Tag Archives: dining room

Photo Wall or My New Favorite Thing In My House

9 Dec

I first told you about my obsession with oversized photo displays back in October 2012 when I spied this awesome picture from Palihouse on Dilly Dallas.

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Just to recap: I know that displaying personal pictures might not be #1 on every decorators must-do list (in fact, it’s usually on their NO list) but to me personal pictures are the way to keep a home looking, well…personal. And here’s the thing: I take a LOT of pictures. So, instead of picking a few great ones, framing them, hanging them up and calling it a day, I take a lot and then… they sit in my computer (and on Flickr and Shutterfly). The good part is that I don’t have to make any decisions (yeah!) but the bad part is that no one else gets to see them. And that’s just wrong. I mean, how can I keep pictures like these to myself:

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So, I thought long and hard about how to do my photo wall. Should I create photo wallpaper like this Tribeca home by Rinaldi Interiors?

black and white

Nope. Too permanent. I want something that’s changeable. That certainly rules out something like this. I mean, how could I choose just one picture?

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Hmm…maybe a mix of small frames, like this. (Yup, that’s Soph modeling in LHJ!) But, nah. Again, it’s too permanent and too much work to use the huge number of pictures I want to use.

soph modeling in LHJ

So, I decided to just cover a wall with pictures. No frames. Nothing permanent. I even thought about painting on some magnetic paint and then using tiny magnets but I figured there was an easier way. Tape. Just little rolls of Scotch tape on the back of each pic. But it was a little more methodical than just tape and pictures. Here is how I made it happen.

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Step 1: Set some rules for the pictures you want to include. Color or black and white? All horizontal, all vertical or a mix of both? Various sizes or just 4×6? Just immediate family, extended family or include friends, too? I decided on:

– color pictures (I mean, how could I go black and white when I’ve got a kid with baby blues like Lily’s?)

– a mix of horizontal and vertical (because I clearly have problems editing)

–  just 4×6 (to keep it to a graphic grid)

– and only immediate family. I know that family part might be confusing but there are other places to display extended family and friends and I wanted to keep this more focused.

Step 2: Order Prints. I took quite a few long nights on the couch going through all my pictures and ordering HUNDREDS of them. I figured that it had been years since I had actually ordered prints so even if some pics didn’t make it into the mix, they were still lots of favorites so it wouldn’t hurt to have some extra prints on hand. (I highly recommend using a print plan on Shutterfly to keep the cost down.) You can imagine my joy when this arrived:

shutterfly pics

Step 3: Edit into groups. First I split them into horizontal and vertical pictures and then I created three sub-categories: 1) Sophia without Lily (could include me and Pablo), 2) Lily without Sophia (again, parents are okay), and 3) Miscellaneous (could be just me and Pablo, all 4 of us, just him, just me, or the two girls together). Now I know this sounds slightly insane (or let’s just say it…totally anal)  but there was a reason for the madness. I really wanted to include an equal number of each kid. Because you know they’ll be counting! And when one kid has been around for 8 years and one has only been around for 5, you can end up with an uneven mix.

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Step 4: Use a level to mark your middle line and start taping. I just used one quick roll of scotch tape on the back of each one as I placed them. I tried to keep it balanced with colors and close-ups vs. pulled-back shots. And I tried a balance of posed and candids. And even a good mix of various ages. It looks random but there was a method to the madness.

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I used the level again every few rows to keep myself on track but I just eyeballed the distance between the pictures. Once I had 4 rows of vertical pictures (with 16 in each row), and 4 rows of horizontal (with 11 in each row), I noticed a problem: I had a lot more horizontal left over. So, I added a few extra rows of horizontal on the top and the bottom. And I have every intention of adding more rows over time but don’t tell Pablo: he thinks there are plenty already. But let’s face it; is he really going to fight seeing more pictures of his kids? I think not.

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After I stood back and took a look, I had to move a bunch around to keep it balanced. But once I had them in the places I wanted them in, I retaped each one with a piece in each corner. And there you have it: my new favorite thing in the whole house.

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We love sitting at the dining table and looking at all the awesome memories. And guests really love it too. It’s certainly a conversation piece!

