Furniture, Home Improvement, Interior Decorating

These are a few of my favorite things

I’ve been working on creating a gallery wall of some sort in my living room for months now. I am not one of those people who is naturally talented at gallery walls. In fact, I almost always hate them when I’m finished with them.

We’d hung a gallery wall in our bedroom that we left up for no time at all because B and I both ended up not liking the way it looked:

20120624-210044.jpg

This one was just so blah and symmetrical…

Even though I’ve been a gallery wall failure, I always admire them. I decided to try again in our living room and boy was it a process.

This is the wall I started with:

Child's Desk shelves

OK, so that’s an awful photo. But basically it had one large canvas piece on it I got from Home Goods. I love the painting, but it doesn’t look nice above our mint couch, which is now on the wall in our living room. Plus, it didn’t fill the space on the wall enough.

new couch

Here’s the first iteration of a gallery wall I did:

Gallery-Wall_photosA few things to note:

  1. Look how far this room has come! Holy smokes, I still can’t believe it. (Better photos at the end of the post, I swear)
  2. I was trying to decide if I wanted to abandon my mint curtains for white curtains, hence why they are the wrong way on the window. I got a lot of questions about that from guests 🙂

I bought all of those frames from Home Goods and really liked the mixture of wood, metals, rustic and glam. But I just never loved it. I think part of me is sick of seeing the same photos over and over again. We’ve been married for 3+ years and engaged for 5+ years, so the fancy engagement and wedding pictures are old news at this point. But they are still the most frame-worthy photos we have and they are always what I resort to.

gallery-wall_photos_close

To get this arrangement, I laid all of the frames out on the floor and put a lot of thought into which frame went where. This ended with a mostly symmetrical arrangement.

Here was my beef with this wall:

  1. Too symmetrical
  2. Too photo-centric
  3. Old photos

Really, it just seemed like I was trying too hard. At least to me it did. I left it like this for months until I could figure out what I wanted to do differently. If you notice the horizontal photo that was displayed vertically — yes, this was left this way for months, too.

I started to think I wanted to redo some of the gallery wall after B’s birthday. I gave him an amazing print of our pup, Remmy. It’s basically the best gift I’ve ever given anyone. 

Birthday Portrait

We hung it immediately in place of one of our real photos, because how could we not?

It wasn’t until after Christmas that I had the idea to completely redo the gallery wall with art only. You see, B gave me two amazing maps of Maryland. The big kahuna was a map from 1880 — holy old! We had the map custom framed and needed a spot to hang it. B wanted to hang it over our console table, but I’ve got my heart set on finding the perfect mirror to reflect all of the natural light from our bay window. The map has mint and pink in the outlines of counties and cities, so I thought it would look marvelous over our couch.

I started messing around with the wall little by little, pulling down artwork from other spots in the house.

Gallery wall_adding in art

Finally, I just decided to go for it. All of the photos came down and the nails came out of the wall.

gallery wall_map is up

I started my placing everything on the floor, but again I made the design so symmetrical. So I hung up the map (my anchor piece) and two other pieces of art and left it alone. It looked like this for a week before I decided to do what I do best and just wing it.

At this point the wall was already riddled with nail holes that needed to be touched up, so I just went for it. Everything was added one by one. The spacing isn’t even, the whole wall isn’t symmetrical… and I LOVE IT. It just fills the large wall so nicely without feeling too huge.

Gallery Wall_Complete

You’ll see a lot of things I’ve shared before on the blog:

  1. Sentimental Map Art
  2. Love Pallet Sign
  3. Do What You Love Print
  4. Remmy Print

Gallery Wall_zoomed in

You’ll also see a bunch of other art I’ve collected over the years:

  1. Golden Pond canvas print (Home Goods)
  2. Shadow box full of roses B has given me
  3. My two new Maryland maps
  4. A graphic print of dogs my coworker gave me
  5. Two bird paintings from one of my favorite artists

Basically, it is a wall of my favorite things: dogs, birds, Maryland and love 🙂 I seriously couldn’t be happier with how this turned out.

Funny enough, I’m sure it isn’t 100 percent complete. As you can see, I left room around the edges for small additions. I’d like to do a more colorful print, replacing the Do What You Love print. And I am always checking out Pratt Creek Art for more bird paintings.

Plus, I really need to patch the holes you can still see and hang everything (in the exact same spot) maybe a tad bit straighter ;p

On the whole, It really does so much for this room. I love my gray walls, but with nothing on them they can be quite dreary. This art wall adds much-needed color and pizzaz to my favorite room in the house — a room that really has come a long way.

It just goes to show you that rushing into designing a room doesn’t always end with the best result. We’ve been in our house for three years now and this room is now just starting to feel like it is almost finished. All it needs is a mirror, and I am one happy home owner!

Gallry Wall_Living Room

Next week I’ll share the redo of our master bedroom. It’s not complete yet, but it looks a lot better than it did a month ago.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

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Life

Interior Decorating Class

Last week I finished my interior decorating class that I took through Howard Community College. It was a 6-week class that met at a local high school during which we learned about basic design principles, color, accessorizing, floor plans, window treatments…. it was awesome.

