Dining in an art gallery

As Miss Browne spotted in some party photos last week we now have our very own art gallery on the dining area wall.

White picture frames have been on my birthday wishlist since last year, and with my last birthday now gone a couple of months I had enough frames to get our little gallery “open for business”.

Wrapping all those frames kept my boys busy for hours the night before while I was banned from the bedroom, and this is what greeted me on birthday morning!

The gallery wall by Young House Love was one of my first pins, and thanks to my Mum (last birthday) and my lovely husband (this birthday) I collected up over 20 frames to get my own version done.

Here they are stacked under the coffee table where they lived for a few weeks…:

…while I put my geek brain on and got all measurement-y about their placement on the wall:

I asked Andre to help with hanging the first few pictures, just because two sets of hands (and eyes) are easier than one when you’re trying to place pictures level on a wall. I figured I’d do ok on my own once we got underway. But on the second night of picture hanging (so much easier once the kids are in bed) I had a willing helper again, because sometimes it’s nice to be doing satisfying jobs like this one rather than the usual fixing old house quirks that we do more often!

Here’s the blank wall that we have lived with since we finished the kitchen and dining area over a year ago, then this gallery project gave us the motivation to give it its missing final coat of paint a couple of weeks ago.

We started by marking the approximate centre of the wall, which according to my plan, ran down the left side of this first frame we put up.

We continued with Andre placing the frames in their approximate position, me tweaking them by alternating between coming close to nudge it sideways or standing back in the kitchen to say “up a bit, left… no right a touch… yep stop!”

And another row:

We hang most frames with 3M Command picture hanging strips (there was the odd frame that didn’t work with the strips because the frame was too narrow for them to stick to, so we just hung these straight on a nail.) Some of the frames had stands or hangers that got in the way of our Command Strip hanging system so we took them off.

Here’s a side on shot to show how you can just see the Command strips on some of the frames (they are not at all noticeable until you get close up and peer around the sides of the frames):

I chose to use 3M Command strips because hanging so many frames by putting as many holes in the wall makes me a bit nervous. What if I want to change my mind next week? Also, it helps to keep the frames straight – they don’t get knocked off centre because they’re firmly fixed at two or more points, which also means they’re safer with active children around.

Now, after a couple of (short) nights effort and another hour or so myself one day, we have ourselves a picture gallery wall to gaze at while we eat dinner. It has already livened up dinner conversations with the couple of lots of visitors we’ve had over since! And of course Master W likes to tell me what all the pictures are of (even if I know better… he’s two after all, so Mama’s opinion – or facts – don’t matter anymore) and Miss E likes to grin at the most colourful pictures.

As for what we have in the frames, it was a little bit of a rushed “fill them frames up” job so we didn’t have random smiling families and sandcastles on beaches for our party guests to wonder at.

Starting on the left we have a shot of an Amsterdam canal, complete with mandatory bike leaning against the bridge railing (love that place…), alongside which is a sweet picture of a newborn Miss E with Mummy, then a party filler of the Up hot air balloon. Next row down, our beloved camper “Tally” that was home for a few months back in 2008, with our just as beloved Piaggio “Li’l Berty” scooter that transported us on many adventures in England and right across Europe on the back. Then an awesome rainbow typography print by Marc Johns, and a cute not-quite-baby photo of Andre. Bottom row on this side starts with a couple of postcards from a Japanese family we stayed with in 2009, then a retro motorbike ad (some of my birthday frames came with the smiling families and sandcastles already removed!) and a bird in a birdbath print.

The middle section has a gorgeous view of coastal Sweden (a marina where we parked for the night once in our past life), then a retro Better Homes magazine cover (it’s awesome – rows of illustrated mid-century houses), and the best graffiti I have ever come across, somewhere in Spain. Jump down a row and we have another bubbles party filler, and the obligatory wedding shot. Bottom row, a bit hard to make out but this is Master W at his first half birthday and then his one and half birthday, alongside Miss E’s favourite balloons picture.

On the right hand side is another travel photo (an orange tree in Italy) and one of our very few family photos. Under this we have more bubbles and balloons, and finally another mid-century illustration complete with a house plan (I have a thing for house plans and have designed many dream versions!). There is a small gap at the bottom right which I need to grab a last (maybe…? I might be tempted to fill the whole wall one day!) frame for.

All balloon and bubble shots are definitely temporary, but I plan for this whole gallery to be an ever-changing array of all the things and people we love, and I will definitely throw a few themed pictures in at future parties too.

Another look? Why not…

And a small close up so you can see some of the different frame styles (there are no more than two frames in the same style):

It makes me smile (even if it does make the room look smaller)!

10 thoughts on “Dining in an art gallery

  1. Home Desirable

    I love it! I bet this took ages to hang so many pics in such a ‘calculated’ order… It looks so modern and very eye catching – I love the variety of images used! I’ve always wanted a gallery wall, but Kelly won’t allow me as she says it’ll take me far too long to complete due to my OCD and everything having to look ‘exact’ hehee … thanks for sharing! 🙂

    1. Jolene Post author

      Thanks for your comment! It actually only took maybe 3 hours in total to hang them, and I have to admit they’re not quite to plan as I shuffled a couple around as I went.

  2. miss browne design

    Woohoo!!! That looks AWESOME!!! I love it! Oh, and I had to laugh at your placement diagram – that’s so what I would do!

    You’ve inspired me to get off my butt to do our wall in the lounge. As you might have seen the other day, I’ve only got as far as one framed Citta tea towel! Not really what I envisaged. I have a pile of the children’s art just waiting for frames, and a big blank wall waiting for them!

    1. Jolene Post author

      Thanks! The most time consuming bit was collecting up the frames. Me being me, I couldn’t start until I had a “whole set” and could plan where they would all go! FYI Andre said Briscoes had the best range and because they always have sales you can get them at a good price.

  3. Jessica Baker

    Lovely. It doesn’t look like it makes the room smaller in the photograph. In fact it brings a focus to the room.
    My kitchen is nearly completely covered in photos. I count it as my office so figure when I worked I always had dozens of photos all over my desk, so why not my kitchen.

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