A Kitchen Backsplash Transformation + A Design Decision Gone Wrong

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If you follow me on Instagram you may remember that I came out late last summer to reveal some kitchen changes I made that quite frankly I was somewhat embarrassed by. After only two years of living in our newly built home, I decided I could no longer live with the decision I had made regarding our kitchen backsplash so, last summer I finally decided to save up and swap it out for something I could live with and that I knew I would love without question!  And now, I’m finally dishing on how all of that went down so please buckle up and enjoy this story of the sometimes crazy glimpse into my design life!  And, if you haven’t seen my full kitchen tour you can see that HERE.

In 2013 we moved across the country to a small west Texas town but before we moved, the company my husband had just accepted employment with sent us to the new town we were to move to for a 10 day house hunting trip. While house hunting we were blessed to find a home we liked that was still early enough on in the construction process that I was able to make all of the design decisions and personalize the home to our liking. The only two things I didn’t get to pick (because they had already been installed) were the exterior brick and the fireplace. With that said, my back splash saga begins! Let me also mention here that normally I would never change out a home decor item this large, this quickly (due to cost and other factors) but in this particular case, my husband and I both agreed that it needed to be done and that it would help this space flow much better with the rest of the home so we went for it.

But first, here is a glimpse of what it looked like during the construction process and please excuse the old, grainy iPhone photos…Glass and Marble Mosaic Backsplash2

glass and marble mosaic tile kitchen backsplash

So once we finally wrote a contract on the house in our short 10 day period we had to get all of this done, that literally only left me with one day to pick several of the finishes for the home before we were to hop on a plane back to our current home at that time. In that one day, I picked out flooring for the whole house, all of the back splashes (kitchen, bath & laundry), counter tops, and I met with the cabinet maker to go over cabinet organization for the kitchen, bath, laundry, and mud room/areas. Phew, that was a lot to do in one day and a day I will never forget but, that day was what I call being in designer’s heaven! It’s a good thing I regularly stalk Pinterest and Houzz for inspiration so that I already had an idea of what I wanted in our next home. Here is another construction shot to give you more of a glimpse into what that backsplash looked like…glass and marble mosaic backsplash4

Glass and marble mosaic backsplash3

One thing I had not considered yet when it came time to unexpectedly make all of these choices in one day was the backsplash! I knew I wanted white carrara marble countertops, white cabinets, large stainless bar pulls, a commercial style faucet & pot filler, and a stainless apron sink but I had not given one iota of a thought to the kitchen backsplash. But, at the time I felt like I wanted to break up all of the white with some color so I went with this glass and marble mosaic seen in the photos. Prior to installation, the color in the glass looked to be a muted aqua (my favorite color) that was subtle and lovely but once it was installed, that pretty, muted aqua turned into an ugly sea foam green. At first I ignored the obvious and didn’t say anything to any one (especially my hubby) but after moving into the home and as time went on, I struggled greatly with other design decisions in the kitchen/living area because of that ugly sea foam green color peaking through in the backsplash.  So, after 2 long years of “dealing” with it, I finally just had to chalk it up for a design decision gone wrong and then saved my coins from a couple of design jobs I was working on at the time so that I could move forward with installing a new backsplash,  of which I will reveal in a moment.  But first, here is one last look at it the way it was. This photo was taken right before the new backsplash was installed…

glass and mosaic tile backsplash white kitchen cabinets

Get the Look

Before I move on to what the backsplash looks like now, let me add that the old backsplash was lovely and may work very well in another setting. I realize a lot of people use this particular one so please note that I’m not knocking this one, it’s just that it didn’t work in this particular setting. My kitchen is large so in addition to the color issue, all of the movement in the tile became very busy over time and most days made me feel a little crazy because it was just too much! With all of that said, I am happy to reveal to you what the backsplash looks like now and I couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out! I can use what ever color accessories and flowers I want to style my counter tops with without feeling like it’s over done and, this much more neutral backsplash no longer effects other design decisions in the space since the kitchen is open to my living room. Here is a photo of the new herringbone carrara marble backsplash the day it was installed…