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Let’s take a closer look at some ridiculously geeky stats about the 141 pictures that made the cut:

106 were taken outdoors (that’s 75%!).

There are 56 pairs of sunglasses, 44 bathing suits, 27 hats, 11 Halloween costumes and 5 appearances by Sophia’s beloved silver sequin-covered cardigan.

Almost half were taken close to home in New Jersey or New York, while a whopping 23% of them were taken in Aruba (more on that here and here). Obviously, we like taking pictures on vacation because 19% were in New England and another 19% were in Florida. Nevis and the Bahamas round it out with one each.

I already mentioned that there are 87 pictures of each of the girls. There are 25 of Pablo and only 17 of me. And the reason for that lies here: I took 84% of them.

(Ignore the spiders on the lamp. I took these in October!)

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So, I guess the take-away from those stats is this: I’ll continue to get outside to get some great shots, I’ll never take a vacation without the camera, and I need to give someone else the camera more often.

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So, tell me…how do you display your family pictures? I’m currently working on a display of extended family pictures in our hallway. The plan is to use all black and white photos and solid black frames with mattes. Wish me luck!

XO

Sue at Home

P.S Congrats to Katie who won my Minted giveaway!

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Dining Room Update

26 Apr

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve done anything to update our dining room. You see, it’s pretty tiny and there’s not too much you can do creatively with the space. It’s just big enough to fit a table and chairs and…nope. That’s it. Just a table and chairs.

finished dining roomAs I told you when I updated that DIY art, I knew I needed to replace the curtains with something longer. What I didn’t realize then was how dark the curtains felt. This room has very little light and even though they were kinda sheer and we kept them hung nice and wide, they still didn’t do much to help the lack of light issue.

So, the last time I was at Ikea, I picked up a pair of simple sheer white curtains. Because where else can you get two 98″ curtain panels for $19.99? (Let me be clear. They’re $19.99 for two, not one! I mean! How do they do that?)

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They were about 3 or 4 inches long and I knew I would need to hem them but — lucky me! — Ikea curtain panels come with hemming tape so I was gearing myself up for some serious ironing action.  But I figured I should wash them first so I followed the directions: machine wash in hot, tumble dry regular. I was even hoping that they might shrink a little bit so I could avoid hemming them and — surprise surprise — they shrunk…A LOT.  Oops!

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But I’m looking on the bright side: I don’t have to get my iron out! And I’m sure they’ll stretch out a little bit and hopefully sit a little closer to the floor. In the meantime, I think they look pretty great. Not too shabby for 20 bucks.

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Doesn’t it look so much better with the rod closer to the ceiling?

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And did you notice I flipped the painting vertically? Not sure why, really. Just thought it would be  a nice change.

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That’s all for now but I’m planning a big project for the blank wall. Here’s a hint. Via Apartment Therapy

Stay tuned!!

XO

Sue at Home

DIY Painting for the Dining Room

12 Jun

Allow me to reintroduce you to my dining room. Dining room, readers. Readers, dining room. You might remember that you met this room back in this post but here’s the recap. This was our dining room before we moved in. Simple. Subtle.

Cream and brown.

Here’s how it was recently.

The only big problems were 1) the too-short curtains that need to be replaced by something that goes all the way to the ceiling and 2) that weird art by yours truly. The curtains are going to take a little time to hunt down but I got to work on the painting yesterday. I was inspired by this picture I had seen on Amber Interiors but I wanted to do it with a gold background instead of silver. (Yes, I know that silver would “go” better with the gray walls but that’s precisely why I want to use gold. You get me, right?)

OK. So we’re all recapped now. Let the painting begin!

I used Craft Smart acrylic paints from Michael’s in Gold and Neon Pink. I actually had to make a run to the store to get more Neon Pink. That’s what happens when you share your paints with 2 little girls. (Who am I kidding?  I used it all myself!)  I made my first coat and I could still see some of the other colors through it. I liked it on the pink part but the gold was just looking greenish. (Also – please note my amazing art studio. It’s called laying-newspaper-down-on-the-living-room-floor-and-leaning-over-the-painting. Really fancy, huh?)

