The Countdown Is On (The Official List, Plus My Artwork Decision)

Y’all, I’m very excited today.  Do you know why?  I’ll tell you.  It’s because at the end of today, I will have three of the four walls of my kitchen finished — the tiled wall, the refrigerator wall, and the wall of cabinets.  I’ll only have the peninsula and the partial wall around it to go.  And the floor, of course.

I’ll probably still need to go back and finish up some little stuff on each wall, like installing the glass shelves, touching up the paint on the ceiling, etc.  But after today, it’ll be three walls down and one to go.  It’s been a long road, but I finally see the finish line.

Yesterday was an emotionally exhausting and frustrating day.  It took me 3.5 hours just to tile the herringbone portion of this small end wall.  I had to match the tiles in the corner, cut around the ogee edge on the countertop, and then work around one set of outlets and two sets of lights switches.

tiled kitchen walls - herringbone subway tile

I’ll be honest…about 2.5 hours in, I was on the verge of tears and wanting so desperately to call a pro to come do the areas around the light switches.  But I pressed on and got it finished.  🙂

Then I took about 15 minutes to finish up the other side where I had moved up the dividing line between the herringbone and the running bond.

tiled walls in kitchen - herringbone subway tile

So here’s my official “still to do” list that I need to get done before I can call this kitchen remodel complete:

Wall of tile:

  1. Install the rest of the tiles around the perimeter
  2. Clean the grout lines and grout the wall
  3. Caulk around the edges
  4. Install trim at the top of the wall
  5. Install baseboard
  6. Clean film off of tiles

Refrigerator wall:

  1. Grout tile around the doorway
  2. Caulk around the tiles
  3. Install the stove
  4. Replace the trim on the cabinets that had to be removed to tile  🙁
  5. Switch the door swing on the refrigerator
  6. Touch up the ceiling paint along the crown moulding
  7. Install and paint the trim around the door
  8. Install trim at the top of the tiled wall
  9. Install baseboards
  10. Install undercabinet lighting
  11. Wire vent hood with a plug (currently has no plug and has to be hardwired)
  12. Clean overspray from inside of cabinets

Wall of cabinets:

  1. Order shelf pins and install glass shelves
  2. Clean overspray from inside of cabinets
  3. Touch up ceiling paint along crown moulding
  4. Install undercabinet lighting

Peninsula and surrounding partial walls:

  1. Install tile on the wall
  2. Grout the tile
  3. Caulk around the edges of the tile
  4. Install trim at the top of the wall
  5. Install trim around the doorway/opening
  6. Remake four large drawer fronts
  7. Make and install the furniture feet on the cabinets
  8. Install trim on the cabinets
  9. Prime, paint and polyurethane the cabinets
  10. Gold leaf the large drawers and cabinet doors
  11. Install baseboard on left wall


  1. Sand and Waterlox the floor

Phew!  Still quite a bit to do!  But do you see what I did there?  If I list things wall by wall instead of just generally, I can make my list longer and have more the cross off.  That’s the correct way to make a “to do” list, my friends.  You’ll feel so much more accomplished when you see things being scratched off of a super long list!  Sure, I could have consolidated all of the “install baseboard” items, or the “install trim at top of wall” items, but where’s the fun in that?  I’d have to do three walls before I could cross of one single thing!  😀

Now let’s revisit the artwork idea for my wall of tile.  I got so many great ideas and links from  y’all yesterday!!  I’ll tell ya, when I ask for input, you guys come through.  There’s no doubt about that.

There was one suggestion that really caught my attention.  (Thank you, Jenn!!)  She showed me this awesome (to me) gold leaf bird artwork from Wayfair.

gold leaf bird artwork from WayfairI love the black frame (y’all know I love green and black together!), and I also like that it’s gold, but it’s not soooo much gold that it’s garish and in your face.  It’s more subtle.

