February 1, 2012

step into my gallery

The glory of a small cottage is that every room has a distinct purpose. There is no guesswork. No extra rooms that you struggle with how to use. We use every inch of our house and we use it well. With one exception...our 'whatever you call it' space.

It isn't really long enough to be considered a hallway, and its not a vestibule or an alcove. Its just a weird purgatory place that has no purpose.

It has been three different colors and had countless pieces of furniture in it - bookcases, dressers, arm chairs, tables you name it. For such a small space, it's had more changes that any other room in the house. I'm afraid I've made it a bit schizophrenic. Poor little 'whatever you call it' space.

empty, except for the time-out chair
After its latest iteration I cleared the space and figured I would leave it blank until it talked to me and told me what it wanted. It is schizophrenic after all, so talking to me isn't such a crazy idea.

And this is how it sat for some time. And for those that know me, you know how difficult it is for me to live with blank walls. But with my new moto 'slow and deliberate' comes patience. Begruding patience.
It may be a nothing area but Eve finds it a good crawling path

Then, finally. What? What's that you say walls? You want to become a gallery? Ahhhh (that's the choirs singing in praise) Finally! A decision, a direction. No problemo, a gallery it is. Personally I think it was Pinterest seeping out again as I pin quite a number of gallery walls, like these...

via Young House Love 
via Pinterest

via Pinterest

But whatever, I let the space think it chose. I'm a team player.

I've had gallery walls in the past, but most were pretty organized and followed the 'rules'. You know, all the same type of frame, all the same finish (b&w OR color - heaven forbid both) blah blah.

However this time I wanted more quirky, a bit messy, and color. Luckily, due to my addiction to wall coverage of all types, I had plenty of frames to choose from. Wahoo, a $0 project. My favorite!

I also thought this would be the perfect time to test out a tutorial I see on blogs and in magazines all the time - creating templates of your frames to organize your wall before hanging. If nothing else, my plaster walls would thank me.

To be honest I was skeptical at first that it would be too much time for not much of a difference than the old eyeball method I've honed over the years. But I am an official convert. This is the best way to hang pictures...ever! Period. (and a great way to get some additional use out of the Sunday paper) I'm gonna become a picture handing fool now. Watch out.

I'm sure you've read these before, but to recap in a few simple steps:

Trace each frame onto a piece of newspaper/craft paper (luckily several of my frames were the same so this step didn't take very long).

Cut out each template, marking with a pen where the hook will be, and start to play with the layout.
measure twice, nail once
Once the layout is looking good tape those suckers onto the wall.
'suckers taped to the wall'
After taping, stand back, move templates around as needed and stand back again. Repeat several times.

Use that trusty mark you made earlier on your template to nail thru the template and onto the wall.

Thank to some help from my husband, the whole process only took about an hour from start to finish. And now our little 'whatever you call it' space has purpose!

Doesn't it look so happy?
With two beautiful girls it wasn't hard at all to find pictures. I also included the chair prints I've been dying to use from Danielle Oakey. You'll notice her lovely red Chinese Chippendale in the top left and the blue Shield Back Chair in the bottom right.

Artwork by the lovely Amelia.

The silhouette is Amelia from a few years back. The black and white is a favorite picture of my great-grandfather holding my newborn mom. And yes, that is a pipe in his mouth.

Now there is some good eye candy for anyone who has to do time in the timeout chair.

So there you have it. An easy way to add some jazz and purpose to an otherwise unused space. Have any of you tried the Gallery Wall tutorials out there? Have any tricks for hanging things on plaster walls? Anyone else LOVE getting fresh flowers from Trader Joe's?


  1. Elizabeth--this is adorable! In fact, I shared it on my blog today :) Great work!!

  2. Hi, I found you through Emily Clark's blog!
    I just love your little corner! You have inspired me to find a corner in our home and add a little cozy to it!
    Thank you,
    Elizabeth @ Polka Dot Skies

  3. LOVE the pear print - can you pass along where you purchased?

  4. I too love the pear print...and I love the entire corner! Great job!

  5. Amazing, you did such an awesome job putting this together. I am so glad my prints found a home in your gallery wall!!!

