Decorating

Photo Finish

Our master bedroom has moved leaps and bounds over the last few days in terms of not looking like a big empty room with a bed in it. And by leaps and bounds, I mean frames and curtains. And more frames. Plus a few more frames after that.

 

Before we started putting a bunch of holes in our walls, this is what the room looked like (and what it has pretty much looked like since we painted it nine months ago). It was in desperate need of curtains at the very least, but we’re not done with those yet, so just ignore those and let’s talk about the frames.

 

We had long talked about doing a gallery wall over our bed, and after stewing on it for a few months we decided we wanted to go with big dark frames (gasp! not white ones?!?) with nice mats. We have a gradual goal of amassing nicer frames in the house as we go (some real wood ones with nice big mats with glass and not plexi) so after shopping around at a few frame places, these large wood ones from Michaels fit the bill best. At $39 each for the biggest ones and $29 for the slightly smaller size, they weren’t cheap – but thanks to a two-for-one sale, it took the average down to $15 to $20 each, which is closer to what we spend for cheaper frames of that size.

 

Once home with our original frame haul, Sherry cut a bunch of templates out of leftover rosin paper that we had from projects like this and this, and we taped up a rough, mostly-symmetrical arrangement.

 

Neither of us was totally sold on it. It just felt a little too perfectly lined up. So Sherry took a stab at loosening up the rows and columns a bit. Kinda the gallery wall equivalent of unbuttoning the top button of your dress shirt. It instantly looked more relaxed and casual than the more formal/balanced arrangement that we had tried first.

Next it was frame-hanging time. Considering the number of them (at this point we had 17), it wasn’t too bad. These frames hang nicely on one or two nails each (there’s a groove on the back lip of the wood frame) and since we had worked out their placement with paper templates it was pretty simple. Since the arrangement is somewhat mirrored from one side of the bed to the other, we used a laser level to make sure the frame on the left side was at the same height of its sister on the right (and we used a yardstick to make sure our side-to-side gaps between frames were about the same).

After we got the initial set of frames hung, we liked where it was going… but the whole thing was feeling a little too much like a stripe across the top of the bed, so we picked up five more frames to fill the space above each night stand for more of a full-wall-of-frames look. So when it was all said and done, we purchased five of the larger frames (they’re 11.5 x 14.5″ with an 8 x 10″ opening in the mat) and seventeen of the slightly smaller 16.5 x 16.5″ size (some of which had 8 x 10″ openings and some that had 5 x 7″ openings). Note: We later realized that the bare spot on the top left (by the curtain) felt off to us, so we inched a few frames around to make it more balanced looking (you’ll see that tweak three photos below this one).

Although we’re big fans of putting just about anything in a frame, we had been looking at our family photos and realized that we had a lot of special-to-us photos that we wanted to properly frame, so a wall of family photos was the goal here. It felt especially right for a more personal space like a bedroom, and we had never seen many of these photos printed out in a nice large size like 8 x 10. So we picked a bunch and placed an in-store pickup order on Target’s website (which we discovered was cheaper for 8 x 10s than our usual go-to, Shutterfly).

Here’s everything all framed up. We really liked going with colorful prints instead of black and white ones, especially on such a dark wall. They’re a nice balance of classic/handsome (wood frames & crisp white mats) + cheer (colorful family photos). And we like how the bolder prints tie into the colorful pillows and our headboard.

The process for picking photos was pretty straightforward: we scrolled through our family photo folders in iPhoto (we have one for each year, ordered chronologically) and flagged our favorites. That produced WAAAY too many options, so we whittled it down to the 22 we needed by choosing favorites from the favorites (for some reason it’s easier for us to pick top choices from the group than decide which ones to nix).

We didn’t keep any sort of color scheme in mind (there’s every color in the rainbow going on) but we did seem to subconsciously choose photos that looked more like a moment in time than a posed everyone-stare-at-the-camera shot. I think maybe we knew that a whole lot of eyeballs staring out at us might feel strange. So most of them feature people looking down, at each other, off to the side, etc. There are only a few with eyes that actually looked at the lens, like the Teddy beach shot in the top left corner.

It wasn’t until we had everything hung that we realized a few other commonalities emerged. We stepped back and laughed about “all that water.” Turns out around a third of them feature us on the beach or in some other form of water (the lake, a pool, etc). It’s probably because a lot of our favorite photos were from trips we took. We actually counted six different states being represented in our photos (from Alaska and Hawaii to Florida and Delaware). Another funny realization was that three of the photos in our gallery were taken on the very bed that they now sit above. So we’re apparently a family who likes to travel… or stay in bed.

After we were all done hanging and framing everything, our formerly nondescript bedroom wall had sort of morphed into a photographic celebration of our family, which has been pretty awesome as the first and last thing we look at every day. In fact, as much as we loved the frame hallway in our last house (we didn’t think we’d ever love a frame arrangement more), our new family-gallery is right up there with it.

Oh, and even though it looks like those pictures behind the lamp are impossible to see, they’re actually some of the ones we see the most from bed and/or when we walk into the room. It’s all about the angle y’all.

We hope our new family wall will encourage us to keep breaking out the camera and documenting family moments. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be the nice camera. We realized almost half of the pictures up here were from our iPhones or our old point-and-shoot.

Clara was napping when we finished hanging everything, so we stole the opportunity to give Teddy and Burger some brother time in front of the camera. And knowing our penchant for framing the photos taken on this bed, there’s a chance this shot could end up on the wall at some point. So meta, I know.

