Mapping Out Your Gallery Wall

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer and Labor Day marks the unofficial end (despite the fact that temps here reached 100 today). So, even though summer’s not really over yet, we are all diving head first into fall. Out of the heat, into the fall layers, kids are getting back to school, and our fall projects are lining up.

Gallery Wall 012Gallery Wall 0

For me, things will start to settle down a little bit as every night and weekend won’t be jammed packed with running around (whether for me or for clients), and I should be able to get some projects done around my own house!I need to put the finishing touches on the bedroom still and then take some pictures of that space to share with you all here and I can think of about a dozen other things I’d like to do around the house as well.

The first thing on my list, and something with probably the largest impact is to finish hanging our gallery wall. These pictures are from early Spring of this year when I had one of my friends over to take some pictures for the blog to not only map out my own gallery wall, but to document the process to share with all of you as well. About six weeks after these pictures were taken, we had a few friends over for brunch, and as I had been so busy, I hadn’t made time to get the gallery wall hung at that time. The morning before we were meeting with them, I broke out my notes from this planning session and started to try and get the gallery wall up on the wall. I was able to hang one painting before we needed to head out to meet our friends and I’m ashamed to say that that one painting is still the only one up on the wall.

But then, that’s life, right?! So now I want to share with you the process of mapping out your very own gallery wall, and how I mapped out mine, and then hopefully in a week (or so…) I will be able to share more pictures of my gallery wall completed!!

The process:

  1. First things first, you need to know the size of the space you intend to display your art on, so break out your tape measure and get to measuring. note the width (more important for now), and we will come back to the height later.
  2. Once you know how wide your space is, use your tape measure, some blue painter’s tape and your trusty assistant to mark out the width of your gallery on the floor.
  3. Get all of your frames and pieces of art together in one place so you can see what you have to work with.
  4. Once you have a good visual, start laying the larger pieces into your mapped out space.
  5. Build out from the larger pieces with smaller pieces, keeping in mind your spacing. Each area should use the same spacing so that the pieces group well and look balanced even when using different sized pieces and different styled frames.
  6. Swap out pieces to find the arrangement that you like the best and then take pictures so you can remember what it looks like in case you put it off for 6 months.
  7. Measure the overall height and width of your gallery wall. The center of the overall height of the gallery should sit at 57″ from the floor, placing the gallery at a good viewing level for yourself and your guests.
  8. Measure the spacing between your groupings as well as the spacing from the edges of the tape (your available hanging space) to the edges of the outermost pieces.
  9. Lastly, measure from the overall top of your gallery wall to the top of your central piece or your largest pieces and the overall edge of your gallery wall to the edge of your central piece(s), as you will hang these pieces first.

Once you have your gallery all mapped out, and your measurements determined and noted, you can clean up your mess on the floor and then start mapping out your hanging on the wall. Depending on your overall height of your gallery wall (x) and the measurement you got from the top or bottom to the center of this piece (y), you can determine where the screw will need to go. (x/2) will sit at 57″ from the ground. So if your gallery wall is 40″ tall, then it will span from 37″-77″ in height. Again, I like to break out my handy blue painter’s tape and mark the top and bottom of my gallery wall off so that I can use them as a reference while I’m working through hanging the pieces without having to measure it over and over again.

To begin hanging, I always start with the largest piece that sits most centrally located in the wall, or in my case, I have two large pieces balanced out with several smaller pieces, so I started with the largest piece on the left. Using hanging wire to support the pictures, pull the wire on the back to where it would sit if it were hanging on the wall, and measure from the top of the frame to that point (a). Add this measurement to the measurement that you got from number 9 and jot this down. this is the distance from the top of the gallery wall space to the height you will put the screw in at.

Next you need to use the overall width of your gallery wall, and the width from the edge (again, noted in 9), measure from the edge of the picture to the center (where the screw will go), add these two together and you will have the position of your first screw.

It sounds like a lot of steps, but once you have your first piece hung, you will build out the wall from there. You have all of your spacing measured and noted from mapping out your gallery wall on the floor, so you can easily fill in the wall with the rest of your frames until it is complete!

