...because home doesn't happen overnight.

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A few weeks ago I mentioned a last minute gallery wall above the fauxdenza that we threw together for the Tile Shop photo shoot. For being a totally spontaneous {i.e., unplanned and non-researched} project, it turned out pretty well and served the purpose of filling up the wall above the fauxdenza for a photo op. I guess it wasn’t totally unplanned. I had been imagining a gallery wall in the mudroom/dining room but hadn’t put any real thought into it. I was assuming it was something that would happen over time. But opportunity knocked and I answered.

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We started out with a blank canvas. Well, pretend you don’t see those white pock-marks all over the wall. Those come later. I was a baaaaad blogger and didn’t take any pictures of the wall’s creation in real time. I had a good reason. I was in bed. Sleeping. Basically, I designed the wall quickly the night before the shoot then HH took over the reigns and actually installed the gallery wall. He practically forced me to go to bed. It was midnight and I was already crazy sleep deprived and needed some rest before the big day. At least, that’s what HH told me. I obeyed and went to bed. Yeah, HH is awesome. He knows me better than I know myself.

My “in-progress” images are simulated.

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Before I hit the hay, I mapped out a spot on the floor in front of the fauxdenza to mimic the wall area above the fauxdenza. It happened that three rows of floor tile were the same height as the wall area above the horizontal planks on the fauxdenza wall but, if that happy accident hadn’t occurred, I would have just used masking tape or painter’s tape to map out a fake “wall” on the floor. I gathered frames, art, photos and scrap fabric from our attic {oh, the attic. It could use some organizing. It will happen.} and a few new frames from Target that I had picked up earlier in the day while shopping for photo shoot accessories.

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After configuring, stepping back, reconfiguring, editing, stepping back and then nearly falling over from sheer exhaustion, this is the arrangement I ended up with. I was going for an asymmetrical arrangement that looked good as-is but could be added to in the future. I didn’t fret over keeping the same distance in between all of the frames. I didn’t measure anything. The entire process was pretty loosey-goosey.

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I mixed white frames, wood frames, metal frames, a fabric-covered frame and even an unframed canvas to keep things interesting.

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I was under the gun to have the wall ready for the photo shoot the next morning so I used framed photos that you might recognize from my previous house. There was no time to get new photos developed. This is also why there are no photos of Mabrey included. I do have pictures of her developed but none made it into the gallery wall…yet.

While I was coming up with the layout, HH ran to Lowe’s to pick up a bunch of 3M Command picture hanging strips. It was nearly 10 o’clock at night on a Tuesday and Lowe’s was the only place open.

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At midnight, HH took over the installation of the frames and art so I could catch some zzzzz’s. You should have seen his reaction when I told him not to worry about the frames being exactly level or perfectly spaced. He’s an engineer, people. When it comes to hanging stuff on a wall, the words “unexact” and “imperfect” aren’t in his vocabulary. I didn’t watch him hang everything but I’m pretty sure the finished wall is an exact replica of my haphazard floor arrangement.

Why the 3M strips? Two reasons: 1) The wall that the fauxdenza hangs on is a block wall. On the other side of the wall is the garage. Drilling into a concrete wall would have been time-consuming and labor intensive. 2) Drilling into a concrete wall at midnight would have awakened all the sleeping little people in our house. I don’t know about you but when our little people are asleep, we like to keep them that way as long as possible.

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The picture hanging strips are basically velcro strips that adhere to the wall and frames. They are super strong and can handle up to 16 pounds of weight. You stick one side of the velcro onto the wall and the other onto the frame so they will line up with each other. Then hold the frame up to the wall and press. You will hear a loud “click” when the strips line up properly and secure themselves to one another. Pretty sweet stuff right there.

FYI – Be sure to adhere the velcro directly to the frame – not the cardboard backing that holds the frame’s contents in. We had one casualty due to overlooking this important detail. When I woke up early the next morning, one frame had fallen and busted on the tile floor. Oops.

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It helps to start with the lower frames and work your way up the wall.

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There she blows.

Up close, from left to right…

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It’s difficult to take non-glaring pics of the gallery wall because it’s directly across from a set of french doors. If it wasn’t BELOW FREEZING here I would have opened the doors and got a wider angled shot. I tried my best.

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I absolutely love how the open ironwork of the pendant light lets you peek beyond to the gallery wall.

