Slow, Frustrating Week

This week has been exhausting.  First with our photo-bombing cat getting sick and having to be admitted to the kitty hospital, and then with Matt having a really rough week with exhaustion and weakness (which in turn, takes a big toll on me), I’ve gotten virtually nothing done in the kitchen this week.  I was sure that I’d be ready to start pouring the concrete countertops this weekend, and that I might finally have a working kitchen sink next week.  But now that doesn’t seem likely.  I did manage to build the half wall for the peninsula cabinets, but I still don’t have the electrical stuff done in that half wall, and I don’t have the cabinets installed.

*Sigh*  That kitchen sink is starting to feel like an unobtainable dream.  I’m just feeling a bit down right now.  🙁

The good news is that our cat Powder is doing much better and will be coming home this morning.  🙂

Anyway, I was blown away by all of your suggestions and input on the backsplash yesterday!  There were so many original, interesting ideas.  I read through all of them twice, checked all of the links that some of you left, and really contemplated each idea.

I came very close to just going with the IKEA idea that Ayisha used on her herringbone dresser, and my bonus sister (a.k.a., step-sister) Cathi was just minutes away from leaving her house in the Dallas area to head to IKEA to purchase them for me when I backed out.  I just couldn’t shake the idea that those particular wood tiles, with the color variation that I love so much, would be too busy with my cabinets and everything else going on in the kitchen.  I believe my kitchen needs something a bit more subtle.

One suggestion from yesterday that really stood out to me was making my own wood “tiles”, so I decided to start there.  I had some 1 x 2 Select Pine lumber from Home Depot on hand, so I just cut a few pieces of those to see if they might work.  (I did a very sloppy and quick job.  I’ll need to take it much slower and do much better precision cuts if I go with this idea.)

wood herringbone backsplash 1

Interestingly the one thing that I usually dislike about this wood — the heavy grain — is my favorite part about using these in a herringbone design.  I would leave the boards as square as possible on the edges, install them as tightly as possible (what would be called zero grout lines if these were actually tiles), and possibly even fill any tiny gaps with wood filler to make the surface as smooth as possible.  So the herringbone pattern would rely solely on the grain of the wood.

wood herringbone backsplash 2

The problem, of course, is the color.  Ugh…I hate the color of pine!  You can see in the picture above how red it is compared to the floor colors.  So I definitely need to do some experimenting with that.  I tried three different things that I already had on hand, but I knew before I even started that they wouldn’t work.  I’m not even sure why I bothered.  Obviously I don’t want them stained dark, and that middle stain is just not good at all.  The one on the right has a wash of white paint followed by a wash of metallic paint.  It’s not horrible, but those washes of paint covered up the grain too much.  I also tried a wash of just white paint.  It was just okay, but nothing special.

wood herringbone backsplash 3

So I definitely need to do more experimenting.  I want it to be subtle, but still obviously herringbone.  I don’t want it to be one of those situations where I go to all of this trouble, but then get it so subtle that from a distance that it just looks like a solid backsplash.  If I’m doing herringbone, it needs to be visible.

I still have a few ideas I want to try, like using white pickling stain, and maybe even doing a wash of the two floor colors and alternating them in the design.  But if you have any brilliant ideas on how to finish these “tiles” for my herringbone backsplash, I’m all ears.  (Or…all eyes?)

And I’m still not 100% sure this is the direction I’ll go.  This is just my starting point for now.

In my search for herringbone inspiration last night, I actually came across another fantastic green kitchen.  This one is designed by Kishani Perera.

kitchen with green cabinets and herringbone tile backsplash, by Kishani Perera

I love those green cabinets!  Those look a bit more emerald than mine will be.  I think mine will lean more towards kelly green.

And totally off topic, but I was looking at more pictures of this project by Kishani Perera, and noticed that the colors on the exterior of this house are very similar to what I plan on using on the exterior of my house…if I ever get to those projects.

