In traditional Chicago fashion, the hallway in my condo is like a portal to another world. Since my husband and I moved in one year ago, all 16 feet of it has been begging for some attention.
I have collected magazine tear-outs of home photo/art galleries for several years, but only a few weeks ago did I finally bite the bullet and bust out the hammer and nails.
As I contemplated doing irreparable harm to my nick-less drywall, there were so many questions. Should I stick exclusively to black-and-white photos? Do the frames need to match? Should all the photos be matted? How important is symmetry? Can art be mixed in?
Consulting my fave designs (torn, per usual, from the pages of Domino magazine), here were the steps that I took:
1. The round-up: First, I gathered up the candidates. I was suprised to find myself short on both photos and frames. After a trip to Walgreens (to print pics from a recent trip to California), a trip to Jo-Ann Fabrics (for a half-dozen frames--excellent prices, Jo-Anns!), and a scavenger hunt of frames collecting dust under my bed and in my bookcase, I had a grouping of 14.
2. The size-up: My 14 pieces varied in size and content--wedding photos, family photos, landscapes, art work, in every dimension, from 4-by-6 to 8-by-10--and my frames were black, brown and cherry. Looking back at my favorite collages, I was reassured that this eclecticism was indeed a good thing, and that the darkness of the frames could actually serve to unify the collection.
3. The layout: Not trusting myself to wing it, I plotted a course. I cleared away a rectangular area in my living room and tested out a few scenarios. I found that my taste veered toward a casual design with flexibility for add-ons. Yet, I did seek a bit of shape, settling on one that's greatest mass was in the center. I also liked the look of big frames pieced in with smaller ones, for variety.
4. The trick: I took a digital photo of the layout, which I referred to frequently as one-by-one, I moved each frame to the wall.
5. The first strike: I decided it best to start in the center. That way, I could make adjustments as I sprawled outward. This proved my best decision, for while the order remained largely the same, as I got to nailing, I changed my mind on spacing and decided to put an extra inch of bare space between each frame.
6: The mistakes: I made a few boo-boos. But my spackle was within reach, as was the original paint, for minor touch ups.
7: The finish: Ta-da! While it was difficult to get a good snap-shot of the finished product, to share with all of you, I am really pleased with the results. The photos put my favorite people right where they should be--in a gallery all their own.