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Monday, October 7, 2013

An Oversized Chalkboard and Bench In the Kitchen.


Sometimes I make decorating decisions that either I don't end up loving or that don't work for our family. I hit the jackpot with this wall seeing how it fit into both of those categories. You can see in this post how I first decorated it shortly after we moved in. Although I really liked the clock I wasn't as big a fan of the shelves. I thought they would be a nice addition seeing how we didn't do any of the open shelving that I had orginally planned on doing but because they were on a wall that we walked by regularly I had to go with shelves that weren't very deep and that meant I ended up just putting random things on there instead of dishes and other more substantial things that give the overall look I like when it comes to open shelving. Even though I chose shelves that were not very deep so there wouldn't be any problems with anyone bumping into them that didn't work out so well either. Poor Jon bumped into them just about every single day, to the point where they were leaning more and more and I needed to take them down before we had a big crash and some broken toes. 

So, down they came and I decided to go with something more simple and practical. As you know, I love chalkboards so I thought it might be nice to make an oversized one that we could use as a message center of sorts. I may at some point put something "pretty" on it but for now it is working out really nicely as a functional chalkboard. It is a great spot to keep our grocery list (I just snap a shot of it on my phone before we head to the store), Lillie's memory verse for the week from school, and for keeping track of what we have going on for the week. We used it last week (which is what the photos are of), and then I changed it out this week and so far we are really loving it.

Then I decided to move the bench in here to see how it worked. We had moved it upstairs to the end of our bed once our new dining room chairs came and I liked the functionality of it there but I figured I would prefer it to be downstairs so it could still be easily used at either the kitchen or dining room table for extra seating. I didn't think it would work here because I thought it would stick out a bit too far but after a couple of days of it sitting there we realized it actually worked wonderfully. It's a nice place for the girls to sit when I am in the kitchen and we have all used it to put our shoes on and take them off seeing how the closet where we keep the shoes is just around the corner. Once we knew it was going to work there, the girls and I went ahead and recovered it with this striped fabric that my mom got for me from New England Fabrics in NH.  It is the same fabric she used in her kitchen and I LOVE it! Even though it's still neutral I think it adds a nice interesting and fun touch in here too. And don't look too closely because the nailhead trim is pretty crooked. The girls took turns hammering in every other nail =)

Until we can go ahead and replace the counters and add a backsplash (and that is probably still months away!) the kitchen is pretty much finished for now. Here is a reminder of what it looked like on moving day:









I made the chalkboard the same way I did for our other ones (you can find that tutorial here) except I made it a good bit larger. And then for the chalkboard part instead of painting chalkboard paint onto a piece of wook, I painted the backside of a whiteboard that they sell at Lowe's. It was $13 for a HUGE piece (I think it was 4' by 8') so I had them trim it down a bit for me.

You can find our tutorial on how to build the bench here.

And if you are looking for sources you can find those by click here.

Have a blessed week!

61 comments:

  1. Wow - everything looks amazing! how in the world do you write so nicely on your chalkboard? Is there a certain chalk you recommend??? would love to know...xoox

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    1. I was wondering the same thing!

      :) Bren

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    2. Thank you! I just used good old regular kid's chalk for this. It's easier to erase over and over and I wanted this to be a functional chalkboard versus a more "pretty" seasonal one. If I ever do a design on it though I will probably use a chalk pen. I use chalk pens 90% of the time when I am doing my chalkboard art that we sell in our shop. The only catch is they don't always erase as easily and sometimes (not always) leave ghost marks behind so you have to repaint the chalkboard more often than when using regular chalk. Otherwise I love chalk pens.

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  2. I absolutely LOVE the chalkboard and bench! We are about to buy our first home and I keep checking your blog to see what you have done for inspiration. I love your style! Thanks for taking the time to share with us.

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  3. These items look fantastic in your kitchen - and so functional, too!

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  4. Wow! The bench and the large chalkboard knocked your new kitchen out of the ball park. Love them!

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  5. Keeping track of life on a chalkboard is such a good idea. And your writing is so lovely. Some of us have to settle for post-its on the frig! Looks terrific!

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  6. It's PERFECT. I love it! You are amazing. :)

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  7. Would you mind sharing the measurements for your chalkboard? I'm wanting to make one similar and I'd be happy to let you do the math for me, ha!