That framed picture is $347.00, so I contacted the artist to see if he would make me a series of eight of them for my wall.  I know $2,776.o0 sounds like a lot of money, but for eight custom, framed pieces of original artwork, I figured it’s worth it.  Right?



I’m kidding!!!

Of course I’m just going to use this as inspiration and I’m going to make them myself.  And I don’t know for sure, but I’d be willing to guarantee that I could make eight of them for far less than $347.00.

I’m still undecided if I want only four…

artwork for kitchen - mock up series of four pictures

Or if I want eight…

artwork for kitchen - mock up series of eight pictures

And of course, it’s hard to make a decision based on those horrible photoshopped pictures since the real deal would be much more subtle (gold birds/trees/whatever instead of that harsh, saturated black).  And also, all of them would be different.  I’m not going to hang four or eight of the same picture on that wall.  I just got lazy with my photoshopping.  🙂

The thing I like about the series of eight is that the whole series would read as one piece of artwork, and the two rows make the height correct.  (Middle point at 60 inches high, which is where you generally want your artwork.)  With only the one row of four, it looks too high.  So we’ll see.  I’ll make one and then see how it looks.  If it looks visually heavier than I’m anticipating, then I’ll only do four.  If they’re relatively light and airy looking like I’m anticipating, I’ll do eight.  And if I don’t like them there, I can always find another wall to hang them on.

And yes, I know I said I liked the metal tree specifically because it wasn’t another rectangle, and here I’ve chosen not one, but a series of rectangles (squares to be exact), but a girl’s allowed to change her mind, right?  😀

I think the series of squares makes a big difference rather than just having one big rectangle off centered on the wall.

Alright…busy day ahead.  The countdown is on.  I have twelve days remaining if I’m going to meet my goal of having this kitchen finished two weeks from this past Monday.  I’m determined!!!

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  1. You have such a great “eye” but I gotta tell ya……I’m not loving the idea of the pictures. As someone said yesterday, I think you need to live with the wall for a bit before you make up your mind. I’m even thinking gold framed green chalkboard maybe? Again, I don’t way to come across critical because I LOVE everything you’ve done. God bless you for your patience!!!

  2. Glad that you are doing a series of smaller ones!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think 4/8 is too many. How about 3 or 6 so you have some breathing room on the sides? Love where this is going Kristi:)

    1. Agree. I prefer the 4 over the 8 but maybe only 3 would even be better.
      If doing prints I also prefer the wide mat with black frame as you’ve selected.

    2. Love the black frame/gold bird!!!! I couldn’t visualize any of the art from yesterday, but this is going to be awesome. But I do agree with not as many – I would love just three larger ones that overlap both the subway and herringbone patterns.

  3. i think two above the line and two below the line. if you have 8 it will cover up alot of the tile. of the two pic. i like the 1st. one.

  4. Kristi–I know you have noticed it cause you did it but I am hoping your readers notice in the top pic of your tile with all the switches that your tile matches EXACTLY in the corner. The tile from under the cabinets on the right match in the corner with the tile on the left switch wall. PERFECTION!!! Your work is impeccable!

    1. I noticed it immediately and my jaw dropped in amazement!! That would be something I would do….or I’d certainly want to. Great job!!

  5. I loved your painted glass backsplash. You could use these and paint your birds or vines on the front of the glass. Can’t wait to see what you come up with! 🙂

    1. I agree love the painted backsplash maybe in a black frame with the gold leafing on the glass like she suggested!

  6. I agree with you about the subtle gold, love the little birdy, and the black frame. However, I think ONE would be enough. If it’s an original piece of art, why do more? Also, I think one will accent the wall without overpowering the pattern of the tile. I also like it hung high, above the dividing trim. I know that’s not the way you’re supposed to hang artwork, but with the division in the wall that this one has, it will be suitable to hang it higher than average. I would even consider hanging it off-center, centered above the end of the peninsula cabinets, I still think that the different directions of the tiles have enough interest that I wouldn’t want to ‘clutter them up’, if you get my drift.

