Basement Bar DIY Backsplash

When we had the bar built in our finished basement, we knew we would eventually want to tile the backsplash.

Basement - Bar

But, we didn’t worry about having our contractor do it, because we knew we would be able to DIY it in the future, since we had done it before.  So, several months ago we  began our search for a tile to complete the backsplash.  We looked at the normal places, Lowe’s and Home Depot, but didn’t find anything that was even close to being an option.  Then we remembered another local place, Fleming Tile & Marble, which is where we had gone to pick out our granite for the bar.  Bob and I went there and it didn’t take long for us to find what we wanted.  It was a glass bamboo mosaic tile by Bella Vita Tile.   It tied in the colors of our granite counter with the floor tile and the color of the cabinets.


The website on the box said, and below are the details from the box.

Bar Backsplash - Tile details

After having the tile sit for months in the house….we were saving it for one of our winter projects, we finally got to work on it in January.  We started by prepping the bar area to protect the granite counters.  We used plastic drop cloths and painters tape to cover the counters.

Bar Backsplash -Prepping with covering granite

We kept our tradition as we did upstairs and marked the wall before we started tiling.   This gives away my slow turnaround time on blogging, but it did take several weekends to complete all the steps.

Bar Backsplash - Bob and Leslie

We bought a small bucket of adhesive at Lowe’s to use to adhere the tile.  With the glass tile, the only advice the tile shop gave us was to make sure we used a white adhesive so that it didn’t show through the tile.

Bar Backsplash - Adhesive

To make sure we had a straight edge that lined up along the bar edge, we secured a 1 x 4 on the wall and made sure it was level.

Bar Backsplash - Prep for straight edge

Bob and I both worked on placing the tiles.  He is better at applying the adhesive than I am.

Bar Backsplash - Bob placing adhesive - first tile sheet in place

We did use our tile saw to make the cuts as needed.  A word of caution…glass tile can make sharp glass shards!  If you attempt to DIY with glass tile, please use safety gear such as safety glasses and gloves.  We were wearing safety glasses at first, but never thought of gloves until Bob was using the tile saw and a shard flew directly into his thumb.  Fortunately, he didn’t need stitches, but it was painful and we had to keep it tightly bandaged.  So, because of our extra safety measures, I did not stop to take any pictures of us cutting the tile.  We also learned it was easier to cut with both sets of hands.  Bob “fed” the tile through the saw and I held up any portion that hung over the edge to keep it level and take the pressure off it hanging over the edge of the saw.  That method worked the best for us.  Once we got going it moved along pretty quickly.

Bar Backsplash - Leslie tiling around tv

I’m the one who did all the measuring and tile placement.  It was a bit like putting together a puzzle around where the TV is normally.  No one will ever see it, but we did fill it in completely.  I just saved that part until the end and used all the random pieces to fill in the spaces without as many cuts.  My initial calculations were pretty close.  We had ordered 2 spare tiles, and that is what we had leftover, plus a few cut portions.  We got all the tile placed in a few hours.  But, it had to wait until the next weekend until I had time for the grout.  Our grout color is Desert Khaki.  Bob mixed it up for me in an old dishpan I had.  I read on other blogs that the grout should be the consistency of peanut butter, so we added a bit more water than the instructions said.

Bar Backsplash - Grout in dishpan

Grouting is a one-person job in our house, so once Bob mixed it up, I got busy grouting the tile.

Bar Backsplash - Leslie starting to grout

Grouting only took a couple hours in total.  It really is the most tedious part of the process.

Bar Backsplash - Grout applied to tile

I followed the directions on the grout by leaving it on for 15-20 minutes and then wiping off with a sponge.  It was easy to see as the grout was drying too.   At one point I started wiping it off too quickly, and it was not a good idea.  It needs that amount of time to set.  And, I also learned to leave it look hazy for 3 or more hours and then wipe it clean.  The finished look is well worth the time and effort.

Bar Backsplash - Tile close-up after

We had the most delay in our final clean-up step.  While the tape and plastic provided the protection we needed for the granite during the tiling process, it provided quite a struggle in the clean-up process.  Since we placed the tile and grout directly on top of the counter, the tape was stuck there.  Bob had to use a knife and razor blade to remove the tape and plastic to get a really clean edge.

