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Mid-Century Modern Kitchen: Countertop & Backsplash

Do you ever make a decision that you are not excited about, but you make it anyway, because of… reasons? Like 200 times a day, right? Being an adult is fun. I did it just this morning when I didn’t hit the snooze button, even though I really wanted to. Then I did it again when I only put one scoop of whipped cream in my coffee instead of two. I’m just super responsible like that.

I made the same super-responsible decision with my kitchen countertop and backsplash. What I dreamed of was a two-scoop of whipped cream decision. The type where you go to put the lid on your coffee cup, and the whipped cream comes out the hole in the top and fills up your lid. Instead, I skipped the whipped cream altogether and just did creamer.

This is a very specific metaphor. Stick with me.

What I’m trying to say is that I got a white kitchen backsplash and white kitchen countertops. It’s super boring. But also…it looks really good. I’m actually very happy with it, and I didn’t make a hot, sticky whipped cream mess on my coffee cup lid.

So let’s talk about these boring but good and responsible selections.

I decided on a solid white tile backsplash for my new construction MCM kitchen, but I also knew I wanted something interesting and unique. Those two things don’t usually go together, but after much online shopping and sample collecting, I found a very cool 3-D triangle from Bedrosians Tile & Stone.

Triangle tile

See the tile here – it’s on clearance now and comes in many colors!

This tile is a great example of “don’t judge a book by its cover” because that photo from their website doesn’t do it justice. Also, the chevron pattern… it’s not my favorite. But I ordered a sample anyway, and when it came in I knew it was the one. Just look how pretty it is alongside the blue tile for my fireplace and green tile for the master bathroom.

White 3D triangle backsplash tile for mid-century modern kitchen

You can install the triangle tile in a variety of ways, so I played around with it and settled on a pattern that looked like those Mid-Century atomic stars. You know the ones.

Atomic starbust star tile

Next came the countertop selection. Now if I could pick anything, I would, without a doubt, march my butt over to Concrete Collaborative (virtually speaking, since they are in California and I’m in Texas) and drool over all their beautiful creations.

Then I would secure a beautiful, chunky custom terrazzo countertop for my kitchen. Just look at those last two photos above. How freaking sexy are those? I’m kind of obsessed.

There is a slight problem though. Just a teeny little snafu. I mean, it’s barely even worth mentioning.

A tiny insignificant detail

Those gorgeous countertops are…pricey. Outta my league. So out of my league that they don’t even know I exist. How dare they, right? Everyone gasp in collective disgust.

So instead of trying to make my own concrete countertops or something crazy like that, I’m just going to move on and find something else. Something safe and affordable, something that will let other kitchen features shine. So….something white and boring. A coffee creamer only decision.

I really did make my own concrete countertops once. And then I wrote a three part series on it. Click the link below to learn all about it!


I made a short video of the process of selecting a white quartz countertop, so I’ll drop that here.

I went to the countertop showroom and selected three samples that I thought might work.

white quartz countertop options

Here is a little information I learned while shopping for white quartz countertops. There are six levels of quartz countertop, level one being the least expensive and level six being the most. The whiter and more pure and countertop, the higher the level and more expensive the countertop. The samples above are from right to left, and level one (least white, lots of grain) level three, and level six (pure, smooth white).

I forgot to bring my tile sample with me to the store (amateur mistake), and there was no way I was going to choose a countertop without comparing it to my tile.

Coordinate white countertops with white backsplash

So I brought all three samples back with me for further comparison and pondering.

making sure your whites match

The winner was very clearly the level one. The white matches the white on the tile best, plus it has chunks in it, that kind of look like terrazzo. Not a chunky, colorful, two-scoop dream terrazzo, but a subtle muted terrazzo. A win is a win though. Also, it was the cheapest…love it when that happens.

Here are some of my selections together. The triangle tile backsplash, the countertop selection, the blue tile for the fireplace, the wall color…sorta (this is SW Silverstrand, my house is BM Wickham Gray), and wood for the cabinetry. Also the wrong color, but you get the idea.

MCM kitchen selections - white, neutral blue-green, and wood.

And now, installation! Countertops went in first, followed by the tile.

textured backsplash tile installation
New construction mid-century modern kitchen progress - backsplash and countertop
Designing a neural, budget- friendly new construction mid-century modern kitchen
Mid-century modern kitchen subtle atomic star tile
New construction small MCM kitchen
new construction MCM home kitchen
3D textured tile backsplash

If you are looking at this and thinking “That’s beautiful, but what about the switch and outlets covers?”