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    1. I think it's approximately 40" by 60". Good luck!

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  8. Looks beautiful and its functional too~a win win!

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  9. It looks gorgeous and the transformation in your kitchen is amazing! Well done!
    Blessings,
    ~Angie @ Knick of Time

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  10. Beautiful Jennifer. I luv the serene feeling of your home. :-)
    Hugs, Gee

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  11. We're in the middle of a kitchen remodel, but that doesn't stop me from obsessing over the "pretty" things that will come last. There's a door that leads to our utility room and I've been eyeballin' it for about a week. I think you just sealed the deal. I'm goin' all in with the chalk paint on the inside panel. Are you using regular chalk to write on yours or the pens? I've never used them, but they sound genius in theory.

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    1. Although I do love chalk pens, and use them when I am doing a lot of my chalkboard art that we sell in our shop, I just used good old regular kid's chalk for this. It's easier to erase over and over and I wanted this to be a functional chalkboard versus a more "pretty" seasonal one. If I ever do a design on it though I will probably use a chalk pen.

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  12. Love this idea. The board and the bench look perfect together! I was just thinking I'd make a chalkboard for the kitchen myself. Thanks for the inspiration! x J

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  13. Are you using a chalkboard marker? The kitchen transformation is amazing, especially the brightness you brought in by painting. Love the wood beams left wood color. You are really wonderful with decor and doing it budget consciously! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Thank you! Although I do love chalk pens, and use them when I am doing a lot of my chalkboard art that we sell in our shop, I just used good old regular kid's chalk for this. It's easier to erase over and over and I wanted this to be a functional chalkboard versus a more "pretty" seasonal one. If I ever do a design on it though I will probably use a chalk pen.

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  14. you are so gifted- it looks amazing!

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  15. i love that you have a section for a verse

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  16. It's beautiful Jennifer! I so wish we had space in our kitchen for a chalkboard that size. It would be so useful. How handy to just snap a photo on your phone before heading out the door. The bench fits the space wonderfully and I think the nailhead trim is just perfect. I love that the girls helped out. Oh, I sent you a couple emails yesterday. I hope I used the right email address.

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    1. Thank you Allison! You are so sweet. I will write you back later tonight. I always get so behind on e-mails.

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  17. WOW, your kitchen is absolutely gorgeous! I love the contrast of the chalkboard and the beautiful wood beams against the soft white and gray colors.

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  18. Jennifer, I love this look the best! Very clean look! Nice job!

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  19. Love the change even though the first option was fab too. I wish we had a large wall in our kitchen to have one. I have to put ours in the pantry.

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  20. Love the chalkboard!
    What a transformation to your kitchen.
    Everything looks so much bigger and brighter.
    Love your house.
    You did an awesome job!

    Sandi

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  21. Truly breath taking how you can transform a room. You have a gift. And the memories you are passing down to the girls. You are a beautiful example of what a mommy should be.

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  22. What a dramatic difference you have made to this house already! I love what you've done with the kitchen and even your "functional" chalkboard looks so pretty!! By the way I made a bench from your tutorial and have to post about it soon. Thank you for sharing how you did it! Your striped fabric looks so great on it.

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  23. So lovely! Do you sharpen your chalk? I have found it helps tremendously to make a sharper look. Only thing is, I have to sharpen it quite often! I use a sharpener made for eye pencils.

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    1. Thank you. No, I don't sharpen my chalk. I actually was going to try it once back when I first saw that idea on Pinterest but couldn't find a sharpener in our house that my chalk would fit in so I gave up the idea. Haha!

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  24. I love your new kitchen! It is beautiful! And I love the chalkboard idea. As a mom of two little girls myself, this is a perfect, practical and pretty way to stay organized!

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  25. Unbelievable! Those "before" and "after" pictures are truly amazing!!!
    Love it Jenni!
    Leah: )

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  26. your talent for transforming is ridiculous! :)
    I am impressed on a daily basis, and I look forward to reading about all of your projects, as well as little peeks into your family life too. :)
    Thank you for an AWESOME blog to look forward to every day.
    ~Nicole Hamilton (San Francisco)

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  27. I just love the chalkboard and bench in that area! I want a giant chalkboard like that too, but I don't think I have a place to put it. Plus, you would have to come over and write on it for me so it would be as pretty as your's is!

