My son lives in an apartment. Most of his furnishings are hand-me-downs or thrift store buys.
Somehow the pieces have come together to make a fairly comfortable place. With its retro "Mad Men" vibe it suits my son to a T.
The large wall in his lounge area needed a fairly large-scale art piece or collection. Large-scale art pieces are expensive and my son, a minimalist, isn't into collections (aside from his vinyl records that is). I offered to make something for him.
He tentatively agreed asking that I just keep it simple.
I could oblige.
I visited the local big-box store and purchased two large 1" x 6" x 8' boards with "personality" - knot holes, interesting grain patterns, etc. I then had each cut in half so they could fit in my tiny car, and because I felt 4' lengths would be perfect for the project I envisioned - a simple arrangement of 4 wood-grain horizontal stripes in varying stains.
I sanded each board until smooth. Then located a single can of left-over brown paint I knew was tucked away in the depths of a garage cupboard. While searching I found a half-used can of black chalkboard paint I thought I could use as well.
I mixed up the brown paint, added some water to thin it considerably, and slathered on a liberal amount. I then wiped off any excess and set it in the sun to dry.
I repeated the process with the other two boards, modifying the color for each a bit by adding black to the paint for the second board and a bit of beige to the third. This allowed me to achieve the three gradient colors.
On the final fourth board, I simply painted it a couple of times with the chalkboard paint.
When the boards were completely dry I sanded them a bit to smooth and distress them.
The final step was to seal each of the three painted boards with some finish wax. I chose to use a dark, antiquing wax. I love the natural luster finish a quality wax provides.
I then got a bit carried away! I embellished the boards with some random junk and added a wood New York City skyline art piece I found at a discount department store. I thought it looked great.
Anxious to show it to my son, I snapped a picture of the finished product and sent it my son's phone via messaging. "What do you think?" I asked.
He responded, "Thanks for thinking of me, but the stuff on the boards doesn't really
resonate with me."
Hmmmmm... I had done it again. I knew he was right on. I had gotten so into the project that I was thinking more of my own aesthetic than his!
To rectify the problem and make it more representative of my son's aesthetic, I simply stripped all the embellishments off the boards and removed the purchased cityscape.
This brought me right back to the original concept of 4 simple boards in varying shades of brown arranged in horizontal stripes.
A couple of "D-rings" were attached to each board for easy hanging.
Just before delivering the boards to my son's apartment, I wrote a quote from Mad Men on the chalkboard just to demonstrate that the board could indeed be used as a chalkboard.
It sums it up this project perfectly:
Make it simple, but significant!
All photographs taken by Paulette Rodriguez.