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And because I know I would want the specifics if I were reading about a gallery wall on someone else’s blog…

A – IKEA frame, family vacation photo

B – IKEA frame, wedding photo

C – estate sale, abstract painting on canvas

Fun fact #1: The previous owner of our house painted the abstract art. I bought it at the Underdog’s estate sale before the house was officially ours. I’m so glad we finally found a place to hang it.

D – Ikea frame, Allposters.com print

E – Target frame, fabric scrap

F – IKEA frame, candid photo of Everett at 7 months old

G – Target frame, fabric scrap

H – West Elm frame, photos of Spain from HH’s high school trip abroad

I – IKEA frame, photo of Layne’s shadow kissing my shadow’s belly when I was nine months pregnant with Everett

J – IKEA frame, photo of HH and Layne as a newborn

K – Target frame, photo of me pregnant with Layne

Fun fact #2: HH gifted me a professional maternity shoot when I was pregnant with my firstborn, Layne. It was so much fun!

L – Target frame, fabric scrap

Fun fact #3: After failing to get this little round tabletop frame to stick to the wall, we decided it looked better just resting on the chair rail.

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My favorite frames are the new distressed wood ones from Target. I’m pretty sure I need to run back and grab at least a half-dozen more. Megan, from The Tile Shop, said the frames tie into the reclaimed wood shelves in our kitchen. That must be why I like them!

The wall isn’t done but it’s done for now. I’d like to switch out some of the contents of the frames and, over time, I want to add to the gallery wall. {Don’t worry. I’ll share any changes I make.} As-is, it’s feeling a little too feminine and white-on-white for my taste. But it sure does make our house feel more personal and homey. Gotta love any project that does that.

I want to share a few tips for creating a unique gallery wall but think this post is already too lengthy to include here. So, look for my gallery wall tips in a future post. Coming soon!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

31 Comments

24.January.2013

Love it, Dana! I just bought these reclaimed frames at target this week for a gallery wall at our new build. FYI – they’re currently on sale for 10% off!

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replied on January 24th, 2013

10% off…whaaaaaaaaaaaat?!

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K
replied on January 24th, 2013

I love those frames. I ogle them every time I go to Target (which is very often).

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replied on January 24th, 2013

I know..I may have bought four frames…and I’m considering going back before the sale ends Saturday for more. Like I need another excuse to go to target. I also bought this weathered grey one: http://www.target.com/p/threshold-sandedge-frame-5×7/-/A-14129039#prodSlot=large_1_10

love. love. love.

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24.January.2013

Love the gallery wall. I find it so special that you included the previous owner’s painting… that says a lot about who you are. And it’s a very cool piece too!

I meant to comment on your post about the fauxdenza – when you joked that HH was on board after you batted your eyelashes and bent over ever so slightly – so funny. That right there is the single most effective tool I have for getting anything hung up on my walls, ever! :) Anyway I like that the wood frames tie in with the fauxdenza, too.

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replied on January 24th, 2013

have you tried cooking? its easier… ;)

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Love this! And love how HH send you to bed and finished it himself, what a man:) I like those velcro strips, time to find out if they have those in europe as well.

Love, Vredenburg

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24.January.2013

It looks fabulous! I love the impact a gallery wall can have on a room. I also adore those frames from Target! I just got one myself a few weeks ago and I’m obsessed – I want a ton more!

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24.January.2013

the gallery looks really good–I like how it’s not all matchy-matchy and that the spaces between the frames aren’t exactly the same. It feels more natural–like it was added to over time, as if you’ve lived there for a long time.

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24.January.2013

The gallery wall looks great. I was just wondering if there was a command strip product that would work with a gallery wall, so the timing of this was great! Thanks for sharing all the details.

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replied on January 24th, 2013

Yep, they work! We used ~ three strips on each frame to secure them to the wall.

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I swear by 3m command strips for picture hanging. In most cases, I also use a nail, but the 3M strips give me confidence that things will just not ‘fly off the wall’ and they also help keep pictures and artwork level. All of the foregoing are especially important in a child’s room.

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24.January.2013

I’m another gallery wall fan and I’m glad you have so much room to expand. Was the abstract (#3) always hung vertically (portrait)? Every time I look at your photo of it I see an old stone wall – the landscape mode – and I keep turning my head sideways to admire it.

