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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Help me choose a backsplash for a kitchen in a Victorian home

johannak002February 23, 2013
Hello, I am renovating a 100+ year old Victorian home and need help with the kitchen. We have kept the cabinets as-is and will be installing an Imperial Danby Marble countertop. The hardwood floors were not salvageable so we have charcoal colored tiles in a brick pattern on the floor (with a little bit of warm rust on the tiles).
I am having trouble deciding on a backsplash- the Imperial Danby is quite a white stone but has streaks of grey/green and rust running through that really match the cabinets. I plan on painting the custom island a shade of ivory (and which will also have the Danby counter).
I like a subway tile because it is historically accurate to the home, but I am worried about too much brick pattern going on with the floors.
Also have considered a penny tile or hex tile, and maybe an accent mosaic tile area above the range (see attached basketweave tile).

I am leaning to white tile overall but am not convinced. Perhaps a dark grout would look nice and break up the "whiteness"? Just looking for some suggestions/comments, as no one does kitchens with these color cabinets anymore and I have lots of trouble finding inspiration!
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The Victorian era was one of innovation, also foreign influences flooded the globe from places like India and the Caribbean. How about a light chevron pattern or swirling penny tile?
    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 5:58PM
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Scott Design, Inc.
Look into the Walker-Zanger product line. They have some beautiful possibilities for Victorian
Also www.AKDO.com
    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 6:32PM
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Urbana ~ Designer Ellen Crystal
the example tile could be quite striking in your space. Most folks narrow down a few choices & then make final selection after the counters are in.
Your subway is classic too. Wouldn't compete with the floor at all. I've seen examples of white on white, using a couple of sizes. 4 x 4's then a couple of rows of subway. this adds textural interest, but not too busy.

a dark grout may be more of a focal point in the long run.

If you have a good tile store nearby, they should have example of great combinations.

Also consider your style. If you have a very clear counter & minimal accent accessories, go for a busier tile. Conversely, a simple tile can be a good backdrop for some interesting terrines or glass ware.

Keep in mind your counter has an undertone. a stark white tile could be too grey or blue in comparison.

Look at the Sonoma tiles... stellar line... they have some subtle crackle glazes that would harmonize and yet be a nice accent. sometimes a simple medallion at the stove is all you need to break it all up or use the penny tiles in a frame.

Go for classic and you'll never tire of it.
    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 6:35PM
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I think if you are keeping the cabinets, given that they are not Victorian era style, nor does the flooring tile appear to be, it matters how the backsplash would work with the existing cabinets and flooring as well as the era of the home. Given that the new countertops, the cabinets, and the floor tile all have pattern and/or color variation, I think a plain subway tile would work well in here. I think white would work great or the base color of the marble countertops you're getting, or else a solid color subway tile in the base light charcoal color of your floor tile.
    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 6:44PM
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Excellent feedback from each comment. Thank you so much! I never considered much the busy-ness of the tile vs. accessorizing, definitely will be a factor, as I enjoy displaying fruit, my kitchen aide, etc!
1 Like    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 6:05PM
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BonTon tile
This is our historical 3x6 subway tile. The glaze is made from ground glass and has a deep rich crackle. @BonTon handmade tile
    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 7:25AM
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BonTon tile
Maybe a texture
    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 7:29AM
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I've got an old vic/Ed too, congratulations on your old baby, thank goodness we love them.

Is there any other colour in the house that would give you inspiration, or colours of cannisters etc that you will have on the counter?
Have you got a photo of the counters you are having, could they continue up the wall, with maybe a thin horizontal line of coloured tile ?
Here's a few photos that might inspire, are they on the right track for you?
    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 5:51AM
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