    Yes, that’s a long list, but a lot of it will go fast now that you’ve gotten most of the tiling done. By the end of the week, I expect you’ll have a substantial number of those items completed.

    Onward and Upward!

  7. I like the series of 8 pictures, but maybe make them a little more narrow. Also, when you do the caulking, could you give us some tips. I suck at using a caulk gun!

      1. I’m so glad that Deborah asked about caulking! Thank you for providing an excellent tutorial via My Blessed Life! I have three bathrooms that need new caulking! I may also try this method in a couple of other pesky, stubborn areas!!

        In other comments, I like the idea of the bird images, except I think it would be sort of tongue in cheek to have your gold leaf images be a pig, a cow, a chicken, and some corn, an apple and maybe a pea pod…or something like that. All things that you eat, just slightly dressed up!!!

        Everything is looking so great!

        1. oooo, strands of wheat instead of pea pods!
          and maybe a fish instead of the apple…
          Hmmmm, I may have steal this idea!

  8. The “rule” (if you believe in them) is to group collections in threes. I am a rule breaker, but in this case less is more and I would stick with three. I am not convinced you need anything on that wall to begin with, but if you must……go with 3.

    1. I use the Command Picture Hanging Strips. They’re not the regular sticky strips. They’re the ones that comes in two parts kind of like a very heavy duty Velcro. You put one part on the wall, and the other part on the back of the artwork, wait a certain amount of time, and then press the two pieces together and they “snap” together. I used them at the condo to hang two different things on the tile walls in the kitchen and breakfast area, and they’re still there, very secure and tight, after several years.

  9. Kristi you are killing me with all of your energy!!!!!lol I love watching your progress and love the green color of your cabinets. I believe I am going to use it in a room in my house. I keep seeing your refrigerator in your pictures and am wondering if it is new? I keep looking at a new fridge at Lowes that looks just like it and I love it. It is offered at a great price but I am worried that it does not have enough space. If yours is the same can you tell me about the space and is it enough?

    1. Mine is the GE Artistry refrigerator. I think it was around $1200. It’s one of those “you get what you pay for” kinds of things. If you’re going to buy a $1200 refrigerator, you can’t expect all of the bells and whistles of a $3500 refrigerator. 🙂 But I personally love it. Admittedly, I’m not very picky when it comes to appliances. I find that it has plenty of space for the two of us.

  10. I know you’re probably overrun with opinions, but I think your artwork should just stay above that dividing line on the wall. It’s just more pleasing to the eye and I think anything bigger could be overwhelming in that space. I wasn’t a fan of the big pieces of artwork you posted yesterday.

    1. I agree with Danielle – especially about so many opinions – but staying above the dividing line was the first thing I thought when I looked at the renditions you did. Not sure I have a solid opinion on 3 or 4, square or vertical rectangle, but 8 just does not look right to me! So much taking away from the cabinets!

    1. I totally agree! I love the image but my eye is in need if some soft lines to break up all the hard angles. I think 3 images in oval frames would be perfect!

  11. The tile wall is so beautiful. IMO, I don’t think you should hang anything on the herringbone portion. It’s like hanging something on the wainscoting of a room…seems weird. I’d stay above the line. I also still agree with all the comments about just living with the kitchen for a while before making a decision on the art. No rush.

  12. Good morning! First I have to say you didn’t fool me a bit with that $347.bird! You are way too practicle for that, plus if you had that kind of spare change hidden in your matress you would probably use it for central air, Lol. I do love the idea of multiple small prints, but I did panic when I saw all the same birds. So glad you set us straight on that. A previous poster mentioned the “rule” of 3. As I am sure you know, it is not so much 3 as it is an odd number. I think if I were trying to decide, i would cut out pieces of dark paper and try all the variations beforeI decided. I like the 4 & the 8, but I would also try 3 & 6. I would even go to a smaller scale, since your kitchen is not real big, and try 9. I love the idea of bird, branch, fern frond etc. I think it will be especially striking in the muted gold. I too lovegreen and black, but am not sold on it for your kitchen. If there was a way to introduce the black in another area, I think it would work, but I think that would dress down the look. I found some frameless glass frames awhile back that just had decorative corner clips that fit over every thing. Maybe something like that with a thin green line in the matte would work. Too many ideas! Bottomline, go with what you love. Don’t forget to check out the graphic fairy. She will have tons of free downloads along the lines you are using. BTW, I do the same thing with my lists, the longer the better. Tere is such a satisfied feeling to see all those things crossed off! BLESSINGS

