Monday, August 16, 2010

Hey, thanks--I've never really had a backsplash before!

Before I started this renovation process, I didn't really have a clear concept on what a "backsplash" was, or what purpose, if any, it was supposed to serve. Most kitchens I was in while growing up just had wallpaper or paint behind the kitchen counters, and in my own homes I'd had the same, or perhaps that 4" continuation of countertop running up the wall.  But when I started reading up on kitchen design, suddenly backsplashes were all over the place. They were made of stone tile, glass tile, subway tile, mosaic tile, stainless steel---you name it. Some wrapped all the way around the room, while others played a starring role over the cooktop, in some cases even rising from the counter all the way up to the ceiling:
Source: Decorpad
Source: The Kitchn
Source: Kitchen Bath Ideas
We knew we wanted some copper in our kitchen, and originally thought we might go with a copper sink. While I was researching those (looking for one Made in the USA, but that's another topic for another post), I came across the website for Marbleized Copper out of Texas and North Carolina. They make anything out of copper: sinks, countertops, range hoods, bricks, fireplaces, wall art, and backsplashes. The copper is put through a heat process that brings out various designs and colors. It is also sealed to maintain the intensity of color, and for ease of cleaning.

The company sent us a few samples for a backsplash (I'd moved on from the sink by then), and we immediately fell in love with this one:
Most excellent one-of-a-kind copper!
It was clear to us that this was an item to be used sparingly; its boldness and wildness, combined with our more open layout with only two upper cabinets (a more traditional solid run of uppers seems to lend itself more easily to framing a backsplash), led us to decide to keep this backsplash only over the cooktop. Kevin has designed a range hood that will showcase the copper and provide boundaries for it at the same time. We recently decided to also use the copper for panel inserts on the upper doors of the snack station; this will bring the copper to the opposite side of the room too, but not in an overwhelming way.

As I mentioned in my soapstone post, we will also be using a 2" beaded trim piece around the perimeter of the kitchen. We think this will give us a better transition for our windowsills, and also add a little something extra to those walls where there will be nothing but paint.

I'm still not clear on whether the backsplash has a functional purpose, or if nowadays it is used more for a decorative statement. Some of the ones I posted above seem pretty fancy to me, like I'd avoid cooking tomato sauce or bacon without covering the tile in plastic wrap first. I'm sure we could have lived without a backsplash at all, or with a much simpler, quieter one; that said,  I openly admit this is a choice made purely out of copper love. As Bogie once said, "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.".

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