Kitchen Progress:: {Subway Tile and Counters}

Kitchen Progress:: {Subway Tile and Counters}

This week my kitchen remodel took a big leap forward. New counters were installed and subway tile is in progress!! YESSSSS! Finally. I’m trying not to jump up and down squealing too much because that is embarrassing, but YIPPEEE this stage of remodeling is SO exciting to me! Finally I get to see what I’ve been imagining in my head.

And THANK GOODNESS, I’m happy with it all so far.

Phew. I don’t know about you but I definitely think and think and overthink and then stress out a bit that I probably made the wrong choice until I see it all together and love it.

Remodeling a kitchen is a big big deal. I don’t want to mess it up. Right?

Please excuse my cell phone pics but these project updates are just way easier to get pics of when I can just sneak around the workmen and snap a quick picture with my phone when they aren’t looking! heh.

Kitchen Progress:: {Subway Tile and Counters}

So, as you can see, I couldn’t just stop with a white subway tile backsplash.

Mama had to have an entire kitchen of subway tile.

Oh yes, I did.

If mama is happy, EVERYONE is happy, right? Sometimes you just need to go for the gusto on what you really want and cut back elsewhere if you need to. That’s how I roll.

Fortunately my kitchen is not really big, but installing tile all around the cabinets from the floor to ceiling, around the door frame and around the window over the sink will make a BIG statement! I love me a big statement. It feels so fresh and clean, cohesive and solid, I LOVE IT already!

Best of all, it feels like home.

You might remember I had quite a bit of subway tile in my old kitchen too. My old kitchen was remodeled maybe seven years ago? And I STILL love subway tile, so I know I’ll love it for a very long time and probably forever.

Kitchen Progress:: {Subway Tile and Counters}

The rest of the tile will go up Thursday, the grout on Friday and the sink, faucet and dishwasher will be hooked up Monday! Cabinets still need to be painted, new hardware put on and updates in the adjoining family room are still under way.

Kitchen Progress:: {Subway Tile and Counters}

The only hiccup so far was my new drawer fronts arrived but they were not the right style (I had two banks of three drawers each installed to the right of the dishwasher). They should match the rest of the cabinetry so correct shaker style fronts have been ordered and are on their way. Other than that, things are moving right along!

I’m absolutely in love with my sink. I didn’t get a good picture of it but I’ll be showing it off more once the faucet is all in next week. And I could not love that long counter to the right of my sink any more. LOVE!

Kitchen Progress:: {Subway Tile and Counters}
Jack had to be barricaded in the family room so he’d be out of the way of the tile guy. He was not too happy about that, but still enjoyed watching the whole process from the chair.

Kitchen Progress:: {Subway Tile and Counters}

As you probably have noticed by this point, my counters are white! 

While I adore the look of white marble and actually considered it for my kitchen, once I really thought it through I realized marble didn’t make sense in this house.  My floors have a lot of grain so I didn’t want another material with heavy pattern or graining to compete with them.

These counters are actually a white Quartz, Caeserstone Organic White, with a tiny bit of no-color pattern that keeps them from being too stark.

From a distance they just look white. And that is just the feel I wanted! Simple and clean.

Kitchen Progress:: {Subway Tile and Counters}

I also really wanted a little bit more updated beachy look to my kitchen and while marble is absolutely gorgeous, I felt like maybe it was a bit too traditional classic in style when paired with my subway tile. I guess I was looking for a little bit different mix in this kitchen. Cause you know, I kind of love mixing things up. So quartz it is!

While I adored my wood counters at my old house and thought about doing them again here,  in this house I have already had wood floors. I really like contrast in materials with a balance of warm woods and cool stone. My last house had tile floors and one soapstone counter so the wood counters added just the right amount of warmth. Here I wasn’t needing the added warmth of wood counters since my floors are providing that.

So stone and tile counters and backsplash create the perfect cool balance to the warm wood floors. My cabinets will be painted, as I mentioned.

Kitchen Progress:: {Subway Tile and Counters}

You might also note that I used all the same counter material on all my cabinets this time, rather than mixing it up with two different materials like I did in my old house. The reason for that is in this kitchen I really wanted a bit more streamlined, fresh and cohesive look from one side of my kitchen to the other. I didn’t want to chop things up too much.

However, I will have a freestanding island so that gives me the opportunity to mix things up a bit there.

Because  if things get TOO streamlined and simple, I might break out into hives. Just kidding. Kinda.

So, there you have it! The up to the minute kitchen updates.