Is your head spinning yet?? What projects do you have planned out for the fall? Hopefully I can get this project wrapped up soon, with lots of images to document the process so I can share more with you soon.

Images By Lindsay Perry, click to expand.

Elevating the Bed

If you follow DBK on social media, you know that my parents were in town visiting this past week. They were here for the whole week, and we had a great visit with them. We had good food, played tourist, spent some time with P’s parents and my parents all together and made some great memories.

Liberty House Dinner May 2015

While they were here, I made a little “daddy-do” list as my mom started calling it, for my stepdad. As I mentioned in the last post, I have all these plans for our bedroom space, but it’s more about making the time and getting things done. I think the biggest thing he helped with was elevating the bed.

P & I still worked our normal schedules while they were here, which made for some good chunks of time for P and Mr. Jay to work on a few things together. Good quality bonding time, and I LOVED coming home to finished projects, or even just progress made in some areas.

My in-laws are moving from their 35-plus-year family home into a beautiful new home in a senior community at the shore, that to be honest, has the kind of amenities that makes you wish you were 50-plus so you could live there too. However, in the process of their move, we are gaining a lot of old crap amazing childhood memories, as well as the things that we keep in their basement for lack of storage here at the tiniest condo ever.

So, where will all of this go in our tiny condo? But of course, we need to raise the bed up. We have a platform bed, with 2″ legs and an upholstered box-spring base, and while chatting with a friend we brainstormed that under the bed was the only good solution and that we needed to swap out the legs of the bed for taller ones. So before my parents arrived, we started planning, purchased some 8″ legs and some stain, and some under bed bins.

Once the legs were stained, we attempted to attach the legs. I say attempted, because after multiple tries and no success, we were sleeping on a bed propped up by books. #DIYFail! The problem was, I had assumed any furniture legs would likely be attached the same way, and that we could simply lift up the bed, un-screw the old legs, re-screw in the new legs and voila, new taller bed! But unfortunately for us, our old bed legs were attached with two screws and the legs drilled into place, and the new legs, as you can see in the images, have the one larger bolt coming from the end to just screw into place.

But worry not, because my parents were flying in the next day and Mr. Jay was sure to have a solution! Sure enough when I came home from work that night, my bed was taller and stable enough to hold the weight of at least two humans and a dog. But most importantly when my in-laws arrived that night, we were able to very easily transfer things to the under-bed bins and slide them into storage. Nice and neat and out of sight, it ended up working out perfectly!

The next project is to get the lighting ordered so we can get it installed before my personal deadline for this room (June 1). More on that tomorrow!

Picture Rails as Shelving {IKEA Hack}

My home office space has felt like a joke for much of our time in the condo. For the first 6 to 9 months, I was working at the dining room table. When we finally found a desk that was a good size, style, etc., we had a hard time figuring out exactly where we wanted it to go.

Picture Rail Office Shelving

We settled on putting it in the bedroom. In our little one bedroom condo, the choices were between the kitchen, living room and bedroom, and as P does a lot of work in the living room with the TV on in the background to stay current on his industry, I wanted to have my own space where I could shut the door if necessary.

We first added the desk near the door, we tried to add an old shelving unit from Ikea to see if it worked there and ultimately it just felt too crowded, but I had a plan! We shifted the layout around and now the desk space feels like a comfortable work place for me to do my thing whether I’m spreading out on the surface with layouts and material planning or I’m typing away working on the blog.

But still there was something missing. When I chose the desk, I wanted something minimal. When you have a small space and you are adding a substantial piece of furniture, you don’t want it to take over the space or weigh it down too much. That said, my desk really doesn’t have any storage. What’s more is that since I do often find myself using the entire surface to work through spaces that are in process I really wanted to do something to relieve the surface space from having to carry the necessities… so we added shelves!

(Click on any picture below to expand the gallery.)

I wanted to use something long and narrow, to line up with the length of the desk, but be shallow enough only to hold the necessities and some inspirational art. Picture rails were the perfect solution! I searched and found simple white picture rails at IKEA and headed out immediately to pick them up and later that day I set out to install them as shelving in this little IKEA hack.

