Over the years, Casey and I have collected pieces from artists we love and because I’ve taken over the whole house as my own personal gallery space, many beautiful pieces have sadly been tucked away. I thought why not put them all up in the powder room where our guests and us can enjoy them. Making a gallery wall is actually pretty easy, and I remember reading a blog post about it a few years ago that YoungHouseLove.com shared.
Several of the art pieces (original/limited editions/prints) needed frames, but I really couldn’t spend hundreds of dollars on having them custom framed. So instead, I had my framer special cut several mats for the art pieces that would fit into cheap IKEA frames I had laying around at home. Voila! A budget saver for sure.
Then the measuring and rearranging began. I dug up some newspaper ads and started making cut-outs the size of the art pieces that would go on the wall. That way, I could arrange and re-arrange the pieces and get an overview of what it would look like. I put a sticky note on each so I would remember what each cut-out represented.
Once I knew that it would work on the wall (after about 5 different layouts), I laid out the corresponding pieces on the floor to make sure the colors, different frame colors and textures would work, and that pieces by the same artists were spread out. Clearly, I have an easy time visualizing things like this but laying them out also shows Casey how they would hang on the wall since I had tasked him with that part.
Hanging the pieces on the wall is simple. To avoid leaving big holes in the wall, we bought Pro Picture Hangers that holds up to 10 lbs. Then you do the following:
- Measure the top of the frame to where the nail will go, in the example above it’s 5 inches. Make sure you hold up the wire as if you’re thumb was the nail.
- On the corresponding newspaper cut-out, measure from top of the paper down 5 inches. That’s where the nail will go. Just make sure it’s in the middle of left and right.
- Without removing the paper, hammer in the nail. And then remove the paper and hang your frame!
Done! So easy.
Curious about the art pieces that we included in our powder room? While you are welcome to see them in person, here’s a helpful description for each.
1. An original watercolor painting I bought in Paris 1998 from the Place du Tertre (fondly called the Artists Square in english), behind Sacre Coeur. It’s packed with artists painting open air and selling their art.
2. “Todi with Sunflowers – Umbria” limited edition photograph by our friend Bill Wierzalis. We’ve done many of the same art shows and always have had a wonderful time together. I’ve always loved this photo over a field of sunflowers so at a gallery showing he did in Baltimore, I finally snapped it up.
3. One of my all-time pieces, the limited edition etching “Everything is Connected” by the darling Mary Lou Hess. We met Mary Lou and her husband, Joe, both in their 80’s, while doing the Arts in the Park art show in Richmond. They drove out from Louisville, Kentucky, every year, and I think 2012 was their last show (see the last photo in this blog post).
4. Stony Man Cliff poster from the Skyline Visitor Center. This is where Casey and I got engaged in 2008 so it’s very special to us. We go back all the time for just a scenic drive or to go hiking.
5. Original oil painting by Karin Eklund, and the art piece that started my collection. Karin is one of my sister’s closest friends from our home town, Eskilstuna, Sweden. She had an exhibit with several of her pieces in the mid 90’s and my mom bought me this painting and a memory and to serve as an inspiration to me. Karin’s art has morphed into beautiful children’s illustrations. She’s exhibited in Mexico, U.K. and in Sweden and she lives in Cambridge, U.K. where she’s also a yoga teacher.
6. A framed LiveLikeYou print. I swore I wasn’t going to include any of my own pieces, but I couldn’t help myself with this fun print of the Hamptons Living Room. These are perfect for a powder room.
7. “Grantline with Branches,” another limited edition etching by Mary Lou Hess. I love the blue and purple hues.
8. Original graphite on paper sketch “Tree Form 4” by Charles Frizzell. Charles is a friend of Casey’s Aunt Jill who lives in Colorado. We’ve visited a few times and had a chance to meet up with Charles in 2012. He is versatile in his style and well known for his mystic and fantasy pieces. I have a weakness for birch trees and just had to have this piece when I saw it. I love how he framed this piece, in a simple gold frame and with an extra pencil line an inch outside of the inner matting.
9. Another photograph by Bill Wierzalis, this one taken in Venice, Italy. I love the blocks of colors in this photo. So calming and intriguing.
10. Limited edition Wilco poster “Dia de la Mariposa” by Charlie Hardwick. We love Wilco and try to see them live every time we get a chance and they always have neat posters so we pick one up as a memory each time. This one is my favorite. I love the colors and the motif. This show as also my favorite show which took place in Central Park under the stars. It was one of those evenings where you keep having to pinch your arm to make sure it’s real.
11. Old German book illustration of my home town, Eskilstuna, Sweden. It shows the river that runs through the city and the church I was baptized in, Fors Kyrka. Interestingly, Eskilstuna dates back to medieval times when the English monk Saint Eskil made “Tuna” (I think old Swedish name for town… definitely not from tuna fish) his base trying to convert the surrounding areas to Christianity. How did the vikings react to that? Well, unfortunately poor Saint Eskil was stoned to death… He was buried in a church and later Tune was called Eskilstuna.
12. Sweden Country Love Map Silhouette, digital print by As You Wish Printing, that my sister got me for my birthday one year. A great Etsy find. There’s a red heart over Stockholm which serves a sweet reminder of my roots.
13. Original painting on board of a child standing on the globe. There’s no signature on this piece so I have no idea much about the history of it. I inherited from my grandmother (father’s mom) who passed away before I was born and I was given this as a teenager when we dividing up a few things. I find it very peaceful and I think it works really well in this space. My mother tells me it hung in my grandmother’s living room.
Whew! That was a lot of pieces to go over but I hope you enjoyed the read and spotted a few pieces you enjoyed.