Next up will be the remaining tile on the wall, the new faucet, and installing my existing dishwasher and then I’m hoping to get the cabinets painted in the next few weeks. Oh, and installing the new sconces. So many details still left but we are getting closer to the bulk of the work being completed!

Thanks for following along! You can find the rest of the kitchen progress updates here.



  1. Love the progress…love the white tiles and bench tops…can’t wait to see it when cabinets have been painted! Exciting times for you!

  2. Those white tiles are just the right size, shape and gloss for the room. I’m loving them! Antonia

  3. It is looking great! I went with white subway tile in my kitchen too. I can’t wait to get to this point. Thanks for sharing, it helps me to imagine….

  4. …love it all!…blessings laney

  5. Hi,
    I just love your website :) can I ask you where you got those shelf brackets?


    • Thanks! YES, I found them at Lowe’s! Right off the rack. They actually look a lot like the brackets on our front porch so it was great to find something that works so well with the style of our house, too!

  6. Beautiful! We’d really like to redo our kitchen as well, and we’re thinking about small changes we can make now to hold us over until a remodel is possible. Subway tile just might be the way to go!

  7. so fun to see the progress…. I love this stuff!

  8. carol jane says

    Love, love , love, the quartz! Thats exactly what I want in my kitchen. If I ever get the funds to remodel it!

  9. Seriously… soon as the picture showing the subway tile behind the stove scrolled into view (you know, the one with the installers hinnie facing the camera…lol)….I gasped…OUT LOUD! Holy Cow! That is gonna be one bee-u-tee-ful kitchen. Love it!

  10. It looks so clean and pretty!

  11. Melissa, it looks beautiful so far!! I love the tile and the new countertops! How exciting!!

  12. Cheryl Thornton says

    looks wonderful…and really makes me want a re-do in my kitchen…we are gearing up for new floors in the living/dining area and new paint colours…what colour are you painting the cabinets???…they are lovely as is – but I have been wanting the “hubs” to paint my honey oak 90’s cabinets for awhile now – he’s one of those who doesnt like to paint wood…I just got him to agree to paint out the baseboard and casement moldings when we redo the other rooms – anyway…can’t wait to see more of your kitchen!
    Cheryl from Ontario

  13. Ooooh! I love the subway tile all around the kitchen and cannot wait to see the rest of the plan come together. Its so strange to look at pictures of your home as my best friend has the exact same house (in Lynnwood.) Its like watching her redo her place. :)

    • That is so funny, I bet that is a little strange! I’ve had that happen too with houes of similar layout. Kind of fun to see how different they can look with different materials!

  14. Melissa, I just have to tell you how happy I am for you. I know how long you have been wanting to do this project, and it is looking fabulous!

    I have white counters, too, and I love them.

    • Beverly, it makes me so happy that there are wonderful women out there like you who are so supportive and encouraging and KNOW how much this means to me! Thank you.

  15. I love your bold statement with the subway tile. It looks kind of European. I love it. Can’t wait to see it all done.

  16. Beautiful and well done! I love before/after pictures! Thank you for sharing this with all of us.

  17. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, the subway tile throughout the kitchen!!!!!!!!!


    Hugs From My Heart

  18. That tile is gorgeous!! We are doing a full wall of tile in our bathroom renovation (one of three walls of the tub/shower alvoce), and I can’t wait for it to be finished.

  19. I love how neat everything looks! can’t wait for the final results.

  20. Our kitchen remodels seem to be on the same calendar but you are moving a bit faster than I am (sad face) Love that subway tile and how you did the entire wall! I have a very small backsplash area due to an open concept but am in loe with the simplicity and timelessness of white subway tile. Cant wait to share pics of my tiny amount of subway tile

  21. Your kitchen is looking SO good. I love how you brought the tile to the ceiling and the way it sort of glimmers. Can’t wait to see it all completed. This makes me want to start my kitchen reno now.

  22. A classy look for a classy cook!;)
    The materials you have chosen are timeless in their use and appearance.
    They never disappoint, and can make a new kitchen feel ‘established’ over generations of love, care, and use.
    Melissa you are transforming your ‘new’ home into one that feels like a precious heirloom. Great job!

    • Oh, thank you Marla! I am so pleased with how it is coming together and I just know I’ll love it as long as I live here! In fact, it would be hard to get me to move now that THIS is my kitchen!

  23. So pretty! What a dream come true, right. I remember when I was finally able to remodel our kitchen. Big, big step! You’re doing a fabulous job and I can hardly wait to see the finished room.

