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Posted by on Oct 1, 2013 | 0 comments

The Ever Versatile Chalkboard Wall

The Ever Versatile Chalkboard Wall

Last year, I painted a wall in my kitchen with chalkboard paint. It’s been great for writing notes when cooking and we’ve even decorated it seasonally and on peoples’ birthdays. But now we’re planning to make some upgrades to our kitchen which will involve adding subway tile and covering my beloved sketch wall. There’s always another wall, right? So I looked around for unused space and settled on the landing at the bottom of the stairs (don’t mind my crusty floors). It took about two hours to finish the project, with kids asking periodically, can we draw on it now? I painted two coats using the remnants from my last chalkboard painting project (a little goes a long way). After we “seasoned” the wall by rubbing chalk sideways all over and then erasing (this helps prevent the wall from becoming streaky), the kids started working on the blueprints for a very complicated haunted house. One of the problems with the old wall in the kitchen was that the kids could only access a...

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Posted by on Jul 18, 2012 | 2 comments

DIY Kids: Outdoor Checker Board

DIY Kids: Outdoor Checker Board

I stole this idea from the play area at Arcadia educational farm. It’s an outdoor checker board. I had the perfect board to use — a big piece of wood I had painted in chalkboard paint and was sitting mostly unused in the back yard. Occasionally, the girls would draw up a menu for mud pies on it. Seemed perfect for a new incarnation as a checker board. I drew a grid with white chalk with 8 squares horizontally and vertically. I moved the board inside to do the rest of the painting since it was too darn hot to do the rest outside. Play checkers maybe, but paint, no way. Then, I used painter’s tape to mark where we would paint white stripes with outdoor paint. Meanwhile, Nadja painted the rocks with outdoor paint. It took a few weeks to collect 24 perfectly sized rocks — you’ll need relatively flat rocks that can be stacked when a piece is crowned and becomes a king. We found them on...

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Posted by on May 4, 2012 | 1 comment

A Home Tour Worthy Basement Renovation

A Home Tour Worthy Basement Renovation

Barbara’s house was featured on the 2010 Del Ray House and Garden Tour, each room carefully and thoughtfully designed and decorated, like every fabulous home on the bi-annual tour always is. But there was one area of the house that wasn’t on the tour, the basement. Unfinished and unloved, it was not a happy place. Barbara loves to entertain, and she really wanted more space for out-of-town guests to feel at home. She enlisted the help of relatives from New York, who just so happen to be contractors (always great to have a skilled contractor in the family!). They spent several months off and on to meticulously finish the project, making sure the work was done right and done well. And their hard work shows. The finished room has that unbasement-like quality we all want. Even without loads of natural light, you don’t feel like you’re partially underground. The first thing you notice when you head downstairs is Barbara’s choice of color. The sectional from West Elm adds a brilliant...

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Posted by on Dec 12, 2011 | 3 comments

Small-Scale Studios for Young Artists

Small-Scale Studios for Young Artists

I’ve recently chatted with several parents about how they display their kids’ art. Which ones do you keep, which ones do you sneak in the trash so your kids don’t see, and how do you encourage creativity in a small space without your house feeling cluttered or looking like a daycare center? Here are few ideas. In my house, I designated a small wall in the dining/living room area as a place to keep art supplies organized and to display the kids’ favorite projects. Jack loves having his own “art wall.” I attached an IKEA RIBBA ledge shelf on the upper part of the wall. This serves double duty — displays art projects and hides the awkward thermostat. The pictures only lean alongside the thermostat and do not block airflow to the register. A string hanging below the shelf holds additional projects, attached with small binder clips. This rod with hooked cannisters (also from IKEA) holds markers, crayons, and glue sticks. Need some markers? Just unhook the can and take to the table....

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Posted by on Nov 30, 2011 | 13 comments

The Many Uses for Chalkboard Paint, Part II

The Many Uses for Chalkboard Paint, Part II

Back in August we shared some ideas for using chalkboard paint in your home. Well, we’re back with more ideas — chalkboard paint is so versatile and so fun! I love chalkboard paint so much I used it as my kitchen backsplash. I was afraid it would make the small kitchen look even smaller and darker, but so far it hasn’t. In the corner by the stove there is an entire wall for the kids to doodle. (Don’t worry,  the kids aren’t allowed back there while the stove or oven are in use.) And if I’m cooking and I need to leave myself a note, I can just write it on the wall — comes in handy when you are inventing a new recipe. One tip: Let the first coat dry completely before applying the second coat otherwise the first coat rubs off. You’ll need 1-3 coats, but each coat dries pretty quickly. We mentioned these gift tags in our last post and I’ve been itching to make them ever since. I...

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