  13. I think the bird pics are right on target! Of course I love everything birds! Command strips have changed how we are able to do things, I love them. I will be anxiously awaiting for the artwork portion but enjoying every step of the rest of the kitchen in the meantime! It looks wonderful.

  14. Your organized to do lists look good. At first glance they are long and involved but look at how much you’ve already crossed off of each one! Amazing work ethic! I’m rooting for you to finish on your deadline but still worry for your health. Please take care of you. Hopefully, while you’re racing to the finish line in your kitchen you will have ‘inspiration’ as to what you will do with your tile wall art work.

  15. I love what is done so far. Excited for you! You are in the home stretch! I really like the bird print. I am sure you will create a stunning replica. I find I like 1 row when seeing it photo shopped but I will wait until you finish the real thing for a final judgement. It seems to me that you try different looks and then tweet them to be just right. So I am certain that you will do the same here. Looking forward to what you create!

    1. I love what you did with some cardboard and card stock. They look amazing hanging in your living room. I am always so impressed when I find bloggers copying a ridiculously expensive idea for pennies.

    2. Wow, what a great knockoff! Great idea to use what you have. I bet you could take an embossing tool and outline feathers and other features from the back before gilding them too! hmmmmmm…

    3. I can’t wait to see the finished kitchen, it is so different than my current kitchen style. Makes me want Tondo another project.

  16. I think you’re definitely headed in the right direction here. I don’t like how you loose your division line with the two rows of pictures. I prefer them just above the dividing line, myself. And I agree with 3 rather than 4 as well. You really do amazing me doing all this work yourself!!!

  17. I have to agree with many others that 3 seems like the right amount if you have to hang anything at all. Personally, I like the idea of one’s eye having a place to rest and that beautiful wall of tile seems like the perfect spot to let that happen.

  18. I just want to say you are right on with the to-do list. You do know that if you do something that’s not on the list you can add it, just so you can cross it off.

  19. The 8 looked like a bit much with the herringbone tile and straight tile above…..4 looked more to scale and they could be a hair smaller.

    1. Also, to add… I think 6 would look good the way she has them displayed. I would love for you to take inspiration and DIY this.

    2. Wow, those little birds are exquisite, and the gold leaf background really brings them up a notch. Just lovely!

  20. I love the series of four, but to my eye the eight is too busy. I love what you have done with kitchen and your tenacity at completing each stage.

  21. I have to say you had me going! I thought you’d lost it, for sure! 😉
    Oh- I like four. Will you do four different birds?

  22. Eight is way too many. I love the division of the tile patterns and I am afraid you will lose that specialness if you overwhelm the wall with artwork. Three seems like it is better than four, above the line, but once you do the first one you’ll have a better idea. The background paper that the bird is on, the bird itself and the mat are all too close in color for me. Maybe a way to make the bird pop a little more? You’ll figure it out, as you always do, and it will look beautiful, even if you just leave the wall bare.

  23. Hi Kristi,

    Wow! Your hard work is really paying off!! It looks fabulous! Regarding the number of prints/art for the wall…. I always find odd numbers look better than even numbers, unless your kitchen (garden/wall/room/whatever), is totally symmetrical. I think 3 would look better than 4 or 8 for that space, or maybe 5 smaller??? Just a thought.
    Looking forward to the next episode!

