Photo Wall tutorial

by statia on April 12, 2012

Hi! I hope everyone is back to their appropriate routines.  My daughter finally went back to school today (school being used loosely here, since she’s in nursery school, for just shy of nine hours a week.  It’s glorified babysitting), so I can get myself back into some sort of grind.  I started back to the gym, and holy mackerel, I am sore.  I need to build up some stamina.  Always the first to go, that stamina.

I told you about the lovely two story foyer (said with sarcasm), the other day.  Because the walls are so tall, I have been trying to find a way to break up wall along the stairs.  Five years we’ve been here, and I’m just now finally figuring out what I want for the wall.  I’ve wanted a photo collage for as long as I can remember, but I could never figure out where it would look good, and I wasn’t sure what our plans were for closing that space off.  Since it’s going to be a little while, and not having my walls filled with things I love drives me crazy, I started the long task of putting together a rough idea of what I wanted.  Here’s the before:

I know that the carpet matches the wall, and it just seems so neutral.  We’re hoping to have the carpets replaced with hardwood, eventually.  Everything eventually, right?   Also, mind the dog hair on the stairs. Lab hair! You can never get it out of the carpet.

When I started this project, I made a firm decision that I wanted to have it not cost me a mint, and also have it look a bit eclectic. So I found as many frames as I could around the house, and most of the rest are from thrift stores. Save for two frames from Ikea. Most of the frames were about $1-3, and when you see the final result, you see why I wanted to keep the cost down.  I have a bit of a photo hoarding problem. And I love having pictures of loved ones around me. And I like them all, so I have a hard time swapping pictures out. This is a great solution for someone like me.  I did have some criteria though. My frames had to be either, white, black, or silver. Since a lot of thrift store frames are somewhat ugly and not any of these colors, spray paint was an obvious fix to this. I want to say I started this project in the fall. But honestly, I don’t even remember. It’s been THAT long.

First thing you want to do, is take an inventory of your pictures.  I kept a list of all of the pictures that needed frames and their sizes. That way, if I was out, I didn’t have to wonder what I needed. Not that you can’t always use extra frames.

Once I had everything assigned to a frame (and I’m skipping a lot, because again, this was a project I did over the span of months, because it wasn’t a burning project), I took some newsprint we had lying around, and started to trace every frame:

Don’t ask me why my paint key is sitting in the middle of the floor.  It’s the same reason why there’s a giant stuffed bear in my bathtub and legos on my bed.

As I traced, I labeled every “picture” on the page, so I that I knew exactly which picture it was.  This is an important part. If you’re doing a big collage like this, trust me, you’ll want to label the pictures.

Once everything was labeled and cut out, I arduously arranged everything on my wall.  I used my handy Green Frog painters tape. to attach it:

My best advice, once you do this, is to leave it for a day or two, so that you can walk by it and see what might drive you crazy. I made a few switches to my arrangement, before going ahead.

I used simple picture hanger hooks. They’re easy to use, hold a lot of weight, and are super inexpensive.

Usually, when I hang a picture, it involves anchors, screws, measuring, and leveling. I really didn’t want a bunch of anchors to take out of my walls if and when I ever wanted to do something different with that wall. Plus, it would have added a lot more time to the project.

Once I had my final placement, I simply put the frame against the paper with a hook out so that it would make an indent where I wanted to place my nail. You could also use a dab of paint on the hook as well.  Once I did that, I attached my hanger on top of the paper, and then removed the paper before attaching the picture to the wall.

Working my way up.  The hanging method isn’t scientific, obviously, but it worked out really well for the most part.

And the finished result, from the top:

And from the bottom:

I love how eclectic and imperfect it is.  I thought that it would bother me, given that I have a touch of OCD, but it gives the wall a nice mish mash of looks.  I no longer feel empty inside when I walk down my stairs.

It totally reminds me of picture walls that I used to see in other people’s houses when I was a kid.  What’s old is new again.




Happy Monday!  I hope everyone had a good Easter.  We spent the day with family, after our kids were appropriately loaded up on sugar.  The Easter Bunny didn’t bring them much in the way of candy, and what he did bring them was organic, or all natural (my son has an allergy to dyes, so we try to avoid them at all costs), but sugar is still sugar, and they were good and spazzy by 8AM. We’re all sick of egg hunts and spring break (well, at least Mama is sick of spring break) and thankfully it’s back to the grind tomorrow.  But anyway…

I’m convinced these days that houses in the last 15 years or so, at least in this area, were built entirely for looks, and not at all for functionality. Sometime soon, I’ll give you a full house tour, but for now, let’s have today. You know my disdain for two story rooms. It smacks of waste. Wasted space. Wasted energy. If you recall, last fall, we closed off our two story family room to give my daughter a bigger bedroom that she can grow into, but also so that we can take the two smaller bedrooms and make them into something more functional.  A bigger bathroom for the master, which I don’t really need, but really want.  It’s not a room that will go to waste. Since I use my garden tub at least 4 times a week. I think a bigger tub is in order. But it’s in the “distant future plans” category. I can live with what we have for now.

