Oscar the Grout

We’re already shared our crown moulding progress.  Now that we’ve installed and grouted the marble subway tile kitchen back splash, we’re ready to share the details.  Ben likes to use pre-mixed mastic for small jobs like this.  Our tiles are relatively small (3 by 6 inches), so a 1/4 inch notch trowel worked perfectly.  For the most seamless look possible, we used 1/16 inch spacers.  Ben borrowed a wet saw from work to get the job done.  Before grouting the tile, we waited a week to give the tile adequate time to set up.

We had white unsanded grout left over from our bathrooms, so we used what we had.

Before mixing the grout, I taped off the cabinets and counters.  Grouting is a messy job and we wanted to protect everything as much as possible.  Then Ben mixed up some grout in a large stainless steel bowl.  Like nearly everything mixed material in home improvement, you want the grout to have the consistency of peanut butter.

Using a foam float, Ben applied the grout, smooshing it in the cracks and wiping the extra off quickly after.

Be careful not to wipe off too much, though.

For the tighter strips along the window, Ben used his fingers to push the grout in the cracks.  After finishing up the wall, Ben sponged most of the grout off the tile surfaces and the window trim.

Next up, the stove side tile.  Again, the float was too wide to get this tile, so Ben applied it with his hands.

And now waiting for the grout to set up.

Here she is, all grouted and lookin’ pretty.

Here’s my favorite shot, showing almost every kitchen detail:

Everything except the awful soap color.  Why does Palmolive make their soap glow in the dark green?

Any suggestions for pretty dish soap?  Hand soap is easy enough to find.  I like that this pump holds two different kinds, but I’d like something prettier.  But doesn’t the grout make everything look so much better?  And finished?  And preeeety?

44 thoughts on “Oscar the Grout

  1. the tile looks great! i can’t wait until we get to completely redo our kitchen…
    we use Palmolive Ultra Oxy Plus dish soap. it comes in a blue bottle, but the soap itself is clear… at least i’m pretty sure it is.

  2. I also like Method, 7th Generation, or Mrs. Meyers (watch out for the scent, I don’t like them all). 7th Generation is my current favorite because it is the most affordable “green” soap which the best scent. Target has random clearance on certain soaps so I’m not picky. You could use a hand soap and a dish soap in the two spaces for your hold. I do like the dark green in the pump, as I love green glass!

    1. Hi Monica, We use the Method hand soap and I LOVE it!

      Hey Amanda, Aww, thanks! We said the same thing for five years, so I know how you feel. 🙂 It’s so exciting to finally be at this stage. I’ll have to check out Palmolive Ultra if it’s clear. Thanks for the tip!

      Hey Nora! Yeah, I bought some Mrs. Meyers without looking at the scent only to realize it was SNAP PEA scented. Eeew much?! Yep, we use the large side for dish soap and the smaller one for hand soap. Love that we get both without having two dispensers.


  3. Looking great! How exciting that it is getting so close to done 🙂

    I like seventh generation free&clear (of dyes and scents). I’m pretty sure it is clear (color).

  4. Call me cheap, but I’d just dilute the dish soap with water – it’ll be a paler green, and it’ll go further! But, to be honest, I don’t hate the color that much.

    Also, eco-friendly soaps (method etc) tend to be more sedate colors, in my experience.

    Anyway, the grout looks great! And so do the tiles, I love them.

  5. If that’s a glass bottle you could easily use frosted glass spraypaint and it would give it a nice diffused glow with whatever color hand soap you use. Also, where are your counters from? I love it.

    1. Hey Hil, Thanks! And so exciting. Now if we would just build our cabinet doors! Haha. I’ll have to check out 7th Generation, too. 🙂

      Hi My Honest Answer! Diluting it is an option, but it gets a little runny. We have both Dawn and Palmolive soap and I hoped mixing the blue and green would make a pretty color, but they didn’t mix well. So now we have a blue layer topped with green. Thanks for your kind words, too! 🙂

      Hi Heather, Sadly, it’s acrylic, but I love your suggestion! And, the counters are Bubinga wood from a local hardwood importer. Hope that helps!


