Picky Picker

Operation Heart of the Home : Shopping for the perfect backsplash tile edition

In our last kitchen, we shelled out the big bucks for the top-o-the-line granite (yes I said that with a Scottish accent – try it, it’s fun!) and for new, well, everything.  And this time around, we didn’t need to replace the countertops or the flooring or appliances or cabinets….so our budget was much smaller.  The one thing I told Jeremy that we shouldn’t skimp on was the backsplash tile.  To me, our budget was ‘squishy’ when it came to getting the right tile.  Squishy as in…we would spend more if we fell in love…because to me, a good tile can make a kitchen or break it.  We had dedicated $1K to the right tile.  I figured that since most of our makeover was paint related, it was already a lower-budget reno…and that we could probably find the proverbial diamond in the rough tile for about $15 per square foot.    

Now imagine me crapping in my pants.  Yup.  I went there. 

Sorry mom for using the “c” word.  But seriously ma, you would have too if you found out that The Tile Shop was so freakishly generous.  Yes, my favorite tile store offered up free backsplash tile of my choice.  I felt like I won the MegaMillions lottery…and let’s face it, ’tile’ is the new word for ‘bucks’, ‘greenbacks’, and ‘bones’ so it’s basically the same thing.     

Jer and I hit up the local branch during his lunch break to see (ahemtouchstrokeandfondle) all the tile in person.  I could have pulled an Ikeaism and moved right in.  I was immediately attracted to the marble…

Why yes, I do pretend to wash my hair in public while fully dressed for iphone photos.  That’s totally normal.

I loved how they mixed the hex and the subway together.  Two thumbs up Tile Shop. 

Love the contrast here…and the dark shiny subway tile in the shower and the mirrors and the vanity.

ok.  I admit.  I love it all.

Check out those lovely feet on the vanity…totally could do this on a build-grade cabinet.  Of course, it wouldn’t have a marble top or a tooth brush holder for my Oral B :)

The most inspiring space for us was the little marble and white cabinet kitchen.  It is so close to the kind of look we are going for in our own kitchen so seeing it all together is really inspiring.  I drooled.  in public.

Will and Weston are hanging their wee heads in shame. 


I knew I wanted marble…the trouble was whether I should go with a polished or tumbled finish.  I found out that the polished finish usually resists stains better.  Tumbled is easier to clean.  Polished reflects light more and scratches more easily.  So I weighed the pros and cons and finally decided that the polished was my jam. 


I also briefly considered some other alternatives…like a basketweave but in the end, I love these but think they would be a better fit for a floor.


So what did we choose? 

We went with the 2″ hex marble tile in polished marble and chose a clean pencil tile trim pieces for the open edges we have. 


So that’s how we inappropriately touched chose tile….


So that’s our little shopping adventure.  Did you totally see the hex tile coming?  It’s not a huge statement…but classy enough for me with the marble and a little more fancy with the shape that it blends traditional and trendy just enough for me.  Anyone else use polished marble as a backsplash?  Perhaps you just wanna tell me what your budget is ‘squishy’ for when it comes to kitchen makeovers?  Or maybe you are still just convulsing from those ‘fondling’ photos? 

Next up for the kitchen is the tiling….yeah…a very pregnant Katie putting up tile…it’s gonna be fun :)  


disclaimer:  This is not a sponsored post.  The Tile Shop did not ask me to do a shopping recap or feature any of their products or showrooms….it’s just that I get tingly thinking about tile and we would have shopped there anyway…so this post was bound to happen regardless of us getting hooked up by an advertiser or not.  Also, my apologies to our local showroom for making things awkward. 



  1. says

    I will move into all those bathrooms. I actually sighed out loud when I saw the picture of the dark tile bathroom. It’s a good thing my hubby already knows I’m weird. :-)

  2. Theresa W says

    Totally LOLing over the pictures – soooo funny!

    And I was hoping (aka scrolling as fast as I could) and holding my breath for the hex. LOVE it! It’s gonna be gorgeous!!

  3. Andrea says

    I can’t believe you got your Boyfriend to pose for a picture like that!!! I literally laughed a loud “HA!” at my computer. I also liked the hair washing pic. ;) Too funny.

  4. says

    omg I TOTALLY get the inappropriate tile stroking thing… before we installed the marble tile in our bathroom, I would just pet the sheets of tile still in the box, lol.

    Congrats on your handsome little boy by the way!

  5. says

    LOVE this tile!! Can’t wait to see it up in all it’s glory in your kitchen! I hope to do a bathroom with marble hexagon one day. So beautiful :)

  6. says

    Love it -we took the same attitude buying splashback tiling, you have to be careful as you can definately make or break a kitchen on it. Love the one you selected!

  7. says

    I love all the “very pregnant” home improvement work. When I was 7.5 months pregnant with my first, I was on my hands and knees, refinishing hardwood floors. (Although I was not allowed to use the product, because of fumes.) When I was about that far along with my second, I tiled an entire dining room/kitchen floor with 16″ tiles (not my favorite project) and then tiled a backsplash a bit later. I even have a picture of me with my newborn in a sling while I tiled a fireplace. I look forward to the next house we need to improve – my kids (hopefully) won’t be attached to me for those projects!