Los Felix house, designed by Kishani Perera

Of course, my house isn’t quite so grand, but the colors I chose for the exterior are very similar.

Also, looking through her pictures of that project may have also swayed me back towards black interior doors.  But that’s a topic for another day.  🙂




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  1. I would seriously reconsider the IKEA option … I don’t see that much difference in what you did and I think the kitchen would look awesomely cozy and warm with that splash of wood in a herringbone pattern. Just my opinion, but it seems like you will be able to save a lot of time for almost the same look! I love your posts … and that you just throw your ideas out there and change your mind sometimes! Makes DIY more “real” than many blogs I read. Thanks!

    1. This is beautiful. I can see using cork cut into smaller sections on a back splash but I wonder if the smaller pieces would look too busy? It would be worth experimenting with if the cork looks like a viable option to you.

  2. So glad your fur baby is doing better and sorry Matt has had a bad week. All in all, Kristi, even though you haven’t reached your weekly goal, you’ve still accomplishd a lot! More than most of us would have even attempted to accomplish. You are much to hard on yourself. I do understand, however, wanting a working kitchen because of the inconvience. When you were waivering on using those Ikea decking tiles, I wondered why you didn’t make your own as well. Don’t give up on this yet, as you have only used stain colors you have on-hand at this point. How about a wash of a different color stain and then some metallic paint? You will figure it out. You always do. Breathe.

  3. Is there any way you can lime them like you did the table top? Maybe mix a metallic paint and the liming to get a cool, funky look? Could turn out totally gaudy, could look awesome.

  4. I adore that translucent-looking herringbone backsplash! What is that made of? I don’t see any grout line – could be my failing sight, lol. It would be too much pattern for my personal taste, what with the painted floor and all, but it could be absolutely perfect for you, since you love pattern. Can’t wait to see what you finally decide on.

    As for the wood tile for the backsplash, I’m back to practicality. Wouldn’t that be hard to clean? Unless, of course, you put several coats of sealer on it…that might make it smooth enough to wipe off easily.

    But I’m in still looooove with that backsplash I mentioned. Is it cost prohibitive?

    1. Oh my gosh Robin, I love this. I am not a fan normally of herringbone pattern but I absolutely love the white subway tile done in it here. And my kitchen cabinetry is grey/ blue too so this pic is my favorite! Maybe not for Kristi but I think I have found a winner for myself! lol….

    2. This was what I was thinking! Subway tile in a herringbone pattern is still classic but a little more unique:-)

  5. I’m glad to hear Powder is coming home today. I think the stress probably contributed to Matt’s situation this week. Hope things will be better soon!

    Kristi, I really like the photo you posted with the green cabinets, whitish countertops and the marbled white herringbone tile backsplash. It has the herringbone pattern you love but wouldn’t compete with either the cabinets or the floor. Maybe in a slightly warmer white?

    Please don’t feel down about your progress – you got enough done the first few days earlier this week than professionals would have done for the whole week!

    Onward and Upward!

  6. Maybe one side of the herringbone could be one of the floor colors washed and the other side the other color washed. Just a thought to tie it all together.

    1. That is what I was also thinking.

      Not what you are looking for but that is what I got for my *new* kitchen:

      Then, I bought a set of these to add here and there and got black tiles for the rest of the kitchen. Hoping it ends up looking nice.

  7. My hubby has brought me home several pallets (project in the works), the reason for the pallets is that they have some great color variations due to them being weathered from being outside. You can rip them down with the Table saw to any size. A little sanding and sealing and they look fantastic, and best of all they are free! It’s more work but it’s worth it in the end. Just a thought

    1. I just wanted to say that the Hubs only brought the pallets home for me in his truck, I will be using the table saw, sanding, sealing,building,independent girl here!

      1. Make sure the pallets are not treated. They tend to be toxic enough, it is not rec. to handle them without gloves.

  8. This company does exactly this – makes walls from reclaimed wood. Here is their catalogue: and you can find bigger pics in their website.