  6. Thanks, Amanda. I’m not 100% but I’m almost positive you can use the Krylon Frosted spray paint on acrylic. It might hold best with a light buff of a fine grit sandpaper first, but it should definitely work. I know it’s not meant just for glass, it’s just meant to give the look (and it does – though I’ve only used it on glass).

    Love the counters. I think we’re doing concrete in ours (maybe) but our island will be wood. We’re still a few years out so who knows what will change haha.

  7. Looks great! I’m gearing up to attempt a kitchen backsplash project of my own. Need to watch more YouTube videos!


  8. Everything is looking so nice. Personally I like the green soap but it isn’t about what I like. Kind of gives it a “sparky” look. Just saying.

  9. Your kitchen is turning out gorgeous! Have you moved your bed in there? Seriously, I would not want to leave it if I were you. The combination of materials, textures and color is remarkable.

    We use Kirkland brand (Costco) “environmentally friendly” hand dish washing liquid. It is clear, has a mild pleasant sent and does a good job. Sometimes I drop a bit of essential oil (orange is my fav) into the mix to perk me up. You spend a bunch of time at the sink, you should feel good about it!

  10. I love the idea of using a stainless steal bowl. I’m guessing that the grout cleans out easily. I have always used a bucket but it is far too deep. Great idea! They kitchen looks wonderful. It is coming together more everyday.

  11. Your kitchen is so beautiful. I love the marble backsplash. Its so classic and is such a glamorous spin on your classic white subway tile. I just love how the smooth creamy texture of the marble contrasts with the earthy raw texture of the countertop. Great Job!!!

    1. Hi Amy, I’ll check out 7th Generation the next time I’m out. 🙂

      Hi Leatitia, Aww, thanks!

      Hey Heather! That’s good to know. If I remember the next time I’m out, I’ll have to read the can to see what surfaces it works on. And, I think concrete with wood is a great combo. 🙂

      Hi Jeannie, Good luck with your back splash! If you’ve never done it before, using the pre-mixed mastic can take a little of the guess work out of the process. 🙂

      Hey JD! The green isn’t the worst color, but it’s SUPER bright in person. If it were a little lighter, I think it would be fine. Hmm, I wonder if I can mix a clear soap with the green for a better color…

      Hi Jay! Thanks so much for your kind words! We’ve thought about moving our bed in there. Haha. Ooh, we’re at Costco all.the.time. I’ll have to keep my eye out for their soap. 🙂 Thanks for the tip!

      Hi Paula, The soap pump came from Target, the Umbra brand. I haven’t seen it there for a while (I got it on clearance last summer), but here’s a similar one: http://www.containerstore.com/shop/kitchen/sinkArea/pumpDispensers?productId=10025926&utm_source=BV&utm_medium=SEO

      Hi A Can Do Attitude! The grout did clean out easily and it was the perfect size. And thanks for your encouragement! 🙂

      Hi Ashley! Aww, thanks! Isn’t it cool looking?!?

      Hey Cathy, I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for the heads up!

      Hi Shavonda! Thank you for your kind words and encouragement! I love the classic subway tile size with the glam marble. Perfect combo if you ask me. 🙂

      Thanks, everyone!

  12. This looks great. I love white subway tile, but I agree with Shavonda about how this is a glam spin on the usual.

    Sigh – some day we’ll have a blacksplash like this instead of the uneven drywall that’s had 5 different paint samples on it since – eeks – July . . . (hiding my face) . . . .

    1. Hey TryinginPittsburgh, Thank you so much! You know what, we’ve all been there. We replaced our front door two and a half years ago and STILL haven’t touched up the paint or put the plugs in the glass border. Oh well, some day it will happen. Haha.