Once again, breaking out the oldest drill known to man, along with the level and my handy dandy pencil! These shelves were so easy to put up, I even did them without help! So proud of myself! I love getting my little work space put together here. It is making a huge difference in my work flow. I love having a clean surface to work on and I love having a space that feels organized!

I’m sorry I don’t have more pictures to share of the finished work space, but it still isn’t really 100% done yet, so I’ll share soon when it is!

Work In Progress {Lighting}

I mentioned on Friday that one of the things I wanted to work on was our lighting. All of the light fixtures in our condo are the same exact flush-mount, single-bulb, basic fixtures you can imagine – in every room. They really don’t put out enough light for any of the spaces, except maybe the entryway, and they are really not attractive. Something’s gotta give.

Condo Lights

Lighting in general is something that I have thought a lot about since we moved in. From both a visual perspective, as well as a functional one, the lighting around here just isn’t up to par. I have thought about adding sconces flanking the bed, though I’ve recently rearranged the bedroom furniture, so I’m glad I didn’t do that. I have thought about layering in some freestanding pieces (table or floor lamps) but again, with the furniture not settled, it just doesn’t feel right to invest in anything too much right now.

So I opted to start in the kitchen. Here is a place where you cook, clean and spend a lot of time. You really do need a lot of lighting here. This is also a space where I sometimes overflow to the kitchen table to do work when I need a change of scenery, or to really spread out materials, drawings, notes, etc., So a single-bulb fixture with a frosted glass shade really just wasn’t cutting it.

Since I don’t know how much we are going to really be doing with our place or how long we will be here, I didn’t want to invest to much into something, so I opted for an option from Ikea. I found the Hektar fixture and figured $30 for a three-bulb down light, done. I had never changed a hard-wired light before, but I did my research, studied up and mostly relied on this video for instructions. The instructions that actually came with the fixture were really of no good for actually installing it, but install it I did.

So a few things I’m not super in love with, the electric box doesn’t line up perfectly square in the room, which on this fixture in our galley kitchen, I can really see that the whole fixture is angled in the space, secondly, the fixture itself doesn’t fully cover the electrical box, which really just creeps me out. I don’t like the look of the finished result, mostly because I feel like it doesn’t look finished.

But I did get the fixture installed, and it does provide substantially more light in the space. Unfortunately it isn’t perfect, but for a fixture that only cost me $30, it will do for now. Have you ever changed out any of your fixtures? I’ve also now realized that it is a lot easier than I could’ve imagined!

Two big things to remember before attempting a lighting upgrade in your home, if you don’t know what you are doing or don’t feel comfortable handling electricity on your own, do not attempt to do this on your own, call an electrician, or maybe your dad. Either way, reinforcements are a good idea. And most importantly, turn off the electricity to the area where you are working!

The January Cure Project

For the January Cure over at Apartment Therapy, you are supposed to make a list of “problem areas” within your space, room to room, and if it is bothering you or wreaking havoc on your day to day, write it down. Then you are supposed to decide which area you could actually tackle and get done within the month that would greatly benefit you and your space. We chose our entryway.

Entryway Update 1

The whole entryway is a bit of a struggle – or was, anyway – because of its awkward space with all the doorways off of it, small wall spaces, etc., it has always just not functioned well for us. We tried putting a chair there, we added coat hooks, nothing made it feel better. Until, I decided to add the Ikea Trones.

These little cubbies are like the best creation ever. They are a simple, stackable storage solution in a variety of colors, and I can really see how you could get a ton of mileage from them in many areas of the home. For us, simply stacked and attached to the entryway wall was the best thing we could do for that space.

Now that they are in place, there is a cubby dedicated to Brantley’s stuff, a cubby for our shoes and for now, the top cubby is used for winter. I had thought about getting some sort of more finished shelf to put on the top of the cubbies, but I’ve been really enjoying the top tray shaped area to use for our keys, gym locks, etc., it really has be acting like a great landing zone for our home.

We shifted some of the hooks around, put up a lovely frame that was gifted by a dear friend over the holidays and voila! We now have an awesome functioning entry space that doesn’t make me crazy every time I’m coming or going.

Now, if only I could find a mirror for the other wall and get a new light fixture up in there…