    This is what I originally saw and liked: and liked.

    Could you perhaps paint the wood with your floor colours before cutting it (and maybe scratch parts off)?

    1. Also, I’m very glad the kitty is going to be fine. You will get your sink soon and it will be amazing, after all these months you are almost there!

    2. I love these tiles!! Especially the whitewash ones – that would be my first choice. But not my kitchen. Still love them!!

  9. I’ve seen where people have used colored dye that after sanding, leaves just the grain soaked with color. Apparently this method doesn’t work well with pine though. The photos I’ve seen online are beautiful but it may be too busy for your kitchen.

  10. Rit dye does work wonders on pine, but it only lasts a few years, and then fades away into the sunset………….
    Whatever you do will be beautiful, I have no doubt!!
    I’m glad kitty is better, and lots of well wishes for Matt…..I will add him to my “special” prayer list….
    Hugs to you…give yourself a break!!!

  11. Yes! The herringbone backsplash pic! That is what I envisioned you would choose…or something similar in size maybe a skosh more metallic in glaze. I am not sure how the wood backsplash fits in… But if anyone can make it work…you can!
    I hope Matt and the kitten feel better soon. <3

  12. Good news about Powder and you will find the perfect solution for your backsplash- don’t settle for something you don’t want.


  13. I’m not sure if this has been mentioned by you previously, but if you were to do a Herringbone pattern, maybe you could use a metallic spray paint over top, like the brass you’d mentioned before? That’s if you feel interested in having the brass-like finish.

    I was definitely excited to see the outcome of the painted glass back splash, but I can see why it’d give you problems. But what if you’d painted something like a board or some coarse fabric to whichever color you’d like, and then place the glass over top of it? Maybe with a thin, colorless adhesive?

  14. First off, here is what we say in the Norteast…….We make our plans and God laughs! You always have to think that way. Maybe your sick kitty and Matt not not doing well is God’s way of telling you to slow down take some deep breaths and look at the big picture. I think you are getting to where you want to be, you just hhave to cast aside some of those earlier “I LOVE THIS” idesa to find what what you reall want under the rubble. Maybe you will have to let go of the backsplash for now, paint the cabinets, do the countertops get your sink in and do the back splash last. By changing the order of things you might get unstuck, wake up in the middle of the night (I often do) and say I’ve got it. You would be surprised at how many creative people say their best ideas come to them when they are sleeping. You will get there, have patience~Blessings

  15. Yes, yes, yes — GO with the herringbone tile!!!!! It will make your life EVER so much easier. And it will look awesome. Kristi, I know you are creative beyond belief, and you rival the Energizer Bunny when it comes to energy…but you do not have to make everything. Even if you can. You are doing a WHOLE HOUSE. You’re going to have to intersperse creative projects with ready-made off the shelf or you are likely to go BONKERS!!!! There will still be many, many areas of your house where you can saw, chop, sand and stain to your heart’s desire!! Do the tile. You’ll thank me later. 🙂

    ps. SO happy about your kitty!!

  16. I have interior black doors and love them! Everyone comments on them when they walk into the house. There is just something intriguing. We used beluga black from Home Depot

  17. I like the design you did on your lamps and feel this might look good in the kitchen on the back splash. Maybe the same colors or a variation. Love your blog posts. Hope Matt is feeling better and kitty is home and doing well! I don’t normally read blogs but yours really caught my attention and I’m hooked!! Wish I had the strength to follow in your footsteps!! Keep on going!! Love Ya!!!

  18. Well, if you like the herringbone pattern in the wood and you hate the color of pine, can’t you just cut your oak flooring material into the strip size you need for the herringbone? The oak will still be cheaper than most ceramic or stone tiles (that you really don’t want) and you can even buy the wider planks and calculate how many you can get out of an individual plank. Of course you won’t want it to match your floors (the painted stripes) exactly but at least it would be the same wood and can be stained to compliment your floors. 🙂

  19. why don’t you use the same technique you used to make your stunning lamps? They look just like tile to me – you could use larger pieces in the back splash.