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  28. I just enjoy stopping by to see this space so much! Love the new additions!
    -Shelley

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  29. Your home is coming together so beautifully, Jennifer! I can't believe the abundance of energy you have for all your projects. I absolutely love that chalkboard. It looks perfect paired with the bench. We have a bench in our kitchen too...the naughty bench ;)

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  30. I love your white counter tops! What type of material and color name are they! They look so seamless and fresh! Love your kitchen, chalk board and bench! Amazing makeover!!!

    ~ Ali

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  31. I love the way the chalkboard looks much better as well. Sometimes you just have to keep tweaking until you get it right. It looks so warm and inviting!

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  32. Hi Jennifer, That chalkboard is awesome! I love seeing pictures of your kitchen!

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  33. It seems that not having the shelves will be a much better decision and they way it looks now is very nice. Good choice to change it up.

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  34. I absolutely LOVE the chalkboard there, and the bench too. I also LOVE the fabric on the bench it's perfect. In fact the whole thing is so great because it looks wonderful and is totally functional for sitting and lists ... What more could you ask for!!? I want to run home right now and make a chalkboard just like yours for my kitchen ... I am trying to think of a wall for it as we speak. Love the idea of having a grocery list on it and taking a picture of it too!

    Cindy

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  35. It could go unsaid, but the kitchen looks 1000x better. And the chalkboard was an excellent touch. Have any pointers for getting my handwriting (on the chalkboard) to look like yours? Yours could be a font!

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    1. Thank you! And not really. I would just say lots of practice. I have enjoyed playing around with my handwriting since I was in first grade.

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  36. This looks GREAT! In my kitchen, we used to have the same kind of "intrusive" shelving above our bar top. Now that we've removed the shelving, not only is it much more open feeling, but there is more lighting that gets around! You've got me on the chalk board though!! I think I'll be hunting one down, now..

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  37. You have certainly been working so hard on your home! It is beyond lovely! I think anywhere you called home would have to be! It's way past my bed time... I 've spent lots of time just catching up! LOVE it all!

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  38. Can I just say that I LOVE your sense of style! Where, oh where, did you happen to find the mirror on the wall adjacent to your wonderful chalkboard? I'm absolutely smitten!

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    1. Thank you! My sister Dana got it for me on this website: http://www.antiquefarmhouse.com/

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  39. I think you made the right choice and the house is looking great.

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  40. love it! all of it! are you going to hang a chandelier over your table off the kitchen? also, i just have to tell you that i ordered your dining room chandelier from savvy - i can't wait to receive it; it's so gorgeous! -eileen

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    1. You are going to love it, Eileen! That is the spot I'd like to put the Bolton lantern from PB eventually but we have to change a few other things around first so I will probably wait on it for now.

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  41. That transformation is incredible. I love the white french doors. What an improvement! Really brightens everything up. I have no idea why people made cabinets and such with dark woods and paneling.

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  42. Love the chalkboard and the rug in the livingroom! When you said "whiteboard" are you talking about a piece of thin wood (like a thin piece of laminent) or like a dry erase board? I'd like to do a similar chalk board on a large scale in my craft room, but want to work with something relatively light weight to hang on the wall.

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    1. Sorry - I should have said a dry erase board. I always just refer to them as a white board, but that is what I meant. They sell huge ones at Lowe's for about $13. You could make two good sized chalkboards (or keep them as dry erase boards) out of them.

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  43. I LOVE that bench! Any chance you know the fabric manufacturer's name?

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  44. Hi! I haven't seen this whiteboard at Lowe's. Where is it? Also, did you paint the white side or the backside. Finally, how did you hang it on the wall? We homeschool so I in total need for a kitchen chalkboard in this size! Thx!

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  45. Hi!

    So I am attempting to replicate your blackboard. . . attempting is the BIG word : ) . Did you stain your board or is that the vinegar and tea concoction? If so, what is the ratio of the two and is steel wool necessary? Thanks!
    Thanks

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    1. Hi, Brenda! For this one Jenni used a mixture of Minwax Provincial (a brown stain) and a gray stain from Minwax (most likely "classic gray" but she isn't positive).

      -Jason

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