  8. Rachel says

    Love it and totally jealous you scored it for free ;) When you are finished your kitchen series do you think you could put them all together somewhere on the blog? I’m trying to convince my hubby that we should paint our nice (but not our style) cherry cabinets and would love to show him yours :)

  9. says

    So that Tile shop is right down the road from our tiny condo we are renting and yes I shamelessly visit and lust over all the beautiful tile work at least once a month. I also pretend I live in each set up they have and dream :) One day I will own a home again I can renovate…. I love the tile you chose and cannot wait to see it up!!!

  10. says

    I also love hex marble! So pretty… I’ve heard over and over again that investing a little more moola in the backplash is a good call because it’s a very visible area in the kitchen, but it’s usually not that much square footage. You get more bang (impact) for your buck!

  11. says

    GORGEOUS tile! I can’t wait to see how this looks in your kitchen. Also, love your inappropriate touching of tile pictures! Too funny.

  12. says

    Love hex tile! Our backsplash was here when we moved in. My mother-in-law just visited and told us that she’s pretty sure it’s tumbled marble. Which makes me a little sad because apparently someone spent a fortune on it and….I don’t really like it. It’s FINE, but just…fine. Square and brownish. I wish they’d bought new furnaces instead and left the kitchen for ME to do!

  13. Olivia says

    super classy choice! also, didn’t i remember from some long ago post that the husband has a super long commute? did you guys drive hours just for these tiles??! super excited to see them up!

    • says

      My doctor was located up near Jeremy’s office which is right around the corner from The Tile Shop store…so we planned it for after an OB visit.
      xo – kb

  14. Carrie says

    Ha! We will be backsplash twins (or at least cousins). We remodeled our kitchen this past summer and used tile shops marble hex tile, but in the 1 inch size (we have a smaller kitchen and I liked the more intricate look of the smaller tile in our space). Wish I knew how to share a pic! Anyway, we love it and I get tons of compliments on it.

  15. valerie shea says

    fun fact about the tile shop: they have fabricators that come in and make the lay outs of the staged rooms. they make the walls, cabinets, and everything… AND they have someone to come in and stage each room in their show rooms. how about THAT for an awesome job???? **my fiancee works at the tile shop here in richmond**
    the tile is going to look amazeballs KB! cant wait to see the finished product + more pics of your adorable boys!

  16. Leah says

    Great choices! They’ll look great in your kitchen. However, your sponsored posts make me a little disappointed. Your everyday DIYer and reader are never going to be chosen by the Tile Shop to receive over a thousand dollars worth of free tile. It’s unrealistic for us and we can’t relate.

    • says

      Like I said before, we budgeted for this tile way before The Tile Shop offered it up to us…so I guess it’s sortof like winning the lottery…not everyone wins but sometimes you get a little lucky :)
      xo – kb

  17. says

    Love the hex!!! I would do anything for a new kitchen and will some day get it. My dream is to have more than 2′ of workspace. It’ll involve a complete gut job, down to the studs and picking out every little thing. I’d start demo right now if I could!

  18. Lou says

    Hey Katie-

    I don’t think I have ever actually commented before, but I am so glad you put in a picture of that basketweave marble tile. Was is the Biltmore Niles, perchance? I have been looking for tile for my bathroom floor FOREVER. I had a crush on that one but there isn’t a Tile Shop anywhere even sorta near where I live. It’s so much different grouted in the sample you shot than in the photo online… I think I love it even more now. I was also thinking about a polished marble tile for my kitchen backsplash. Problem is, my few in-person checks to sources nearby have revealed gorgeous samples with the actual stock being completely different. In this case, no veining, almost at all. Nothing like the samples. So I got frustrated and gave up for a bit.

  19. Hilary says

    I don’t know what’s funnier – the pic of you washing your hair or your boyfriend groping the cabinet. You crack me up! Love the tile choice. No doubt it will be completely gorgeous in your kitchen!!

  20. Melissa says

    I love your website and the tile!

    It’s hard not to get a little jealous of the cool freebies you score. What all freebies have you gotten for this house so far? The tile obviously, and I remember all the door locks outside, the paint sprayer (?), any others? I think it’s neat to see what you’ve done with what you’ve been given.


    • says

      We do get things from our partnership with Lowe’s Creative Ideas Magazine…it’s sortof like payment for writing…and we have gotten the backsplash tile and a few door handles (there are still quite a few that are sporting the gold versions)…oh and we do receive items to review…like our vacuum and my mom’s basement countertop makeover stuff. It’s crazy because I don’t get paid for my part time job in the traditional sense…but I do get freebies…it reminds me of olden days where you had to barter for everything :)
      xo – kb

  21. says

    Love the backsplash! We just installed the smaller marble hex in our glass shower enclosure in our remodeled bathroom and we LOVE it. I’ll have to send you pictures, but we are very happy with the selection.

  22. harlie says

    This post had me totally confused until I refreshed the site a couple of times. For some reason, my browser brought up all the wrong images! For instance, instead of a photo of you “washing” your hair, I saw a pic of Will next to a tower of random items he had obviously stacked (it was quite impressive!) and instead of Jeremy fondling cabinetry, I saw an image of Weston snoozing angelicly.

    I totally just thought you had posted random pics of your babies because they’re just so stinkin’ cute, but then all the comments started getting really weird…

  23. Janice says

    What is the type of marble in your back splash? It looks like Calacatta, but our Tile shop did not carry that. You did a great job and I’m inspired to try the tiling.

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