While I love our new backsplash, getting it installed wasn’t without complications. The most obvious of the complications happened when Mark and I forgot to tell the tile guy that part of our kitchen is put together with spit and a smile. Actually, there are areas throughout our entire house that at best are odd, and at worst impinge on our basic quality of life. I’m pretty sure that these “peculiarities” about our house can all be traced back to one set of previous owners who were DIY enthusiasts. Don’t get me wrong, I love a DIYed project, but a potential problem with DIY is that some jobs really are better left to people who know what they’re doing.
Anyhow, back to the kitchen backsplash. I noted before how the walls in our kitchen are knotty pine wood paneling, which made putting tile on them a tad tricky. What I neglected to mention, however, was that not all four walls are wood paneling. Check out the area underneath the cabinets on the wall to the left versus the wall to the right in the photo below:
On the right is wood paneling and on the left, well, it’s a piece of plywood. Mark and I wondered why that wall wasn’t like the other four. In fact, it pretty much bugged us. Then one day when Mark was home someone knocked on the front door. An elderly man, accompanied by his daughter, introduced himself as the original owner of our 50+ year-old house and wondered if might he have a look around. Mark invited him inside and gave him a tour. (Here’s a disclaimer. It’s probably not a good idea to let strangers into your home solely on the basis that they claim they used to live there. In this case, however, Mark felt comfortable and all went well.) Anyhow, the original owner said that the kitchen used to be open to the dining room underneath the cabinets. At some point, some other owner clearly wanted to close off the two rooms and decided to do so with a piece of plywood. Seriously, how was that the best idea? Surely there was more than one idea for how to separate the two spaces and in what world is, “Hey, let’s just put up plywood and paint it?” the winning idea?
So we forgot to tell the tile guy about the fact that there was a mere piece of plywood separating the kitchen from the dining room. Imagine his surprise when the tips of the screws he was drilling into the backer board came through on the other side of the plywood, otherwise known as our dining room wall. In fact, as seen from the dining room side of the wall, the whole configuration of screw tips looked like some miniature Medieval torture device. I wish I’d gotten a photo of it, but the tile guy removed the screws too fast. You can sort of get an idea by the holes that were left behind in the dining room wall (just imagine sharp screws pointing out of each hole):
The tile guy was mortified. After apologizing profusely (and in response we apologized to him for not remembering this goofy little detail of our house), he said, “Wow. I’ve never seen anything like that.” And that, I assure you, was not meant as a compliment.
Fortunately, Mark and I had all the tools on hand to fix the torture device, so we told the tile guy not to worry about it. We just filled the holes with spackle, let it dry, and then sanded the spackle to ensure a smooth surface.
Then we just touched up the entire area with the original wall paint we still had in the garage.
Good as new. And now that the wall in the kitchen is tiled, no one would ever guess our plywood secret.