60 Comments

  1. Jennie Ritter
    June 7, 2018 @ 11:03 am

    Love love love the subway tile idea, but please use light colored grout. Dark grout is SUBWAY.
    Love reading your blog!

    Reply

    • becky up a hill
      June 7, 2018 @ 12:53 pm

      I agree with Jennie Ritter. Dark grout is the bane of my existence. Who wants lines running all over their kitchen or any other room?

      Reply

  2. Kathryn Gallanis
    June 7, 2018 @ 11:07 am

    OMG! Thank you for this fabulous post. We had the same decision issues with our kitchen remodel and mine was much simpler than the amazingness that will be your finished kitchen. I love subway tile – it is classic, versatile and provides a great backdrop to whatever you want to do. We have it in several sizes and styles in our house and no one has said anything other than to express their admiration for the rooms. So continue on and keep us posted!

    Reply

  3. Allie
    June 7, 2018 @ 11:07 am

    I love subway tile – clean subway tile looks nothing like subway tile on a subway. For instance, it is not covered in 100 years of grime and graffiti. Maybe they should call them different things?
    Regardless, subway tile and navy is gorgeous and would complement the mirror beautifully!
    xAllie
    http://www.theallthatglittersblog.com

    Reply

    • Meryl
      June 7, 2018 @ 1:04 pm

      It’s actually “running bond!”

      Reply

  4. Mary W.
    June 7, 2018 @ 11:10 am

    I would put fancy brass brackets on each side of the mirror, then glass shelves across the front of the mirror, but that’s just me.

    Reply

    • Margo B
      June 11, 2018 @ 7:56 pm

      I love this idea!!

      Reply

  5. Flip Breskin
    June 7, 2018 @ 11:15 am

    OMG! YES!!!! The second photo with the subway tile has perfect brackets! Absolutely: subway tile in a Victorian house. That kitchen with the vertical row of subway tile where there would be crown molding at the ceiling!!!! And we’re getting closer to tile in our remodeled bathroom. I think it was worth waiting the four years of remodel-melt-down just for that idea! I adored the bathroom with all the brass too. Thank you SO much!!! A perfect morning for me, from you. THANK YOU!

    Reply

  6. Lauren
    June 7, 2018 @ 11:21 am

    We have similar kitchen visions, but mine will probably never come to fruition. Highly enjoying living vicariously through your kitchen adventures! The end will be bittersweet – how will I fill my time?

    Reply

  7. Michelle
    June 7, 2018 @ 11:33 am

    Love your laugh-out-loud blog.

    My two cents: Your fabulous piano island defines the kitchen. All must flow from that extravaganza. So, Carrara or Calcutta subway tiles. Open shelving leaves room on the counter to exploit much fanciness. Suggest doing it with something really contrast-y and statement-y that still has a vintage vibe, like copper pipes, or with massive corbels. Route the shelves with undulating lines so they can be happy friends with your curvy piano. I offer our own DIY WIP kitchen as supporting evidence … https://www.facebook.com/thebeigeblues/photos/a.597904883744158.1073741830.593267420874571/742202822647696/?type=3&theater

    Have fun!

    Reply

  8. Susal
    June 7, 2018 @ 11:40 am

    Oh my gosh, subway tile, navy and brass is my very favorite! (Just put subway tile in our kitchen). Not to worry how your brain works, as mine works the very same way!

    Reply

  9. Glyniss E McDaniel
    June 7, 2018 @ 11:45 am

    I love subway tiles because they are timeless and clean looking unless you live with slobs. I think marble subway would be wonderful. Are your slabs all the same size? If they are, and you have enough, why not use them in a wainscoting style on bottom of walls? in addition to using them as countertops? I hate open shelving for me because we are clutterbugs but the little open cupboard looking shelf is adorable and I would have Paul build you some to hang where you need them, maybe twice or three times as wide? I love the retail cabinets but the prices are usually over the moon! I see them around here for six to eight thousand dollars, yikes and then you would have to ship them up there, wow! Love your blog.

    Reply

  10. Robin Callicott
    June 7, 2018 @ 11:45 am

    Darling, darling Victoria. I, too, love this look but I beg you to reconsider. Those lovely fancy kitchens with open shelving came with scullery maids. Without them, open shelves are an invitation to relentless drudgery trying to keep things clean.

