21 October 2013
Hello, friends! Today I thought I’d share our gallery wall! I wrote about this project a bit here — thank you again for your comments!
Unlike the dining room table refinishing project, I felt good about just diving into this one! Based on my inspiration, I tried to stick to the pink, blue, and metallic families; made sure I had a mix of photographs, watercolors, oils, and more typographic designs; and incorporated a variety of frame and mat styles.
Here’s the before:
Yikes! I knew I wanted an arrangement that softly arched over the TV, so we started by playing around with all the pieces on the floor, right in front of the dresser. By doing it in front of the wall where it would hang, it was easy to approximate the space between each frame. Then, we just started at one end, and added pieces left to right, eyeballing as we went! Definitely a two-person job, so thanks to John for all of his help :) I’m not sure if this technique would work for everyone (I like to think one of my super powers is the ability to accurately eyeball whether something is even or level), but it worked great for us.*
Here’s what the space looks like now!
I would love to tell you a bit more about each piece, because they were selected with love! Apologies in advance for the photos — this project was so hard to photograph, with the glare on the glass and the shadows from the frames!
From left to right:
The “peace, love, and cupcakes” print is actually a card a friend sent to us (similar version here). The large square is an instagram sunrise from a trip to Florida. The little oil painting is a commissioned piece that was made for my grandmother many years ago. It’s of the view from her front porch in Maine. The Oh Happy Day print is available in the SW Shop! The watercolor of the Blue Mountains was a gift from my sister-in-law. The cake print is by Paul Ferney. The flamingo print was a wedding gift from two dear friends (available here). Last but not least, the photo was a gift from our wedding photographer, taken during our cocktail hour picnic.
Let’s talk about the frames for a minute. I was worried that they would add up quickly, but ended up being pleasantly surprised! Thankfully, several of them had already been collected prior to this project, so I only bought three new. Even so, the total cost was low: three were from Target, one from Michael’s, two from A.C. Moore (spray painted blue), and one from Goodwill.
To conclude, this project gets two thumbs up from me: it was fairly easy, fairly inexpensive, and added a welcome dose of color to our white walls. Can’t wait to hang the rest of the art in this room!
*If you’re looking for more exact instruction for hanging, Real Simple has some great advice on measurements and guidelines!
4 October 2013
October might seem like a strange time to discuss vegetable gardening, but here we are! John and I tried a few new things this year, and I wanted to get through (or almost through!) a growing season before we discussed.
To back up a bit, I’m convinced that 80% of the reason my husband wanted to buy a home was so that we would have space for a vegetable garden. Thus, our raised bed was in the ground less than a month after we moved in. We opted for a pre-fab kit from Home Depot; it was about $100 including tax and shipping. Based on the reviews, we expected to be pleased, and we definitely have been so far. It required no tools to put together, and since we literally assembled it in the dark (we were leaving for vacation the next day!), I have no doubt you could do so, too. Soil to fill it was about $100 more, but like the bed, that’s pretty much a one-time expense.
Here’s what it looked like in July:
The cayenne, jalapeno, basil, chives, and rosemary (left to right) were transplanted from pots we started at our apartment, so they had a bit of a head start. The remaining plants (Brandywine tomato, super sweet 100 cherry tomato, yellow pear tomato, and bell pepper) we actually got for FREE from our local garden store because we were so late in the season and they were looking sad and spindly. We definitely did not have high hopes for them, but we figured we had nothing to lose!
Fast forward a few weeks, and things were looking much better!
Our transplanted pepper plants continued to be total champs — we could count more than 50 peppers on the cayenne plant at one time, and the jalapeno wasn’t far behind! The tomatoes rapidly improved, as well, as you can see.
We actually just harvested and ate our first Brandywine tomato last night (YUM!) and have been enjoying cherry tomatoes for a week or two now. Better late than never, right?
John definitely deserves the lion’s share of credit for (literally) seeing this thing through to fruition — he was the chief water-er — but we both enjoyed plucking and pruning and puttering. If you have the space and the sun, I would DEFINITELY encourage you to consider a backyard vegetable garden! It’s amazing how much you can produce in such a small amount of space, and we loved eating things we watched grow. We were also able to give away extras to friends and family, and to our local food pantry, which was awesome! We can’t wait to see what we’ll grow next year, when we actually have a full season to work with.
I would love to hear: Do you have a vegetable garden? Pots of herbs? Tell me!
2 October 2013
I love the blog Design Mom despite the fact that I don’t have kids because I find Gabrielle Blair to be an extremely compelling person. My favorite column on her site is “Living with Kids,” where thoughtful interviews with moms are paired with home tours. The most recent feature was so good I had to share a snippet here. This home is by far more minimalist and modern than the ones I’m usually drawn to, and the color palette is much more muted, but for some reason it really struck me — I stared at several images for minutes each, just taking in every detail. It’s clean and cozy — a tough combination — and it’s curated in the best way, where everything seems meaningful and treasured, not styled. Of course, the beautiful architecture and copious fireplaces don’t hurt. All in all, it seems just right as we transition into fall.
You can see the whole feature here, and I highly recommend you do! I had way too many favorites to post here.
