Thursday, December 07, 2006

blackboards, cy twombly, and architectural salvage

Old chalkboards, blackboards, are the stuff of my fantasies, no joke. This fine specimen (from decorator Mariette Himes-Gomez's NYC apt) is almost an exact match of a serious and enduring fantasy that I've been having recently about a large chalkboard -- not for the kitchen (don't have the space) but in the living room, in lieu of a large painting. I've been toying with the idea, wondering if it would work, ever since I found out that Old House Parts, a local architectural salvage resource, is currently selling slate from old schoolhouses for $10-14 a sq foot...

The kitchen image above convinces me more and more that a large old blackboard is not just a passing fancy of mine. And, after all, the way I see it...

it's a pretty nice stand-in until Sotheby's gets around to shipping our Twombly.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love it! I've been thinking about a chalkboard in the kitchen...after j wanted to put...a dry erase board on the refrigerator. The horror. Fortunately, he desisted.

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Pinkmohair said...

Or you could just take some large wood pieces, rough them up and paint them with blackboard paint. I painted a wall in my kitchen with chalkboard paint and it is well loved. Somewhere, I saw a few kitchen cabinets painted with c'board paint and when they ran out of something they wrote it on the door. in fact, 'll be doing this in the next week and posting the photos at my site if you're interested.

12:12 AM  
Anonymous uk said...

I think having a chalkboard in the living room is just a fantastic idea. Also, I like pinkmohair's suggestion of taking wood pieces and painting them over - might look better than stone itself

3:32 AM  
Blogger The Island Girls said...

Stick with the old chalkboard. Think of all of the children that worked through math problems or learned to write on those old school chalkboards! What a great conversation piece!

7:10 PM  
Anonymous Jonathan Hayes said...

I have a large (perhaps 5' tall by 3 1/2' wide) blackboard that I rescued from the trash when my office converted to dry boards. I stained the wood surrounds dark mahogany and mounted it on the wall.

I love it. My girlfriend is a superb draftsman; she was in medical school at the time, and drew constantly, so there was always something interesting to look at; for my part, I've only added informational scribbles, like "Susannah 518-371- etc etc".

It's also a cool visual focus, and invariably attracts attention from visitors. And in some weird way, it seems to enlarge the space, as if some infinitely deep tunnel opened out into my hallway/office area. It's kind of the visual opposite of a mirror, but with that same illusional effect.

Cricket, the aforementioned significant other, has recently painted her entire refrigerator with blackboard paint; it seemed an odd idea at the time, but it looks fantastic. Again, she's really good with chalk.

A FINAL note! And an odd coincidence: I'm staying in a design-oriented hotel in Copenhagen right now, and in the lobby they've painted one wall with blackboard paint, and inset a small tray with chalk. The guests really give it a lot of attention! Although I don't know if that says more about the blackboard or about the savagely repressed artistic yearnings of the Danes...

3:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Chalkboards ! Beautiful ! It would be excellent for working out artistic plans ! :)

8:04 AM  
Blogger Phoebe said...

jonathan, please send us pics of your copenhagen hotel, esp with the blackboard! sounds marvelous!


8:36 AM  
Anonymous Jonathan Hayes said...

I'm actually in Paris now, where I am very excited because I have just (gasp) bought a tiny apartment.

My hotel in Copenhagen wasn't that nice, actually - too much fuschia and black in the lobby. Trendy Modern, the sort of modernism that's about fashion, not aesthetics.

I think that at the moment, the Belgians are the people who seem to be doing the interior design I like best. Julien looks absolutely lovely (posted in another item in the blog here); I'm doing my little studio in that style. There's an Antwerp designer named Alex van de Walle whose work I think is just fantastic - Taschen's BRUSSELS DESIGN is really my aspirational guidebook.

7:33 PM  
Anonymous Jonathan Hayes said...

I don't know if anyone's still reading this, but the January edition of Martha Stewart Living has a rather nice piece on blackboard paint.

(Disclaimer, I write for the magazine, and have a story in that issue, but I'm not involved in the decorating stuff, plus I really think it's nice!)

4:18 PM  
Blogger Kenneth said...

I am helping to restore an old school in Virginia and would like to use original slate blackboard. Does anyone know how I can get some. The old blackboard was 4 foot high and about 16 foot wide. Thanks, Ken

4:58 PM  

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