I know that once an idea enters your mind, it’s impossible to get rid of it. After all, I’ve seen Inception . . . twice. So be prepared for a pretty awesome idea to enter your consciousness: chevron chalkboard backsplash. Justine has planted the seed of DIY genius and it’s going to haunt you, trust me. In all seriousness, I love how this turned out. If I was on the fence about chalkboard paint before, that’s no longer the case. The best part of Justine’s design is the visual combination of hand-drawn irregularities and the repetition of a continuous pattern. Justine is studying graphic design at Columbus College of Art and Design, and her love of pattern obviously shows here. While most chalkboard iterations have involved prose, to-do lists or notes — all of which I love, by the way — this is one of the first uses I’ve seen of a wallpaper or tile-like pattern being re-created in chalk. It’s one of those imperfect designs that manages to yield more beauty than a totally regimented project. As Justine points out, the medium provides amazing flexibility. If you get water on the design, not a problem. Simply redraw it, or scrap it and make a new one. You can read more about this backsplash and Justine’s other home redesign projects on her website, The Elefanta. Great work, Justine! — Kate
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When I see these types of light fixtures, I usually cringe because I’m reminded of similar ones that hung outside my parents’ old house in Maine. In the summer, the lamp bases would fill with so many dead bug bodies that you couldn’t see up to the bulb, and the sound of incessant buzzing echoes in my ears to this day. Ugh. But I’m actually glad I have that memory; it makes this transformation from jewelry designer Carrie Saxl all the more amazing, and now when I see these fixtures in salvage shops I can conjure up this beautiful “after” image instead. Carrie’s husband was replacing the old fixtures and had the creative vision to use them as vases. Carrie decided to give them a makeover with a few coats of spray lacquer and some painters tape. I would never have come up with this color combination, but it’s perfect! The colors are beautifully reminiscent of an older era, and they provide the perfect complement to the vintage fixtures’ diamond cut design. I must also add that Carrie’s tape and paint job looks impeccable, which is no small feat when dealing with such curved, irregular shapes. Great makeover, Carrie!