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replied on January 24th, 2013

The abstract was on the floor leaning up against a bunch of other paintings at the estate sale. Honestly, I can’t remember if it was leaning vertically or horizontally when I first saw it. I’ve never seen it hung on a wall until now. There is no signature on the painting so I have no idea if the artist meant for it to be hung vertically or horizontally. Now you’ve got me turning my head – and I like what I see! I guess that’s why they call it abstract! It could totally go horizontal and then the two smaller frames above it could move down. It would be easy enough to tweak with those 3M strips. Hmmmmm…

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24.January.2013

Looks great! Love the Target frames …

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24.January.2013

Hi! Love the gallery wall! I was just wondering if you have had any problems with the 3M command strips staying on the walls since the gallery wall has been up for a while now. I know you said you had one that had fallen down. My experience with them is that they don’t work very well. I have put two or three on light weight frames before and they still fall off. Wondering if I am doing something wrong? I love the idea of not having to make holes in my walls. Thanks!

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replied on January 24th, 2013

The one frame that fell was due to the fact that we stuck the 3M strips to the cardboard backing of the frame instead of the actual frame. The backing doesn’t stick out as far as the frame so it wasn’t making good contact with the wall strips and it fell after just a few hours. All the other frames are doing great! I even took them all down to take pics for this post and then rehung them. I could see problems with using them on uneven walls. Good strip-to-strip contact is key!

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24.January.2013

Looks so bright and modern! So is that just painted concrete or do you have a layer of drywall directly over a block wall? We have “partially finished” our basement but half the walls are still painted concrete. I would love to get some art on them… I’ll have to see if those strips will work directly on to the concrete walls.

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24.January.2013

Your gallery wall looks really great. I looove the mix of white, wood, metal and fabric. And I need those wood Target frames!

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This gallery wall is beautiful. I love the “collected” look it has…and I give a big thumbs up for using the 3M command strips. I use them to hang everything on our walls {unless it’s too heavy}. They are such a great product!

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I can understand what you mean about too much white-on-white. I’m planning a gallery wall in my home, as well, and love the look of mixed metals and wood. I can’t wait to hear more of your tips! Btw, so glad to hear those command strips work well. I’ll definitely be using them.

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24.January.2013

I love this. It doesnt look last minute at all and compliments the rest of your house. I’m still dreaming of that credenza. It’ll have to wait but I’m ready to put my spin on it- that tutorial is getting around!

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24.January.2013

I love this tutorial and and going to start planning mine out tonight. Where is the pot from in the photo? The one with the plant in it? I like the texture.

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For being totally spontaneous, I’m incredibly impressed! I started a gallery wall almost a year ago and I still haven’t finished it! It probably would have helped if I actually had all the art gathered and ready to go…

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24.January.2013

Your gallery wall looks really good! Your house is coming together so nicely. You are so talented and I don’t think you will have any problem making a career out of designing/decorating if you decide to.

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It looks amazing!! I have two loosey-goosey gallery walls of my own. Honestly, if you over-think it too much it defeats the whole point of the electic gallery wall, right? I also have two of those Target frames and I love them so much. How cute it the pregnancy shadow picture, btw?

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24.January.2013

Looks great! I have never seen the picture hanging strips in action. It looks so easy. I’m definitely going to try them out next time I’m hanging something.

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25.January.2013

[...] this fauxdenza! Another version here. Bryan, will you build one in our sunroom under the window? [...]

25.January.2013

Looks great. Thanks for sharing. I think having a deadline helps in the case of a gallery wall. Sometimes you just have to do it and not over-think things. Also, thanks for the visual proof that varied spacing can work. I’m an engineer and have trouble with that concept.

I put together a gallery wall for our front room last year (http://sugarsugarhouse.com/2012/01/10/greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts-hanging-a-gallery-wall/) and am working on a larger scale one for the great room.

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26.January.2013

Fabulous gallery wall! I love mixing white, wood and black – your touches of metal really make it come alive. If you ever do another gallery from scratch, I hope you’ll check out changeofart.com — it’s a real time saver.

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31.January.2013

Your gallery wall looks amazing! Using the velcro command strips to hand them is so great! I have been using the command hooks for years, but the pictures stick off the wall a smidge, this keeps them nice & flush!

Krystle
designsbykrystle.blogspot.com

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