Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Filling our house with gallery walls

I have a thing for wall collages/gallery walls.  There is a small one in our bedroom and ones in both our offices.  For almost as long as we've lived here we've had one over our buffet in the dining portion of our front room.  It's gone through a few changed over the years, originally pictures from our wedding, then vacation pictures, then a new layout of vacation pictures.  I can't find a picture of the original collage...maybe that was a better time when I didn't take multiple pictures of every project.  But here it is behind us:

And here:
A picture where I can find at least 20 things that have changed.  Although most of the items on top of the buffet are the same as they were up until 4 months ago. 

Here's it is with vacation pictures instead of wedding pictures:

Then about 2 1/2 years ago I started to get into decorating a little more and didn't like that collage.  Too spaced out, too high, and we had taken too many trips.  So down they all came, filled the holes, touched up paint, and up went more frames:

That was better.  The problem was we've kept going on trips but didn't have a good way to add pictures.  I had 3 frames in the buffet, with pictures, with nowhere to go on the wall.  The cheapest solution would have been to stop traveling.  But that didn't happen.  Instead I decided to redecorate the whole buffet and frames.  I came up with this plan while on crutches, with plenty of Pinterest browsing time and motivation to do things...eventually.  (I've also been working on a bedroom update for six months and it will likely drag well into spring, for painting reasons.)

Even though I came up with this plan about 6 months ago, it took me until the middle of February to do anything with the frames.  I was much more interested in the "buy new things and redo the top of the buffet" part of the project.  Finally I bit the bullet while bored and trying to be productive during naptime.  Frames all came down.  Filled holes.  Sanded,  Filled again.  Sanded.  Painted.  Worked on a new frame arrangement.  Made some "art" for the wall.  Switched out some pictures.  Switched out more pictures once I had an arrangement (orientation issues).  Figured I have room for 4 more trips before this will need updated again which give us a few years at least. 

I had some help from our little artist while making these guides.
This time instead of using nails I used Command picture hanging strips.   These were more expensive than the old nail route but I don't like retouching the paint on a regular basis because it gets to be pretty obvious, besides being a pain.  These worked out really well and I was able to hang all the pictures myself, in about 90 minutes.  We won't use them for all our picture hanging but I am glad we tried them out on this wall I seem to constantly be redoing.  Plus they keep the frames from shifting slightly (notice how crooked they are in the above pictures).  They aren't regular Command strips, more like velcro, so I can still take the frames down to change our pictures.  My paper guides didn't work quite as well without being able to drive a nail right through them, but they were still really helpful when determining the final wall layout.  A huge pain to do but worth it. 

I couldn't purchase any more frames because Target changed their design and they no longer carry ones similar to the ones we have.  I was not happy when I figured this out.  (I don't love everything about Target!)  So unless I can find ones that blend well we are left with the 21 we have.  That means every trip just gets one picture, besides Europe which has one per country.  And an extra frame so Hawaii does have 2 for now (plus both on the buffet...not that we are playing favorites or anything...).  I'm pretty excited with how it all turned out:

I love having such a visible reminder of our many adventures together. 

Most of the things I bought for the buffet redecorate came from Target (lamp & shade, large print & frame), with the rest of the new items coming from IKEA, Amazon, half.com, and Barnes & Noble (all books from those last 3).  Everything else we already owned, mostly vacation souvenirs.   

I believe the starfish came from the Outer Banks (bought, not found).  I know the container of shells are all OBX as well as the lighthouse frame in the upper left.

We never actually used any of these travel books, I bought them all online last fall, but I liked the reminder of places we've been.  It's not obvious, besides New York,  but I made sure to get the edition for the year we traveled each place.  The cut shell on top and sand dollar are both from Newport Beach. 

A final comparison:

So, the project may have drug out for months but in the end it was worth it.  May have been just as well done if I actually did it in a few weeks instead of months but in the end it's done.  Now, to finally get that bedroom redo done...

No comments: