Jun 26, 2011

Kitchen Reboot - 4, Slate and Subway, Fire and Ice

When blueprinting the new kitchen, it was important to balance things out and offer a sniff of contrasting material.  Everything in moderation.  A little stainless steel, not a lot.  A touch of hard oak butcher block, but don't go postal with it.  

I realized a slate floor would be heavy, dark and brutal, so searched for a material to counterbalance and oppose to lighten things up.  A simple white subway tile on a couple walls would do the trick and smack the bleak floor down to size.  Even better, butt these yin and yang materials together at the base and force them to play well together:

Gobs going on there: new window, subway tile on wall, slate floor and trim, short take on table and wet paint

Walked in after work as Dave was laying slate, he glanced up and muttered, "Boy, I tell you what, this stuff's a real bit..." he paused and glanced over at Pigtails, then stammered, "Uh, a real big pain in the butt to install." 

The same stone old chalkboards are cut from, it's formed from layers of mud compressed deep in the Earth by megaton natural forces.  Jet black and cool on the toes, slate slabs are difficult to install due to variances in layer thickness and uneven edges.  Each 24" tile weighs several pounds.  Unexpected bonus:  Pigtails can scrape it with an 8-pack of jumbo chalk and draw quick-erase floor art.  

Kitchen's narrow, only 8' wide, so we did the old horizontal stripes trick to try and fatten things up.  I asked Dave to slap the floor tile with the long edge pointing side-to-side.  Helps a little, not as cluttered now and looks less like a small circus cage. 

I didn't want the traditional backsplash that peters out halfway up the wall.  Clean lines, I prefer to stretch it up yonder and touch the ceiling.  Also decided to subway tile a second wall.  Just for the heck of it.  And perhaps because I hate painting.  Dave cringed when I suggested it, he was worried it'd look terrible.  However, he gave me a knuckle punch when complete, it turned out nice.

Didn't plan on replacing the two kitchen windows, but said "Do it" when Dave mentioned a pair of Jeld-Wens would only cut a few hundred bucks from my pocket.   Haven't been able to open the old crusty windows in the 12 years I've lived here, so this was going to be a big deal.  I like open windows; a salty storm's brewing and the west wind's whistlin' through the screen now as I type.    

That's it for now.  We'll do cabinets and counters next week.  Might even toss in the kitchen sink.



  1. That is a lot of work. Nice contrast though.

  2. Wow, I love the idea of a floor kids can draw on. Forget the chalkboard-painted fridge floating across the internet, the floor has my vote. Looks great!

  3. Would love to know where you got the slate...

  4. Nicole3/22/2012

    Please share where you got the slate from and how it's holding up. I'm thinking about doing the same exact tile in my kitchen. Such a gorgeous look!

    1. I would love to know as well where the tile is from!!! Sam


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