Saturday, 29 December 2012

The Perfectly Imperfect Home

As part of painting the front room, another project I had in mind was from The Perfectly Imperfect Home.    This book was recommended to me by Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project.   (I should go leave a comment with a link to thank her!)  


Practicing, on the kitchen floor!




This is a great decorating book for us ordinary folk who wouldn't dream of hiring a decorator, who don't have thousands or tens of thousands to spend to re-do the whole house.  And maybe it would be good even for those who do.








 One of the ideas I particularly liked was the 'gallery wall'.   Between us, Bill and I have been given, bought, inherited or made quite a few things meant to be on a wall.  Instead, our attic has been really full.    I thought that should finally change.



I dreaded the idea of poking loads of holes into a newly painted wall but there was nothing for it.  Bill was prepared to do the measuring and nailing to my satisfaction so long as he didn't have to decide what went where.    

I read a bunch of websites (see list below) for tips and ideas and came away with a few general principles I thought I could use:  space frames a uniform two inches apart; do trial arrangements before deciding; group like items together; have some logic to your choices. The latter was sort of my idea after reading other's ideas.  

One thing I did not do was to have all matching frames; neither did I have all the same type of subject in the pictures. However, I did exclude photographs from the mix and a couple of pieces that seemed to clash horribly with the new colour scheme were left out.  

I started by defining the area I wanted to fill, which was between the picture rail and the top of the couch, stopping short of bureau so there would be room for it to open.  I cut a piece of dressmaking paper, marked off in inches, to size and put it on the only empty floor space in the house large enough, the kitchen floor.  I tried putting the larger pictures in the upper left and lower right corners; I tried putting the largest picture in the centre but decided it was just too large for any arrangement.


The outcome




Bill declined to have his favourite pieces on the wall as it gets western sun in the evening.  At the last minute, however, he threw in a few pieces from his mother's house that I quite liked and I started again from scratch.  By then, I had enough practice that it didn't seem too hard.  I'd already learned that I seemed to think in columns:  start with a width-definer and centre things above and below it; I liked the green frames reasonably near the mainly green paintings; I liked small groupings beneath larger pictures and if possible I wanted some oval shapes.  I don't think I ended up with everything I wanted, but there is another vast empty wall on the upstairs landing and loads more pictures to hang!  


I can see that lamp has been moved to accommodate cards...

I only bought one piece, a silhouette series from John Speight in Kirkharle.  Most of the pieces hung on the walls in my Mom's house, she painted or she or I did the needlework.  Some were from art festivals or souvenir sketches on holidays.  A few were frames I bought at yard sales 20 years ago which have never been hung and which need something better in them, so it will be a work in progress as I find new things to put in the frames.  Mark, at the Tynemouth Fleamarket, is my go-to resource for framing anything we don't feel we can manage.  

However, the hard part, the measuring and nailing up, I shall live with for a while - probably another 12-15 years...


http://www.laurenconrad.com/post/picture-perfect-how-to-hang-a-wall-collage-gallery

http://coreasotropa.wordpress.com/2010/02/05/how-to-hang-a-picture-gallery/

http://www.curbly.com/users/mollymc/posts/13814-how-to-curate-a-gallery-wall

http://thenestinggame.com/2011/11/21/how-to-hang-a-gallery-wall/

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/9-gallery-walls-done-right-173044

http://www.brooklynlimestone.com/2010/01/gallery-wall-tutorial.html

http://tatertotsandjello.com/2012/03/family-picture-gallery-wall-reveal.html

13 comments:

Carolyn said...

WOW! It looks absolutely fantastic! Well done!

vintagefrenchchic said...

I love it! A lot of work but how smart to map it out on the floor before you started banging the wall to bits. When we moved into our house, I decided to do a "gallery" of family photos on the upstairs landing. I quite like it. Instead of having a bunches of frames sitting around on table tops, shelves, etc. I have them all localized in one ares.

Thanks for the links too!

Shelley said...

Carolyn - Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Heather - I like the idea of family photos on the upstairs landing. I've never been keen on plastering the lot on the living room wall or other public space - particularly if they are the horrible, out of date photos people seem to keep. With the exception of a couple of beautifully framed photos from the 1910-1920s period, all my family photos are on a corner table top in the dining room or in shelves in the East wing (East/guest bedroom, sewing room).

LR @ Magnificent or Egregious said...

You did a fantastic job, I'd love to do something similar but Hubs isn't really a big fan of all the holes in the wall either. I will have to come up with something else! Nicely done.

Rick Stone said...

This is kind of like the arrangement that Jo did over our long couch in the living room. Mostly needlework that I had done some years ago.

ilegirl said...

Great idea, and one which inspires me to dig out the old prints and photos I have stored in a closet to do something similar!

Beryl said...

Your new room looks great! Did you use the method where you arrange the pictures on the paper and them trace around them? Then you tape the paper to the wall and drive all the picture hanging nails through the paper. I always wondered if it would really work - one of those things that sound logical, but could be all wrong.

Shelley said...

LR - I was sorely tempted to buy some paintings from our local museums' art on demand programme. I simply couldn't decide, though, whether to go with prints or canvas or what size would work best. I need to see things in person to make these sorts of decisions. Perhaps you might splash out on something really dramatic? Another idea was to simply prop framed photos up against the wall either on the floor, on table tops or bookshelves.

Shelley said...

Rick - I vaguely recall that you had done needlework at some point and I remember some of the pieces had metallic thread used to great effect.

Shelley said...

ilegirl - I do hope that I've inspired you to pull those out. I still have a huge collection waiting to be appreciated. It was hard work making all those decisions, but definitely good fun as well!

Shelley said...

Beryl - I did read about that, but no, I didn't end up using the paper on the wall. For one thing, having had it on the kitchen floor for a day and not being absolutely positive that it was pristine on the back, I wasn't about to put it up on the newly painted wall. Also, I didn't end up using any of those arrangements, but one done rather last minute in the living room floor using some of Bill's mother's pictures. I would think the tracing would need to be for a smaller sized job. Instead, I trusted Bill to use a level and a ruler as he worked. He let me make any changes I wanted as I dropped in to see how it was progressing. He's such a sweetie! (when he's not being grumpy).

Sandra said...

I love this Shelley and as always am amazed by your creative energy. I found some time on New Year's Day to do a little catch up on your blog. Happy New Year to you and Bill.

Shelley said...

Hi Sandra! Happy New Year to you and John! XXXX