Pinterest Challenge – Chalkboard Back Splash

While on a quasi-hiatus this past week I almost missed the news of an upcoming Pinterest Challenge being hosted by Young House Love and Bower Power.  Fortunately, in my crazy moving/remodeling tour I had inadvertently completed the task without realizing it had ever been assigned.

The Challenge is simple: Actually *do* something you recently pinned.  There is no theme, no difficulty-level expectations, nothing.  Just try something.

While Katie Bower is quick to point out that Pinterest has no idea about this event she and Sherry hold, it’s safe to assume Ben Silbermann, the founder of Pinterest, would be all about it.  As he mentioned in his Alt Summit keynote speech, the whole point of Pinterest is to encourage people to get out and DO; that’s what sets it apart from a lot of the internet.  Rather than hoping to keep people sitting inside surfing away, Pinterest is supposed to inspire people to actually do the things they see online.  This Challenge really gets to the essence of Pinterest.

I’m also linking this up over at Thrifty Decor Chick’s “Show Us Your Kitchen” Challenge – another great opportunity to collaborate and push yourself to get out there and DO more of the stuff we spend all our Pinterest time thinking about.

So, without further ado…

Two weeks ago I pinned the following, via Yellow Brick Home:

[Yellow Brick Home is a great blog, by the way.  As fellow small-space dwellers (I think they have something like 600 or 700 square feet in Chicago) they hold a special place in my Google Reader heart.  Small spaces present unique challenges and obstacles that you don’t often see expressed in many home design blogs.  That goes double for us urban folks living small within the big city limits.  I don’t often read about the pain of double parking while unloading lumber from your car, using the jig saw in your bedroom because where else can you, or working between apartment building quiet hours (AM and PM) – so I’m pretty happy to find someone that gets that angle.]

Natalie and I have been tossing around ideas for our back splash for, well, probably five years.  About a month ago, at the urging of our potential management company (we ended up doing it ourselves – just too expensive to pay someone else) we finally decided that yes, we do need to install a back splash of some sort.  That weekend we brought home about 30 square feet of subway tile and a big bucket of tile adhesive that we had just sitting around at Camp Davis – building materials in search of a project.  We were finally going to do it.

And then it all sat there in the car for another few weeks, quietly mocking my incompetence each time I opened the trunk (“you’re afraid of ceramic tiling, aren’t you Jimmy?” Eat it tiles, enjoy the hot car [trunk slam].).

So you could imagine my glee when Nat and I saw the chalkboard back splash idea.  Finally, a cool way to do the back splash that isn’t a major undertaking.  And so it was, amidst packing and moving and patching holes and sanding and more packing and more moving, that I grabbed a quart of chalkboard paint and added one more project to the to-do list.  Thankfully the project was painless.  

While we were still living there, the room usually looked like this:

I'll get you, Gadget.

Despite all our past renovations, our pre-blogging pictures are almost exclusively “action” photos of us just doing what we do.  This made it quite difficult to find staged photos of the apartment for our Craigslist rental ad.  And since I was in such a hurry to get to working (and our camera charger was lost), I didn’t have time to stage proper “before” pictures prior to posting the ad.  Oh well, I’ll consider it a sign of a life well-lived.

And truth be told, here’s the real “before” pictures of the kitchen from the walk-through we did when we bought the place in 2007:

[Shutters]  Yes, we walked into that place and thought “we’ll take it!”

That little kitchen’s come a long way, and it’s taken a lot of work to get there.

In any event, the orangish-red half-wall at the end of the new island was Ralph Lauren’s textured “Ranchitos Red” (back in the days before we had a kid we used to spend money on stuff like Ralph Lauren textured paints).  The back splash was a neutral white-ish color.  No trim, nothing fancy – just always a place holder.  We’d come so far with the rest of the room I think we might have been burnt out when it came time to focus on the back splash.  And so it stayed, just painted the same as the rest of the kitchen walls.

However, after seeing that chalkboard back splash via Yellow Brick Home, and after very little effort (it was painfully easy – in fact, utterly frustrating for its ease when you consider how long we’ve wanted to do something about it) we were looking at this:

We even added a little bit of fancy trim – about two-inches tall – to help seal the deal (pun intended).

I just love it.  And I can’t believe we’ll never get to enjoy it, seeing as how we’ve already moved out and have renters taking our place in a few weeks.  Again, the big lesson in all of this: if you want to change something about your home (especially something you can do personally), just do it.  Don’t wait.  It felt so good to complete this project, and it feels so crumby to know I could have had this great looking and fun chalkboard adding a ton of character to our apartment for years, but we didn’t because I put it off while waiting for the “right” thing to come along.

I know I’m not the only person to do this to himself (that is, put off projects only to finally complete them right before moving out) – please tell me I’m not the only one to have experienced this regret.

Anyhow.  That’s that.  Pinterest Challenge accepted (inadvertently).

Thanks to Yellow Brick Home for the idea, and thanks to Bower Power and Young House Love for coming up with this challenge.

And a big, big thanks to The Black Keys for making such awesome music (and awesome music videos), and providing me with rockin’ tunes via an equally rocking Pandora station (created in their name) while I completed this project (and packed most of my house).  The Black Keys for my new “black” splash – fitting.  Also, I owe them a huge apology, because for some strange reason after I have a few beers, try as I might, I can’t not call them the “Black Eyed Keys.”  It just comes out.  It’s happened multiple times the past few days, each time more embarrassing than the last.  It’s an abomination really.  I’m sorry.

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  1. That backsplash looks great! Your entire kitchen looks great. I’d like to see more before and after shots like this of your whole place.

    We redid our kitchen when we first moved in, too, which is a huge undertaking as you know. Take a look here

  2. I love all the bead board, and the butcher block counter tops bookend nicely with those wood floors.  Great job.  

  3. How fun! Your kitchen looks great!

  4. Of course I LOVE it! It looks especially wonderful against the cabinet color. If there’s one thing we always talk about changing in this home, it’s our red cabinets.

    We love an easy project. And dude, we totally get you on the small space thing. We’ve used our miter saw in the hallway, bedroom and office more times than we can count. Oh, the woes (but joys, too! Less to clean, for one…) of small space living.

  5. I love that idea for a backsplash!! I am sorry you won’t be able to enjoy it. Looks like fun:) Thanks for sharing at Thursday’s Temptation.

  6. […] a week of obsessing over and then painting chalkboard back splashes I finally remembered to grab a pack of sidewalk chalk for […]

  7. I’m totally impressed with your kitchen make-over! Great job. 

  8. Wow! What a difference!  It looks great!

  9. love how open and large you made it feel!  amazing!

  10. Well, even if you won’t enjoy it in this place, there’s nothing stopping you from painting your current/future kitchen backsplash!  Especially now that you’ve done it once and know the drill.  Great job, and thanks for linking up with the Winter Pinterest Challenge!

    Erin @ The Great Indoors

  11. […] a page from the Pinterest Challenge I joined last month hosted by Bower Power and Young House Love, we sought out to actually get out and DO something we […]

  12. […] I’m linking up to another Pinterest Challenge today.  Last time I tackled the chalkboard “blacksplash” (you can see that here). […]

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