April 27, 2014

Our DIY Subway Tile Backsplash

22 cents. That's how much it costs per tile to purchase the completely classic and yet completely on trend white subway tile. Since I was able to borrow tools to cut the tile, our white subway tile backsplash cost a total of $70. (It would have cost $300+ to hire a pro to do it.) Plus I will always remember this as a project that Nekos and I pulled off together--and had fun pulling off together.

A month ago I knew nothing about working with tile. But when my mom was going to have her kitchen countertop tiled by our friend Bobby, she asked me to come over to help him. She knows I'm a sucker for all things home improvement, and learning to tile was on my to do list. Her countertop turned out beautifully, and while we completed it, Bobby taught me how to cut tile, how to lay it, and then, the next day, how to grout. 

Here's a picture from when we were working on my mom's countertop. My mom helped, too. It's one of the best times I've had with her in recent memory. Which is one of my very favorite things about DIY projects. Sure, it's nice to pay someone to do things for you, but when you do it yourself you create memories. And with every project, you put more of your heart and soul into your home. Then, suddenly, one day you turn around and your house is YOU. It's a beautiful thing. 

After we finished my mom's countertop, I borrowed Bobby's tools and took them home with me. That weekend I got started working on my backsplash. 

Here's what we needed to do our DIY white subway tile backsplash:

- 1.5 boxes of U.S Tile Snow White subway tile
- Grinder saw with diamond blade (borrowed)
- Tile cutter (borrowed)
- Tile nipper (borrowed)
- Notch trowel (borrowed)
- Bucket of tile adhesive (got leftovers from my mom)
- Bag of grout (got leftovers from my mom)
- Sealer (got leftovers from my mom)
- Drill bit for drilling through tile (we needed this for reinstalling some of the lightplates)

Here are just a couple photos of the beginning of the backsplash process:

I found this project surprisingly easy to tackle but also thought provoking, in that tiling is a lot like working a puzzle. 

And we love the fruits of our labor:

Until we can afford to update our countertop, my work here in the kitchen is done. Moving on to other rooms soon. My office needs painting and new window treatments, and in the fall we're planning on moving the girls into the same room and then turning Tessa's bedroom into our living room. Yep. Stay tuned. 

To see some of the kitchen process, see when I painted my kitchen walls here and when I painted the cabinets here. 


  1. AnonymousApril 28, 2014 at 6:09 PM

    You are so creative. Your space looks beautiful...I love the way your home evolves along with you! I also love how it has color and weirdness even when it becomes more streamlined, in contrast to some of the antiseptic white living spaces celebrated on other "mommy blogs". Sorry if this seems presumptuous...I'm just a casual reader who lives in Maine so I don't really know you. But I really admire what you do!

  2. Eve NormanApril 29, 2014 at 5:36 AM

    Hi friends your blog is very attractive and informative for all users. Undoubtedly you are so creative and absolutely I got a great idea for my next month kitchen renovation project. I wish to thanks for this types of post. Nice work please look forward to doing it again.

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