Tuesday, April 6, 2010

DIY project: Kitchen backsplash results

Last week I told you would had a couple tiny steps remaining in our kitchen backsplash DIY installation:

1) Seal the tile (again) and seal the grout

2) Add the outlet plates back to the wall

3) ...And a surprise decision to install some small, under-cabinet LED touch lights to add a little ambiance and highlight our new wall, baby!

Sealing the tile and grout? No big deal! Takes five minutes.

Adding the under-cabinet lights? Done! Fifteen minutes.

Figuring out how to reattach the outlet covers and realizing that this is where we really screwed up?....Ehhh, so that's where we are right now...

First, there is the fact that we treated the space around the outlets much like we did when we painted different rooms in the house in the past, knowing that what was right near the outlet holes wasn't that important because the outlet covers would hide any imperfections. This fact that applies in the world of painting does not apply in the world of backsplashing, where you are elevating the surface of the wall and therefore the old outlet-cover plan no longer works.

So we went to Home Depot in search of bigger, deeper outlet covers. There are all kinds to choose from, and I took Matt's lead on this one and went with some of the cheaper ones on the market, knowing that we planned to spray paint them a "granite" color so they would blend better with the backsplash. (Total price for six inexpensive outlet covers = $7.99)

Saturday in between yard work in the front, on the deck, at the herb garden and in the back, I managed to successfully spray paint our six new, plastic outlet covers.

First, I needed to sand them with medium-grit sandpaper (220 grit, to be exact).

Then I broke out the granite spray paint (this Rust-Oleum satin granite paint for $3.44) and went to town. I LOVE SPRAY PAINT. This may be the first of many spray-paint projects.

Sunday, after the outlet covers were completely dry and ready to be handled, Matt started screwing them back into the wall. Some fit perfectly:

Others, not so much (and I admit, I am too embarrassed to show you the really bad ones...that will require a special invitation to my house).

For now we have hidden the biggest mishaps with appliances, and we are currently coming up with a solution. Any suggestions???

Still, at the end of the day, I am pleased with the kitchen transformation.

We went from this...

...to this, with less effort than I originally imagined. (And, though he's not pictured in the after shot, we still have the dog.)

And, some close ups...

Finally, the lights. These may be a neat party trick, if nothing else, but I like the idea of something different to spice things up. We picked up two sets of 3 of these Rite Lite LED puck lights from Bed Bath and Beyond. They retail for $19.99 each, but with coupons we paid $30 total.

Here's the kitchen at night under the glow of the LED lights...

...and here's a close up

Once we figure out the outlet dilemma, I will gladly share the results. In the meantime, I'll take any advice you can give, and otherwise I will remove myself from the kitchen for a while...


  1. Looks amazing!! You guys did a GREAT job!! Can't wait to see it in person, and I promise I won't look for any mistakes!

  2. What a great-looking project, and I loved reading about it, too!

  3. Wow! It looks awesome! I love the LED lights, especially over by your toaster oven. There isn't enough light over there without an under cabinet light in our house, so you'll have to come over and show us how you did that!

    Bailey and I walked by your house after you guys did all the planting this weekend. It looks great too. It was nice to come to work and see you blog about it!

  4. Thanks guys!!! You're making me a little more confident :)

    @Mimi: "Installing" the LED lights involves taking pieces of sticky velcro, so it literally could not be easier!

  5. Holy Moly! That looks FABULOUS! You guys are PROFESSIONALS! I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!

  6. Steph - the backsplash looks great! Not sure what the "problem" outlets look like, but if it is because they are set back too far from the tile for the wallplate to fit right, you might want to try these: http://www.homedepot.com/Electrical-Wall-Plates-Commodity-Wallplates/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xh7Zbm8f/R-100182506/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

    You use them behind the outlet screws - they fold up like an accordion to extend the outlet away from the wall (and you just break off as much as you need).

    I hope that helps!

  7. Absolutely amazing! I am officially obsessed with your blog now. I would like you to come to my house and work your magic! :)