How To Get The Look Of Dave & Jenny Marrs' Unique Backsplash In Your Own Kitchen

In a recent remodel on HGTV's "Home Town Takeover," hosts Jenny and David Marrs helped a set of homeowners turn their Colorado ranch home into a perfect beachy bungalow, complete with a palette of sea-worthy shades, coastal accents, and nautical details. The transformation brought the ocean to the landlocked home, but it was one particular detail in the home's kitchen that caught the eye of many. The Marrs' white-washed brick backsplash adds enormous style and rustic charm to the all-white kitchen, providing texture and visual interest while reflecting the home's laid-back and casual coastal style. It's a look you can master two in a few different ways, including traditional brick tile or brick panels.

While exposed brick walls often reflect a more industrial décor aesthetic, the white-washed and worn look of the bricks feels beachy and cottage-like while offering a more rustic alternative to ceramic tile on the backsplash. The bricks look much older than the mid-century home they reside in, adding a vintage feel that evokes a sense of time and ocean-worn materials.

Softening a brick backsplash

In the episode of "Home Town Takeover," Jenny Marrs explains to the homeowners the approach to remodeling the kitchen."We removed the faux brick wall you built, but we wanted to pay homage to your handiwork by installing a new brick backsplash. We're using brick tiles, but we're flipping them vertically to give it a modern feel. And then we're adding a mortar wash to soften the finish" (via The vertical orientation adds additional visual interest, but also directs the eye upward toward the ceiling, making the room feel taller. 

This wash, according to David Marrs, is easy to create. "A mortar wash is basically taking the mortar itself and making it into a pancake batter and smearing it over the top of the brick. And when it dries, like the lime and all that in the mortar, it reacts with the brick, so it gives it a really cool patina."  The light and bright brick feels both old and new and ties into the white painted brick on the exterior of the home. 

Getting the look

The mortar wash for the brick is simple and low-cost to create using a mortar like Thinset and some paint in your desired shade applied with a sponge and wiped away with a ruddy fabric like burlap. For more subtle transformations on brick or other stone tiles, you can also use a simple DIY glaze that will coat and change the color of the underlying material. 

While Dave and Jenny Marrs went with individual brick tiles laid vertically, you can also get a similar look without the laborious process of installing tilework. Social media and the design blog world are abuzz with faux brickwork panels made of HDF that can also be painted to look the same as real brick. Fastened directly to the wall with screws, the panels are a great alternative when time, labor, and weight are considerations. They are also more rental-friendly and easier to clean than traditional brick tile with grout.