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Operation DIY Backsplash: DONE. Donedone!


(Well, we still need to caulk. And put the switchplates up. And paint. And replace a couple cabinet doors. And swap out the door handles. And replace the stove and microwave. So. Not even close to being done. BUT ALLOW ME THIS MOMENT.)

I'm happy to report that nobody died and nothing got set on fire. The kids watched an obscene amount of TV, though, and I do still have some grout on the bottom of my foot. 


This project was made possible by a few dozen YouTube demos and my husband's degree in engineering. 


Also possibly magic. I went to Target on Saturday morning and came back to BAM. TILE. That is how you do home improvement, ladies


To be fair, I was buying very important things at Target, like ALL OF THE STEEL WOOL, which I then stuffed into every conceivable mouse-entry wall-hole I could find. 


(Personally, I think the pan of old scrambled egg residue sitting on the stove is what really ties it all together.)

A few lessons in DUH MORONS I feel compelled to pass along, in case anyone else is planning a similar project:

1) The fact that this mosaic was a RANDOM and NON-REPEATING pattern pretty much saved our sanity. We originally chose one that would have required a ton more planning and arranging and like, honors-level algebra or something. Then we came to our senses and went with a much more forgiving just-slap-that-shit-on-the-wall-all-willy-nilly style. 

2) Scrape excess thinset out of the grout lines BEFORE it dries completely and you have to spend a couple hours digging it out with a scraper fucking goddamn cocksucking popsicle tampon.

3) After you cut the power to the wall outlets prior to grouting, double check that you flipped the correct breaker before you accidentally knock the garbage disposal on while you are sponging off grout and dripping water all over exposed live electrical circuitry holy shit

4) Check the soles of your feet after grouting. Wash them off, idiot.


Oh, and 5).

"Let's paint the walls a nice gray" is a stupid, terrible idea because there are easily 200 shades of gray (MUST RESIST OBVIOUS JOKE RESIST RESIST) to chose from, and you will spend hours debating which gray is too blue and which gray is too beige and that's too dark but that's too light and wait, this one was my favorite last night but now this morning it looks purple, what the hell, I give up, let's just open one of those wine bottles and stare at the backsplash while pretending the rest of the kitchen doesn't exist. 


Anna S.

I have actually had experience with picking a good gray! It's a Sherwin Williams color called "Aloof Gray." Painted our home office this color, and we still like it!

Love the backsplash!


I am still drooling over the natural light you get in that kitchen, and the backsplash looks great!

And I adore grey for the kitchen. Can you narrow the paint down enough to get some real live samples? I can totally relate, except my DUH MORONS lesson would be: don't get overenthusiastic and paint the ENTIRE KITCHEN until you're sure. I did. In a grey that was too dark for a kitchen with *no* natural light. And then redid it in a lighter grey that turned out to be more blue than I'd wanted, but by that time I was not about to paint again and it actually kind works with the rest of the house so eff it. But yeah- my dumbassness aside, I mean to say that I couldn't tell either of those things from the little color cards.


It totally looks awesome!


I had delusions of painting our bathroom grey, until trying to find the right grey caused me to develop a limp and an eye twitch.

Your back splash looks great!


This looks great! As for gray, here's some assvice: try Farrow and Ball. (http://us.farrow-ball.com/colours/paint/fcp-category/list?resetFilters=true) The Cornforth White is a lovely light gray that we used in our bathroom; Pavilion Gray is what's in the kitchen. These are great grays that don't go too blue. (Well, depending on your light. Ours here in Florida is very yellow.) Farrow and Ball paint is very expensive so if that's not in your budget, Home Depot will color-match it in Behr Premium Plus and it's spot-on. Good luck!


Your backsplash is absolutely stunning! Great job! :)


We just painted our bedroom grey, so I know how you feel. They all seem to be blue-grey or purple-grey or too light or too dark. The one that ended up being the perfect shade for us was Sherwin Williams Lazy Gray. It's more of a cool grey than a warm grey, but it works for us with the type of light we get in our bedroom.

Life of a Doctor's Wife

Yay! It looks wonderful!

If you have not yet chosen a grey, you should at least LOOK at Behr Manhattan Mist. It's the color in my bedroom and it makes me SO HAPPY. It's cool and calm and lovely. And it's light, but still recognizably grey.

And... who know one could get so evangelical about a PAINT COLOR?


I LOVE that backsplash. So much...I'm going to put it on our paper list of things to do/buy. It'll take years to get to that, but at least it's ON THE LIST. I also tried to paint the bedroom gray..and I gave up and went with a color scheme that did not involve crazy inducing color selections. Good luck with that.

Becca Lynn


First time in a while that I've uncontrollably burst out laughing while reading your (or anyone's) post.

"Scrape excess thinset out of the grout lines BEFORE it dries completely and you have to spend a couple hours digging it out with a scraper fucking goddamn cocksucking popsicle tampon."