  24. Oh Melissa, It’s absolutely gorgeous! I’m in LOVE with your idea to take the tile one step further! And I can’t wait to see how it looks when you paint your cabinets. And you know how much I drool everytime I see that amazing sink! SO SO happy for you!

  25. Wow, it’s really taking shape! Love all the choices- they’re so “Melissa”!

  26. What color grout did you go with for the subway tiles. That is the only thing I cannot decide! This will help me explain to my husband why I want an entire wall fo subway tile! Thanks for the amazing pictures!!

  27. maria and cameron who loves jack says

    Wow!! That subway tile and quartz countertop looks amazing!! Great job designing!!!

  28. Those quartz counters look amazing!

  29. It looks so great!!! I love that you decided to carry the subway tile throughout the entire kitchen, looks awesome! Can’t wait to see it all finished!

  30. Lookin’ LOVELY, oh my love all that tile! Can’t wait to see it all finished and dreamy!

  31. HOly tile !! I love that all walls are covered. It’s going to look so good once it’s all finished. You must be so excited :)

  32. So exciting! My kitchen cabinets are being painted as I type this (White Dove, Benjamin Moore), and my subway tile went in just Saturday… with the new granite te day before that. :) So fun. What color are you painting your cabinets?

    I love your brackets and wish I would have gone to Lowes. I grabbed off the shelf brackets at home depot last week, but found brackets like yours that I’m hoping to get sooner than later. I am also going for somewhat of a beachy look.

  33. It looks so awesome! I really love the look of the white quartz…such a great alternative to the marble. Can’t wait to see the final results! : )

  34. Oh my gooooosh! I am LOVING this. That subway tile all the way around the walls? Genius! Totally genius, my friend. Looks amazing, and I can’t wait to see more glimpses of your progress. Thanks so much for keeping us updated! :-)

  35. Melissa, I am in love with your kitchen and so glad to see the quartz counters installed and to find out how happy you are with them. I need new counters and I am with you on the marble, I just can’t bite the bullet,even though it is in my entry hall and in my guest bathroom. I am always chopping and dicing on my white tile and I don’t think I would be careful enough with marble counter tops. Love the subway to the ceiling and around the window. I suggested this to a client I will be sure and show her your finished kitchen. Thanks for keeping us posted, Love it all,
    xo Kathysue

  36. Everything is coming together so beautifully, Melissa! I’m a big fan of light-colored quartz , too. Great choice! :-D

  37. Hi – I just went back and looked at your original kitchen post and compared it with this one. Holy cow! The kitchen looked perfectly lovely before, but that I can totally see where you’re going with this. The subway tile has made a HUGE difference. It’s added an architectural element that wasn’t there before. Shoot – now you’ve made me want to take a sledge hammer to something! :)

  38. Only one word…Gorgeous!!!

  39. Oh wow, I love the way the subway tile looks on the full wall around the stove. It really makes a statement on that scale. I’m going to have to ‘steal’ that look some day!

  40. Wondering about the kitchen sconces you will be installing. I have been looking for sconces for my living room and haven’t had any luck finding something that works. Thought maybe a mirror would be pretty, can’t find any big enough for my space. Any suggestions?
    Love the kitchen, am plainning a kitchen re-do next year so I am paying very close attention to yours!

  41. Beth Williams says

    Loved the subway tile backsplash!@ That’s what we’re getting when we renovate our kitchen in a year or so.

    I absolutely love the way your kitchen looks!

  42. Wow Melissa — you’ve made a lot of progress in your kitchen since my last visit! Love the subway tile .. it really is a very crisp look. I’m sure it’s so nice to be heading out of the “insanity” phase into the “getting close” phase :~)

  43. Hi love your tile work. I am doing the same and would like to know if for the edge you did is a bull nose tile. Would appreciate your help. Thank you

  44. Love, love, love that you did the tiles all the way to the ceiling! Reminds me of Brazilian kitchens…

  45. You mentioned having wood countertops in your last kitchen. What was the upkeep on those like, how did they wear, and what type of wood did you use? I’m building a new house, and I need lots of countertop but we’re quickly running out of money. Do you recommend them?

  46. Subway tiles looks awesome!

  47. Where did you order your shaker style drawer fronts from? We are in the progress of redoing our kitchen and need to match our existing shaker style cabinetry.

    • The contractor found a label in our existing cabinetry and was able to order matching drawer fronts from the cabinet manufacturer for the new drawers!

  48. How exciting! The subway tile looks terrific! Are you tired of eating out yet?

  49. More pictures please?? How are things progressing?!

  50. Did you use white tile or bone? Also what color grout did you pick? I am seeing that some people use gray and some use white. My kitchen backsplash is being installed next week. I choose the white over the bone and am not second guessing myself. My cabinets are the same color as yours. Thanks for the input!

