Archive for March, 2011

Using Paper Templates To Create A Giant Wall To Wall Frame Gallery

We’re back with pics of our hallway that we “wallpapered with frames” for lack of a better description. We think it created some pretty quick dimension and interest that’s sure to be fun for the whole family. Literally. We love that we can work in drawings by Clara, class pictures, and photos of favorite vacations for the whole family to enjoy.

As for how we did it, you saw how I cut out little newspaper templates for all of the frames that we already owned (we actually had a lot of them from various arrangements in our first house, seen here, and even had a few unused ones snagged on sale a while back that were begging for some action). So we just taped up all of our pre-cut templates with a few of the larger ones staggered in the middle (to ground things) and built things out from there, placing most of the smaller frames around the perimeter for some subtle balance. We shifted things around a little, stepped back, went back in and moved stuff around, and stepped back to look at everything again. This happened about ten times with smaller and smaller tweaks until we decided we liked it. But we still wanted to sleep on it and study it one more time the next morning before breaking out the hammer (hence this post about that first phase of the project).

Yesterday we mentioned that The Washington Post scooped us by sharing this shot of our frame-riddled hallway here:

We try to stay as real-time as possible, but we also like to take a ton of after pics and write a big wordy post for ya, so it can take a few days from project completion to post publishing. If only we had a live camera feed going 24/7. Just kidding, my nightmare is to get caught picking a wedgie on camera. It’s why I never auditioned for the Real World (side tangent: John actually sent in an audition tape once when he was 19).

Anyway, so when we woke up the next day and agreed that we still liked the proposed frame placement, it was time to lay out all of our frames on the floor of the dining room in the same arrangement, just to check if some of the actual frames conflicted (since all we were looking at on the wall were their outlines and not their actual styles). Of course we ignored the art since most of it would be switched out anyway.

The frames all looked just fine together, so we decided to bite the bullet and grab the hammer. It was hangin’ time (here’s where a lot of MC Hammer was sung). Since our newspaper templates were still up on the wall, it was actually really easy to hang stuff. We just measured how far down from the edge of the frame that our wire, hook, or other hanging device was and just marked a centered “x” right on each template (the horizontal line is the measured center of the template, and the x below it is the spot where the nail should actually go to catch the wire or hook so the frame hangs in the right place).

Then we just hammered directly into the “x” in the template…

… and pulled the template off the wall to reveal a lone nail waiting for a frame (even though it looks like a jacked up hole, that’s just a tiny bit of paper caught above the nail that we easily removed with a finger flick).

We slowly worked our way around the wall using this method. It probably took an hour or so.

Sadly our old plaster walls don’t work with 3M Command hooks or velcro alone (since that’s always an easy way to create a frame collage without making any holes) but we do plan to add heavy duty Command velcro to the lower frames that may be within Clara’s reach when she starts toddling around. She’s a pretty docile girl who definitely seems to listen when we ask her to be gentle (when petting Burger for example) so our plan is to sweetly request that she be nice to the frames and “look with her eyes” and we might even try the “you can only touch them with one finger” technique that an awesome varsity mom shared with us a few days ago (she said it actually works!). But of course if we think those few low frames ever start to pose a safety hazard, or even just become too high maintenance for the way we live, we’ll definitely just get rid of them until the bean is a little older. Clara first!

But back to our process. After following our templates and hanging every frame we stepped back for a little look-see and frowned. Somehow they seemed a little tighter in the top right corner (which we actually really liked) and a bit too loosey goosey everywhere else…

… so we adjusted some of the frames on the left and added in a few little “filler” items to get the same full look that we had on the top right corner going on everywhere else.

So yes, there are probably ten extra holes in the walls hiding behind those frames from fine tuning them an inch one way or the other. Our bad. But they’re all out of sight so we’re at peace with it. They can just be our little secret. Oops, I just told The Interweb.

