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Old 09-01-2012, 05:52 AM   #1
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Kitchen walls

I live in an 1854 old house. The kitchen probably dates from the late 1800s. The last owner (a dozen or so years ago) painted everything blue or wallpapered it blue plaid. We had to replace the counters (they were burned) and did so with Corian, which is a sort of sage-green fake granite (sorry to all granite lovers, but the room is hot in the summer and frigid in the winter, and I don't want something that makes it colder). Now I can finally, I hope, do something about the plaid walls. Husband wants sunny yellow walls, and I'm thinking, what the He-double hockey sticks am I going to do about the back-splashes, which I need many yards of. I kind of of liked the glass mosaic tiles I've seen, but what they're showing me has "stone" tiles in them that I don't think will be easy to clean (really, I have a stone wall, it isn't). my husband is tending towards "subway tiles". I'll go with it if he really wants them, but I have to say, the grout becomes an issue which he's forgotten about. When you live with hard water, the grout gets discolored if you don't seal it .... and often (yes, been there, done that). If he really insists on the white tiles, how would colored grout look (remember, I get to do the "big" cleaning, and the grout will look yellow-ee to orange-ish in a year, if that, even with me sealing, bleaching, and using various hard mineral cleaners). Any suggestions? The cupboards are old, 50s vintage white wood, and we have white bead-board siding. I just want the plaid to go away (who in their right mind would put plaid wallpaper in an old house where nothing is plumb?

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Old 09-01-2012, 06:07 AM   #2
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White rectangular tiles with thin black grout used to be not uncommon in early 20th century kitchens. Certainly would go nicely with a wood/coal/gas combination stove that gets polished weekly with lamp black .
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Old 09-01-2012, 06:15 AM   #3
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I live with landlord white walls and harvest gold appliances from the 70's in my current apartment so consider the source.

I like the sunny yellow and also I would consider a true olive green. For the backsplash I would consider the use of sheet linoleum flooring cut into strips and fitted between the cupboards and counters. It would be cheaper than many other options and easy to clean. Also google Anaglypta paper. It looks nice in an old home that has a few bumps in the plaster.

Good luck!
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Old 09-01-2012, 08:17 AM   #4
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Claire--I would do something that is easy to clean....you could do new wallpaper and then put plexiglass on top so that you could wipe it down (or drywall, paint, and then the plexiglass). Or, tin tiles--that would be cool given the age of your house.

Everything I do in my house has to meet the requirement of how easy is it to clean? I hate to clean, really, so things that are easy to clean appeal to me. My bathroom vanity is 5" off the floor so I can get the Steam Vac under it and, I use Turtle Wax on the shower walls about every 3-4 months so that that grim can be sprayed off with one of those "Shower Sprays". I hate cleaning kick boards. I know, everyone has the impression that I am anal about cleaning, but the truth is, I hate to clean. I use tools--Roomba, Steam Vac, etc., to make cleaning as easy as possible and to take as little time as possible. There are better things to do in life than clean (and it is a never-ending chore).
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Old 09-01-2012, 09:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CWS4322 View Post
Claire--I would do something that is easy to clean....you could do new wallpaper and then put plexiglass on top so that you could wipe it down (or drywall, paint, and then the plexiglass). Or, tin tiles--that would be cool given the age of your house.

Everything I do in my house has to meet the requirement of how easy is it to clean? I hate to clean, really, so things that are easy to clean appeal to me. My bathroom vanity is 5" off the floor so I can get the Steam Vac under it and, I use Turtle Wax on the shower walls about every 3-4 months so that that grim can be sprayed off with one of those "Shower Sprays". I hate cleaning kick boards. I know, everyone has the impression that I am anal about cleaning, but the truth is, I hate to clean. I use tools--Roomba, Steam Vac, etc., to make cleaning as easy as possible and to take as little time as possible. There are better things to do in life than clean (and it is a never-ending chore).
Oh how true. Like I tell my kids. I don't want to spend my last days on earth cleaning. Go for the easiest cleaning way. My son tiled behind my stove and the backsplash behing the sink and counters. He sealed them so the grout would stay clean. It has been more than a year and they are still clean with just a wipedown.

As for color... Who is going to spend the most time in the kitchen? Make it a color you can live with and like. Most paint stores have small sample cans of paint that you can purchse. They are inexpensive. Buy a few in the colors you like. Then try them on different walls. Put the color you like most where you will be standing the longest time.
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Old 09-01-2012, 09:29 AM   #6
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Claire, I just reread your post. It sounds like the store is pushing a glass tile that he can't sell and wants to get rid of. Let him know that you don't like what he has shown you and that you want to see other ones. If he hasn't shown you any others, then go to a different store. Or Home Depot. The glass tiles come in all colors, patterns and sizes. They even have ones for accent pieces. I have four diamond shaped ones over my stove. They fit right into the cutout of a regular 4x4 tile. And the are flush with them.
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Old 09-01-2012, 10:37 AM   #7
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I'm perfectly happy with your Corian, especially if you're happy with it. You're happy, I'm happy. My favorite part of granite is NO GROUT. My old house had what seemed like miles of grout, beautiful tile, miles of grout and it was a very small house. I especially hated it behind the stove. So, we have stainless back splash behind the stove, everyplace else it's, granite. Check out several places for your material. We found ours quite by accident. Not wanting to stray away from the kitchen topic except for a few words... no tile in the bathrooms here either, it's slick marble as are all window sills, no grout.
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Old 09-01-2012, 10:49 AM   #8
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To me, if you end up having to grout tile, why not have the grout match the countertops? Certainly shouldn't show discoloration. Then you could go with a paint that coordinates with it.

You might consider an almond-colored tile with paint of the same color. It's a nice restful color and wouldn't "fight" with the white you already have in the kitchen. Almond and the green you describe are a very pleasant combination.
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Old 09-01-2012, 10:58 AM   #9
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In 2008 we remodeled. Our backsplash is 4" cramic tile with a non-glossy (matte) finish. Grout color was very close to the tile color. The installer sealed all the grout in the kitchen (tile floor too). I clean the backsplash with Windex and paper towels. No stains.
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Old 09-01-2012, 11:07 AM   #10
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A thought, in such an old house, things are bound to be all off and crooked, and if you go with something like tile that has a pattern, it will emphasize things being "off".
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