carrara marble white herringbone backsplash-6

The Carrara marble herringbone backsplash was an easy decision because #1 it’s white, and #2 it’s herringbone. Herringbone is super on trend right now but is also a classic so it won’t go out of style anytime soon. It was the absolute perfect choice for this space and I’m so glad now looking over my shoulder that we sucked it up and made the change!  Another huge thing I did as well during this process was to take out all of the outlets to the right of the cooktop. It may not be to code the way it is now but it is so much better not having all of the outlets there cluttering up this wall. There were two electrical outlets and one cable outlet that were never going to get used in my lifetime in this house (and that were completely unnecessary) so for me they had to go. I did the same thing on the opposite side of the kitchen as well and couldn’t be happier with this decision. My husband did all of the electrical work so that part of the reno didn’t cost us a dime.

And here is the end result below in the next several photos. I think the best thing about this whole debacle is that I learned a huge lesson (again) in patience and learned to be even more thoughtful in making big design decisions like this.  Even though I was basically forced to pick something out in one day due to our travel arrangements mentioned above, I probably should have told my builder this was one decision that would either have to wait until we were back in town for good soon or, that I would have to make this decision long distance.   If you find yourself in this scenario in the future, just know that you aren’t alone and that yes, even designers and others in the trade that have been designing spaces for years make bad design decisions from time to time.  It’s unfortunate but it happens and then hopefully a lesson is learned like in my case.  And believe you me, it’s happened to me more times than I care to admit but the best advice I can give is to chalk it up for experience, change what you can when you can (to make that decision gone wrong right again) and most of all to love and accept your home the way it is one way or the other!!

white carrara marble herringbone backsplash kitchen2

carrara marble herringbone backsplash

white carrara marble herringbone backsplash9

carrara marble white herringbone backsplash-3

Spring Tour yellow tulips bread bowl-3

Spring Tour yellow tulips bread bowl-5

carrara marble herringbone backsplash kitchen

carrara marble white herringbone backsplash-1

Get the Look

I hope you enjoyed my crazy design dilemma story and please let me know if you have any questions.  And, as always, thanks for stopping by the blog.  I hope you will consider signing up for once weekly emails if you haven’t already to be notified when something new is happing at ZDesign At Home!

Xoxo, Bree





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*Affiliate links used in this post.  Where an item is no longer available a similar item may have been linked in it’s place.

*For a full list of resources for this room please click HERE and for a full room tour please click HERE



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  1. You know how much I adore the new herringbone marble!? I’m so glad Bree that even the best (YOU) may have a little design hiccup now and then! Happens to me more than I care to admit! Lol!! Your kitchen is perfection and the backsplash is icing on the cake!

    1. Shauna!! You are way too sweet to me!!! I’ve had more design decisions gone wrong than I care to admit, that’s for sure! So glad you like the backsplash because that validates my decision to use it, my friend! Thanks for stopping by and for taking the time to comment:)) Love ya!!!

    1. Bree first of all your pictures always blow me away! Second, I agree with your remodel decision 100%! It looks beautiful and you will love it for years to come. Thank you for sharing your story and advice. I will be using it when we redo our kitchen soon! xo

      1. Randi! You are too sweet to me! Thanks for stopping by and checking out all of my kitchen woes. It’s been a fun ride and I’m so happy to share it with everyone. Big hugs to you my dear friend! Xoxo!!

    1. Thanks so much, Oscar!! It was tough to make the change after only two years with the old one but I just couldn’t deal anymore…hehe! Thanks for stopping by and for your kind comments my friend:))

    2. Bree, excellent choice! Simply beautiful. The backsplash flows with your kitchen counters with perfection. The former backsplash did not create a calming effect. I am in love with your design!

      1. Thank you so much, Loren!! And thanks for stopping in…I’m so glad you like it;) Xo

  2. Love the herringbone marble so much! You’re right about the before pictures… Same thing as I’ve been to many of my friends. Good idea to save your pennies and redo it! Love love love it… Brilliant!