    Reply

    • Kay
      June 7, 2018 @ 12:12 pm

      It’s actually not that bad if what you store on the shelves is what you actually use fairly frequently. Occasionally you have to take everything down to wipe the shelves, but unless you’re manic about any speck of dust, once every month or two is enough. Of course, I do not have a vast expanse of open shelving, which would make the cleaning far more tedious.

      Reply

      • Katerina
        June 7, 2018 @ 2:44 pm

        One problem. Cats.

        My son lives in the house where he grew up. He dislikes my pantry cupboards and wanted to replace with open shelving. I told him I thought it a bad idea and he replied that it was his house now! I mentioned the cat hair issue and he hasn’t mentioned it again.

        My house is a large open plan with ceramic tile floors everywhere. (Not my idea!) I can clean all day and 24 hours later there is enough fur in one corner or another to make a whole new animal. Still, cats are heaven.

        Reply

  11. JeanFB
    June 7, 2018 @ 11:50 am

    Love the subway tile – indeed very Victorian – and I agree with the earlier post that the grout should blend in. As for the floating shelves… you seem to have a knack for acquiring cast-off or remnants of marble …. what about doing the shelving in marble, and then hunting around for vintage fancy wrought iron brackets? They could be mismatched to a certain degree. I also love your photos with the brass piping. Actually, I love all of your photos. So many ideas. You are so creative – and yes, the creative mind is always a little cursed to wander the world of possibilities to the point of angst. Good luck – thanks so much for letting us follow along. You make me more creative!

    Reply

  12. KimberlyCooks
    June 7, 2018 @ 11:54 am

    Start with this question, “Do you actually cook?” I’d the answer is yes, then picture yourself cleaning greasy kitchen grime (what is it actually? Nothing I make is that gross!) from whatever you put in the room. I have a country kitchen with open shelves and found these wonderful wrought iron brackets with a different pattern for each shelf. I live the way they look. If I’d known what a pain it is to clean gunk out of all the little crevices, I’d have gone with the original plan for floating shelves. I can’t even imagine how you clean wallpaper in a kitchen.

    Reply

  13. Corey Dankocsik
    June 7, 2018 @ 11:55 am

    You do you, baby! Just keep writing about it so that I know I’m not alone. xo

    Reply

  14. Naomi
    June 7, 2018 @ 11:59 am

    This is way too inspirational. Thank you!

    Reply

  15. Dianne
    June 7, 2018 @ 12:00 pm

    I think having both mirrors is doing each one a disservice. They will take away from each other and neither will look as special. Go for a wall of floating shelves and subway tile. You will not regret it and the eye will enjoy the piano and Giant Fancy Mirror.

    Reply

  16. Carmen
    June 7, 2018 @ 12:11 pm

    While I in no way come close to the Patron Saint of all Fanciness which is you, I do have a bit of scroll work in my modest dwelling. But the crevices. The crevices are killing me with their grip on dust. How are you, or the staff, managing to keep GFTs clean. Is there a secret trick I am not privy to???

    Reply

  17. fixitchick
    June 7, 2018 @ 12:28 pm

    I must have the green bed [except in indigo blue]. MUST. Why do you constantly make me aware of how limited both my imagination and wallet are? Gaaaah.

    And the huge basin sink. Except deeper, because in my house this would just be like putting a faucet over the floor.

    And that kitchen that is all windows. In fact, this is my ideal kitchen: https://www.google.com/search?q=kitchen+in+greenhouse&rlz=1C1CAFA_enUS612&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=pOM7gkAV5xQ5YM%253A%252CfvhGYqKyPxOkOM%252C_&usg=__cA4ZHMJJGXjGAiqNM9_cC4iHHOA%3D&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjPmMGO88HbAhUN2lMKHb2qDyMQ9QEIKzAA#imgrc=ZLBqAOUQXme0xM:

    We are doing an epoxy backsplash, at least that is the plan. I cook every day. and my husband is very messy. I am thinking a single piece to match the counters. because grout = eeew. I just scrubbed floors on my hands and knees because the steamer thingy didnt get it clean enough. not that i’m a total germaphobe, but once a month I see all the fur and hair and dirt and must get it CLEAN. not necessarily pretty, like my MIL is coming, but CLEAN so that pet hair isn’t a condiment as well as a fashion accessory.

