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Backsplash help for modern walnut kitchen

posted by: sochi on 03.27.2010 at 05:17 pm in Kitchens Forum

Hi there - I've been hi-jacking too many threads re: my backsplash, so here goes, my official call for help.

My kitchen is about 80% done. Still need to choose a paint colour for the whole ground floor, including the kitchen and a backsplash for my cooking and clean-up run. We plan on doing a round or wedge-shaped island later, probably in the summer.

I love the Heath Ceramics Oval (but too expensive), the Walker Zanger Studio Moderne collection, etc., but I think I might also like to inject some colour and whimsy into the space, perhaps circular or oval shapes.

My influences for the kitchen generally start with the characteristics of the house - while quite old, the interior Victorian character was long gone before we bought the house 18 months ago. But it did have 8 gorgeous Deco / Frank Lloyd Wright style stained glass windows, plus a sunken living (think '60s or '70s mid-century modern). We went from there, drawing upon our own generally modern style preferences. Most of the accessories we have in the pics below (green ikea vases, danish 'tea pot', radio etc.) we've had for years, so all that pointed us in the direction we wanted to go.

Now I'm not sure about colours and backsplash. All advice, suggestions and comments welcome!

Oh, more specifically, I don't even really know where I want the backsplash to end. I don't want a whole wall of it, it would interfere with the pictures on the wall along the long run. Should I just tile behind the cooktop, with a narrow strip along the counter (see the link for my inspiration for this idea done with the Heath Ceramics oval tile)? All the way to the bottom of the shelves? On the clean up run, should I go to the base of the windows?

First pic is the railing our cabinet maker did between our sunken LR and dining room. Note the circle - this motif repeats in the kitchen and is visible from the kitchen:


The only thing we have done so far with our walls on the ground floor - wallpaper in the as yet unfinished powder room, more green:


Main cooking run with peninsula (walnut counter for seating area on peninsula hasn't been installed yet, waiting for fabrication errors to be corrected:

Clean up area / run with my two white uppers:

Third 'wall' of kitchen, the pantry and fridge. Note that the door to the right of the fridge is to our crawl-space basement, very seldom used. Happily there is a big landing which functions well as a broom closet, etc. The door will eventually be painted with blackboard paint:


Close-up of quartzite bianca counter with Kohler Karbon and Ticor prep sink:



clipped on: 03.30.2010 at 07:48 pm    last updated on: 03.30.2010 at 07:48 pm

RE: Counter Depth Confused ??? (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: buehl on 09.20.2009 at 02:48 am in Kitchens Forum

What we recommend doing here, is "building in" the refrigerator. This makes the refrigerator look built-in and hides the sides...whether the refrigerator is surrounded by cabinetry or not. Some people surround the refrigerator by walls and then mount the cabinet above b/w the walls. However, I think it looks much more finished to use finished end panels even if the refrigerator is surrounded by walls. But, that's my personal opinion. Here's how to do it:

  • Surround the refrigerator on both sides with 3/4" finished end panels that are as deep as the refrigerator carcass/box + the distance b/w the back wall & the back of the refrigerator.

    • This "distance" in the back is the amount of room behind the refrigerator needed for air clearance, anti-tilt mechanism, plug, and/or plumbing for ice maker & ice/water dispenser. This hides the sides but does not interfere with door hinge operation.

    • The finished end panels are "flat" or plain panels that are the same wood and have the same finish as your cabinets. (You can put fake doors on top of the finished end panels if your refrigerator is at the end of a run or is "stand alone" with one or two fully exposed sides.)

  • Next, mount a full-depth cabinet above the refrigerator and b/w the two end panels.

    • When I say "full-depth", I mean the depth of the refrigerator carcass.

    • If you cannot afford or cannot get a full-depth cabinet for above the refrigerator, then take a standard depth over the refrigerator cabinet (usually 12" deep) and pull it forward so it's mounted flush with the front of the end panels. You won't have the advantage of deep storage, but you'll still have the visual advantage of looking full-depth.

As an example:
  • My refrigerator's carcass is 24-1/8" deep.

  • The back of the refrigerator is right around 1-7/8" forward of the back wall.

  • This means the distance b/w the back wall and the front of the refrigerator carcass is approx 26" (24-1/8 + 1-7/8).

  • The end panels surrounding my refrigerator are, therefore, 26" deep.

  • The doors of my refrigerator stick out another 4-3/8". So, the depth of my refrigerator box and doors but w/o handles is 28-1/2".

  • The door handles stick out yet another 2-5/8", bringing the total depth of my refrigerator to 31-1/8".

  • The cabinet above my refrigerator is 36" wide x 24" deep.

Here are some pictures that tell the story of building in a refrigerator:

(1) 26" deep finished end panel is the depth of the refrigerator carcass + gap b/w refrigerator & back wall.

The 26" finished end panel covers the entire black side of the refrigerator plus the gap behind the refrigerator. It looks much more finished this way.

(2) Finished end panel all the way to the floor on the side w/cabinets

(3) 26" Finished end panel on the side of the refrigerator against the wall

Even though there's a wall next to the refrigerator, we still put in a finished end panel. I think it looks more finished with the end panel on both sides rather than just one. Additionally, the wall is only about 24" deep. While this means we didn't need filler to allow the doors to open fully, it also meant it would not quite cover the black sides of the the 26" deep end panel covers the couple of inches that would have otherwise shown beyond the wall.

(4) Finished end panel all the way to the floor on the side w/the wall

(5) Full-depth cabinet above the refrigerator

Note there are several inches of filler b/w the top of the refrigerator and the cabinet above. This will allow me to put in a taller refrigerator in the future. It gives me some wiggle room height-wise. The alcove itself is 36" wide and should fit all future 36" wide refrigerators.

Some people put in a piano hinge door that swings up where the filler is over my refrigerator. It's a great idea that I had difficulty getting my Contractor to do, so I let this one slide. If you do put in a door like that, it gives you a place to store platters, flat baskets, or other things that are long and shallow.

(6) Full view from right front of "built-in" refrigerator

(7) Full view of "built-in" refrigerator


clipped on: 12.21.2009 at 02:16 pm    last updated on: 12.21.2009 at 02:16 pm