Our Gallery Wall

So,our apartment is long and narrow. It has one long wall that extends all the way from the front door to the end of the unit. With no walls, doors, windows or other architectural details on it to make it more interesting, this wall has the potential to be a major snooze-fest.

Luckily, we had a variety of pictures (that already had black frames) leaning against the wall in the bedroom waiting to be hung. With the addition of our 70-year old magazine prints from Paris, the collection was shaping up rather nicely. I decided that a gallery wall (which is when frames are clumped together in an interesting and balanced way) would be the best way to add interest to the loooong wall. So I cleared a space in the living room and laid the photos out on the floor until I found an arrangement that, to me, felt balanced by way of shape, mass, and color. Then I snapped a photo of it on my iPhone to reference when it came time to hang them.

The People For Peace framed poster is both a lively dose of color and an idea that Doug and I both believe in, however the process of hanging said poster does not lend itself to peaceful cooperation between spouses. Luckily for us, this is the fourth time we’ve had to hang it and knew what we were getting into. Since the nails on the wall have to go into two little triangle hooks on the back of the frame just so, we know that careful measuring (the hooks are 14 inches apart) and use of the level is key. Luckily, this time the poster went up smoothly without calling to mind a warlike atmosphere.

Here is a tip for those hanging their first gallery wall: start with the largest frame first because this is the foundation you will build out from. Since it carries the most visual mass, it will probably be close to the center of your arrangement. The second frame to go up on our gallery wall was the square one with our wedding photos in it–not coincidentally, it is the second largest. This is important because the smaller ones are easier to “tweak” if you hang them up and find yourself needing to nudge them one way or the other. Speaking of nudging one way or the other, I am currently debating about moving the dresser sideboard about six inches to the right. But it’s heavy. Le sigh.

Notice the way that the gallery is balanced without being symmetrical. The teal Lennon poster is balanced out by the dark photograph at the top right and the more densely-colored Renault ad at the bottom-right. The wedding pictures and white bicycle frame are balanced by the black-and-white Morocco ad on the left. Imagine if the Renault ad and Morocco ad had been swapped–the whole thing would seem a little heavy on the left side, don’t you think?

Here’s what the apartment looks like, now, from the entryway. Behind the couch is another area where we are planning on hanging art, but haven’t decided what to put yet.

Now that the gallery is up, I can really envision it continuing at least four feet in both directions. What can I say? The wall is long. It would be cool for the gallery to take up a full third of the wall’s total length. I have a few pieces of art I could use… but need to save up a bit to buy about three more frames. If I do end up adding to this grouping, you can be sure I’ll update about it here!

Here’s one more shot because Mosey was sitting for me so nicely.

Have a great Tuesday, everyone! I’m off to go exercise. Yes, you read that right. For the past week I’ve been working out 30-60 minutes a day! Whew! 

Two Flops

I would be remiss if I went around here on blogland and pretended that everything I try to do to beautify my space went 100% according to plan, 100% of the time. So, as a kind of “wrap up” of my final week living here, I thought I’d finally get around to sharing two things that I thought were going to be totally cool and turned out to be totally meh…

  • A gallery wall full of frames and postcards featuring places we’ve traveled or places friends have sent us back notes about:

I was going to jam-pack the hallway full of color and interesting things (described above). Part of this was because I was getting nagged about wall-items hanging around on the floor of the guest room (when we first moved in) and part of it was because I had a vision of awesomeness–I wanted to evoke a cool, eclectic bohemian cafe or something. Well, once we put some stuff up on the wall, we kind of reached a standstill because Hobby Lobby is about 100,000 miles away and I was working too much to think about shopping at the end of the day. Isn’t that  the irony of having a good job? You make more money that you’re too tired to spend?

Anyway, that’s where we ended up. Some cool stuff on the wall with some stupid awkward blank space. So when we decided to move out and the in-laws decided to list the house, instead I hung some rad art painted by my great-great aunt in the 1930s. So, still awesome.

  • Secondly, an awesome mini-dresser turned “landing strip.”

I nabbed this bad boy girl in Lawrence, KS for about $10 which made a very, very, awkward ride home for the person in the back seat (3 hours). The bottom drawer was in pieces so I decided to just chuck it altogether, and salvage the hardware to put into the top drawer. Let me tell you… this little dresser was filthy. I cleaned it with some hardcore chemicals and it still didn’t feel clean. I scraped about a zilion Hello Kitty stickers off of it, but my ultimate goal was to paint it anyway.

Finally, one day during a huge tornado warning we were stuck inside and I decided to crack open the paint cans. For a bit of fun, the drawers were painted teal and the outer was painted dark gray. And it looked fantastic! Then I had to go ruin it by filling in the scrollwork with gold paint. I hate how the gold turned out. I was going for a bright, brassy gold leaf effect and it totally turned out wimpy, cold, and pearlescent. Then I lost motivation and it brings us to where we are today.

I admit that it looks better in gray, but also that it’s half-finished and not worth the effort to move with us to CA. But, I’d like to point out that lacking one drawer does not need to be a death sentence for a dresser like this–it held shoes famously in the bottom section–a much better alternative to piles of dirty shoes clogging up the entryway. So I call this one a half-win, half-lose. If you live in town and want this, it’s up for grabs until Friday.

We’ve all been there–right? Got any stories of DIY-gone-awry? 

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