When I first began to design my kitchen- before the stark reality of budgets and load-bearing walls came into the equation I said I wanted a chalkboard wall. In the earliest of planning this was going to be the small wall by the door into the kitchen. You see I was going to knock out the chimney and open the room into the dining room to make a large kitchen family room. Then someone mentioned that the cost of removing our (double-sided) fireplace was going to exceed £20k and I decided that I just LOVED it too much.
It’s one of the things I’ve had to accept- I’m not made of money and I had to be flexible. One of the things I didn’t want to be flexible about was by chalkboard wall. I knew that it would visually have a huge impact and most importantly it wasn’t going to cost us a lot of money.
Here’s what we started out with…
I hated this gas fire with a passion when we first looked at the house. I continued to hate it until our first winter here and realised that the kitchen was basically an icebox with zero insulation. We ran this constantly or the room would be uninhabitable. I think that’s one of the lessons of buying a fixer-upper, you need to live in the house or a while before you can decide what needs to change.
In the end the kitchen remodel was a total rebuild and was going to be totally insulated so no need to keep the fire. I still wanted by chalkboard wall so we went with it. Removing the gas fire and opening up the chimney was very exciting. I thought the opening would be roughly the same size as the gas fire. I couldn’t have been more wrong!
We briefly considered leaving the brick exposed. Upon closer inspection we could see that the brick was in very bad condition and really keeping the brick wasn’t going to work with the aesthetic I was going for. In the end we decided to go with the original plan and plaster the chimney breast and paint it with chalkboard paint. Wal was very very concerned that we would have this massive black thing and that it was going to overwhelm the kitchen. I told him to have faith and that it would look good. He reluctantly decided to trust me more because he knew I wasn’t going to give in than anything else. In the end he admitted that he was glad. Lesson to the men- always trust your wife.
Although it IS a large black wall it doesn’t overwhelm the space because the rest of the kitchen is so very white. The black actually warms up the place and gives it loads of character. It has turned out exactly how I imaged it and when we have folks over they always end up writing on the wall and leaving little messages.