  51. I am loving your kitchens. I’m sure I just missed it, but what color are the cabinets going to be painted?

  52. Hi, you have done such a geat job in your home I was wondering if you could give me a little advice? My hubby and myself are remodeling a SMALL lake cottage, I have ordered white cabinets from lowes and wood floors from Lumber Liquiders called Driftwood ( gray), the walls will be a pretty soft blue-gray,now for the problem…the counters!! I can’t decide…should I go white,light or dark gray,or black? Please help me before I drive my husband crazy. Thank you :)

    • Oh dear, well honestly I can picture all of the above depending on what other elements you have going on in the house. I think though that since it is a small lake cottage I would go with white or light to medium gray on the counters rather than black. Black might be too harsh. I don’t think you can go wrong with white or gray. But I’d say white might be the simplest choice! Hope that helps a little? :-)

  53. I Love your counters. Do you mind telling me what the name is?

  54. Recently found your site and have been drooling over it for DAYS!! I absoltley love your kitchen, and I’m wondering if you can tell us which brand/”name” of Quartz you went with? I think the true white of it is beautiful!! Thanks in advance (and if I missed a post containing the info, it’s not for lack of searching ;)

  55. Julie Brazelton says

    Can i have a link of the exact subway tiles you used and exact white quartz name and brand so I can copy you:) Thank so much!

  56. Hello! Just stumbled upon your site while doing research for my kitchen remodel. I love the subway tiles! May I ask what color grout you used? Is it white or colored? Thank you!

  57. Hi Melissa — I have been loving all your tips on your kitchen reveal, as it is beautiful!! We recently acquired a home that’s kitchen needs some major TLC & have found your posts to be super helpful & also help grow my confidence in this endeavor!! One question that I have poured over all your posts to try & figure out (as to not bother you) was about hanging the display shelf on top of the subway tile. In one of the above pictures, it looks as if you hung the brackets before tiling? Did you tile around them, or remove them, tile & then place it back on? We are doing subway tile backsplash as well & I would need one open shelf to be on top of the tile & I am so nervous about doing this (cracking the tile, not finding the stud or not being able to use the studs & anchoring)! Any info you could give on that?? Sorry if you’ve covered it another post!!


    • Good question, I’m not sure if I have talked about it or not (maybe it needs a post to address it!). Yes, while it is possible to drill through tile to hang brackets, my contractor preferred to hang the brackets first and then tile around them! Thanks so much! Have fun with your project!!

  58. millicent macchione says

    Thanks soooooo much for all the details you share with us! Such a huge help. I found you from a white paint undertones search that led me to shabbycreekcottage which led me to you! I’ve already painted my kitchen cabinets White Dove and am contemplating gray lowers to accent my caesarstone london gray—-with coincidentally chelsea or kendall charcoal! Glad to see that a darker cabinet looks great. Currently they are all white dove and I was a little worried about going dark. And furthermore, is Jack a lovely wheaten?

  59. Hi Melissa, I just love your kitchen remodel and have used it as inspiration for our own kitchen remodel. Just a quick question about countertops – what thickness is your caesarstone? I’m having trouble deciding if its best to go with a 3/4″ top or 1 1/4″ thick top. Thanks! Nicola

  60. Hi there … I’m in the planning stages of replacing my counter tops and just cannot decide what colour to go with…. My cabinets are the colour of your old cabinets (before they were painted) and I liked the London Grey Caesarstone. I was wondering if that would go with the cabinets because of the grey tones in the quartz. I don’t want to reface or paint my cabinets yet. My other choice was chocolate truffle but that seemed too dark… any advice? Thank you for sharing your remodelling.. I love all the details you shared and your kitchen looks awesome!

  61. Looks great! Did you use a 1/8th or 1/16th space between the tiles?

  62. What shade of grey do you have in the living room? It works beautifully!

  63. Also, what countertops did you choose? I am currently looking at a bunch of different white countertops for my kitchen :)

  64. Question: I’m working on a back-splash with subway tile and I like how you have done around the door opening, but not sure how to get it done. It appears you used a bull-nose tile? I can’t seem to find a bull-nose on the 3″ side of 3×6 tile, it is usually on the 6″ or long side.

    Did you use a bullnose up the side? Where did you get that tile? (brand, vendor).
    Thanks for any assistance you might have!

  65. Nova Lillie says

    Melissa did you hire someone or u asked your husband? I wonder if you have a tutorial if its DIY.

Join the Conversation