I returned to the cabin last week with Bella to finish the tile backsplash above the new countertops that were installed (by others) last month. I had set about half the mosaic tiles on our previous visit, so I had the remaining tiles to set, then grout it all and install the electrical plates on the outlets and switches. What had not occurred to me until the final day of this last work was that the last four tile installations I have done were not in kitchens. I did a tile shower in East Texas, then two showers and a front porch floor here in Denton. The last kitchen I tiled was in Placerville, CA. I found that leaning across a two foot counter and ducking under upper cabinets is a lot more of a strain on a 72 year old than on a 50+ year old. Progress was slow, but steady.
We had purchased the tiles at Lowe's. (Also where we procured the cabinets and counter top) They are travertine marble - a natural stone - cut into 2"x4" rectangles and set onto 12"x12" mats for ease of installation. This was all fine except when it came to trimming to fit at the upper cabinets. Travertine is full of small voids and fissures which lead to the small pieces breaking apart when cut into narrower strips. But grout covers a multitude of sins, so the final result is quite satisfactory.
The other wrinkle was the electrical. At one point there is a stud right in the middle of the point where I wanted a three-gang box and at another point (photo on left above) I needed to place a transformer for the undercabinet lights inside the electrical box. So to accommodate these situations I had to use build-it-yourself cover plates so that there could be a blank section at the stud and at the transformer locations. The only color switches and outlets that the local Home Depot carried in this configuration was pure white. I would have chosen beige, but it turned out quite well.
I am still trying new show venues to find those that provide the most effective exposure for my works.