But luckily after a few coats later, it was finally covered – with just a little bit still showing through the pink part.

I actually like that little bit peeking through the pink. Nothing like a happy mistake!

So, it’s good…for now. I’m quite sure I’ll be changing it in a few months, but until then, I’m content.

And I’m not the only one who likes it.

XO

Sue at Home

P.S. I’ve been working on my foyer and I’m thrilled with how it’s coming together. Then again, anything would be an improvement on what it’s looked like for the past 18 months:

Details and “after” pics soon…

The Dining Room: Before and After

26 May

This was our dining room – before it was ours.

BEFORE

The elderly couple that owned our house actually had pretty good taste. That is, if you like beige. A lot of beige…and some cream thrown in to…you know…spice things up. Let me tell you: WE ARE NOT BEIGE PEOPLE. I can certainly appreciate the former owner’s classic taste in furniture (in fact, I wish I had asked them if I could buy that ahmahzing mid-century dining set.)

but the beige HAD TO GO.

AFTER

Other than the three mirrors in the back, the dining room is completely different. Here’s what we did:

  1. Removed brown wall-to-wall carpeting and had the hardwood floors that were hiding underneath (score!!!) stained and refinished.
  2. Replaced the light fixture with this one from CB2.
  3. Replaced the baseboards. (Thanks, Dad!)
  4. Painted the walls Benjamin Moore Coventry Gray and the trim Benjamin Moore Cloud White.  (Yes, I know I never did the ceiling. Thanks for reminding me.)
  5. Removed the curtain rod that was attached to the window frame (WHO DOES THAT?) and rehung it and added curtains from Urban Outfitters.  I’m not loving the height though so they’ll be moving up to the tippy top of the wall soon and I’ll have to put something new on my to-do list: Get longer curtains for dining room.
  6. Made and hung “artwork”. And just so you don’t have to scroll back up to look at the art I’m talking about, please enjoy this gratuitous and ridiculous video of  the ladies…with my painting in the background.

I put “artwork” in quotes because, let’s face it, it kinda sucked. It was my third, or maybe fourth (maybe fifth?) attempt to paint over the same canvas to come up with some large scale art on the cheap. I got the 30 x 40″ canvas from Michaels with a 40% off coupon and the crafts paints were on sale too (cause that’s how Michael’s rolls). But I think it might be time to paint over it – again.

I’ve always wanted to be a painter but I’m just not that good at it. I remember sitting in Mr. Hayes’ art class junior year in high school and looking over at my classmate’s paintings and wondering why the vision in my head wasn’t ending up on the paper like theirs was. Watercolors were the worst for me, which is why I totally hate my mom for taking a few watercolor classes and coming up with this awesomeness. (Kidding, Mom! I love it!)

Well anyway, the big yellow painting of mine has been bugging me. I love the big pop of color that it adds to a very neutral room but I want to try again.  I had pinned the image below from Amber Interiors awhile ago and fell in love with the big pink flowers. I don’t like the idea of “knocking off” an artist’s work so let’s just say that I’m using it for “inspiration”. That’s fair, right?

via Amber Interiors

So, I’m going to go for it. Except I think I’m going to make the background gold instead of gray. New bright pink flowers are coming soon. Stay tuned!

SIDEBAR:  A big shout out goes to my awesome husband for letting me indulge my love of pink in our shared space. I don’t think he’d ever want me to go for the fuchsia sofa that my heart is telling me I need but he’s comfortable enough with his manhood to be okay with a little pink here or there. And for that I am thankful.

So, please wish me luck as I embark on this painting. And tell me what you think…Should I do something more subtle? Should I just hang up my paintbrush for life and buy a nice painting from a pro? Do you think Mr. Hayes will be impressed? And what should I do about those shorty curtains? I’d be so excited if the finished room evoked any of the coolness of my two favorite dining rooms ever:

Liz Lange’s dining room by Jonathan Adler in House Beautiful

Dining room by Jill Van Tosh from Metropolitan Home.

Aren’t they dreamy?

XO

Sue at Home

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