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. Tessa says

    Nice tweakity tweak tweak for a big impact! I thought all the brackets looked great when you first put them up with empty shelves, but found it a bit cluttered-looking once you put all your pretty stuff on them. And great that you had penny tile so that it was a simple change!

  2. Sarah says

    It looks MUCH better. I also originally throught it looked overcrowded before, but I’m a “nothing on the counter” unless I’m cooking kinda girl. So, maybe it was just a personal preference?

    I thought it was all the stuff on the shelves making it look overcrowded. Who knew that removing a bracket on each shelf would fix not only this the problem, but also makes the hood look better. Certainly not me. Great job!

  3. says

    My first thought was “oh no, how are they going to fix the holes in the wall??” but of course you thought of it and it looks amazing.

    I probably never would have that “hey that looks dumb with eight brackets” but it sure loooks better with six!

  4. says

    I love it. This is what sets you two apart from “normal” people (of which I include myself). I would look at that “problem” and think, sure it might look better with only three brackets. And that is as far as I would take it. File it under “oh well.”

    It’s good to see just how easy it was to fix it, but I can go ahead and guarantee that I would never re-do something like this for aesthetic reasons. Now, if something broke, or it turned out I put one of the shelves up really crooked, sure. You guys are gangsta, and this is why we keep coming back.

    I fixed some shelves two days ago, but only because the person before us installed them in a manner that couldn’t hold up a few cookbooks (and we found out the hard way to the sound of crashing shelves):

  5. Pam says

    good for you for changing it. It wasn’t right; did you just get a little too lined up in things..ahem, lining up. I notice you do that! But then, I’m the person who has things .lined up. to that visitors during a house tour commented on my groups of 3…so you know who’s making the observation! ;-}

    Best regards

  6. Brenda says

    They look great! It’s not until I look at the pictures of them now that I realize how crowded eight brackets looked. Glad it was an easy fix!

  7. says

    Yay for less crowded! I gotta admit…I got really scared halfway down when I saw the holes and missing tile. But success, it looks fab! (Not that the 4 brackets didn’t look great before)

  8. says

    Wow, you know I really liked them how they were but now that I see them this way, it looks a lot more balanced. I’m glad it wasn’t TOO much of a pain to redo and get the way you want it. If you don’t address those things in the middle stages of stuff like that it ends up being all you can see when you go in the room. Great job!

  9. Tanya says

    So much better, I feel like I can breathe when I look at it now. Of course it still looked fabulous previously too…

    Tanya xx

  10. Laura says

    It looks much less crowded – good decision! We plan to move our daughter into another bedroom soon, but when we moved in last year I just wanted to paint that room once to get it done. Now with curtains and bedding I think the color is all wrong. So much for just doing it once!

  11. LauraC says

    You guys are awesome in that you admit you changed your minds. I agree it looks much better with 6 rather than 8. Happy Thursday!

  12. emily says

    SUCH an improvement! I must say, I was not a fan of the brackets and thought all along that you should have stuck with floating shelves… and while I still think that’s what I would do personally, they look great in your kitchen. It’s like the wall can breathe now :] SOLD!

  13. NellyKelly says

    Wow, it really looks great! I love that once you realized you wanted a change you dove right in and did it. My usual is just to let it drive me crazy for the next decade! I feel like I hesitate so much to put a hole in any wall, and here you are changing thins around on tile… That’s it, no more excuses for me!

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