  6. What a difference! I am currently working on a gallery wall and am going to use this as inspiration.

  7. Elizabeth, this is beautiful! It really brightens up the space! Amazing work :)

    Have a lovely day!

  8. Love the idea of different frames to add visual interest. Looks great. Thanks for sharing, liz

  9. This is such a pretty gallery. I love how you've used so many different frames and how the gallery has given that corner such presence. Great job!

  10. Thanks everyone for the wonderful comments! You really know how to make a girl smile :) As for the pear print, it was actually the cover of a calendar I got from Anthropologie for Christmas. Every page of that calendar is frame-worthy if you ask me. I don't find it online anymore but the company who made it is Cavallini and Co.

  11. This looks amazing! What a great transformation. Do you have a shot of this corner from down the hall as before? I'd love to see that one.
    I came via Emily A. Clark and I'm glad I did. Thanks for your great post. :)

  12. This is awesome! I pinned it to my 'drool worthy gallery wall' board on Pinterest.

  13. I love what you did with this space! I'm so inspired to combine different types of frames and prints thanks to you! I love your comment about eye-candy for whoever has to do time in the time-out chair :) (ps. found you thru emily clark)

  14. Oh my goodness, I just saw that you live in St. Louis! We just found out a couple days ago that we're moving there this summer! My husband will be doing a year-long dental residency program through the Air Force at the base right outside of St. Louis. Would love any insight you might have for me as a newcomer to the area :)

  15. Saw you on Emily's blog, you did a fabulous job! Cozy nook indeed!

  16. Great job- I love it! I definitely have to try this corner idea. :) I am your newest follower!

  17. I just came over from Emily's blog and love your gallery! The first thing I noticed was how much I loved the variety in pictures and frames. I was glad to read about you breaking the "rules" on your gallery wall. I've been too afraid to do that, but you have inspired me. This is my favorite home gallery yet!

  18. Hi, I found you through Emily Clark's blog- I love what you did with this corner! The mix of prints and photos is great and I'm loving the mix of black and white frames too! I'm dying to do a gallery wall- now I've got another picture to get inspired by. :)

  19. What a fantastic look! Stopping by from Emily's blog!

  20. Just found you through Emily's blog! I love your gallery wall and I love that you didn't follow any rules. I think houses are much more interesting when they are unique. I think you must have an artistic talent!

  21. That looks fantastically fabulous! I'm inspired!

  22. So true about giving every nook and cranny in the house a chance to shine. Your awkward little corner is now screeeeaming with personality.

  23. Absolutely wonderful! You really woke up that corner and gave it purpose! Yea!

  24. I am obsessed with gallery walls, so of course I love yours and Im your newest follower. My post today is actually about my new gallery wall in the kitchen.

  25. I love this! I have always been a fan of gallery walls with the same color frame, but you blew the theory of "that's the only way to do it" out of the water. Beautiful!

    Oh, and I also love the pear print. Funny how inspiration literally comes from everywhere!

  26. where is that cute pear print from? YOur nook is so cute and inspiring!

  27. Thanks Margaret! The print is from a calendar I got from Anthropologie over Christmas. I looked online but it looks as though they aren't selling it any longer. Thanks for stopping by!

  28. So nice to create a beautiful space in a little tucked away corner. Great tips for how to plan and hang the frames. I like the collaged look...mixing frames, images, etc. I am going to share this on my blog, Design Sense and Sensibility.

    Cheers - Meredith

  29. I am preparing a gallery wall for my home office. Love your corner nook!

  30. Wow! Great job - what a change! Will you come do mine next?

  31. Hahaha! You're not only creative but also really funny! Your new 'Gallery Corner' is no longer a "whatever you call it space"! : ) It's lovely, too!

  32. Do you know what the color is on the walls? We're currently doing a hallway reno in our old victorian home and I really like the look of your walls.
    (Found you via Emily)

  33. i just love this! and sent myself the link to try to figure out my own gallery wall! my main problem is frames!!! where did you get your frames? i love the mismatched colors and sizes etc etc. Any help??


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