My two cents (well, it's free actually): actual paint samples for the (insert obvious joke then heh heh we are all DUH MORONS in more ways than home improvementishnessism) shades of gray/grey/goose. The teeny tiny cute cans that are high as a giraffe's ass price-wise when you think about the fact that there's only enough paint to fit in a teeny tiny cute can will help. (And why is paint always a different color than on that damn card?)


re: Paint samples. Oh yes, we will DEFINITELY be buying the paint samples...once we narrow down our list of options to a semi-reasonable number. I figured we'd pick three favorites and then move on to the samples.

HA HA HA HA HA. "Three."

I'm adorable.

Thrift Store Mama

Where did you get those paint samples. We need to paint our entire interior, and I want to do different colored accent walls in a couple rooms.


I have had three paint samples on my bedroom wall for like three years, I wish I was that handy, wow, never thought of grey.... death spiral... grey....


Where did you get the backsplash tile? We just got new counters too, and want new tile with green tones. I think I really like what you've got there!

Jessica J.

When I was trying to pick a nice beige, I googled the paint colors I liked to find photos of real peoples rooms painted that color. It really helped.

Good luck!


Ack! I guess I am the only dissenter...but do not paint your kitchen grey! Grey and food do not go together. My sister painted her kitchen grey and it was a big ass mistake! It looked terrible cafeteria/industrial/rest home institutional feel.
I love grey. All...50,000 (ha) shades of it. But not in the kitchen. Nooooo. (unless you maybe do 1 accent wall?)
The backsplash looks fab! Congrats on finishing it.


Ack! I guess I am the only dissenter...but do not paint your kitchen grey! Grey and food do not go together. My sister painted her kitchen grey and it was a big ass mistake! It looked terrible cafeteria/industrial/rest home institutional feel.
I love grey. All...50,000 (ha) shades of it. But not in the kitchen. Nooooo. (unless you maybe do 1 accent wall?)
The backsplash looks fab! Congrats on finishing it.


Ack! I guess I am the only dissenter...but do not paint your kitchen grey! Grey and food do not go together. My sister painted her kitchen grey and it was a big ass mistake! It looked terrible cafeteria/industrial/rest home institutional feel.
I love grey. All...50,000 (ha) shades of it. But not in the kitchen. Nooooo. (unless you maybe do 1 accent wall?)
The backsplash looks fab! Congrats on finishing it.

Corey Feldman

Very impressive!


I think that backsplash tile is the exact one that the DH wants for our kitchen. After seeing it in your house, I'm warming up to it! Yours looks lovely :)


my husband, the art school drop out, is the one who picks the paint in our house. he's all "this yellow has too much blue in it" and i'm like "wtf, it's yellow. there is no BLUE IN YELLOW."

sigh...i hate picking out paint.

the backsplash is beautiful and i want your countertops.


Another commenter wondering where you got those paint samples from? I am wholly incapable of judging a color based on the lame 1 inch squares you usually get - where did you get those nice big samples??

Amy in StL

The tips I learned when I painted my bedroom grey.
1)If you like two colors and they're close and you can't decide - either will be fine.
2)If the color is so horrible it makes you vomit; you can repaint. Yah, I know it takes time and money but I spent more time choosing a color for my walls in the first bedroom than it would have taken to just repaint it a second time.
3)If it's too dark/light that's just a reason to buy different lighting and curtains. Shopping, enabled.

Korinthia Klein

That back splash looks beautiful. So impressed no one died putting it up!


Here's how to pick a gray paint: go to your nearest Sherwin Williams and ask where their HGTV line is. Then look at the beautiful, huge pamphlets they have, which are made based on a few different design styles. But gray is really big right now, so I think all of the different pamphlets have a gray room. Point is, the pamphlets have nice big pictures of rooms with paint colors chosen by HGTV designers, so you can actually get a good idea of what it looks like. If there's one you like, you're good to go. Just buy that paint. I did this a couple of months ago for my in-laws' living room. . .not that I'm a professional designer, but my in-laws like my taste and how I've decorated our homes, so they asked me to re-do their living room. Picking a gray paint usually involves getting pint sized testers of several different colors and actually painting parts of walls with them, because you just can't tell from swatches, even with those "big" ones you have. But instead of having to put a bunch of options on the wall, I just went with one of the colors from the HGTV pamphlets, and it's perfect. Looks just like it did in the picture, which is pretty much all you can ask for.


So jealous. I love your new countertops, and I'm hoping that I can talk my other half into a backsplash...and if the grey is too dark, it's just another reason to go to Bed Bath and Beyond for white accent pieces :).


Love it! Congrats on almost finishing...


Highly recommend Restoration Hardware's "Graphite" which is a lovely grayish color we used in the bathroom and get insane compliments on. It's a warmer color so might work well in a kitchen.