Once everything was hung we scavenger hunted the house to find things to display (since many of the existing items in the frames were horizontal images that were now hanging vertically or the frames were completely empty to begin with since we hadn’t used a few of them yet). Which puts the cost of the entire frame wall plus all of the “art” that you see (since that was also already owned) at 100% f-r-e-e. Except for this cool $16 frame from Target that we splurged on because we adored it’s “special capabilities” to store and easily showcase lots of kid art. We love that we don’t have to take it off the walls to change things out. Come on Clara, don’t you feel like drawing mommy a picture or two?

So this is our current arrangement with all of the just-for-now stuff that we found around the house. First here’s the view from the kitchen (which is why we placed the console table there, so it looks centered through the doorway:

And here are a bunch of other angles:

From an old Banana Republic ad with a llama (or is it an alpaca?) carrying sweaters…

… to a vintage milk cap that we found at our first house glued to a small square canvas…

….and a white paper key that I cut out of card stock (which I hope to replace with a DIYed ceramic-looking one)…

… it’s definitely a smorgasbord. And there are probably way too many photostrips, but they’ll do for now.

We’re actually planning a post later with more detailed shots of various items and directions for making your own stuff, like an arrowhead shadowbox for example. Or a long skinny wooden pinboard (still have to make that, for now we have a placeholder piece of card stock with a photostrip taped to it). We also thought it would be fun to take a picture of the wall every few months just to see what comes and goes (new Clara art? updated family pics?) and what always stays (the sketch of our first house’s lot? a favorite photobooth strip of the whole fam?).

We anticipate that at least 25% of the wall will be changing pretty regularly as new things steal our hearts – like a particularly good (or bad) fortune cookie fortune and Will Bower’s first birthday invitation. You know, the important stuff. We definitely feel like this gallery will be the most personal, eclectic, and fun display spot in the house. So while I’ve already asked for some awesome art prints for my birthday (which is this Saturday- woot!) we also want to frame everyday objects that hold meaning to us. From Clara scribbles to little love notes and even particularly funny greeting cards with chihuahuas on the front.

In short: We are so in love with the whole hallway frame gallery. It took a spot that was just a way to get from A to B and made it feel like a bonafide destination. We both keep finding ourselves being drawn to that wall like magnets, just standing there gazing at all the frames. Even Clara loves to stare at it. Ah gallery wall. How can you make us so happy? We’re nerds.

And surprise. We’re so enamored that we’re planning to “wallpaper” the other two walls on the other side of the hallway with frames too.

Here’s the pile that we grabbed from Ikea (feast your eyes on that pretty shattered fireplace tile).

Should be good times.

Psst- We announced this week’s giveaway winners. Click here to see if you’re one of them.



Toe Heaven

Yup, that’s how I’d describe our new living room rug. We have a case of happy feet. It’s even more plush and amazing than expected. But before we get to all the juicy rug pics we need to tell you guys how much we love you. The overwhelming support, kindness, and hilarity that you bring into our lives – not only on this morning’s big announcement post, but on the regular – is humbling, inspiring, and completely and utterly amazing. So smooch. I just virtually kissed your face. Oh snap.

Now back to Big Green (since it is St. Patrick’s Day)…

Although it’s so thick that you’d think tumbleweeds of green fuzz would be rolling around the house, we vacuumed it when it arrived and again the next day (just to grab any of those loose fibers that might have pulled out from shipping) and so far so good. No issues with green fluff everywhere or pulled tufts from the vacuum suction. Whew.

At 8 x 11′, it’s definitely a more appropriate size for our giant 25 x 15′ living room (as opposed to our old 5 x 8′ rug that now lives in the guest room). And once we build a big long console table for the back of the sofa (and the sofa comes forward about a foot more onto the rug) it’ll look even more proportionate. In other words, not quite as much rug will show since the sofa will move forward on the rug for a more balanced look once we have that console table built.

And of course once we upgrade to a deeper/bigger media cabinet, hang curtains, and bring in more art, the room will hopefully start to feel more cohesive and make a lot more sense. Because right now it’s just a big gray box with a fuzzy green rectangle on the floor. Haha. But it’ll be fun to see how thing evolve as we layer in all sorts of other stuff over time. Hopefully it’ll fill in nicely. Just think of the rug as a big furry grass-like foundation that we’re laying- er, planting.

