I last left off with a post about the rug in this room and I’m happy to report, I am absolutely loving it. There is a lot to be said for not having to stress about the everyday accidents that happen in a family room. Spilled chocolate milk? Dried up play-doh? Mashed in cheese stick? Nothing a baby wipe and a quick pass of the vacuum haven’t been able to fix. Maybe it’s not for everyone but I will gladly trade off a super soft wool rug for a carefree outdoor one any day! (at least while the kids are small)
I debated a lot of options for the wall decor in this room in this post – mostly regarding what to do with the walls flanking the fireplace. I’ll have an update on developments there next week (shocker, decided on something I didn’t even consider as an option in that post thanks to an unexpected Craig’s List score!) I was always pretty sure I wanted to do a gallery of frames on the wall behind the couch.
I was envisioning a mix of a personal family photos with some art pieces, but I really wanted everything to be meaningful, not just random stuff I found on Etsy or whatever. Some people don’t like to display personal photos in a public space like the family room but I’m of the opinion that unless you’re getting your house ready to go on the market, it’s the PERFECT place to get personal. This is where we spend almost all our time as a family. I really wanted to celebrate a few of our special moments & memories and I like the idea of guests getting a little glimpse into who we are as a family as well as wondering what the story is behind some of the art.
I started off by gathering a few of the items I knew I wanted to display and then creating paper templates of them. I like to label the paper with the size, subject and frame color. That way I can play around taping it to the wall and make sure my final arrangement has a good distribution of frame colors and photos vs. prints. I sat at this paper on the walls stage for at least a week, maybe more and every couple of days I would look at it and move something or realize I need another square or I had too many horizontal pieces, etc. I’d walk into the room and just sort of glance up and realize that this looked better over there, etc. I love this process and how organic it is. I think one of the things that makes an eclectic arrangement like this successful is the mix of frame sizes and shapes so don’t rush this part!
Then I gathered up my installation materials. I never, ever, ever hang anything anymore without my Hang & Level tool. Do you have one of these? You NEED one. Your walls will thank you for it! And because I didn’t want to get crazy putting holes all over my wallpaper (because let’s be honest, I could decide I’m totally over this gallery wall in 6 months), I decided to hang everything using 3M picture hanging strips. I tested them on the wallpaper first to make sure it didn’t damage it and they came off perfectly with no residue. AND bonus – everything on the wall is secure enough that even curious little hands can’t move them!
Here’s how the wall turned out! I’m really happy with the mix of colors, photos and prints and I love that it makes a statement. When you walk into this room it’s just BAM, in your face and you can’t not walk over and look a little more closely at what’s going on (and there’s a whole lot going on…I realize it’s not for everyone!) Let me walk you through what everything is.
You already know about my vintage Vera scarf that I framed under “lucite” (actually plexi from Lowes…shhh! Tutorial here) I love the graphic element this adds to the wall and that its actually a dimensional piece.
A few photos from our wedding and one of my sweet little men round out this corner.
I wanted to center the whole arrangement around 1 large family photo and this one taken by Ruth Eileen was just perfect. We’re all just piled into our bed and it’s casual and happy. I just love it and it makes me happy every time I look at it. Isn’t that the whole point of all of this afterall?
Next week I’ll have a little makeover post on those cute round frames and what they started off as!
I’ll also have a post on the easiest possible way to transform a plan Jane frame which I did for this letterpressed print of my fair city.
The abstract portrait is an original piece from Charleston artist Sally King Benedict‘s Faces series (purchased from Furbish Studio‘s pop up shop). I fell in love with Sally’s work when I lived in NC and we’d make trips down to Charleston a couple of times a year. I always wanted a piece but I never knew where I’d put it and I told myself when we moved back to Boston and I finally felt “settled” into a home, I would get one of her pieces. And now here she is!
The rhino abstract is from another favorite Charleston artist, Teil Duncan. Teil needs a separate post entirely which I’ll also do next week because I cannot get enough of her work. This rhino is the first piece of art I have ever commissioned from an artist. It was a little intimidating but honestly it sounds way fancier than it is. Mr. H+F and I met at a now closed bar in Boston (as all good young Catholics in Boston do, obvs) called The Black Rhino. I knew I wanted a rhino for the wall and I loved Teil’s style so I literally just said I want a rhino, about this size and I want these kinds of colors. 3 months later this masterpiece arrived. He’s so weird and awesome and I love that he stands for something that really only I understand (and now you guys I guess!) All those things together = perfect art in my book.
The gold horseshoe…where do I even begin. I mean that thing makes me so happy, it’s embarrassing. He’s ceramic and I had him cast from an actual horseshoe crab and then gilded. This is the only thing that’s actually nailed into the wall because I didn’t trust the 3M strips to keep it from falling and impaling me. He brings such a hot dose of gold to the wall and I love incorporating three dimensional pieces like this into gallery arrangements.
I wanted to bring some of the pink from the SKB faces piece over to the other side of the wall so I framed this super pretty peony print. It reminds me of my wedding bouquet and my mom’s insane peony garden. And in this never ending Boston winter, it reminds me that spring will eventually come. I think…I hope… It’s sold as a vertical print but I just flipped it and it works.
The gold Madonna piece is actually a gravestone rubbing that Mr. H+F’s grandmother did many years ago. We inherited it when she passed. She was a spark plug of a lady all the way until the end and I think she would be tickled to know her creation lived on in the heart of our home. I love it.
So there you have it! It’s colorful, it’s personal, a little bit crazy…pretty much perfect for this crazy life we’re living. Knox gets a kick out of pointing up at all the photos and identifying them. He calls our wedding photo “mama’s princess photo” and the face “the happy lady”.
And just because it reminds me that I actually HAVE made progress, I like to look back at where I started.
Here’s a quick little guide to pulling together a successful arrangement like this. Like I said, I know it’s not for everyone and I certainly also love the symmetry of a grid arrangement of square frames, for example but I love the freedom and creativity an arrangement like this gives you.
Back next week with some DIYs for a couple of those frames and an update on what’s happening on the opposite side of the room.