  20. That fancy green kitchen back splash totally looks like that lamp you made! That was the first post of yours that I read.
    I’m guessing 47 people above me noticed the same thing but I’m too lazy to read. Lol

    That would look phenomenal.. you could figure out something along those lines I’m sure!

  21. Watco Danish Oil. Comes in various tints and is easy to apply. Since you are using pine I would use pre-stain conditioner to avoid blotches.

  22. OMW Kristi, your head must be reeling from all the suggestions and choices out there.

    I follow your boards on pinterest and just took another look a your kitchen board. Most of the kitchens you have pinned are bright and airy and have light backsplashes. I was just wondering if perhaps you are getting caught up in all options and forgetting that very often your first choice/like is the best one.

    Perhaps one shouldn’t mix too many different materials and rather use accessories to create the mood …….. Having said that I also know that whatever you decide to do will look absolutely fabulous!!!! I may have sent you this link before when you were exploring cabinet colour choices. Here green and copper is used without any copper being used as a “fixture”.

    Hoping Matt feels better soon and glad that your furry baby is back home

  23. If you are absolutely commited to the herringbone , can’t you find some place that sells veneers. You could then choose the wood you like. If you are worried that the wood vaneer might be too flimsey get some cheap thin paneling, cut it to your size, then glue the “tiles” to the board inthe pattern you want. Finish (paint, pickle, stain) and seal. Then all youhave to do is attach to wall. You can work on it and walk away and do something else when it becomes tedious.

  24. I love the herringbone; I think the texture will be really good. Have you tried scraps of cedar? that came out so well with the bookcase wall in the condo and the texture/underlying color leans towards a redder versus orange color and the grain is slightly more linear. This may also help highlight the gold tone of the light fixtures; I always get in trouble when I try to get close in gold tones if it’s not a real gold material (like brass, etc)


    This tile (Delfino Emperador Natural Stone Mosaic Wall Tile) appeared in our local (Florida) Lowe’s flyer. The picture in the flyer is more colorful than the one online – perhaps there are other color choices – but I thought that this would look quite handsome in your kitchen. Might need a sealer over it, though. Just a thought. Hope Matt and Kitty are both feeling better. And you too.

    1. I saw this in Lowes and went right over to it to check it out. So beautiful but I immediately thought of all of the dust that would get caught in the crevices. 🙁

  26. Kristi…. I really have not thought this thru but as I was reading your blog today I was wondering it you thought to consider doing a smaller version of your so very attractive but at the same time, subtle floor pattern running laterally on the back of your glass backsplash concept….. Your floor sooooo compliments the kitchen so far Hmmmmmm??? As I said….. really hadn’t gone much further than the “Lightbulb” going on…. Hope Matt is up to snuff real soon….. Hugs,

  27. I hope the family is on the mend. I think the third picture of your wood pieces is quite nice. I know that you want to see the grain on this project, and that it seems like you can’t with just one piece, but I bet if you put several of those pieces together in a herringbone pattern you would find that it shows the pattern but isn’t so overwhelming for the rest of the space. Or you could go with a tile that has been suggested, and you would have that kitchen sink much sooner. But, in the end, you have to choose the look you like best…

  28. I love your harringbone lamps. Maybe do something like that and put it behind glass. It would be easy to clean and change out. With your talent I am sure it would be beautiful.

  29. Sounds to me like you just need a hug. Praying both Matt and kitty are recovered soon, so your stress will be relieved. Then it will be much easier to decide what you want most out of too many suggestions. Remember, don’t stray too far from your own choices, or you’ll regret it in the long run. Why not give the backsplash a rest for a day or two while you finish up the peninsula. Then when your stress is relieved, you can tackle it with a whole new outlook. Thank you for sharing the tough times with us as well as the good.