Then you, my friend, would be asking a question that didn’t even once cross my mind until I saw the finished product.

Yeeeah. Some of them are flush and fine, but others, not so much. This one is the worst. Trust me when I tell you I have since gone over all the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s of the situation, and I’ve decided that to remedy this I am going to…do nothing. Nada. Diddly squat. There is too much life to live, and adding non-problems to my plate isn’t something I’m interested in.

Now that we’ve coved all the meat of the post, gather ’round for storytime.

After the tile was installed the boys and I swung by the house to check it out. I had already seen it was in love with it, but they were seeing it for the first time. So we walk into the kitchen and immediately my older two boys run their hands over it all over the tile and say how cool it is and how they have never seen anything like it. I tell them I hadn’t either and I really liked how it looks like stars or flowers, which they both immediately agreed with.

It’s about this time that my two little boys come moseying in. My third son, who is the absolute sweetest, most mommy-loving, wide-eyed, sensitive little angel in the world, but also called me “Bruh” walks in, casually looks around, and says “Looks like buttholes to me.”

I look at him for a second, not sure how to respond. Then I look at the tile again, trying to see anything besides that. Then the other three boys look at it with new eyes…and the crowd goes wild. It’s officially the butthole tile.

Aren’t boys fun? I recently bought a bunch of activity books for the car, including mad libs. Need I say more? After hearing the above story, I bet you can imagine how those mad libs turn out. It’s truly disgusting. I mean, it’s hilarious…but also so, so gross.

In conclusion, life is really all about perspective. Sometimes people will look at plain white tile and see a safe decision. And other people will look at that same tile and see a wall full of buttholes. So just make the decision that is right for you, move forward confidently, and don’t worry about other people’s opinions.

And now that I’ve turned a funny story into something much deeper, I’m signing off. I hope y’all have a great week!

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  1. This is by far my favorite post ever. Buttholes. Leave it to boys or my daughter to lighten up any situation.

      1. Great post. Funny as buttholes in the eyes of boys. Typical! Lol.
        As much as I love it, I am thrilled. You’re happy with it. All I could think of was the cleaning. I wouldn’t be able to handle this. But you have three boys you can put to work cleaning there kitchen bu**holes!

  2. I love reading your posts. And the tile looks totally cool. I cannot imagine trying to clean it behind the stove, though…😎

  3. Love this post, and the colors you’ve picked for the space! but this story reminded me of what happened to me recently – I was really excited about a new piece of abstract art I bought. But when some friends saw it, all they could see was “episiotomy”… definitely not what I thought about when envisioning it my space, ha.

  4. I so enjoyed your post, the humorous side of things! I also love your choices for the countertop and backsplash tiles. Buttonholes! Hahaha!

  5. I just spat out my coffee!!! That is hilarious. I love the butthole backsplash (see what I did there) and hope it never gets christened that way.

  6. Hahahaha! My son saw a butthole between the two back cushions of my new brown leather sofa when he was 15. For ten years, that’s all I saw when looking at one of my living room’s main features. 🤦🏻‍♀️

  7. Lol, I have 8 pets so I am surrounded by buttholes and I never would have thought that! It looks fantastic!

  8. Love, love, love this tile selection!! Do you mind sharing what other ideas came to mind to remedy the light switch situation? Thank you!!

    1. My first thought (and probably the right way to do it) would be to cut the tiles around the outlets, that way they sit flush on the wall. The second, much easier but kinda janky way, would be to fill the holes around the outlet covers with white sanded caulk.

      1. Oh duh! Cut the tile. (Face palm, haha). All I could think about was caulk too. It’s beautiful either way! That tile is perfection.

  9. Haha boys are fun. I have two and I also get called bruh on occasion. Love how the kitchen is turning out!

  10. So appreciate this post! The design inspiration and advice are spot-on for creating a timeless, stylish kitchen. The choice of countertops and backsplash can truly transform a space, and this blog post offers fantastic insights to achieve that perfect blend of elegance and functionality. Bravo!

  11. Thank you! Finally a vision that really captures midcentury style and not the obligatory veiny white marble look counters with shaker cabinets painted white, blue or green with. All of which will be dated soon enough anyway.

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