Patching Drilled And Broken Tile & Reducing Shelf Brackets

Tweakity-tweak-tweak. That’s the sound of a little course correction that went on in our house last night. See, our kitchen underwent a little bracket redux. Yup, after taping things off, photoshopping them, and then (ahh!) drilling right through our wall of tile to install our brackets, we were completely sold on their spacing, which we landed on because:

  • Functionally, that’s where the wall studs were
  • We thought keeping the same distance between the brackets on each side of the hood would create balance on an unbalanced wall

But then we lived with them for a while and more things kept going into the kitchen (new lighting, a new dishwasher, new art, new floors) and with every change we noticed – first just in photos, and then in real life – that the eight brackets on the left side of the hood were – gasp – looking a little crowded.

So sad. Especially since a few of you mentioned that you thought six would have looked great on that side after we installed them (but we were too drunk with excitement or adrenaline or whatever it is that gets into your blood when you take a room that looked crazy dark and dated and start updating it). I think it just took some time for our eyes to adjust, so we had to live with things and let the room evolve until it became unbelievably obvious to us. And then we were suddenly right there shaking our heads and saying “oh why did we go with eight brackets on this side when six would have looked soooooo much better?” It’s like when your mom tells you she doesn’t like your tenth grade boyfriend or your best friend confesses those jeans look terrible on you but you’re in denial or just somehow completely blind to it and then later it hits you and you have a what-was-I-thinking moment and ditch the dude/burn the pants.

Thank goodness nearly everything that we’ve done to both our first house and this one can evolve and change as we go (like the living room, for example) or our first house’s paint colors (we painted nearly every room at least twice there, along with painting the trim twice too). Live and learn, right? So the good news is that the whole: “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” thing really does have a ton of truth to it when it comes to making your house a home. Just keep your rooms moving and growing and someday they’ll be right where you want them to be! Even if you don’t get it right on the first (or even the fifth) try.

So here’s our kitchen after our little bracket redux. It’s simpler, right? And we actually love how the middle bracket lines up with the line of the counter, so it still has balance since things are aligned so they look intentional. Whew. Note: the middle bracket is in the direct middle of the other two, so if it looks further to the left or right, it’s just the angle of the pic.

But we drilled through the tile to hang those eight brackets on the left side, so how did we undo that snafu?

Well, first we cleared the shelves (the black stuff is just small pieces of 3M removeable velcro that holds up my Love Life frame).

Then we removed the shelves (by unscrewing a few screws that connected them into the brackets) and slipped all the brackets off of the wall screws that they were resting on. You can vaguely see them in this picture below (they look like colons since there are two screws for each bracket).

Then we measured and drilled new holes for our middle bracket using a drill bit meant for tile to drive the screw into the wall (these new holes would replace the two middle brackets of yore). Since these screws weren’t going into a stud this time, we used heavy duty anchors in each of the two holes to hold up each of the two brackets (the top bracket and bottom one). Since the outside brackets on each of the shelves go into studs and the heavy duty anchors are really darn strong, each shelf could probably support a few John pull ups. Yup, they’re in there good.

Next we chiseled out the old tiles that had holes drilled into them. I completed this task completely on my own in about five minutes (seriously it was really easy) by using a flat-head screwdriver and a hammer to bang the screwdriver into the grout around each tile that I wanted to remove (sort of creating a chisel).

After about four chiselings around each tile, they just popped right out. Oh and see how one of the holes was in the tile (which we removed) but one of them was just in the grout? That happened with each bracket, which was nice because it meant we only had to pop one tile out and just would need fresh grout to fill those second holes.

Next I used tile adhesive to stick new tiles right back into those holes:

And then all that was left was to mix up a tiny batch of grout to fill those telltale holes around the new tiles.

Ta-daaaa! It’s like those extra two brackets were never there!

Well, if you squint you can see that the grout is still drying in these pics, haha. But once it dried it was completely impossible to tell that we replaced a few tiles and moved those brackets. Whew. And as for how much this upgrade cost: zero point zero dollars. Hurrah.

Here are those babies with a little side-angle action going on:

And here they are completely from the side (I love this view, so I always find myself glancing to the right when I walk in the door from the laundry room to gaze).

So the lesson is that even if you’re thinking things through, mapping them out on the wall with tape, and relying on photoshop before pulling the trigger – you still might end up tweaking things after you dive in, do something, and live with it for a while. But thankfully there are so many re-DIYable things, that home improvement is hardly ever a one-shot-only endeavor. It’s probably safe to say that every project has at least nine lives, like a cat. And getting started is the only way to get any closer to that elusive finish line, anyway!

What have you guys done and then redone lately? Anything you’ve lived with that has slowly started nagging at you and jumped back onto your to-do list? Have you ever chiseled tiles out? It’s totally my new favorite thing to do. Sometimes it’s just satisfying to bang on something with a hammer and watch the dust fly.


  1. says

    It’s amazing how that small change made such a big difference! Living in a rental I love doing little tweaks like that around our apartment. They are little moments of joy! (Yes, I’m corny and it doesn’t take much to make me happy!)

  2. Amanda R. says

    I really like the new spacing, definitely looks less crowded. I thought it would have been much worse to patch the holes, but you guys make it look easy! Good job!

  3. says

    I was wondering what was slightly “off” when I looked at your beautiful kitchen originally… i knew I loved it but something didn’t seem quite “right”. this totally did the trick! sometimes less really is more!

  4. Sarah says

    And I love how having penny tile made this process so much easier…. imagine having to work with subway tile or something, you’d have to replace so much more! oy!

    • says

      They feel just as sturdy! That stack of large dinner plates is hard for me to lift all at once (maybe it weighs forty pounds?) and I just thumped them all down after we loaded the shelves up again and it was just as sturdy!


  5. says

    What a great patch job you did. It looks so seamless. I’m impressed! I must say I was one of those people hoping for 6 brackets before you revealed the 8. It’s baffling how removing just 2 little brackets really opens up the wall space. Looks great guys!

  6. says

    Glad to see you have to redo things too.. Just spen the last two nights putting up a closet system that I carefully and meticulously measured out then had to remeasure and take two more trips to Home Depot…But at least it’s done. For now. Thanks for the update!

  7. Cynthia says

    WOW I never would have thought it made that much of a difference, but you are right it opens things up alot!! well done. And the kitchen looks AMAZING by the way :)

  8. Melissa M says

    LOVE it! I loved the shelving but wasn’t sold on the brackets – this made a world of difference and Im a bracket loving convert now!

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