    1. Genelle hit the nail on the head. Hugs and prayers heading your way for Matt, Powder and you. Step away for a day or so and finish the peninsula. Let the backsplash simmer somewhere in the hidden recesses of your brain. Once your life is back to normal revisit the backsplash ideas. Things will be clearer and you will decide on what is right for you. Because that is all that matters, what is right for you. Blessings to your family, including the fur babies.

  30. Your inspiration rooms had such a high end look with the brass…your glass idea sort of played into the aesthetic, where I’m not so sure the wood does. Would you consider brass or bronze foil for tooling or embossing…you could use your herringbone wood as your template and transfer it to the foil…just a thought.

    p.s. what a trooper you are…the task you’ve taken on is not for the faint of heart and then to put it out there for all to critique, is well…AMAZING!

    1. I just want to reiterate what Debs has just said.

      You are truly amazing and I commend you for ‘involving’ us all in your projects. Thank you for that. A2D is the highlight of my day.

  31. Hi, I’m glad your kitty is better. Have you thought about brass foil. You can buy different gauges. Some are thin enough to cut with scissors. This brass is not fragile. So many possibilities. Just google “brass foil”. There are several companies that sell it. I’m looking forward to see what you decide to do.

  32. Kristi,Slip over the and check out her black interior doors. I had never given them a thought before but they are beautiful in the right setting. I am happy to hear Powder is doing better. As a cat lover I totally feel for you when your beloved feline friend is sick 🙁

    I love checking out your daily progress. Thanks for the inspiration!

  33. So glad to hear that Powder is better and is coming home! Hope your hubby is feeling better soon too.

    Love the idea of a herringbone backsplash. What would you think about back-painted glass tiles, set in a herringbone pattern? I saw this on Amazon and it made me think of you, because it has the back-painted glass, and the customer reviewer said they set theirs in a herringbone pattern.

    This one called winter moss, is displayed with some green paint color chips-

    Here’s a brown one called cafe latte, that has some color variation that reminded me of wood grain:

    Love how beautifully your kitchen has come along. It’s so exciting to see the transformation!

  34. Hi Kristi! First of all, I hope Matt and kitty are both greatly improved! As far as back splashes go, you’ve received a bazillion ideas… I personally really like the picture you posted of the kitchen with emerald green cabinets and marbly white tiles (?) In the herringbone pattern. However, if you’re still wanting to do wood, could you possibly use those bazillion sticks of wood from your ceiling to make your tiles? You know so much more about stains, etc. but I thought they might work for the raw material.

  35. Kristi…So happy to hear Powder is better and able to come home. I am sure Matt will be better with some much needed rest. You are doing such an amazing job! All your decisions have been perfect and I am sure you back splash decision on will be perfect too.

    I saw a painted bask splash the looked fantastic. She just taped off her subway tile design and went to town with her color choices. You could incorporate your floor colors, cabinet color or anything your fantastic imagination comes up with. You could possibly cover your paint job with glass afterwards. If you do want to use wood…could paint sticks be an option? Just my two cents worth!

    Good luck with you decision. RELAX…..your sink will be working in no time! 🙂


  36. I’m glad your cat is doing better. So sorry to hear that Matt had a bad week and hope that this one will go better for all of you.

  37. That backsplash in the new inspiration photo is fantastic. Because of the color it’s subtle, but that shine gives it WOW. I guess it’s expensive?

  38. Hey Kristin,
    Regarding exhaustion, does Matt have his vitamin D levels checked regularly? I have RRMS, and at least once a year my energy disappears and I have to be put on a Rx strength round of vitamin D, generally at least 50,000 IU once a week for six weeks. People with autoimmune disorders tend to have a problem absorbing D, I’m outside everyday, take a daily 2,000 IU and still manage to run low. It can make a really huge difference, it did with me.

  39. You are amazing! I look forward to your posts. Back splash in the new inspiration photo is fantastic. Love the backsplash in that kitchen! I love checking out your daily progress. I like the design you did on your lamps and feel this might look good in the kitchen on the back splash. Thanks for the inspiration!