INSTANT CLASSIC: Subway Tile in the Kitchen!

Well, I s’pose the title gives it away but I’ll point out the obvious…we fell in love with the idea of classic white subway tile for our little corner kitchen. Cheap, traditional, chic.


Backsplash Tiling Step-by-Step:

  1. Sand the painted wall enough to rough it up.
  2. Apply the mastic (adhesion medium) with a 3/18” notched trowel.
  3. Starting at the bottom, tip tiles up into the mastic and gently press into place.
  4. Insert tile spacers and continue tipping tiles into the mastic from the bottom up.
  5. Remove spacers and smear the whole shebang with grout, making sure to push grout into the spaces between tiles.
  6. Clean with a wet sponge several times, making sure to remove all grout compound from the surface of the tiles.
  7. Caulk (not grout!) between the bottom tiles and the counter.


We decided to go with a classic brick pattern for a traditional look. As you can imagine, this project required VERY careful measuring (good thing one of us is type-A, huh?), patience, and some equipment rental.

Lesson learned: pay a little more for the better wet saw. This old geezer was a nightmare!


We tiled from the oak butcher block counters all the way up to the bottom of the cabinets. We figured we were using affordable tiles, might as well go for a big impact! We installed a border of bullnose tiles (those with a quarter-rounded edge) for a tailored look and nice finish.

Here, we tiled around the spot where the range would be inserted—in the kitchen’s previous life, there was nothing on the wall near the stove but paint. Badly soiled, grease-stained paint. Ick. Washable tile=not just prettier, but more SANITARY, too!


As you can see, we opted for corbels under the cabinets/shelves. We chose these to complement the classic look we are going for in this kitchen. These puppies were cheap (under $9/ea.) at Home Depot. We had paint tinted to match the cabinets and gave the brackets a healthy three coats of paint to blend right in.


Of course, that meant we had to be even more careful with all that tile measuring/cutting business.


And here’s a shot with the counters cleaned up:


Remember the kitchen six months ago when we bought the old corner house?


Well, it’s been a long few months but we’re gettin’ there, folks!


Looking forward to Chris’ return TOMORROW!!! (He’s been fightin’ fire in New Mexico.) Don’t worry…I’m ready to greet him with a super long honey-do list. Might let him have a nice dinner first—what with that pretty kitchen and all!

Thanks for stopping by!

<3 Teresa

This entry was posted in Nesting, Renovating & repairing our old home, Stuff we're working on, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to INSTANT CLASSIC: Subway Tile in the Kitchen!

  1. Mom says:

    Looks great! You have converted me to white tile :) Looking forward to helping with a project this weekend.

  2. Pat Biggs says:

    I keep saying AMAZING, but it’s the only word that really fits. Tell Chris hello from us. <3

  3. Andrea says:

    That is sooooooo pretty! I love it. Job well done. Hope you are having a fabulous week. – Andrea

  4. Jessica B. says:

    That is gorgeous! You two are amazing.

    At first I thought the bowl on the counter held rice, and I was wondering why you were eating while doing tile. LOL

  5. Wow! You two make a great team. It looks fantastic.

  6. I’m contemplating what type of backsplash to do in our kitchen. I go between subway tile and marble. I love that you did yours on your own! Great job. I’m wondering where you purchased your corbels?

    • Teresa says:

      We got the corbels from Home Depot (here) and saved boatloads by sanding and painting them on our own vs. ordering them from a cabinet company. Would have loved to have gone with marble…but it wasn’t in our budget. :)

  7. Love the subway tile! We have been talking about doing either that or beadboard in the kitchen. It looks great and you all have done a lot in 6 months!

  8. Katrina says:

    your kitchen looks fantastic!!! I adore all the classic elements you choose, so pretty :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s