Our 50's Ranch Renovation | Backsplash Inspo

Trying to decide on tile for our backsplash-I'm finding it surprisingly hard to commit!  I love the classic, all white tile with white grout like the image below. I pulled an image of this kitchen out of a magazine years ago, then discovered I had also pinned it more than once, and then found it AGAIN in kitchen design magazine I had when we were about to start our remodel. It clearly spoke to me and obviously influenced the design of our kitchen overall. I feel like a classic approach like this will look good forever.  

I like how this beautiful kitchen (featured in Aussie mag Inside Out) is a bit funkier while still simple, graphic, and modern. I wonder if installation would be a pain though...

For a while I thought I wanted to do a really bold, graphic, encaustic tile behind the stove. I love the black and white cement tiles like in this LA eatery, Gracias Madre featured on Decor8 a while back. I still love this look, but its a LOTTA look and a big commitment design-wise. 

And then there is this gorgeousness. Perhaps my favorite kitchen, ever. I stumbled across it on photographer Jason Varney's Instagram feed last year and it was exactly what I had had in my mind for my dream scenario, which is to use Heath Ceramics tiles. I love the pattern behind the stove- I think they used the Little Diamond Mix from the Dwell line. Its a strong design without overwhelming the space. The simple offset square tiles (I believe they would be from their Classic Field line) along the counter are modern and timeless. Perfection. 

As of now I've only found 2 samples I like in visits to 3 different local tile stores. And I'm not really that crazy about the finish on them, they are pretty shiny in person. I'm always surprised how hard SIMPLE is to find in home design and decor places. Anyway-I taped them up this morning to see how they look. Kind of impossible to tell here but they are a warm white and light charcoal. We're living on the edge here people, I know.  Quick, someone come decide this nonsense for me! I'm pretty sure my poor mom is over hearing about my tile deliberations. ;)


Our 50's Ranch Renovation | 2016 Kitchen Punch List

Our little 56' brick ranch has a lot of the charms people associate with the style and era, and plenty of the hassles of an older home. Its been a great house for us and our little fam, but we've put a ton of work into it already. When we bought it back in 2011 it was a foreclosure, and had sat for at least a year on the market. I remember when I first walked in to this house, and was struck that it wasn't 1. disgusting, 2. tiny, 3.completely out of our budget. We had been looking for a house for months and pretty much everything in our range was either a hot mess of a "flip" or a house that has subsequently bulldozed and built into a McMansion but that we would have had zero budget to change or improve. We got a great deal on this place but knew from the beginning that we would eventually need to gut the kitchen and start from scratch, among the many other improvements that would need to be made. I had visions of vaulted ceilings, and opened floor plan, skylights, bigger windows, and a freshy fresh new kitchen. 





Fast forward a few years, a few babies, and a couple of rounds of DIY and professional renovations and our main living space is MUCH improved! The biggest change is of course the kitchen. It was a sad, dark, space completely lacking in storage and counters with gross, damaged old linoleum flooring. Now I've got a spot for everything, great work surfaces, tons of light (natural and overhead) and refinished hardwoods. I have been dragging my feet on the last few things needed in the kitchen. One of my goals for 2016 is to complete this punch list so I can call the kitchen/dining/living areas DONE. 



Here goes:

Backsplash: This is the most expensive and labor intensive item left on our list. A year into our new kitchen and I can see why a backsplash matters; spatters and spots are all over the paint behind the counters, and no amount of scrubbing is going to keep them clean. I have dreams of a Heath Ceramics backsplash but might have to settle for something less spendy. I know I want something with a matte finish and am probably going to keep it white or light. I have a ton of inspiration images I'll share here soon. 

Pendant Lights Over the Sink: This is just me being fussy but I had to use some off the rack Home Depot faux "industrial" style lights because the pendants I really wanted wouldn't arrive in time for the final inspection, when all lighting must be in place and operable. They are totally fine, but just not the look I wanted and the detailing on them is kinda cheesy. I will probably replace with these beauties from Cedar and Moss or something similar.

Re-painting Toe-Kicks: Well, this is an annoying one. The contractor installed the toe-kick and had his painting crew paint them with the same paint used on the trim in the adjoining areas. I think it must have needed an oil based rather than latex paint though, as the paint is just rubbing off with every cleaning. I think it might be easier to just replace the toe-kick all together than try to properly remove the paint and re-do, but we will have to test and see. 

Open Wood Cabinet for Above Fridge: I have plans to build an open wood box to mount to the underside of the cabinet above the fridge. This will make it look a little more integrated and make it more useful for storage. We have a stack of oak in the basement and should be able to knock this out relatively easily.

Wood Putty and Detail Work on Hood Vent Enclosure: We had to get creative to come up with an enclosure for the hood vent pipe and decided to use the oak used for our open shelving and ceiling beam trim. We never quite finished this project, it still needs puttying and detail work. I may be a giant dork but the screw holes and gaps totally bug me. 

New Bar Stools: These 3 stools are such a silly point of contention in this house. I bought them at Marshall's for about $50 each after looking everywhere for something that would work within our budget and coming up with nada. They are a great height and I love the look and overall think they are fine. David hates them. He claims they are too tippy for kids (its yet to be a problem, but I'll give him that they aren't as sturdy as something with 4 legs), they are uncomfortable (not terrible, but definitely not the most comfy), and he would rather have something with a back. So far the only things I like are way too $$$ so I'm on the lookout at estate sales. 

So thats the bulk of it! Not much, really, but you'd be surprised how hard it is just to get this kind of stuff done around here! I have been working on sorting photos and notes from our renovation and plan to chronicle some of it here. I spent literally countless hours researching kitchen renovations, toying with the IKEA kitchen planner, and generally obsessing about the process so it would be nice to pass on at least a little of that info! We also have lots of additional plans that we hope to carry out as time and budget allows, so I'll be adding posts about those too.