    1. Thank you sweet Summer! Your are such a dear to stop by and check things out over here! Hope all is going well with your move sweet friend:))

  3. Bree! I absolutely LOVE your new backsplash and know all too well how you felt about your mistake! I had to pick out the rock on our entire house quickly and have never loved it. A year after we moved in I had the grout re-done and now I can live with it and have learned to like it more. But man.. SO hard when you have to be reminded of an expensive mistake like that daily! You were smart to fix it and your kitchen is beyond stunning! Loved reading the story behind it and I so wish I would have had your help designing my house! You are crazy talented my sweet friend. xo

    1. Erin!! Such sweet comments from you, my friend!! You always blow me away with your kindness and support and I truly can’t wait to become friends in real life sweet girl!! Big hugs coming your my sweetie:)) Xoxo!!

  4. I loved your build up to the big reveal. It looks fabulous! Plus, your little touches add so much. As always, thank you for your lovely tips!

    1. Thanks so much, Nan!! And thanks for stopping by the blog. It was a tough decision to make after only 2 years but I’m so glad I did it!! Best thing I”ve done in our home to date. Really appreciate your support and always love to hear from you!!!

  5. Hi Bree,

    Your post has inspired me–we are redoing a kitchen in a house we are about to move into. I’m getting Hanstone Tranquility quartz counters, which is white with a slight grey marble vein. I was going to do mini white subway as backsplash but I love your photos so much I’m going with the herringbone marble. My question is, the one you linked to is not Carrara but blue Argentino and looks much darker than yours. So I’m at our local Floor and Decor and they have a Carrara White Herringbone and a Bianco Carrara Herringbone–and I don’t know which one to pick! Yours looks a little more grey–maybe closer to the Bianco. Any help would be much appreciated or the exact source where you got yours. Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Lucy! And thanks for stopping by. Try Lowe’s as I have seen it there as well recently. Thanks for pointing that out and I’ll have to double check that link…sometimes they change product or links get broken because the product originally linked is no longer available so I’ll have to check into that. And mine is Carrara but I would go with what ever look best with your countertops. Please feel free to email me at ZDesignathome@gmail.com with any other questions and best of luck to you in your remodel:))

  6. Your new backsplash is so beautiful Bree. I think we have all been there with a decorating decision we regret! I can’t believe the difference to the space with the new backsplash. The first one was pretty but WOW, the herringbone tile is stunning with your cabinets and countertops! I just redid my fireplace with herringbone marble and love it. Someday I hope to bring it into our kitchen too!

    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Lisa! And thanks for stopping by the blog and taking the time to comment. Always appreciate your support:))

  7. Bree, you know you have one of my fave kitchens on IG! The new backsplash is so perfect and I completely understand/agree with why you changed it! Perfection!

    1. Awe, thank you for your sweet vote of confidence, Haneen! And thanks for taking the time to stop by and check it out!! I really appreciate your support:))

  8. Hi there are two links for the herringbone design (one from way fair and one for amazon). What did you ended up going with I would like the same exact backsplash in your home. It looks amazing!

    1. Hi Anh! The one from Amazon most closely replicates what I have. Mine is from a local vendor but you can also try Lowe’s as I have seen one there as well that is very, very similar. So glad you like it enough to copy it and thanks so much for stopping by the blog!!:)

      1. I ordered the sample from Loews & it is more white as it has less variation. I ended up with Bianco Carrara from wayfair as it went well with my countertop. As Bree suggested try the one that goes well with your countertop.

        1. Hi Joyce! I’m so glad you found one that works for you and that this post was helpful! Thanks so much for coming back with an update!! Xoxo

    1. Thank you so much, Kris!! Always appreciate you support and thanks for stopping by;)

  9. Hi there! I love your kitchen. Just beautiful. Did you use a white grout, or a light gray? Or even an ivory?

    We’ve been slowly remodeling our own builder standard kitchen and recently installed herringbone marble backsplash as well. I have LOVED it, except we’ve grouted half of it with “bright white” and suddenly it feels like all the attention is on the grout, rather than the gorgeous marble. My husband says it looks like “chiclet teeth”. ? (Hey, at least we can laugh…?!) But really, it’s been a little devastating. Maybe it’s just because we got used to the ungrounded marble for several weeks and loved it – and the grout was a change. ?

