The Family Business Wall

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The “Family Business Wall” was born out of a had-it-up-to-here moment with clutter on the kitchen counter, family calendars being unavailable at a glance, and sounds of “I’m bored!” from the kiddos while I’m fixing dinner.

We had a smallish wall in our kitchen near the pantry with very little on it. (Just a dry erase calendar that hadn’t been updated in half a year. For shame.) I thought it might be cool to add some texture and interest to the otherwise black and white kitchen by installing a sort of “message board” on that wall, with things that could serve the whole family.


I carefully selected things that would solve each of our issues: a calendar for us to write all over, clipboards for rotating photos and prints, a magazine pocket to hold mail and important papers, pretty artwork to make it lovely, and fun chalkboard and magnetic activities for the kids so they could be with me in the kitchen (yet out of the way!) while I’m cooking. I even added a tray at the bottom to hold chalk and erasers and a magnetic face game. I had a plan!

// 1. circle magnet boards // 2. clipboards // 3. magnetic face game // 4. calendar  // 5. alphabet soup wall art // 6. magnetic magazine pocket  // 7. wall bin // 8.  circle chalkboard decals // 9. owl in flight wall art //

Then came time to draft out the plan. Mmmm… I love a fresh sheet of graph paper! I worked out dimensions, drew all the different items to scale and cut them out so I could rearrange them on my little paper wall until I figured out the perfect set up for our space.


Next, it was time to stain the wood (I used those rough fencing boards at Lowe’s that are $1.65/ea and mimic the look of pallet wood without all the trouble of harvesting it). I got a lot of questions about staining when I shared my wood wall tutorial, so I thought I’d include a little video this time around to demonstrate just how not-intimidating it actually is.

I had two cans of stain that were both nearly empty (walnut and black, I believe), so I just married them to get a dark-but-not-too-dark brown. Using an old t-shirt and light swipes (just keep your hand moving – that’s the key!), the staining step went super quickly and it was time to let the stain dry and the wood acclimate to the indoor temp before I put it up on the wall.

I’m not going to assume everyone has the same size space as me, so sharing dimensions and such is silly. But I will tell you that if you’re not butting your wood up against another wall, installing a temporary straight edge board as a guide (I used a spare piece of baseboard we had in our garage) will yield a nice, straight line in the end.

Also a level. Don’t you dare tackle this project without a level nearby.


Once I knocked out the wall installation (in case you’re wondering, I used a nail gun and tried to stick to the studs), it was time for the fun part: hanging all the goodies! I wanted one of my magnetic circles to also act as a chalkboard, so I applied a (slightly larger) chalkboard decal directly on the metal circle and trimmed the edges with the sharp edge of a pair of scissors.

addchalkboarddecalI was super excited to hang our Alphabet Soup canvas on the wall, though I’ve been tempted to move it around the house so I can enjoy it in different rooms as well. (Up close it’s crazy cool!)artworkcloseup

I managed to finish the project in a day, so you can imagine Oliver’s delight to get off the bus and discover what Mom had been cooking up in the kitchen while he was at school. hesafan

The magnetic face game was an awesome icing on the cake for the kids. They love getting silly with eyes and hair, or using the chalkboard to draw bodies on their people.

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9 Responses

  1. Christine 22 May 2013 at 1:14 pm

    I like how deliberate you were with the dimensions and such. So very Raechel-y! And this is a great inspiration for me, lady. We have a similar ill-used wall in our dining that is making me crazed. I have long thought it needed to be the family organization central, but didn’t know how it should look. I miiiight just copy. Love you and your crazy smart brain.

  2. alyssa 23 May 2013 at 10:38 am

    Can you come decorate my house? I’m only 5 hours from Nashville!!!! Your wall look fantastic!!!! I’ve been wanting to do a similar wall in my son’s room since I saw what you did in Oliver’s room but my husband won’t jump on board. Too bad, too, because we have a lot of old boards from the barn on the family farm. How cool would that be?

  3. Beatrice 23 May 2013 at 9:46 pm

    Love it. Super cute! We have a similar wall and you’ve inspired me. The wood look wouldn’t go but I’m determined to jazz it up now. Loved the alphabet soup artwork but just about lost my stomach when I saw how much it was. May have to improvise one of those for my little girls room.


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