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If the texture is a sparyed-on or roll-on application, there are strippers which will loosen and allow that to be scraped-off. If it is drywall mud, it's not coming off so easily and you will spend many hours and create a huge mess sanding that down with an orbital sander... then potentially have to re-skim to get the surface ready to accept a good tile job.
We do a lot of backsplashes in existing homes. When the substrate (the surface to which the tile is to be applied) is not satisfactorily flat and smooth, we find that the quickest, cleanest, simplest solution is to remove the drywall and replace with new, moisture-resistant drywall.
If you have the extra space, and depending on its use, a walk-in pantry is a luxurious upgrade. In most cases, where floor space is at a premium, pantry cabinets are the best bet. Looking a a bank of finely crafted cabinets is also much more applealing than a closet door.
As for cost, you get more for your dollar with cabinets as well. Framing a drywall closet with fixed-shelves may be slightly cheaper, but much of that cost is labor. We advise the client to put the money in the product.
When you add pull-outs to anything the cost rises exponentially. It's improtant in the design process to determine a good balance between accessibility and organization to avoid unnessisary cost overruns.
The small walk in pantry will be the less expensive option. However, having a cabinet that functions as a pantry is often a better use of space and ends up as the more preferred option by my clients.
But it's all about you (or your client)! What would you/they prefer? Is the storage space best utilized with just simple open shelving? or would it be organized best with pull-outs and drawers? There are obvious pros and cons to each, in my experience - the extra cost of a cabinet wins 90% of the time.
I am not sure where you are located, but have you looked through the GuildQuality Contractors to see if there are any members in your area? A tile contractor or renovation company would defintely be able to help you!
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