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Monday, June 7, 2010

Family Photo Gallery Wall

I was so ridiculously excited yesterday when we FINALLY hung the photos behind our couch. This has been VERY long process in picking out what to put in this 8' wide by 6' tall space behind our 9' long couch. I have a basement full of photos and artwork, but none of them seemed right and so for the past 3 years I have agonized over what I could put here that would achieve the look I wanted and fit my budget. I have contemplated everything from a giant canvas to a decorative iron grate but kept coming back to wanting a series of square frames. Then last November we had a great set of family photos done by Maaike Bernstrom Photography so I decided I definitely wanted to use those and create a gallery wall. I found the Lee Gallery Frames in an oversized 8 x 10 at Pottery Barn which I loved, but at $129 apiece and since I would need 6 of them, that idea was quickly dropped by this unemployed blogger. Then, to my surprise, I found the Ribba frame at Ikea which at about 20" square was only slightly smaller and way less expensive. I was able to get all 6 frames for less than the cost of one of the Pottery Barn ones. Score!

Oh, but not so fast (I bought them last November). Now I had two new issues, the first being that the opening of the picture mat was 12" x 12". This is only a problem because it is nearly impossible to get a photo to fit this size. Your options are 11" x 14" or 16" x 20" so you will be just a tad too short or quite a bit too large even if you zoom out and trim down. I decided that since I liked the square thing I had going on that I would have 8" x 10" photos printed and then trim them down to 8" x 8". Great, right?

Problem number two, I now needed to find an additional mat to make up for the gap between the 12" x 12" mat and the 8" x 8" picture. I didn't want to use anything white because the mat was already white and I needed something that would match my wall color which is Ocean Air by Benjamin Moore. I looked at everything from different colored papers, fabrics, wallpaper and more, but nothing seemed right. I thought about having pieces of mirror custom cut to fit the frames which I actually think would have been very cool, but the thought of bringing two toddlers into the glass shop with me was daunting, and now I think it probably would have looked a little more formal than the rest of our house is these days. And then it hit me, I had nautical charts sitting in a closet waiting to be wallpapered onto my downstairs bathroom wall, but that project wasn't ready to be done. The blues in the charts would pick up the wall color perfectly and the charts would add more interest to the frames while still being subtle enough not to compete with the photos. Plus, the charts are of Rhode Island and include a lot of the beaches and bays that are near and dear to our hearts. I am completely thrilled with the result! Now I am on a roll and am doing another gallery wall message center in my kitchen which I hope to share with you by the end of the week.

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