Gallery #2

Since I was on a roll with the gallery in the basement, I thought I would just continue the madness upstairs in our hallway.  I bought frames for this project almost a year ago and just didn't get around to completing the project until now.  For some reason I was intimidated by it all....where would I hang them, what would I put in them....etc.etc.  Enough intimidation to make me put off action for 12 months.  Crazy!!   Plus, it is upstairs.  No one but me and B really see that space, so that also factored into my hesitation.  But....I was inspired by how easy it was to put up the frames in the basement, so I just up and printed a bunch of photos, laid out the newspaper cutouts on the wall (after measuring and moving them around 15 times) and hung them all up.

Here is what the hallway looked like when we moved in....

I have a lot of things to say about this photo, but my mother always told me that if you have nothing nice to say than don't say anything at all.   So....moving on.

First, we ripped up the carpet and (phew) there was hardwood underneath.  We refinished it and stained it darker (along with the rest of the floors in the house) a red mahogany color.  We hired someone to do that work since it was the whole house and not one room.  But we decided to refinish/stain the banisters and replace/paint the spindles ourselves.  That was not an easy project, but I think it is totally worth it.  It really brightens and cleans up the whole space.

Here it is after a little paint and stain.....and a new light fixture....

And also in the process of updating this area, we decided to paint the doors black.  B was gung-ho (sp?) about this but I have to admit being a little skeptical.  The whole plan for this house was to clean and brighten everything....and black felt like it would create the opposite effect.  But, after a few weeks of listening to his rationale and obsessively googling for pictures of black doors on the internet, I decided to jump on board.  And I have to admit (although I hate to) that I really love it.  For more info about this process, check out my post here from 2010).

This is what the hallway has looked like since August of 2010.  It is 100 times better than it was when we moved in, but it was still pretty bare....until now.

The only tricky part about this project was working around the thermostat.  Otherwise, I just started out with a straight line in the center and worked up and down from there.  I scattered the basement gallery a bit more randomly (more on that here), so I thought I would try something different upstairs.   I bought all of these frames at Michaels on sale a year ago.  I think I got this whole slew of frames for around $100 since there was a 50% off promotion plus a 20% off extra coupon (or something like that).  That is less than $10 a frame, so it was a steal!!  The rug was from IKEA a little while back.  Not sure if they still have it, but I have three of them throughout the house.  One in the hallway downstairs and another in the kitchen in front of the sink.  They were $15 each and they have been AMAZING!  I think they still have the same type of rugs available, just not the same colors.  The biggest reason I love them is because they are machine washable and they come out looking brand new.  Perfect for kids!!!

And I almost forgot to mention the horse painting.  This is my favorite new addition to the hallway.  B bought this for me for my first mother's day.  I have been talking about a horse painting ever since I met him and he finally found one for me.  It is so nice to look at it every morning when I wake up to head downstairs.......even if it is 5:00am.

So that's it for galleries this week.  I am thinking about doing a little three frame thing in the downstairs hallway, but only if I can get another good deal on frames.  There isn't anything on the wall at the moment, so it looks a little bare.  Just not sure what to put in the frames yet so I am holding out on the project until then.  Upstairs was easy, I just found a picture for every place we have traveled.....plus a picture of my belly when I was pregnant (of course).  It is sort of a random assortment of photographs, but I thought it seemed relatively cohesive since they are all black and white. 

The beauty of a project like this is that you can always remove and replace the photos down the road if you have a change of mood or decor.  And knowing me, that will be sooner rather than later.  Or, in keeping with the timeline of this project, maybe I will take another year to plan it out!  Who knows??

Have you done any galleries in your home recently?  I am obviously loving them lately since I have done two in a matter of a few days.  If so, I would love to see what you are working on....

And before I leave you, let's do a quick before and after.



Got Frames?

During my a few naps (aka "free time") last week, I put together a little gallery for the basement wall.  I haven't done much in the way of decorating the space thus far, so it I am excited to have something up on the wall to make it feel a little more finished down there.

Here is a peek at what it looked like before we started the whole basement project:

Not the best angle, but you can sort of get the idea.  It is the left-most part of the photo, where the two patio chairs are....

And a few more progress shots along the way... 

I already had 10 of the 16 frames (plus the letter "P") from other places in the house, so I just ran out to Michaels and picked up the other 6 for 70% off.  They were on sale for 50% and then I had an extra 20% off coupon with me.  SCORE!  No real reason why I chose 16, it just ended up looking good once I laid it all out along the wall.

Most of the frames that I already had weren't white though, so I had to spray-paint them with some leftover primer and white semi-gloss paint that I had on the shelf (I think they were both Krylon).  

Next, I placed all of the frames on the floor in front of the wall to see how they would look arranged.  I probably changed them around 15 times before I got a winning layout....

Then I started to fill the frames with photos, posters, fabric remnants, pillow cases, etc.  Random things, but that was sort of the look I was going for.  Anything that fit a sort of nautical/navy/lime/turquoise theme.  I even had a sand dollar and some burlap, so I laid out the burlap as a border and placed the shell in the center.