We can’t really picture the “before” of this room in our heads anymore without pulling up the actual before photos…

… but we’re certainly grateful for how far it has come. It’s looking a little busy to us right now, but we think a few other to-do list items should hopefully fix that. We’d like a better bench at the end of the bed and a proper set of end tables so we can use the dresser on another wall. We also still have to finish the curtains, need an overhead light, etc. Slowly, slowly.

Anyone else doing bedroom updates? Or hanging a collection of family frames? Have you noticed any subconscious themes afterwards, like a love of water, travel, or being in bed? What about eyeballs? Are they all staring out at you? Do they follow your every move, Mona-Lisa style?

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What Went Where

As promised, we’re back with the details of how we organized the six new shelves and eight new drawers in our office, along with the drawers in my floating desk and the filing/printer cabinet on the other side of the room.

It’s awesome to have so much more storage space, both out in the open and behind closed doors, so let’s spin over to the left and face our new desk/bookcase wall first.

Here are the animated GIFs that John mentioned on Monday. You were on the edge of your seat for these, right? Or were you excited about donuts? I can’t remember. Here’s the bookcase to the left of John’s desk coming together in GIF form:

And here’s the one to the right filling up in fast motion:

Between both sides of the open shelves, we managed to work in eight magazine storage boxes (from Target). We used them to hold our press stuff since we’ve saved magazines with a mention/feature of our site or any column that we’ve written. Now instead of shoving them all into various cabinets in our dining room buffet (where we used to keep them) we finally have them all organized by year with little tabs on that page. It makes it a lot easier to find things.

We also brought out a bunch of books that we had stuffed into our kitchen cabinets, and added a few decorative boxes that we already had (the blue ones are from Bed Bath & Beyond when I was in college, and the cream one is from HomeGoods last year). They’re loaded up with various office supplies that we didn’t want crowding the surface of our desks.

We also included some of our hook designs (some in the packaging, and some out) along with a few copies of our book (the English version and the Korean one) since we figured an office is a good spot to display some of the stuff you’ve made, and if we ever have anyone over for a meeting we can grab a few copies of our book or a product or two from the office shelves.

A too-pretty-to-hide-in-a-drawer stack of notebooks and post-its ended up in the mix too…

… along with an “inbox” for the magazine tear sheets that used to collect on the kitchen table or the back of the couch. I have binders with clear sleeves where I eventually file them, but now they have a drop zone until I do that, which is nice. Even got to use one of our octopus hooks as a paperweight.

There are also deceptively decorative things that are actually up there multitasking for hidden functional reasons, like the spiky yellow HomeGoods vase which is where we stash our wires (extra chargers, headphones, uploading cords for the camera, etc). It’s nice to keep those less-lovely things (like a big mass of wires) incognito, but easy to grab. And the little zebra dish holds magnets for our magnetic frame wall along with a pink vase full of dry erase markers for that zone.

And we finally have a spot for my yellow horse head bookends (remember these?) which add color but also do good equine work (way to hold those books up, stallions).

There are also a few purely decorative objects in the mix, just because they make us happy. There’s my wonky little painting of our first house along with a painting by my friend Lesli of our second house (she surprised me with it as a holiday gift shortly after I painted our first one). And we can’t forget about the awesome replica of our fireplace that Lisa made us.

I also put our little bee painting up there along with a catalog tear-out from Boden that says “Squeeze the day” to add a little office cheer/inspiration – and I found a spot for our family yearbooks. I love seeing that colorful little stack of them, complete with a cup full of Young House Love pencils in every color of the rainbow (a super sweet book tour gift from 2012).

Speaking of bees and stuff that makes us happy, it was pretty hilarious to have our little bumble girl playing dress up and making bead necklaces at her little desk while we sorted and filled our shelves and drawers.

In the drawers to the right of John’s desk, we have two empty ones (room to grow = the best feeling ever) along with one that’s half full of paint decks, and one that’s full of the magazines that I love too much to throw away (like every original issue of Domino) and some catalogs that we reference from time to time.

The drawers to the left of John’s desk are where we have the more office-related things. The two that are closed in this photo are full of design prototypes that we’re currently developing/tweaking, and the top open one is full of tax stuff (receipts, file boxes of back taxes, quarterly stuff to fill out and mail in, etc). The bottom open one has back-up external hard drives, old notebooks full of info that we still need, and a large ziplock bag full of miscellaneous instruction books and warranties for things like our printer, camera, etc.

As for the printer/file cabinet, that’s also full of documents and other tax/work-related stuff. Here’s a shot of it closed (it’s the Ikea Effectiv cabinet, which they discontinued a while back).

And here it is opened up. We keep the paper and our camera case on the top left, our wireless printer lives on the top right, and all of our files are in that bottom drawer.

My floating desk by the window (remember when we found it for free on criagslist?) has four more drawers for me to use, as well as a nice big top that I’m attempting to keep pretty clear except for a few notebooks and two vases full of writing paraphernalia (we use the pencils for book edits).

I put things like my scissors, stapler, and other use-a-lot stuff in the top right drawer, filled the right middle drawer with stationery/thank you cards, and kept the skinny middle drawer and the bottom right drawer empty for “space to expand.” There’s also a cabinet on the left side of the desk that’s empty (more remaining room = happy tingly feelings inside).

So that’s our little where-it-all-went rundown of the office. Only took us a year to find a spot for the stapler and the receipts… but I gotta admit, it feels better than it probably should.

That rush you get when you have a spot for everything is pretty addicting… even if your brain knows it’s only a little while before things start to multiply/explode. I’m soaking it up while I can.

Psst- Teddy’s eight week photo is up (we couldn’t resist that Spoonflower fabric).

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