if you’ve been an instagram follower for awhile, you’ve no doubt seen countless posts + stories where i’ve talked about our desire to add a backsplash to the #farmhousedialfano kitchen. despite our home being from the 1830’s, the kitchen was a more recent addition and therefore we didn’t have to do anything other than some cosmetic and style-related updates. we even kept the paint color {a light blue} + the existing open shelving. but both bill and i always thought something was missing and that my friends, is a killer backsplash. thanks to a partnership with my friends at fireclay tile, it is FINALLY happening. and in just a few weeks! cue the digital fireworks!

i actually feel that backsplash is too small a term because we’ve decided to tile pretty much the entirety of three walls. here’s where we are now here are a few photos that show the areas we’re tiling {excuse the mess but #reallife}. the first photo presented the biggest dilemma when deciding what to tile. the kitchen has a vaulted ceiling with beams {a much-appreciated touch in a house that otherwise has 7 and 8’ tall ceilings}. i went back and forth on whether to follow the natural ceiling line on the sink/fridge wall or to go alllll the way up. in reality it’s only another 40 square feet but ultimately decided to just follow the ceiling line all the way throughout the room. let’s hope i don’t regret the decision but we can always add!


below you can see what we’re planning for the rest of the kitchen, in total we’re tiling 155 square feet.


ok so the plan! herringbone. brick. i want a showstopper design but one that’s also timeless and appropriate for our centuries old house. i went back and forth {and back and forth} on what color brick to do…i knew i wanted something neutral to allow for my decorating whims and eventually narrowed it down to klamath and elk. elk being the warmer tone, klamath being the cooler. we {ok i} have decided to go with klamath as the glaze isn’t so heavy that you can’t see the natural variation of the brick and while it’s more of a cooler blue color, it doesn’t feel TOO cool.


so here you go! a mockup of how it will look! we plan to swap out our existing white open shelving with a more natural wood and no brackets. what do you think?! i can’t tell you how excited i am for this. we’ve talked about doing it for SO long and i can’t believe it’s finally happening! a former colleague of bill + mine now has his own tile company so he’ll be installing!

mStarr design / #farmhousedialfano kitchen tile mockup / fireclay tile

i’ll be sharing peeks and the whole process over on instagram so be sure you’re following along. and do stay tuned because there might be some other big changes


disclosure / fireclay tile is generously providing the tile for our project. we are covering the installation costs.



mStarr is a lifestyle studio specializing in interiors, creative direction, editorial design and brand partnerships. if you’ve got a project, let us know!




farmhouse kitchen by boston based designer mstarr design

note: this is a post written in conjunction with the hubs. so you should totally read it...

our home is a lovely one, full of charm. and also full of quirks. that’s par for the course with a house that’s almost 200 years old! in the past several months, we’ve noticed some things that either must be fixed or replaced {storm doors, porch paint} and some things that we’ve talked about updating on a bigger scale {appliances, new fencing}. while a bit overwhelming, it’s also given us some time to think about what we want for the house in 2019!

as the primary design decision maker in the family, i thought it would be fun to get bill involved a bit more. as in this post. not in the design decisions, ha ha. anyways, i decided to ask him what he loves and dislikes most about this little house of ours, and what three things he’d like to see updated this year.



1/ the kitchen… “i love a big open kitchen“

2/ the playroom… ”i think it is so cute, a great use of space, and i love that max is proud of it”

3/ our underused dining room + bar area {the underused part is legit…due to a lack of storage, our dining room is often a catch-all for items that don’t yet have a home or things that are in transition. but i’m working on it and since we never made any major changes to this room, i’m also working on making it a space i want to spend more time in…think wallpaper or paint, new dining table, chairs etc.}


1/ the stairs… “too old, steep and scary”

2/ lack of closet and storage space

3/ the downstairs bathroom is right off the kitchen

*for the record, i agree with all of these*


1/ backsplash in kitchen {it’s happening! will share more soon but it involves fireclay tile and herringbone brick. insert happy face emoji}

2/ new appliances {our current appliances came with the house and are perfectly fine. we have a gas range and stainless finishes but they’re older and we now have a dishwasher that’s falling apart and an ice machine that doesn’t work consistently in the fridge. and let’s be honest, they’re not the best looking.}

3/ a major yard overhaul including cleanup, mulch + new fencing {we are so lucky to have a monstrous back yard with a good size front and side yard. it’s a lot to keep up with and the winter weather over the past couple years has wreaked havoc. we’re excited to focus on this!}


and how do they compare to my lists?


1/ the charm, from the ceiling beams to some original flooring

2/ max’s room. it’s the perfect mix of whimsical, calming and sophisticated {in my opinion}.

3/ that we finally put central AC in last year!


1/ the mudroom is in the front of the house. we use the door in the back of the house. you can see the problem.

2/ lack of closet and storage space {see we agree! and it truly is the biggest problem we face.}

3/ the kitchen being separate from the dining and living rooms {BUT, i also like that rooms are separate because it’s more authentic to the old house. it just can be difficult when one of us is cooking and the others are 2 rooms away in the living room.}

EMILY’S TOP 3 THINGS TO UPDATE OR CHANGE IN 2019 {ok it’s kinda more than 3}

1/ kitchen updates {backsplash, appliances, new cabinet fronts, new counters}

2/ finally figure out storage for the downstairs bathroom {bill uses this as his closet} and storage in the entryway/landing/hall spaces. a trip to IKEA is in our near future.

3/ the outdoors {repaint the back porch, clean the yard, organize the sheds and garage, new furniture etc. etc.}

truthfully, we have no idea how long we’ll be here. it was built in the 1830’s and has been well-maintained over the years but i’m not sure it could ever be our forever home. if we want to stay in it for the next several years however, we’ll need to renovate as space is tight for our family, and will be more so as max gets older. lucky for us, the previous owners left behind renderings for some options they had drawn up before selling! for now, we’ll make our updates, big and small, and enjoy it.

bring on the warm weather!