    Back to the sane[er] part of my ramblings … kitchen counter and backsplash – likely concrete, with pixie dust sealed with epoxy. I can pour floor leveler over a sheet of durock and treat the same way as the counters. these folks have great instructional videos: https://www.stonecoatcountertops.com and while i would adore repurposed slate or stone or something really pretty, I am neither married to a Paul, nor wealthy. So the plumber gets almost all of our money, because we are moving the kitchen clear across the house. The electrician gets most of what is left, because, new panel and getting wired into this century. and we have a miniscule budget left for things like cabinets. like Re-store and CL miniscule.

    Reply

  18. Tammy
    June 7, 2018 @ 12:28 pm

    As I read, and scrolled through, your post and photos, I kept thinking that perhaps there could be a way to use some of your fancy bookshelves for your upper shelving. Then I saw the post with the bookshelves with glass doors and that was exactly what I had in mind. If you don’t have the full wall space for ones in the photo, could Paul rework something you already have, or something you need to purchase, or just build something new to look like it is antique, to make them the height you want? The glass doors would resolve the issue with dust collecting on your glassware, and would reflect light to make your space even more sparkly. It would also add the touches of wood that provide some needed contrast. Another consideration might be to have 2 dishwashers (hidden behind panels that match your cabinets, of course). I know people who have done this and they just alternate between the two, clean in one, dirty in the other, back and forth. So the dishwashers are your main storage for the items that are most frequently used. Just a thought.

    Reply

  19. LaFawne
    June 7, 2018 @ 12:30 pm

    Love the look and idea of open shelves. Hate the actual reality of having them. Unless you are one of those people who take everything down and wash in hot soapy water every other day. I n that case, carry on.
    I live in a 1925 Craftsman- and dust is everywhere. I am not willing to give up my original windows with the wavy glass, so dust is just a part of life- LOL
    I have an open shelf in my kitchen but it is purely for decoration. I would not want to have to wash every plate and glass before I use them so I will stick with my original wooden cabinets.
    I would suggest perhaps putting up a temporary shelf and just seeing how difficult it is to keep clean? Might make your decision easier-

    Reply

  20. NevadaNy
    June 7, 2018 @ 12:54 pm

    Love the 3rd photo down. The one with the Blackboard with the cool saying and the cupboard full of interesting mismatched dishes.
    I think I need a blackboard and cupboard like that in MY kitchen………

    Reply

  21. Meryl
    June 7, 2018 @ 1:02 pm

    I love all of it and I empathize emphatically (like that?). I have lived with open shelves, pot racks, etc. and all you have to do is make stovetop popcorn once and all those pots pans plates cups ladles lids get a film that requires soap and Bon Ami to clean. Every single time you want to use one of them, you have to clean it first. Or so I have found. I guess I COULD tarp it all whenever I cook, but seems even worse.

    That round sink, though? I WANT!!!

    Reply

  22. pamela
    June 7, 2018 @ 1:07 pm

    🤣😂🤣

    Reply

  23. Jana
    June 7, 2018 @ 1:28 pm

    Hello Victoria, I have carrara marble subway tile for my kitchen backsplash, which I love. I used the identical tile in our master shower, and there is a scant grout line, which is exactly what I prefer (truly never looks anything but pristine). This was a new build, and I had “professionals” install all the tile in our bathrooms.

    I found a great resource online for the tile, less expensive than ANYWHERE, and the tile arrived perfect, no broken pieces, on time, and again it cost me under $200 for my entire kitchen backsplash! This company sends e-mail pics of the slab/tile that is spot on to what it looks like “in person”. I installed it with a friend, and it was a fast easy install. The tile was cut by the company to be as perfectly even, flat, and crisp as you would get with a ceramic subway. I’d tiled in the past but did not want to undertake a marble job. However my quotes were insanely high, and it did not look very difficult. The tile is a good match for my carrara countertops. I’m happy to share the company info as well; thebuilderdepot.com, NOT not “Builder’s”. The tile is easy to wipe clean and with barely a grout line, (I chose the lightest grey). I have pics I’m more than happy to share. In my opinion, humbly open shelves look great in photos are on trend. However, the dust, and grease regardless of how often you cook will make this just another chore to add to your list. Unless your open shelves come with a housekeeper, enjoy your mirror. Make that the star, get some uppers to the ceiling that you will love!