29 August 2013
We hung our gallery wall! Hooray! And we’re really pleased with how it turned out! But before I share it with you (though you’ll see a little peek here), I wanted to finish up another post that’s been sitting in draft for awhile.
We decided when we moved in that we didn’t want to jump into any big purchasing or decorating decisions — especially expensive ones — immediately, as we thought it’d be wiser to live in the house for a bit and see how we naturally used the space. I’m glad we made this decision. Very quickly, however, it became apparent that our first big purchase would need to be a rug for the living room area. We love the wood floors throughout the downstairs, but without any soft surfaces of any kind underfoot, the overall effect was pretty cold. Plus, I don’t think our cats approved :) We also wanted a large area rug to anchor the seating area and set it apart from the adjacent dining area.
So, the search began! I virtually visited all the usual haunts, including Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, Wisteria, Serena & Lily, World Market, Restoration Hardware, Lulu & Georgia, Overstock, Rugs USA, Ikea, eSaleRugs, and Layla Grace. One tip: Make sure to look at the baby, child, or teen version of a store, if one exists (like PB Teen or RH Baby & Child) — they often have lovely, cheaper designs!
Complicating the search a bit was the fact that I was kind of shopping for two rugs, even though we only had plans to buy one at the time. We are probably going to buy a rug for under the dining room table at some point down the road, and because the spaces are so close, I want the rugs to work together well. As an aside, this issue has actually come up a lot as I think through choices for this space, from lighting to curtains — it’s really like decorating one giant room in three parts as opposed to one room or three distinct rooms.
We would eventually like some sort of vintage Turkish/Oriental rug (kind of like this) for under the dining room table (all of those colors will help hide spills!), so I honed in on something simpler for the living room. I tried to keep my mind open and my search wide, so we ended up with options in several of the colors in our palette — which, coincidentally, is pretty much the same palette as this blog. I know what I like. More on that later.
Here are just a few of the options we considered:
A. Overstock, B. Layla Grace, C. Shades of Light, D. RH Baby & Child, E. Shades of Light, F. Overstock, G. Layla Grace, H. RH Baby & Child, I. Shades of Light, J. Shades of Light, K. Rugs USA, L. PB Teen, M. Rugs USA, N. Overstock, O. Rugs USA, P. Rugs USA, Q. Shades of Light, R. Overstock
This was such a hard decision, friends!! If we hadn’t had a deadline (see below), I think we probably would have been hemming and hawing still. A rug is visually such a large part of a room, and such a large investment, that we wanted to get it 100% right. Yes, you can return a rug, but shipping can get very pricy, and you often have to pay a restocking fee. We spent our time on this decision not because we’re overly concerned with how our house looks (I don’t think), but because, as with every other purchase we make, we wanted to be sure we were spending our money wisely on something we would love for years to come. We are trying to be good stewards of what we’ve been given.
We finally decided on the Surya Frontier Pale Blue Hand Woven Wool rug from Layla Grace, and I’d say we got it 90% right.* I’m particularly proud of the price — we pounced on a 40% off sale over the Fourth of July, and got free shipping, too! Our 8×11 rug was less than $500. (Dina posted about purchasing a rug for 75% off from Rugs USA over July 4th, so I made sure to sign up for all possible store emails and be ready with our decision in advance! Highly recommended!)
Anyone else purchase a rug recently? Did you find it as nerve wracking as I did??
*Though we are very happy with the look, I’m taking 10% off because it’s not as soft as I had hoped (duh, it’s wool). We don’t get down on the floor too much in this stage of our life, but I imagine it wouldn’t be the most comfortable for kiddos in the future.
29 July 2013
One of my July goals is to hang art downstairs in our new house, and we’ve been making some progress: we hung the chart and the Abe Lincoln print, both of which you can see in our apartment tour. We’re held up on a number of other pieces because we want to paint the walls they’ll hang on first.
The art that I think will make the biggest impact in our combined living/dining room and kitchen is the gallery we’re planning to hang on the back wall. I’ve been collecting pieces and trying to analyze inspiration photos I like so we can possibly implement this weekend. A few favorites:
via The Everygirl
Black, white, and wood frames (almost all with mats) mixed with canvases and “objets d’art.” Asymmetric arrangement. Colored wall.
via Young House Love
White and cream frames, all different and thicker, some with mats and some without. Stand-alone objects and photos mixed in. Tight arrangement. Light gray wall.
Gold and black frames, all with mats. Neutral and black and white artwork. White wall.
via Darling Dexter
Mostly white and cream frames. No mats. Colorful artwork. Canvases and objects (mostly circular) mixed in. Taupe wall.
via Les Confettis
Birch frames with pops of color. Colorful artwork in a tight palette. Thinner mats. All framed pieces. Blue wall.
When I collect inspiration photos on Pinterest I’m usually not pausing long enough to figure out why something appeals to me, just that it does. But when I’m actually trying to draw from that inspiration, I find it helpful to go back and really pick out the individual elements to get clues as to how I might be able to create something similar. That’s what I was trying to do here!
Have you ever hung a gallery wall? Did you lay everything out on the ground first? Use the wax paper trick? Just wing it? I’m considering winging it, but any tips are welcomed :)