Crafting & Art

The Hallway Full Monty

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.



Finials (They Stay) & Art (Might Go)

Remember when we took Ed The Bed’s top rails off and mentioned needing some finials to finish things off? That’s where a finial fashion show comes in. Yup, I’m nerdy like that. I ran out to Home Depot and Lowe’s where I bought these four options and I gave them all a spin on Ed to see which ones we liked best. Here’s the spread:

The long wood “finials” on the top right were actually chair legs from Lowe’s, but I just wanted to see if something long and lean was the way to go. And you know we like to use “weird” things as other things. So legs as finials wasn’t that much of a stretch for us. Unfortunately once John suggested that they resembled “man parts” I just couldn’t get past it. What can I say, the idea of sleeping under four willies gave me the willies. So they were instantly eliminated before even partaking in the fashion show fun.

But here are the other three options in place atop one of Ed’s posts. The first option was a set of round finials from Home Depot that were actually meant for curtains rods, but the attached screws at the base of each one slipped right into the predrilled holes in the top of Ed’s posts.

They definitely could work (especially if we painted them white to match Ed), but I thought the basic round ball sort of looked like the top of a banister. You know, kinda “builder.” So although it mimicked the shape of our big dandelion-esque light and most definitely wouldn’t “not work,” we weren’t 100% over the moon about them either. Just because they felt like we got banister tops from the home improvement store and tried to play them off as four-poster finials.

These ornate curtain finials (also from HD) felt very heavy, formal, and almost pineapple-ish:

The reason we picked these up to begin with (since you might think they would never work with the modern lines of Ed the Bed) was because we plan to bring in a curvy antique-ish dresser to play off of the more modern chandelier. So we wanted to see if the clean lines of the bed would actually work with something a little formal on top. Of course the dark color threw us off, but painted white we actually thought they’d work. Especially because they sort of tied into the shape of our mirror above the sink in the background too.

These last curtain finials (also from HD) are kind of the compromise between the builder basic round ones and the super ornate formal ones:

And they were already white (although not a perfect match) so it helped us visualize how they’d work without much effort. We liked how they still had round orbs within them (which subtly mimicked the light fixture) but they also had a semi-old-ish vibe going on, so they would tie Ed into a curvy and ornate leggy dresser if we ever get a hold of one of those (we’ve been stalking Craigslist like crazy).

When we stepped back, we knew we had a winner. They just felt the best to us after studying them all in person for a while and weighing our options. Here they are from afar:

It’s like they were made for Ed. Psst- Remember we’re contemplating a bedside lamp & night stand upgrade, we’re just working with those for now since we have ‘em. So we packed up the other finials and back to the store they went. Thankfully I was able to slip one finial out of the top of the packaging without cutting or unstapling anything, which means I could slide each one back in and return them in perfect condition. In fact I remembered to take the picture of them in their packaging after putting each finial back in, so you can see how “mint” they looked. Yes, I’m actually proud of ridiculously random things like that.

Oh but actually adhering the finials was another little challenge. They each had screws that slid right into the predrilled hole on the top of each of Ed’s posts, but the hole was a smidge too wide for the screw (so they teetered ever so slightly if the post was jostled). And getting the screw out of the finials and replacing it with something thicker that might have fit Ed’s holes seemed like it might take a while. So being the impatient girl that I am, I decided we should try using a ball of poster putty to squeeze the screw through and beef things up, thereby creating a sticky-gum-like effect to hopefully hold things more securaly.

And holy cow it worked. The finials didn’t waver back and forth anymore, they were stuck in place for good. Except not really for good, which is good. If we ever change our minds, since poster putty is easily un-stuck, it’ll just take a few firm pulls on each finial to remove them without any permanent damage to Ed or the finials themselves.

So there you have it. The easiest and most reversible Ikea Hack ever. Haha. Oh wait- and yes, we still have to paint the finials to match Ed because they’re not exactly the same tone of white, so I’ll just bring home a bunch of paint swatches to see which one looks most like the paint on the posts and then I’ll just get a test pot of it for a few bucks and paint the finials for a more seamless look.

Wait, did you think that was the end of the post? Well… (cue the confetti)… we still have some art to discuss. We gave the ram and two thrift store finds a spin above our bed (I know not everyone would want to wake up under a ceramic ram head but it’s totally my idea of a good time). But – sad face – we’re thinking they’re probably too dinky for that spot.

Maybe once we add all the missing furniture and other art into the room they’ll feel a bit less teensy, but for now we’re not sold. But I like waking up under a ram so they’re still hanging there. We’re thinking about some giant canvas art or something for that spot down the road. Who knows where we’ll end up though.

Oh and here’s one of my favorite corners of the room that we realize hasn’t been pictured in a while.

How sweet does that chair and those curtains look through those finial topped posts? I love gazing at it sleepily in the morning. When I’m not smiling up at my ram friend of course.

Wait, did you think that was the end of this post? Well… (cue the second confetti explosion)… we have one more little treat for ya. It’s Burger starring in a movie that we like to call “Dude, I’m Going Back To Bed.” Remember we mentioned that he uses the bench that we move out of the room for photos (since it totally doesn’t work design-wise, but it’s functional for the pup, so it stays just for him until we get a longer & lighter one)? Well here he is using it to get all up in our bed’s area:

Ah, life is good when you’re Burger.