    Anyway, yours look fabulous in the photos but I can’t tell based on the angle, what color it is. Any advice would be appreciated. ?

    1. Hi Annie! We did use bright white but mine seems to just blend right in with the white in the marble. Is your marble more gray or does it have more grey veining in it and maybe that’s why the white grout stands out so much?? Wish I could help more but please feel free to write back if you have any other questions:)

      1. Thank you Bree! We have many very white pieces of marble in the mix, but there are some more gray ones also. We chose the mosaic we did because it was mostly white compared to others! But, I am starting to like it more. I think because we left it ungrouted for several weeks, we just got used to it! The spaces between the tiles visually receded, and now that there is grout you notice them more. It’s still beautiful. Thanks for your advice! And again, you’ve done a wonderful job.

  10. Thanks so much for sharing this story! I’m having a similar dilemma on a smaller scale and would love to hear your opinion as a professional. My husband and I are in the process of building a home and our kitchen backsplash tile was recently installed. It’s an arabesque tile, a light beige color with a very subtle crackle. Unfortunately, the grout is a cement color (we thought it would be the same color as the tile). We think we’ll have to have it all taken out anyway as we don’t think we like the contrast with the grout, so now we’re thinking we would prefer to do a white tile with white grout. Our cabinets are white and counters are black honed granite. We think white tile would look nicer than the creme, but I’m not sure if we’re crazy and should just keep it as is 😉 Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

    1. Hi Julia! I think white tile would be great since you have white cabinets. And since you have black countertops I might go with a dark grey to black grout. But look on line at Pinterest and Houzz to see which look you prefer most. Good luck and thanks for stopping in and for commenting :))

      1. Thank you so much for your advice! I’m a recent follower of your blog and love your style, you’re very talented 🙂

  11. Wow!! What a difference. It was very busy before, agreed. Looks like a million bucks lol. I love marble. It’s so smooth and clean looking. Beautiful space.

    1. Thank you so much, Robin!! And thanks for stopping by and for commenting:)

  12. I am currently struggling with the backsplash decision for my bar. I have a white quartz countertop that resembles Carrara. My designer says that marble herringbone will just make my quartz look dingy. I’m having a hard time listening. I wanted to know the exact tile you used because I think yours would work beautifully. Could you help me?

    1. Hi lauren, I’m not so sure I would use my backsplash with quartz either but try Lowe’s to see if they have it. Thanks for stopping in! Xo

      1. Can you explain why? Is it for the same reason as my designer? I loved the look of marble but didn’t want the maintenance, now I’m stuck ! Thanks for your help.

        1. Hi again, it would be impossible for me to say without seeing all of it together but I suspect your designer is dead on! I’m sorry I can’t help more than that but a lot of it depends on which quartz color/style you have and whether or not that would ultimately blend with the marble. Again, impossible for me to say without seeing them in person as to whether not they would actually go together but based on what I know about both materials off the top of my head I’m going to say they probably won’t play well in the sand box together if you know what I mean. If you have a local designer I would definitely listen to her/him and take their advice. Thanks again! Xo

  13. OMG your post just saved me from making the same mistake. I have been looking around for 2 weeks and my husband has been really frustrated He said come on its just a backsplash its not a big deal, lets buy the mosaic one and it is exactly the one that you replaced. i wanted the marbel look as i bought venatino quartz that has gray veins but the local vendor was charging $30/sq so I feel so blessed for being saved.

    1. Joyce, I’m so glad you found this post and that it was helpful! Please let me know if you have any other questions!! Xo

  14. Hello! I stumbled across your website and blog on instagram and have probably been on it for the last hour. HA! So much inspiration. We are re modeling our kitchen. White shaker cabinets with brushed stainless hardware similar to yours. Gray granite countertops. LOVE LOVE LOVE the marble herringbone backsplash. I found 4″ by 12″ single marble tiles at Home Depot and the best/easiest way would be to lay this in subway style. I can’t decide if subway is in, out or going out. What do you think? I love this larger size tile over the small tiles that come in a say 12″ by 12″ sheet. The wall were are doing the backsplash on is 5 feet high by 11 feet wide so it feels the larger tile would look better than lots of small tiles on a large wall coverage. Would love to hear your thoughts? I admire your design eye! Thank you!