  24. Maybe… Hang white porcelain hooks on the tile under the horizontal dividing tile, and hang fabric aprons from them on the wall in colors you can easily change, depending on what strikes your fancy? It might be interesting to have something a little less ‘constructed’ there, and you could still repeat the aprons along the wall – however many seemed right for that space.

    I like the idea of allowing the tile to stand on its own, with just a little interruption of color there.

  25. As always you are amazing with what you have done….the tile work is so precise and beautiful! GOOD JOB! One thing is missing off the list for the cabinet wall…..a little gold leaf around one of the sections of the
    spindle legs 😉 They just seem so lonely around their more glamorous cabinet door cousins!

  26. FANTASTIC JOB! you should be very proud of yourself. Matching the tiles in the corner looks incredible. It looks outstanding! i know how difficult and frustrating it is to do that.
    I LOVE the look!

  27. Since you’re going to make it yourself, then your options are limitless. You have the pictures very linear (which I missed your comment/posy that you would do anything rectangular, or square.)
    What if you went with making your own collection on a variety of layouts/frames…even over lapping the edges, or create the floating/stacked (I’m not a decorator & have no idea what it’s called:-/) effect/look. If your art piece has some depth/dimension to it I think you could easily hang it in the center of the wall space & not worry with staying on 1 side or the other of your diving line of tile. I think that’s why I liked the gold bird/tree limbs piece of art you shared yesterday…maybe that’s not the exact piece, but I think you were onto something with it!! It wasn’t too heavy, busy or distracting to all the other beautiful attention worthy pieces in your kitchen…but had a strong quality just the same, it didn’t get lost & it wasn’t your “standard” framed art.

    All that being said, if you stick with the framed artwork, I think 3 or 4 would look best, even at that height. Maybe you could put a small cart/mobile island/small wall table/chopping block type island?? that would help anchor the pictures, & of course add the function of additional counter space as well. But I don’t think it’s necessary either…something about the dividing line of tiles gives justification for the height of the pictures. Just my 2 cents 🙂

    Btw…I’ve never-ever commented on a blog before, for anything!! I so enjoy following you on your projects, you are very talented & such an inspiration! Thanks for sharing it all with us 🙂 And thanks for making a blog that’s so inviting to a non-creative/designer/decorating type person like me to make me wanna comment. 🙂

  28. I don’t have time right now to read the other comments. I know you didn’t But my my two cents is to go with the 4. Simply because of all the work I hate to see you cover the herringbone.

  29. what i was trying to say above:
    I admire your design choices and am in awe of what you accomplish! I wonder if you ever thought of propping a ladder up against that wall, and using it for ever changing exhibits — like placing a few of those bird prints on the rungs but then switching them out for other objects which could be seasonal or not – as it strikes your fancy

  30. The gold bird art would be incredibly easy to make using a rubber stamp, versamark “ink” (it is clear and tacky, like sizing used for leafing), and your choice of embossing powder or metal leaf sheets. Seriously, it would probably take 5 minutes for each one!

  31. Love your choice-yes you really fooled me when you said you were buying the artwork!
    Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

  32. I love your decision! I think the 8 might work too. I am going to attempt to make a knock-off as well. Looks like a fun project!

  33. Have you thought about one medium large sized round black frame with just the one bird? Or a black horizontal rectangular frame with 3 round cut outs within the mat for three birds?

  34. Love the idea of black frames, the suggestion of using the backsplash art was genius in my opinion.
    Have you considered having the light rail a contrasting color? Black or gold? Not trying to derail your 2 week goal honest 😀 love that you share so much!

  35. The birds are great. My rule is to always hang things in odd numbers. So I’m voting for three birds. Or five birds. (Above my sink, I did wallpaper and one enormous picture.) Also, I loved those Command picture hanging strips until we came home to Mystic, CT after a week away, and found all of our pictures on the floor. Apparently, the strips do not hold up well under hot and humid conditions. Although, in Texas, you probably run the a/c and don’t let things get too hot and humid inside. Congrats, Kristi. You’re making such great progress.