Easy and Upgraded: Reveal

You all remember this dilemma a while back, yeah? The responses were divisive to say the least, but as you saw on Monday, we decided the heck with it (!) and moved forward.

Here’s how our kitchen looked up until a few days ago. Those honeydew walls had to go, and while we would have loved to tile that back splash, we were hoping for something easier-for-now. The quicker (and more painless) the solution, the better.

A trip to the hardware store and an afternoon later, we’re seeing this. And sleeping much easier, thank you. Who knew those limey walls were so, um, grating? Yes, it was okay at one time – a snap decision to rid the move-in contractors beige – but over time, we realized that green wasn’t doing those cherry cabinets any favors.

Of course now you see we didn’t stick to our original Photoshopped plan. Rather than white, we extended Behr’s Winterfresh for a continuous flow from living to dining, a tip from your votes. And after the first coat of inky black paint around the entire back splash, things were looking sexy and sleek alright… and dark. We panicked, naturally. I took a quick break to walk Jackson, and somewhere between our tree lawn and the neighbor’s, I had a mini-epiphany: why not paint half of the back splash chalkboard, and continue the cool, blue paint on the corresponding half? Originally, I’d envisioned the chalkboard on the opposite wall behind the stove, but let’s face it, Kim’s idea of keeping the chalkboard on the left wall was successful – not to mention, with more room to play.

You may have also noticed a slight lowering of our favorite light fixture. As usual, we knew the difference would be in the details, so we dug through our drawer for the spare parts that came in the box and added about 6 inches to the drop of the lamp. Why we didn’t do this the first time, we still don’t know.

To get that stick straight line of black paint, we dropped an aluminum ruler from the cupboard to the granite. We used blue painters tape to seal it off, then peeled it back while the chalkboard was still wet – a crucial step to getting that line impeccable.

The instructions called for an impossible 3 days of curing time for the paint to be chalk-ready, but we got a little impatient and started getting arty after a little more than two. Kim was quick with the love notes, whereas I stuck to the Chicago skyline (involved in some strange sort of robot-apocalypse, of course).

And by using a Ball jar we already had on hand, we came up with this chalky storage solution. Kim loves finding reasons to break them out of the cabinets, and now we have an easy way to display and store the colorful utensils.

We even like the somewhat smudgy look of the streaky chalk. Over time it may look more gray than black, and we’re coolio with that. (Although some extra water and elbow grease was able to completely rid the residue.)

All in all, this easy project took us one trip to the Depot and a short afternoon of rolling (with deserved Dexter breaks while the chalk dried – can’s orders). We’re thinking this strip would be a better landing place for silly notes to each other, rather than a half-minded grocery list. And by leaving the chalk jar out in the open, we’re hoping it’ll encourage pals to get creative. Take that as a challenge, visitors.

So, after all of our initial indecisiveness, we’re thrilled with the results. Half drama, half breezy. Has anyone else used chalkboard paint in the kitchen? How about in another unexpected space to give your spot a quirky custom touch? We’d love to hear all about it!

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  • Kate - January 14, 2011 - 9:22 AM

    Ha! Love the robot apocalypse art! What a fun change.ReplyCancel

  • Katie - January 14, 2011 - 10:23 AM

    It looks great! I really love the lowering of the light fixture, too. Nice detail.ReplyCancel

  • Cait @ Hernando House - January 14, 2011 - 10:25 AM

    I love it! We haven’t used chalkboard paint, but the way out living room trees turned out reminds me a bit of a chalkboard. (Or maybe it was just the part where I traced the design onto the wall with white charcoal.)ReplyCancel

  • Sara @ House Bella - January 14, 2011 - 10:40 AM

    It’s awesome! It looks really great in your kitchen with the dark cabinets and countertops. Excellent upgrade!ReplyCancel

  • Andrea B - January 14, 2011 - 10:51 AM

    Such fun! I love chalkboard paint. I think it works well in the kitchen, I like the new fresh light color, and it is such a fun way to have interactive design elements that encourage your friends to enjoy their visit.

    (Just be careful … you should see some of the lovely little horrors I have on my refrigerator door from mysterious guests who enjoyed the macabre for their form of magnetic poetry.)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 14, 2011 - 11:27 AM

      Andrea, boy do we know the horrors of magnetic poetry. Not on our own fridge, but we’ve left surprises of our own elsewhere! Mwahaha.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda- Hip House Girl - January 14, 2011 - 11:24 AM

    Looks great guys! Good idea on the half-and-half. I really want to add a chalkboard wall somewhere too for fun doodling (the spice jars don’t leave too much room for creativity, haha).ReplyCancel

  • Erica - January 14, 2011 - 4:13 PM

    Congrats, it looks awesome! I love the contrast of the black and the cool Winterfresh.ReplyCancel

  • Jill - January 14, 2011 - 7:52 PM

    I love the lowered fixture, the blue looks much better, and the anthro initial mugs are real beauties. With that, I still can’t wait for you to do some subway tile up in there. The paint is a fun touch though.ReplyCancel

  • kirsten nieman - January 17, 2011 - 11:26 AM

    So fun – I loooove chalkboard paint:).ReplyCancel

  • emily @ the happy home - January 17, 2011 - 2:16 PM

    we added a big chalky expanse to our kitchen, too. i mostly use it as menus for dinner parties, but occasionally the boyfriend gets bored while i’m at work and draws in a nice cartoon.ReplyCancel

  • wilma - January 18, 2011 - 9:40 AM

    Looks great! Have you guys tried chalk markers? They’re a fun alternative to chalk. Most Starbucks use them. I have them, and love them because there is no chalk dust. We use both, depending on our mood :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 18, 2011 - 11:24 AM

      Hi Wilma, we plan on grabbing on a set ourselves! I remember you mentioned this, and it’s worth looking into. Thank you for the great tip!ReplyCancel

  • Daniel - January 20, 2011 - 1:15 AM

    WOW! as I have anticipated! This remodel is very pleasing to the eye! It looks very nice. Smart move and good eyes there guys! The chalkboard is good to leave notes and the shiny countertop looks very neat. I hope the kitchen wont get dirty when your cooking. Nice job!ReplyCancel

  • Two Pitties in the City - April 15, 2011 - 7:58 PM

    We’ve always been wondering what to do with our non-backsplash area. And we even have that same granite (should I be surprised in Chicago?). I love how yours turned out. Maybe this will be in our future…ReplyCancel

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