    1. Hi! I think subway is fine and don’t see it really ever going out. It’s a classic as far as i’m concerned, especially in white. Additionally, my herringbone kitchen tile comes in 12×12 sheets and I like that too. Best of luck with whatever you choose but I would always say subway is a good way to go!! Xoxo

  15. Hi Bree ! I stumbled upon your blog while looking up ideas for my kitchen remodel. Your kitchen is absolutely beautiful !! I chose the same herringbone tile for my kitchen but I’m having a problem finding a trim. The 3/4 inch marble trim sticks up too much from the tile. Yours looks perfect ! Can you tell me what size trim you used ? I’m having trouble finding anything smaller than 3/4. The tile guy tried to shave 1/4 inch off it was unsuccessful due to it breaking. Thanks !

    1. Hi Michelle! Mine does happen to be 3/4″ trim and I think that is actually the smallest size it comes in. I was worried about it sticking out too much as well but it turned out just fine for us. You can also see it here in my master bath tour. I hope that helps and if you weren’t able to find any or find enough here is a source for that trim. Thanks for stopping in and for commenting!! 🙂

      1. Thank you very much ! That makes me feel so much better ! I even showed my tile guy your photo so he would know exactly what I wanted it to look like. They’re coming to install it on Saturday. Fingers crossed ! I really appreciate your response. Your eye for design is amazing ! My cousin sent me inspiration photos when she found out that I was remodeling. I now realize they were from your instagram. ? You are so very talented !

  16. I stumbled upon your kitchen remodel while on Pinterest. Such beautiful design work! And what a difference one or two details can really have on the aesthetic of a space. Just gorgeous! Anyway, I’m obsessed with the overall look like everyone else, and wondered if you would divulge who manufacturer is of the fabric on the kitchen window? I assume it was a custom shade because I can’t find anything about it, but oh my stars–what beautiful colors! Would you share it with me? Many thanks for the inspirations you’ve given!

    1. Hi Janeen! It’s a Sarah Richardson print and I believe it is by Kravet if I remember correctly. Just google those terms and I’m sure you’ll find it. The pattern may be called treads (fingers crossed that’s it). Thank you for the sweet comments on my kitchen and thanks for stopping in! Hope you’ll come back soon:) Xoxo

  17. Your kitchen design is GORGEOUS!!!! I have total envy over your space. I recently had a backsplash put in and made a rash decision to get everything completed by Thanksgiving. Now I’m having design remorse. I love both the granite and the tile individually, but not together. Our granite is Ornamental Giallo, the backsplash looks just like yours but more grey (the sample in the store was brown but the boxes that were delivered had a lot of grey in them). I chose white grout thinking it would help mute the pattern a little to blend with the countertops. I’m wondering if changing the backsplash grout color to cream might help. Our cabinets are a yellow/beige with a distressed glaze finish. We are currently sanding down our cabinets to paint them Alabaster White, hoping that will calm the space a bit. I just don’t know what to do!

    1. Thank you Stacy! I’m sure you’ll get it all worked out soon and I bet it’s prettier than you think…we are always more critical of our own spaces than we should be! Merry Christmas and thanks for stopping in!!!

  18. Bree!
    I’m so relieved to know that you are actually human and made a design mistake- your home is PERFECT! Thank you for sharing this, I can’t tell you how many choices we’ve made here that were not actually what I expected- most times I’ve has to suck it up but I’m ready to redo my kitchen and this just gives me affirmation that sometimes you just need to change it! Absolutely LOVE the herringbone backsplash!!?

    1. Thank you so much Sandra!! Unfortunately mistakes are such a big reality in design, especially when doing a whole home at once!! I know you will get it right this time though and I’m so glad you felt inspired by this post. I can’t wait to see what you do;). Thanks so much for stopping in!! Xo

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