Map of Ireland

An extra letter "P" from Pace's room, the #13 boat was from the navy yard sailing club that we used to belong to when we lived in Charlestown, then there is a print we got in San Fransisco a few years ago and a postcard from where we got married in the bottom left.  The top right is part of a piece of paper that I got at Paper Source for $0.25 a while back, the photo on the right is the view from our old condo in Charlestown and the bottom right is a wedding envelope invitation I kept....          here's a closer look...
I love the cool vintage stamps.  Such a great idea....
The whale is a print on a piece of fabric.  I bought this on vacation in St. John a few months ago and had planned to make a pillow out of it.....but it fit in this frame pretty well so I'll keep it in there for now.  The card above that was from my brother and sister-in-law when they found out we were pregnant.  I love the saying ("Life is a series of thousands of tiny miracles")....so true.  The fabric behind it is actually a sample that I got in the mail from Tonic Living when I was checking out different fabrics for Pace's nursery.  Love that website!  Go check it out if you haven't already.  And then there is the sand dollar that I backed with some burlap.  Closer look here....

And another post card (a little off-center and tilted....oops)....with burlap backing too...

Here is a close-up of the San Fran post card that I mentioned earlier too.  I have only been there once in my life but I loved, loved, loved it.  I wrote more about that trip here.  

And finally, I cut out pieces of newspaper the size of each frame and marked where the slots were for hanging it before taping them up on the wall where I wanted them.  This makes it easier (and less messy) when working on a project like this.  Instead of putting 50 holes in the wall trying to get it just right, the prep work really makes it more clean in the end.

And here is the finished product...

Hmm....I think the "tiny miracles" card in the middle is a little tilted too, now that I see it in this photo.  Oops!!!  We also still need to create a little box to cover up the septic system electrical box (to the right of the photos), but that is for another day......

And just a quick little recap of the project, before and after style:

I'll work on some full basement shots as soon as I can clear out the power tools and make it look relatively presentable. Until then, I'd love to see some of your gallery walls.....

Oh, and any suggestions for what to put in the frame on the bottom left?  There is just a stock photo in there now.  I was thinking of one of these, but I'm not sure which one..

The top one is from our trip to Zanzibar two years ago, the middle is from Schoodic Point in Winter Harbor, ME and the bottom is from Santorini where we went three years ago.  They are all special places for us, so it is hard to decide.  I think the coloring in the top and bottom ones might work best, but I'd love your opinion.....

 Linking up to these fun parties.....A to Z, Sew Much Ado, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia and Lil' Luna


Yard Sale Table: Trash to Treasure

I mentioned last week (here) that I found a table at a yard sale down the street.  I had been looking for a pedestal-style table for the kitchen/mudroom area ever since we renovated the kitchen (more on that here, here and here).  It certainly wasn't for lack of options that we were left table-less.....I just didn't want to pay $500 or more for it.

Here are some of the ones I have been eyeing over the last two years...

Ballard Designs - Augusta Dining Table ($499)

Pottery Barn - Sumner Pedestal Table  ($1499)

West Elm - Arc Base Pedestal Table ($499)

I also saw a few here and there on craigslist, but they were always snatched up before I could get them....or they were more than I wanted to pay, which was $100.

So I put it on the backburner for a while and decided that it would happen when I least expected it.  And it did.  As I was driving to the grocery store the other day, I passed by a yard sale down the street and lo and behold, my table was waiting for me....and for only $75!!! 

I apologize for the slew of before pictures.  The table was disassembled when I bought it so in my laziness eagerness to get started, I didn't put it together for a good before shot.  As you can see though, it was in pretty decent shape, just a few water marks and scratches.  And since I was planning to paint it white to match the cabinets anyway, it wasn't a big deal that I had to sand down the minor defects.  I used 100 grit sandpaper (which I had on hand) and went over the surface a few times to remove the poly coating and smooth it out.  Then I rubbed it down with some tack cloth and started to paint! 

I used Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Plus Primer for the first two coats.  I already had this can (as you can see by the paint drips all over it) from a project in the basement, so I didn't need to run out and buy something special for this project.  I have used it a few times in the past, and it works really well to seal in stains or wood knots.

I gave it another quick sand after the prime to make sure there were no bumps or bubbles and then applied one coat of Sherwin Williams Super Paint in Pure White.  This is the paint that we used to redo the cabinets in the kitchen, so I wanted to be consistent.

And here she is....

The legs are definitely not as shapely or fancy as the PB or Ballard Designs tables, but I think it works for the space....and for a lot less money!  It also came with two leaves, so I refinished those as well in case we have a party and need a buffet-type table.  And since I had the sandpaper and primer and paint on hand already, the whole table transformation only cost $75.

Here is a look at the before and after:

I shoved a few chairs that I already had at the desk area in the kitchen underneath the table but they are a bit too tall.  I am thinking about trying to cut them down a little so that I don't have to buy new ones, I'm just nervous that they won't be as sturdy if I do that.  Has anyone had experience shaving chair legs?  :)

I am also on the hunt for a pendant light to hang down (p.s., so glad we left the electrical up there when we added recessed lighting) over the table and some placemats or a cute runner).  And even though the bench seat looks relatively put together in these photos, I just wrapped a piece of fabric around foam and stuck it there for the time being.  There is some sewing to be done around here soon!  Maybe that is my project for next week.  I am trying to do one project a week (whether it be changing photos in frames or re-painting something), which feels like a reasonable goal to me.  And usually if I set that goal, I am able to get way more done.  It's when I expect to accomplish five projects in a week that I end up disappointing myself.  Reasonable expectations......

Oh, and you might have noticed in the shots above that I changed the photo in the frame on the shelf.  I took some 9-10 month shots of Pace the other day and this is my favorite.

And here are a few more since I can't resist....

Linking up to Lil' Luna and Sew Much Ado