  13. I love how bright the kitchen is now. It’s almost blinding! It’s sleek and ‘clean’. (Not that your kitchen was dirty before.) But you know what I mean. 🙂 Looks fabulous. Now I have to convince Nick to go with those counters as opposed to granite, when we get that far. We need a house first!

    1. Hey Sam! Isn’t it crazy how bright it is?!? The freshly fallen (and still falling) snow helps with that, too. 🙂 So excited for you to get a new house. Then convince Nick to go with wood counters. They’re so much warmer than granite.

      Miss you!

  14. This is looking so profesh. Way to go you two. If a mag. doesn’t contact you to do a shot of your kitchen then I would be surprised. Your hard work and creative cooking for a few months (I’m sure) has paid off. Please don’t tell me you had to wash dishes in the bathtub. (Seinfeld reference) :o)

  15. Amanda, I’m tardy to the party. My apologies. BUT, wow! The shot of the cabinet, tile, and countertop? BEAUTIFUL! It’s crazy what a difference the grout makes to the final look of a tile job.

    1. Hi Tiffany, Aww, thanks! I’m blushing. We’ll definitely let you know if a magazine wants to feature our kitchen. That would be a dream! Surprisingly, this process has been easier (mentally) than I expected. 🙂

      Hey Stephanie! You’re just fashionably late. 😉 And, thanks! Doesn’t the grout just seal the deal. Haha, punny.

      Hi Whitney! Thanks, thanks, thanks!!!

      Hi Shirley, Thank you so much for your encouragement and kind words! 🙂

      Hi Imorion414Lindsey! That’s good to know! I don’t like strong scents, either. And, we have the same soap pump in our main bathroom. 🙂

      Thanks, all!

  16. I love that shot with all of the details! The white bowl is so cute too. We use Softsoap with aloe in our bathroom because it is white. I have white accents in the bathroom, so the white soap looks good in a clear dispenser.

  17. so pretty!! I’m booking making this when we get around to doing our kitchen! 🙂 I love the pretty soup dispensers from Target you could get two would look perfection on your sink or start using the clear soup?

  18. it’s beautiful! I just recently bought a GORGEOUS soap dispenser from the bath department that I plan to use in the kitchen. Might want to see what you can find in another part of the store 🙂

  19. Wow! The backsplash looks amazing! It looks so glamorous and I can’t get over great it looks with the contrasting dark counter tops. It’s so bright now, I bet you can’t wait to whip up some gourmet food 🙂

  20. Amanda,
    You and Ben are amazing. You have done such a fantastic job. AND, the pictures are night-and-day different from just a few posts ago. They look AMAZING! That last one truly could go in a magazine.
    Great work!
    Love you lots!

  21. I’ve seen Palmolive in purple and blue… not sure what the scents are. LOL

    Love the marble backsplash. It’s really coming together nicely.

    1. Hi Erica, Thanks! That white bowl was from my aunt. It’s perfect for fruit. 🙂

      Hey Katrina, I looked for different soap pumps at Target, but I like that this one holds both in one container. Sadly I didn’t see anything similar. Boo 😦

      Hi Sharon! I checked out Target’s bath section and bought a soap pump, brought it home and didn’t like the color. And they didn’t have anything for two kinds in one container. So I figure it might be easier to find pretty soap to go inside this dispenser. 🙂

      Hi Lori B. Aww, thanks! I know, the wood counters pair perfectly with the cabinet colors and the soft marble tile. And the stainless just keeps everything feeling a little modern. If I knew how to make gourmet food, I’d give it a try. I guess I’ll stick to BBQ chicken and spaghetti. 😉

      Hi Kristen! Thanks, lady! 🙂

      Hey Jenna! Oh, you’re just too sweet. I’m glad you can see a difference in the pictures, too.

      Hi Allison, Thanks for the tip! Also, we have that green glass dispenser in our main bathroom. For some reason, our Target didn’t have them in the stores…

      Hey Karen, Oooh, purple could be pretty. And thanks so much for your kind words!

      Thanks, ladies!

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