What I can’t live with, is our laundry room. My laundry room is in a stupid location in our house.  It’s off the kitchen. At times, if I get behind on laundry (which at times, happens frequently). The room would actually make an awesome pantry. At one point we talked about moving it downstairs. My husband vetoed that idea enthusiastically. Since his office is in the basement, he didn’t want to be responsible for hauling the laundry up and down the stairs. I guess after 8 years together, he knows me all too well.

So instead, I decided to look up.  We have this whole open space in our foyer, and while it looks somewhat grand, it a bit ridiculous. My idea is to utilize that space and make a large laundry “closet” type of room. Center island for folding, closets all around the perimeter for everyone’s wares. Or “wears.” HA!

Here’s the current space:

Don’t you love the light?  We just replaced it (it’s from Ballard Designs). It was one of those projects that you want to do, but it’s just such a pain in the neck to take care of, because another downfall of having a two story room, is that you either need a really tall ladder, or you have to rent scaffolding to replace or paint anything:

Goodbye ugly builder grade light fixture. You stayed in this house far too long.

And while I don’t cringe at the light fixture every single time I walk down the stairs, I know that this space would be PERFECT as a giant laundry area slash family closet. There’s easy access to plumbing, since one wall houses bathroom plumbing, and I would save money by leaving the window where it is, since it plays a big part of giving the front of the house its charm.  A nice window treatment to allow light in, and show off the silhouette of the shape of the window.  On either side, closet space. I love the way this looks:

Center Street Mudroom traditional entry
While I don’t particularly like open closet spaces, like this more traditional mudroom, built in, divided closets would make it easy for everyone to have their own space.
Reaume Construction & Design traditional laundry room

I never thought I’d like silver cabinets. I never even thought of silver cabinets. And I love them and the layout of this room.  Though, given that the room is northern facing, I might actually be thinking white cabinets, to lighten the room.  And people, I hate white cabinets.

Levitan Residence contemporary laundry room

This! This. Yes. I LOVE this. I would use the baskets for mismatched socks. Floor to ceiling cabinets would be such an ideal situation for storing seasonal clothing.

Laundry rooms seem to be a new source of contention. They never seem like the ideal situation, and getting back to houses that are more functional, a lot of people seem to be making rooms that are dedicated to laundry and clothes.  This would save me time from having to go to every room to clean out the closets.

What would be your dream laundry room?


Powder Bathroom Makeover

by statia April 6, 2012

When we first moved into our house, I went absolutely crazy with repainting everything.  When we redid the powder bathroom, we ended up ripping out the vanity, and discovering that the previous owners did a whole host of crazy things to cover up their crazy mess.  Bead board on top of wallpaper, and then more [...]

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Thrift store transformation.

by statia April 5, 2012

I’ve been curbing my visits to the thrift stores as of late. I was starting to amass a ton of clutter that ended up getting re-donated, because I would create such a backlog of projects that would never get done. My powder bathroom is done (pictures coming soon), and I’ve been looking for some personalized [...]

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The More You Know

by statia April 2, 2012

Here’s something you may not know about me.  Despite having a home that I can decorate in lovely ways to be homey and inviting, I love kitsch.  LOVE.IT. During my apartment living days, I would incorporate random things into my painfully country decor (it was the 90′s. Don’t judge me), like a giant pink Jesus. [...]

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The wayward home for everything that doesn’t have a place. AKA my living room.

by statia March 27, 2012

My big spring project, as mentioned previously, is my living room/dining room. Because the room is so large (divided in half as you can see), I opted for a neutral color, even though I try to avoid “neutralitis” in my house.  Aside of my furniture being somewhat neutral, I’ve gone crazy with color in my [...]

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Is this thing on?

by statia March 20, 2012

Hi! After a long arduous winter, I finally remembered I had this blog.  If you read my other blog, you’ll know I had somewhat of a mental breakdown.  I became somewhat OCD in regards to home projects.  To the point of putting myself in the hospital.  I actually physically could not stop.  I’d add projects [...]

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Giant DIY wreath

by statia December 6, 2011

Prior to re-doing our family room, I put a simple mirror over the mantle.  It was a large space and when we moved in, I had no motivation to both find something for such a large space, or more, find something to switch it up on a regular basis.  The only time the mirror would [...]

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A thousand (partial, teaser really)reveals, aka, major project-itis, aka, Mama wants to clean off her SD card already

by statia December 1, 2011

It never fails.  Does anyone else have DIY ADD?  I certainly do.  I have near reveals galore, but no actual completed projects.  And since I’m the one that does the brunt of the DIY work around here, it just takes forever to get anything done.  Is that just me?  I feel like OPP’s (other people’s [...]

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Christmas Decor Inspiration

by statia November 28, 2011

I love decorating for Christmas (Doesn’t everyone?).  Since I’ve moved into this house, four and a half years ago, I’ve had a really hard time finding the “perfect” Christmas decor.  I border on vintage modern.  The problem is that up until this year, it’s been extremely hard to find.  Anything that I have found looks [...]

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