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. Emma says

    Looks great! And cheers to you for doing the tile fixes RIGHT away. I probably would have left the drilled tiles up for a few months (years?) out of sheer laziness. Well done!

  2. Thais Bessa says

    OMG I am so happy you did that. I really didn’t like the shelves because I always felt they were super crowded/cluttered, but after this change I like them now!

    PS: I didn’t like but never commented because.. you know, you live there and I didn’t want to be that guy, lol.

    • gk says

      me too! if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all, right? but i’m still glad to see the change :)

  3. sara says

    I am so glad you changed it. I was totally hating on the brackets. I still think the floating shelves would have looked better but I’m coming around to the brackets now that the long side is a little lighter looking! Great tile work, too.

  4. says

    Did you guys put eight brackets up just so you could show us how to fix holes in tile? You guyyysssssss. ;) Just jokes. Just jokes. It never bothered me, but now I see the light. Six feels much less stuffy.

    As for what we have been doubling back on? We aren’t afraid to re-do just about anything if it is bugging us. I think it is a great lesson in home-decor humility.

  5. says

    Good call! It looks much more light and airy now.
    I was have been so freakin nervous about do that though. Those tiles are surprisingly easy to work with!

  6. SB says

    I did think that it originally looked a bit “bracket heavy” and now it does look a lot better. But almost everything you two do – it so awesome. I get so motivated and inspired reading your blog. It forces me to do more and better around my house. That’s a good thing!

  7. Nat says

    I’m really impressed. I didn’t notice that it was too crowded but I definitely think it looks less crowded now. So many people would have just always said that they wished they’d done it another way without taking the time to fix it. Hats off to you guys for taking the time to make the change! I’m impressed!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *