Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Beef or Pork? Chalking Up the Kitchen Walls

Remember when we painted the top accent wall of our kitchen in chalkboard paint over the summer?

Well, they hung out bare and black like this for almost 6 months until we finally came up with an idea for what to draw up there. Yes, everyone who came through our house during that time probably thought we were crazy for painting straight up black walls, ha.

Anyway, since the area in the kitchen we painted in the chalkboard paint is so high and wouldn't be frequented much for changing it up, we wanted a design that would stick — something we'd be fine to just leave up there for the long haul, knowing if we hate it at any point, it will be pretty easy to change with a little help from the ladder.

So, we went with meat diagrams:

We thought they were fitting since we're both into preparing food and have seen a couple cool versions like this in small groceries and food shops around town done on a chalkboard.

Once we figured out what we wanted to draw up on the walls, the process for doing so was pretty straightforward.

Since I'm not so great a freehand drawing, I knew I wanted a template to trace from so I found a couple stock images of butcher diagrams (a cow and a pig) by searching "butcher diagram" in Google Image Search, saved them to a flash drive and took them with me to Fedex Office to print out in a giant size — just like we did with the enlarged photo prints we made.

I'm telling you, these things were big. I wasn't worried that the image came out super pixelated and distorted since all I needed was the basic animal shape — the rest didn't matter.

Sorry for all the shaky/blurry pics — I couldn't stand still when Basil came over to check out the cow:

Then I just cut out the basic animal shapes from the paper:

And put a few loops of removable painter tape on the backs of them to play around with positioning up on the accent wall:

Once we got the placement even and they way we liked it, I decided I'd done enough work for the day and these pieces of paper just hung up on the wall like this for another couple weeks. Hey, gotta keep it real, right?

Then finally when inspiration struck again, Tim pulled out the ladder for me to finish these chalk drawings! I just traced around each template, removed the sheet of paper and then drew in the details looking back and forth at the piece of paper and drawing on the wall:

Yes, this job required being barefoot and standing on top of our refrigerator. A very important detail I might add if you are trying this at home.

After tracing the outlines and filling in all the details, I just finished things off with a little freehand garland on either side of each animal — the leaves sort of helped fill in some blank space on the walls and made the drawings feel a little more finished in my book:

Here are a couple closeups of each side they way they currently look:


Here's the full view — please ignore those streaks all over the stainless appliances. One day I will get my act in gear and figure out how to properly wipe these down to an airbrushed looking shiny finish (alas, that day has not yet come):

Next up related to this project — deciding on a design for the bare chalkboard walls in our mudroom. Hopefully it won't take us another 6 months before we update you on that front :)

So I guess the only question left is — beef or pork? Or maybe neither?


  1. I noticed that your kitchen window sits against the ceiling unlike most common windows. I love it and have been considering changing some of the windows in my house to sit much higher. Do you like it or do you have any problems with the non-traditional window setting?

    1. Adam,

      We love the way the window is positioned — it might have been done this way for privacy since we live so close to the next city house (less than 4 feet away). But it lets in beautiful light and we like the way it provides that extra wall space we need above the sink. Thanks for asking!

  2. What a cute idea! I am a wannabe-butcher and have long appreciated the diagrams showing the different cuts of meat - I may have to try some version of this in my loft! :)

    1. Awesome! Please send pics our way if you give it go — we'd love to see!

  3. The way I get rid of streaks on my stainless steel appliances is to use simply a clean, warm sponge soapy with dishwashing liquid, followed by clear water and a dry towel. I stumbled on this by accident. Really, formulated cleaners do not work nearly as well as.

    1. Thanks for the tip! I need all the help I can get :)

  4. I love it!!! I think I'm partial to the beef (rancher in-laws and all you know) but both came out amazing!!

  5. i asked my friend who is a prof house cleaner about your fridge streaks..she said forget the special cleaners and just wipe it down with a dry microfiber cloth, and it'll take the streaks out.

    1. For stainless steal. Clean with soap and water. Then polish with a clean cloth and a bit of olive oil.

    2. And that worked beautifully! Thanks so much.