Not too long ago, I chipped out the dated old back splash in my kitchen and installed subway tile. This seems to be the default tile of 2016, but I have always liked the bright, clean look and it suits my 1920's home. Originally I chose white grout, thinking I wanted a clean, simple look. In my mind, grout dark lines would make it look busy.
After hours of installing (tiling looks much easier than it turned out to be!) I finally got to the grout stage. I did half of the kitchen and stepped back to look at it. My heart did that little sinking feeling when you anticipate loving something and you end up not liking it. And being a color expert, I put another level of pressure on myself to get it "perfect." When I looked at the two halves of the back splash, I actually liked the way the lines were defined by shadow in the ungrouted half. The white grout I thought would look clean looked institutional and generic.
I tried to talk myself into liking it. Because, what are my options? Grout is pretty permanent and I certainly wasn't going to chip it all out and regrout it. Lo and behold, in the grout isle at Home Depot mulling over my options, the clouds parted and I saw my answer: Polyblend Grout Renew. It comes in about a dozen colors and the medium warm gray I was picturing in my mind was available. Hello Oyster Gray 386! I painted the white grout with it- a bit tedious but so satisfying to inexpensively change a big 'uh-oh".
Now my tile has more definition and interest, as well as looking a bit more vintage to go with the vibe of the house. And even better, I don't have to live with grout regret.
A little before and after of the kitchen:
As you can see, I also put in new flooring and replaced one cabinet with open shelving. A question I get asked a lot is about the counter tops. They are copper sheeting and were already installed when I moved in ten years ago. At first I didn't know what to think of them, but they have increasingly grown on me and now I love them. The copper is constantly shifting in color, showing the palette of life happening. The ebb and flow of oxidation and acidic spills that remove it make it ever evolving. I can set hot pans anywhere and copper is naturally anti-microbial. So many wins. The one drawback is that it is soft and if you drop a can on the counter, it will leave a slight dent. After ten years of breaking it in, however, I find that I even like the story the dents leave. Its like these counters warmly proclaim: "Real living happens here."
I am so glad I discovered a solution to my "grout crisis" and hopefully this information will help others turn and "oopsie" into and "ahhh." Now instead of thinking about grout in my kitchen, I have to actually think about what to make for dinner.