I adore the new backsplash and relate to your wine-drinking, ignoring-the-rest-of-the-kitchen ways. I have a corner of my kitchen redo done. Sadly, if I'm washing dishes, the place looks fab. If I do any cooking, there's a lot of exposed timbers and cracking plaster (not in the food… most of the time) and 70s wallpaper. Neat.


you must read this post by Emily Henderson about choosing the best gray. Also it has Ryan Gosling pictures to look at. YUM.

Suzy Q

Congrats on the backsplash! It looks great. Love the cabinet handles, too.

But, gray? Really? Gray seems so...institutional to me. Maybe a light sage green? I dunno. Paint, man. It's hard.

Amy Jo

I fantasize about backsplash like that. It's so pretty! I hope the rest of the kitchen is as easy as a trip to target!

We did our own grey/beige painting recently, and we discovered that actually painting small patches on the walls made the decision making process much easier.



Seriously, have you not seen the Fifty Shades of Grey: Paint Chip Edition dooce linked to last week? Hilarious.


Does steel wool really work for mice?


We love our Sherwin Williams SW 6000 SNOWFALL -- a very light gray. Eggshell, so it's nice and washable. Love it!


Beher "Dolphin Fin" would probably be a good gray.


What about color matching one of the beige-y tiles in your backsplash? Then you know it will work with your color scheme.



I can vouch for Benjamin Moore's Gray Owl. Light light true gray without blue and not brown.

Leigh Ann

It looks awesome. The eggs do give that lived in feeling.

My husband installed our countertop stove and turned off all the breakers. It wasn't until after he almost electrocuted himself that we realized our main breaker was outside. WTF? And also, thank you Jesus for sparing my man.



Uh, would you consider doing a YouTube video on how to get one's husband to execute home improvements projects while one is at the store? Because I could really get on board with that.

wall foam insulation

That back again rush looks wonderful. So satisfied no one passed away placing it up!


I love the back splash! That is exactly what I want for our kitchen. Be careful with the gray. We just spent 2 years repainting every room in the house since the previous owner love "Gray-eige". Every room was painted some shade of gray. Only have the powder room ( stone gray) and the guest room (brown gray) to change.


It's really, really pretty. Love it! Also, is it wrong that I laugh every time I hear the word "caulk"?


Oh good lord! Don't paint your kitchen gray! I had the same 200 shades of gray issues and I worked on it for two weeks and painted my two bathrooms the two perfectest shades of gray. Only to find out that gray's effect, no matter how perfect, is dull and a little depressing. Bathrooms and kitchens need to be bright and airy and make you wake ou want to jump up and greet the day. Gray makes me want to chill out and sleep. I've heard it's great for the bedroom. Go beige or neutral or even sage (ok, sage makes me feel like my mother). Happy Painting! I'm sure you'll love whatever choice you make...


Does Jason really have an engineering degree? What kind?


Having once picked a grey paint myself, I would recommend hanging the paint chips right on the white cabinets rather than the yellow wall. Your eyes can't help but be influenced by the yellow which makes some greys look more purple, blue, etc., than they do against white.


Sometimes just reading your posts make me tired. Amazing productivity, especially with three wee ones along for the ride. Gotta love a husband with engineering know-how!


First: Yay! Looks awesome!

Second: I just pinned a pin on Pinterest (cuz THAT'S not redundant) about how it's so hard to pick the right shade of gray. The last line was about how if you have a "very challenging" situation, you should hire a professional color consultant to pick the correct shade of gray. HA HA HA. I would just choose another, less troublesome color, thank you.

Finally: Ho-lee SHIT! When you had your story of your possessed stove, I googled said model and it looked nothing like our GE stove. but NOW! Now I see pictures of your stove and THAT IS THE VERY SAME ONE WE HAVE. Now I am terrified. Is there anything one can do to outwit the possessed stove? We have renters coming in shortly. Should I just instruct them how to flip the breaker switch? Le crap.


Beautiful tiles! Benjamin Moore Useful Grey is definitely a winner!


As someone who just had her husband paint the bathrooms purple grey - BE CAREFUL OF THE DAM SHADES OF GREY!!!! I stupidly picked from one of those paint cards with 20 colors on it and had no clue it would be so purple-y on the walls. A follow up trip to HD informed me there are eleventy billion shades of grey so when you pick yours - feel free to post it and save the rest of us some time :)


Nice work! I have that exact same tile in my kitchen, and as a backsplash to the sink in our basement bar. It always turns out beautifully. Home Depot to the rescue!

Nursery Design

The backsplash looks great. That's my next home improvement project, but who knows when I'll get around to it. Good luck finding the perfect gray. A trick we use is narrowing it down as much as possible and then buying the sample sizes (around $8?) and then painting swatches all around. That way you can see them in every type of lighting and get a bigger picture.

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