Bar Backsplash - After corner view

But, it was well worth the wait.  Our only remaining step is probably to add a strip of caulk where the tile meets the counter.  And, we are considering adding a trim piece along the raw tile edge.

Bar Backsplash -after tile

The backsplash has really transformed the look of the bar.

Bar Backsplash - After full bar view

It’s amazing what some tile, grout, and a bit of DIY can do to change the look of a space. We love the final results.  So, how about you, and other DIY tiling stories to share?  Any suggestions on what type of trim to use on the raw tile edge?

DIY Show Off


Spring Dreams

I’ve found myself lacking inspiration lately, and I was struggling to figure out why.  Then, it hit me…..I’m longing for Spring!

I want to sit on the patio and enjoy the longer daylight hours, maybe even enjoy a fire.

Spring Dreams - chimnea

I’m really missing the beautiful colors of Spring.

Spring Dreams - Tiger Lillies

Spring Dreams  - Daisy

Spring Dreams - Pansies with knockout roses

Spring Dreams - Coreopsis

Spring Dreams - Lillies

Spring Dreams  - Impatiens

Spring Dreams - Coreopsis close-up

I can’t take credit for the lilies, the white and tiger lilies are from my mother-in-law’s house.  But, all the other flowers are from our house, and they bloom in the spring.  I’m so anxious to see them pop open this year.  I know it will be a little while before I see them though, so I’m hoping I can find some inspiration soon.

So, how about you, anyone else longing for Spring?  Am I the only one struggling to stay inspired during the short, grey, winter days?  Any ideas for sparking inspiration?

A new look for my nightstand

When I decided to move my jewelry into our closet, it freed up space on top of my nightstand as well as leaving me with any empty wall above it.  I took advantage of the opportunity and used what I had in my supplies to give my nightstand a new look.

Nightstand- Before

I removed the jewelry box, jewelry rack, lamp, and the hanging necklace display.  The box with the butterflies is where I store my cell phone charger and accessories, so it is functional for me, but it did not have to stay on my nightstand since I got a new phone I don’t have to charge it every night now.  The alarm clock is necessary, since it goes off at 5am everyday!  The other item with the 2 swans is very special, as it was a wedding gift from my co-workers.  It says “two hearts beat as one,” and I just love it.  I started the process by removing everything, and I ended up with a look I really like.

Nightstand - After Pictures and new decor

I’ll admit…I removed the alarm clock for the pictures, because it looks better without it, but it still does sit on the corner of my nightstand.  I had the lamp in my décor supplies.  I bought it at a yard sale, originally for the shade, but I never ended up using it anywhere.

Nightstand - Vignette-glass tray-two hearts-books-plant

I added the plant for some color and life.  The plant, including the pot, was on clearance at Lowe’s for $4.  I picked it up when I went for the closet reorganization supplies.  I wanted to keep the swans on he nightstand, but they seemed lost.  Once I added the books, it seemed much more put together to me.  And, then I added the glass tray to finish it off.

Nightstand - after close-up of thrifted glass tray

I got the tray for 50 cents last month at Attic Treasures, which is a monthly thrift shop at a local church.  It was too pretty to pass up.  Plus, by adding the glass tray to my nightstand, it prevents me from piling other things on top of it. 🙂

Nightstand - After Pictures from Pennsylvania book close-up

For the wall décor, I also pulled from my stash of supplies I had.  The 3 frames and mats were sitting empty in the closet.  And, I also had this book:

Nightstand - Pennyslvania Book for Pictures

I had bought the book at a thrift store for $3.  It was cheap because the pages were loose.  I was glad they were loose because I only bought it to use the pictures from it.  I pulled out local pictures from around the Lancaster area and put them in the frames.  I think I would prefer the frames to be a different color, but I’m not sure what.  What color frame would you use?  I have some time to figure it out, because my preferred method for changing frames is to use spraypaint.  And, its definitely not warm enough to set up my spraypaint shop out in the backyard right now!

Nightstand - After

Overall, I’m really happy with the new look.  And, Bob gave it his approval when he returned from his trip too.  He thinks the frames should be a different color too, but we couldn’t decide on what.  Any suggestions?