Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Peanut Gallery

When I first thought of using what was supposed to be the formal dining room as a sitting room, I always envisioned creating a large gallery wall that incorporated family photos and photos of places we'd lived. After finally finding the perfect shade of gold to paint the room, I took down the photos I had up and lovingly placed them in my closet, with the intention of completing said wall within a week of painting. It's been well over a year and I'm finally doing it. Yesterday, I went to my 40 week appointment and was told that with the high temperatures this would be a good time to have a 'restful weekend' with lots of fluid intake; perfect opportunity to tackle this simple project in the comfort of my own a/c.

Here's the 'before the photos, but after the new light fixture' view of the sitting room.
Since moving in two years ago, I've painted almost every wall in the house, and as I did I gathered the frames from the other areas of the house that would go into the wall, and added them to the growing pile in the closet. Last fall when we had our first professional photo shoot as an entire family, I intended to order prints immediately and get going on the wall. Again, best laid plans.

Fast forward to me standing with my t minus 1 day belly in an argument with the photo lab employee who was not going to release my photos to me without written consent from the photographer. I had a trantrum like a three year old, called my cousin (said photographer), who spoke with the employee and then emailed me on my phone. After getting a manager, they put their heads together and I scanned my phone to get a screen shot of the email from my cousin so they could put it on file. I'm giving you the short version, because if I gave the long version, I'd just get irritated again. There was no watermark on the photos and I had uploaded them from the disc I'd purchased (and had previously picked up prints from on a prior occasion without this concern of legal infringement.) Photo Lab boy thought he was very tricky when he said that he could tell they were professional because my whole family was in the photo, so I most likely didn't take them myself. I agreed that he was a logistics genius; it would, after all, be impossible to take a photo of ones own family since they've not yet invented timers or remotes. That bit of snark aside, I got my pictures and waddled home.

Part of the reason I put this off for so long is that I'm terrible about guessing where/how to hang things. I was really nervous that it would end up an ugly mish-mash of items and then I'd have a wall full of holes. By looking at pinterest for walls that I liked, and following a couple of the tips I've gleaned from reading Our Humble A{Bowe}d, I felt like I could easily lay out a wall that I'd be happy with. If you're super organized, you'll lay everything out and then trace the frames onto newspaper and hang those templates up, blah blah blah...you know that's not my style. However, I did lay all of the frames out on my bed, and then swapped and organized until I found an arrangement I liked. Which I had to repeat when I moved all of the frames to the rug in the sitting room after realizing that the bed was not even close to the right dimensions for the wall. I didn't want to have my coveted new light fixture competing with the sight line of the gallery wall from the entry way. In the end, there was only one photo that grazed the fixture, and I'm fine with it.

I woke up this morning to my sweet Charlie exclaiming, 'Henry! Come quick! I found something beautiful! Look at all these pictures!'

Without further ado, here's how it went down:

Putting them all on my bed was fine while the kids were still awake and to get a general idea, but not the right dimensions for the space.

You can see that even from the rug to the wall (photos taken at night so the light is funky), there was a little tweaking. My neighbor came over to help me eyeball it, and suggested that to make the transition from floor to wall go smoothly, I make a newspaper template of each frame, blah blah. I just looked at her and she remembered who she was talking to and started laughing. She is the perfectionist, I am the good enough girl.

As I started handing the photos to J from the rug so that he could hang the ones that needed to be mounted with a ladder, he asked if I was swapping the layout. At my confused look, he explained that I was handing him pictures from the wrong side. What? It takes my brain a little longer to transpose things from the floor pointing one direction to the wall facing another. Good times, and yet another project after which we've remained married, and even friends!

And this is what I woke up to this morning. When I walk out of my bedroom, this is what greeted me; Another project checked off of my dwindling list.

This is the view from the front door, you can see that the light doesn't interfere too much...

Such a patient observer

We started with the bottom, middle picture, and then did that entire center column and built off of it. I didn't want any really straight lines, but it was a good starting point. There is also room on either side to add photos of all three boys once this child deigns to make his appearance.

I love how this room is very open to the rest of the house, but it's become it's own little space. For a long time, I'd planned to add a small couch in there, but I don't think I will anytime soon. If I do, it will go along the wall under the photos. 

Source List:

State Love Prints: (Oregon, Massachusetts and Washington) Poppy and Pinecone on Etsy
'Lucky I'm in Love' Free Printable from Landee See, Landee Do
Photos of Portland: (Top row, second from the end on either side, and bottom right corner) purchased at Saturday Market in 2007.
Family Photos: Photography by Lee Ann
Photos of the USS Arizona, Wachusett Reservoir and Freedom Trail sidewalk marker photos were taken by me. (We never lived in Hawaii, but Jared did a rotation on Oahu and his condo overlooked Pearl Harbor).
Mirror: Random thrift store find, spray painted with Rustoleum Ivory Satin Finish (yep, there's spray paint on the glass because I'm just not careful)

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