided to only grout in-between each tile, not on the tile (a sponge wiped off any extra that is on the tile surface, like the picture above).  Travertine is very porous, and we really wanted that texture to show (Grouting over it would have covered up a bit of it). Since the tile was sealed three times, there was no need to grout unless we liked that look.

Once the dust settled, it looked like this:
(we still haven't put the outlet plates back on! Just being honest ;)

And if you I turned the camera away from the tile, you'd see this. The beautiful kitchen disaster that takes place!

This is your first view of our kitchen! How embarrassing, not tidy at all!  It's certainly not presentable in this form, so you'll be getting a prettier view later this week (with the full details of the cabinets!)

Hope you had a wonderful weekend! Looking forward to sharing a finished kitchen with you in a few days :)


  1. I love making things pretty. It is such hard work, I am glad you still want to tackle another project after finishing this one!

  2. Looks good, Mere! Glad you guys ended up choosing that tile!

  3. WOW! Looks Awesome - must feel great to have completed this project!


    Ray Doc Wife

  4. Beautiful tile - I love it! And the counters...and the cabinets! Can't wait to see the finished room!

  5. I am so impressed!! It looks great! Can't wait to see the finished product.

  6. Nice work .Thanks for the sharing.. keep it up...

  7. The conventional sliding off the road plate noticed is for pros. It's faster with lowering as opposed to fixed plate noticed in addition to very easily fits this tile you wish to cut.

  8. A wonderful experience was shared. It was hard work, but I could see the marvelous result you have. Keep it up!

  9. I think it was a good call to choose the travertine tile. It gave your kitchen a good "old-fashioned" vibe to it and matched the shade of your marble worktop nicely.

  10. I know this is several years later but I think your 3x6 travertine tiles look great, you did a very nice job!! :)

  11. Your blog is so clean and read comfortable. Thanks for sharing your topic to us.

  12. Thank you for sharing your interesting idea. I really need it for my kitchen. By the way, I like that you used a wet saw instead of scissors.


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