    Reply

  24. Jessica
    June 7, 2018 @ 1:38 pm

    I have a DEEP OBSESSION for chinoiserie wallpaper too but haven’t found a place to use it either. I’m hoping to use it on removable panels in our dining room inside some fancy (way too complicated & detailed for our 9’ ceilings) form of full wall moldings. I say go for it, some cranes would fit beautifully into your house & you can get antique handpainted chinoiserie paper and use it on removable panels 😉

    Reply

  25. Bernie
    June 7, 2018 @ 1:43 pm

    I would be thrilled with 9′ ceilings….I’m stuck with 8′

    Think Nike….Just Do It!

    Easy for me to say….I’m obsessing between stone/wood/whitewashed brick for a mountain house fireplace.

    Reply

  26. BeBe
    June 7, 2018 @ 2:32 pm

    Like the subway tile with light grout idea. How about antique scroll work wrought iron brackets? Spray paint them the color you prefer. Black or navy would add interest and contrast. Forget glass shelving unless you or your housekeeper (?) enjoy the task of cleaning off the grease and junk that accumulates quickly, especially in a kitchen with no vent hood or downdraft. I’m not being critical, just practical. I share your distaste for vent hoods and with my kitchen reno in 2005 chose a chunky Jenn Air duel fuel range with built in downdraft. Love it. I collect antique tole trays and the first large one I bought in 1988, I immediately envisioned as a back splash over my range in my future dream kitchen. ‘Tis there now, my inspiration piece, surrounded by the antique copper molds I’ve amassed. I am under 5 feet tall, so overhead cabinets are wasted on me. Plus, was 56 at time of reno and did not want to be kicking around a foot stool to reach any items on second shelves or above. Fear of falling creeps in as one approaches this age. 69 now and no regrets. For storage, I reclaimed a pantry the previous owners used for the fridge. The only lower cupboard I have is under the sink. I opted for drawers, big deep ones that hold everything from pots and pans to my everyday dishes! No back strain. Look forward to your blog and enjoy you humor and writing. Wish I knew how to attach a photo. Keep your eye on the prize and know you will have the kitchen worth waiting for, the kitchen you and the multi-talented and skilled St. Paul designed and worked like Trojans to achieve.

    Reply

  27. Lisa Smith
    June 7, 2018 @ 2:51 pm

    My former occupation was a cleaner and restorer of stone. Marble is a really poor choice for a surface that gets regular use as it is very susceptible to acid etching and also very soft and porous. Unless you want to get someone like me out there every couple months to diamond hone and polish it, consider granite or quartz and use an impregnating sealer at least yearly. Also – I echo the dust, grease and grime issue with open shelving. If you have a cleaning service, great….but in my experience they are often ignorant of how to properly clean delicate surfaces and items without damaging them and when stuff has to get moved for dusting frequently, the chance for breaks and chips goes up immensely. I also like to have storage for my “less beautiful” kitchen equipment and food/spices where it is well hidden. I loved the glass front bookcases though, and they would help with the dirt/grime issues. I love the piano island and think making it the star and focus of the room would be fabulous.

    Reply

  28. Teri in the UK
    June 7, 2018 @ 3:10 pm

    TRAIN TRACKS ALL THE TRAIN TRACKS COVER THE ENTIRE WALL IN NOTHING BUT TRAIN TRACKS OH MY GODFREY CAN YOU IMAGINE . . . . . . ok I just had a brain explosion – I blame it on all the talk about Subway tiles. Subway tiles in England were used for basement public toilets and I smell that smell when I see 18 trillion gazillion pics of subway tiles. I even had to google for train Racks.
    love you lots xx

    Reply

  29. Carrie
    June 7, 2018 @ 3:20 pm

    “It is a puzzle to find all the right pieces to fit together… liking them individually is surprisingly unhelpful.”

    SO… MUCH… THIS!!!

    Designers in articles are always saying, “Just buy what you love and it’ll all fit together!”

    WRONG.