The class was small — only 12 people — so we got to talk to our instructor a lot about projects we are working on and problems we are running into. I chose to focus on our living room during the class and actually made a lot of progress! For me, the most helpful classes were the floor plan session and the color session.

Floor Plan

There’s always been something off about the way I had the furniture arranged upstairs, so the floor plan class allowed me to get feedback and ideas from my classmates. They suggested that I take two chairs and place them directly in front of the coffee table to create a designated seating/conversation area. I’d been wanting to buy two chairs, but I had planned to place them on the walls, versus in the middle of the room.

When I placed the chairs in front of the coffee table, it really did create a much more conversation-ready sitting area.

Floor Plan1

You can kind of see that here:

Room

Those are the second set of chairs that I bought for the room. And guess what…

Dining Chairs

…those went back, too. I got them from Target for a great price, but since they are dining chairs they were just too small. Well, if I were to put them along the wall like I originally planned, they were perfect. But in this new configuration, they were too small and too obviously for a dining room.

Instead, I swapped them out for two charcoal slipper chairs from Target.

Slipper Chair1

They have a great button detail that sort of mimics the faux tuft in our couch.

Slipper Chair

I definitely sacrificed quality for coast on this purchase, which is unfair since the chairs are actually quite comfortable and very nice now. But, I’m pretty sure they won’t last more than a few years, especially with a furniture-loving dog and future kiddos — at $128 a chair, that’s not the end of the world.

Now, my next challenges. End tables and color!

Another portion of our class was spent looking through catalogs to see if anything piqued our interest. It really helped us nail down our individual styles, too.

I love the Ballard catalog best — does the circled table look familiar? That’s my coffee table (well, two of them) that I got from the thrift store!

Catalog

This page has the end table I’m pining over. They are $149 and I’d need two of them, so I’m basically waiting until I feel like dropping $300. I think I’m going to poke around at thrift stores for a few months before I make that decision. But if I don’t find anything else, I’ll eventually be purchasing these – I love how the iron will match the coffee tables without being too matchy-matchy. And the mirror will reflect lamplight and the light from our bay window! I just need to find them at a thrift store for $10/each now 🙂

Catalog1

Yes, I am cheap. Well, not cheap. Just frugal.

Now color — that is my real challenge.  I love the gray and mint combo I’ve got going on, but I think the room is too dark and too monochromatic. So now I am working on adding more color to the space to create more visual interest in the space. I will be doing this through throw pillows and artwork. You can actually see some of the pillows I’m considering on my Pillows Pinterest board. I’ve been adding like crazy this weekend. Now I just need to make decisions. A lot of them are from Etsy, which means no returns. So it’s a little extra incentive to make sure I am positive before I purchase.

Pillows

I’ll hopefully make a decision soon and move on with artwork. The walls are crying for something on the. I’m thinking a gallery of some sort behind the couch and a console table with a mirror above it on the other wall. We’ll see what happens!

#HoCoArts #HoCoSchools #HCPSS #HoCoCrafts #HoCoBlogs

Life

Operation: Beautify Conference Room

Oh my goodness am I excited to share this project with you all! Months ago (monnnnnths), I volunteered to breathe some new life into our conference room at work. We are the creative department at our school, yet our conference room was rather bland. It was a little beat up, too.

Courtesy of Tony Richards
Courtesy of Tony Richards
Courtesy of Tony Richards

We here call this color “nicotine yellow.” Doesn’t that just scream creativity?

No? That’s what we thought, too. So we formed a mini committee and brainstormed ways to beautify our conference room.

First and foremost, we needed COLOR! Two of my coworkers and I pow-wowed on the floor trying to pull in colors from our lovely carpet. We decided to go with two tones of green, with a lighter color on top and a darker color on the bottom.

Courtesy of Tony Richards
Courtesy of Tony Richards
Courtesy of Tony Richards

The color alone was a huge change for the better, but there was still work to be done.

After some discussion, we decided to fill the walls with pictures that represent the University of Maryland and our students. One one wall, we did a huge canvas triptych. On the opposite wall we did a gallery style wall with more than 20 canvases. We added an oversized clock to the back wall, and the room months in the making was finally complete.

Courtesy of Tony Richards
Courtesy of Tony Richards
Courtesy of Tony Richards

You know I loved working on this project — so much fun. It was a treat to work with so many of my coworkers on this to make our space so much more colorful and fun to be in.

Here’s a close up of the triptych:

(From my iPhone)

And here’s a panorama shot:

(From my iPhone)

A special shout out to my coworker, Tony Richards, who took these fabulous photos so I could share them with you. He is our photographer and videographer and has several photos displayed on our wall now. He also has a fantastic blog that you should check out, http://www.tonyrichardsphoto.com/. Seriously… click that link! You won’t be sorry.

See, isn’t his work amazing? Here are a few of my favorites from his blog:

http://www.tonyrichardsphoto.com
http://www.tonyrichardsphoto.com
http://www.tonyrichardsphoto.com
http://www.tonyrichardsphoto.com

Thanks for the photos, Tony.

And thank you for stopping by! Happy Friday and have a fabulous weekend