Speaking of the fun green color, we’re so psyched about the happy-go-lucky tone. It’s just perfect with the gray sectional, pewter walls, and dark beams. All of a sudden it feels chipper and a lot less cold in there. Like a space that we want to kick off our shoes and settle into. It’s definitely not your mother’s persian rug (or your father’s neutral one) but we’re having a lot more fun taking risks in this house. Even if it means doing things that might not have mass appeal – as long as something speaks strongly to us, we’re in. There’s actually freedom in letting go of the notion that your house should please everyone who walks in the door. It allows you be more true to yourself and your place starts to feel more special. Plus it means that your rooms won’t be in danger of looking like everyone else’s, which isn’t a bad thing either.

We loooved our first house for how soothing and serene it was, but in all honesty, we smile bigger here. Cheesy but true. It’s just such a fun and happy house – even though we’re just getting started and every room is about 80% incomplete. We definitely think Clara has inspired this whole Benjamin Button-ization of our style (read more about that here). Basically we’re loving the looser and less serious approach to making this house a home – and we’re quickly learning that playful pops of color, texture, and pattern can definitely happy up any room. Especially when mixed with neutrals like gray walls/furnishings/beams or white furnishings & a jute rug. Because if everything is a color and a pattern it might get cray-zay.

To tie into this big furry rug baby we’d love to add eight green parson’s chairs to our giant wooden dining room table for some nice whole house cohesion (there’s that “neutral + color = love” combination again). We’ll find those perfect chairs someday…

Oh and when it comes to keeping Kermit clean (we’re loving that reader recommended rug name – don’t Karl & Kermit sound perfect together?), as we mentioned in the post about ordering it, a friend of ours with three kiddos and a big hairy dog has a similar shag rug in her house and she swears it holds up to stains and kids like nobody’s business since crumbs/dust come out with a quick vacuum and you can actually subtly trim the long hairy tufts if anything catastrophic happens to “lift” the stain. So far it’s been amazing (but we obviously haven’t dropped anything major on it yet) so we’ll tell you the truth if we hate it in a month.

You might also notice some new pillows on Karl. We got two of those ruffled purple guys for $16 at HomeGoods. We also brought in our two green pillows from the bedroom just to see how something like that might work with the rug (we think they’re a little too yellow, but not terrible), and tossed three Sue The Napkins over other pillows that we had lying around to see what real Sue The Napkin pillow covers might look like when I get down to business and sew some. The pillow situation will definitely evolve over time though (I love those teal tones in Sue, so blue pillows might make an appearance someday, perhaps in lieu of green ones).

But back to the purple ruffle pillows for a second. The ruffle detail is really fun, but isn’t it amazing that John didn’t veto them? He’s usually so not on The Ruffle Train. I think he likes the idea of spicing things up with bright colors like navy and plum and deep teal so he just did one of those “sure, why not?” things. Love that man. Or maybe he’s just finally catching on that a happy wife = a happy life. Haha.

Now we just have to plan our big console table build because we can’t wait to see Karl scooched out (that’s a technical term) about a foot away from the wall. A little less rug should look perfect, plus it means there will finally be a place to put drinks (namely my hot tea every night) and two table lamps for reading (which means no more floor lamp in the doorway). Yipppppeeeeeeeeee! Yes I just wrote that. And yes it has ten “e”s on the end. Can you tell I’m excited? Oh yeah and Karl’s embarrassingly pale legs have got to go. So creepy.

And just for fun, here’s Clara breaking in the ol’ rug. Yes, that’s a plate on the ground in the background. No idea why.

She whips her cellphone back and forth. She whips her cellphone back and forth.

Psst- John’s parents just gave us their old leggy antique dresser which is perfect for our bedroom (it’s been in the family for years and John’s dad actually bought it from a cousin for $100 decades ago). It needs some love but it’s going to look awesome. And it’s f-r-e-e. More pics soon (you can see a “they-scooped-us” pic of it here thanks to the Washington Post).