    This is why I have 46,322 ginormous vases that dwarf every table in my small apartment. And two gorgeous Brutalist ceramic boxes that I cannot find a place for ANYWHERE in this Palm Beach color-splosion I call a home.

    It is very hard to be an aesthete… .

    Reply

  30. di
    June 7, 2018 @ 3:34 pm

    i have to say I much prefer the framed shelving seems to me to be fancier and neater, containg and framing what ever you put on them. And floating shelving the same colour as the wall makes it less obtrusive glass will highlight dirt and dust. The big open shelving takes away from the fancy turning this beautiful kitchen into an indusrial looking thing. Just my opinion of course and self is self but you invited opinion añd thats mine

    Reply

  31. di
    June 7, 2018 @ 3:56 pm

    Also love the subway tiles oh yes and open shelves with cats…. fur traps and climbing frames = smashed dishes dust and cleaning everything before use every time…..

    Reply

  32. Shirley
    June 7, 2018 @ 5:33 pm

    Somehow, Victoria, I just can’t reconcile the clean, precise and minimalist aesthetic of the rest of your house with the implied visual clutter of open shelving in your kitchen. Sorry, Love, it just does not compute!

    Reply

  33. Robin
    June 7, 2018 @ 5:37 pm

    My son (a designer) suggested getting a very good quality wallpaper for our backsplash – then using a sheet of glass cut to size to protect it. Easy to clean, and to remove when I get bored and want a change. I ADORE the funky hidden creatures in the handmade paper by Grow House Grow.

    Reply

    • Funky Cold
      June 8, 2018 @ 1:47 am

      That’s exactly what I’m planning to do! I loathe grout lines (I have penny tile flooring which has put me off grout for as long as I live), so a sheet of glass is perfect, and like you say, it’s easy enough to change if ever needed.

      Reply

  34. Peggy
    June 7, 2018 @ 7:31 pm

    Marble-looking subway tile laid in a herringbone pattern is downright “fancy”!

    Reply

  35. Holly
    June 7, 2018 @ 7:35 pm

    OK, here’s the deal with subway tile: it’s timeless and, of course, it’s perfect for your house. Duh.
    But.
    It must be flat, not beveled like post-1920 tile, and the grout lines must be tight. That’s the way my subway tiles are in our 110-year-old kitchen – it’s on our walls and ceiling, also in the original bathroom and up the back stairs. Find this type of tile online at https://heritagetile.com/samples/subway-ceramics-samples/subway-tile-samples.html.
    Also, if you decide to go with marble shelves, would love to know how you hang them. Can’t find any marble thinner than 3cm thick and my dream of marble shelves with gorgeous nickel brackets is slowly vanishing…

    Reply

  36. Mary
    June 7, 2018 @ 7:55 pm

    I love subway tile. Mine is light grout and in a herringbone pattern.

    Reply

  37. Claudia Young
    June 7, 2018 @ 10:12 pm

    I just do not like any of the pictures of the open shelves. They scream messy and dusty. I have fur children and a fur grandchild who visits almost daily. My refrigerator is full of their hair. There is hair on the stuff in the cabinets at times. The bathrooms are full of fur and they never are in there. And you have kitties. Won’t they climb on them? Oh well, I hope they work out fabulously . Obviously you are gifted decorator so I’m sure they’ll look beautiful.

    Reply

  38. Ingrid
    June 7, 2018 @ 10:33 pm

    I love subway, been using it for 30 years. My fav marble source is builder Depot direct online, but I think in your neck of the woods. They have big sizes too. I just did a shower in them, love it. I can’t believe the fabulous photos you found! I want that round sink. It’s a GFT you must have!!!

    Reply

  39. Dana H
    June 7, 2018 @ 10:37 pm

    I’ve just come to need a stopper for a vintage pedestal sink. Though I’ve never been, this place is close to me. http://www.noreast1.com/index.html

    A little scary because there are hardly any prices.

    Reply

  40. Funky Cold
    June 8, 2018 @ 1:44 am

    Subway tile is fabulous! And, as far as backsplash tiles can go, it doesn’t have to be terribly expensive. I’m planning a kitchen reno for my Edwardian home, and gave subway tile some serious thought, but have finally settled on a period appropriate wallpaper with a clear glass overlay.

    Reply

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