Last week I showed the family room as we're using it now. We've still got a long way to go, but we'll be doing it in stages and I'll be sure to share everything along the way.
The first thing I wanted to do was explain the big hole in the wall.
Technically, there are two big holes, but the bottom left, (the clean-out for the sewage drain), got an access panel cover and is covered by the sectional, so I don't have to worry about that one. The other one is a little more noticeable. It's a weird placement, but it's actually our circuit breaker box.
When we moved in it was actually completely covered with a wall to wall built-in. I'm not sure how they ever reset any breakers, but I'm 100% sure it wasn't up to code.
While I liked the idea of never seeing it, we do need to access it. Mike wanted to create a hinged door, but I had a better idea and asked him to just frame around it and leave it. He wanted to add some insulation since that's an exterior wall and decided to get all MacGyver and create a little piece that could easily be pulled out.
First he cut a piece of rigid insulation down to the size of the hole, then cut a recessed area in the center about half the thickness of the insulation. Then he screwed a handle onto a piece of wood the same size of the recessed area. On the back he added another piece of wood and screwed the handle screws through. It should be noted that he figured out the total thickness first, then found screws that were long enough to screw through it all.
That's why I keep him around since I knew how I wanted to conceal it, but I never would have thought to insulate it. I probably would have always wondered why the spot on the couch underneath would have been cold all the time.
After we moved the couch downstairs I was itching to do some decorating and figured it was about time to get rid of that eye sore.
I decided long ago that I would create a gallery wall above the couch on that wall and would strategically place a frame over the opening. Well, last week I bought some frames from Target and got to work. The only frame I specifically needed was one bigger than 17"x21", the size of the opening. For the rest, I just bought some I liked. The other element I knew I wanted to add was a metal letter 'M' Mike salvaged for me a while back from an old building, (along with some other letters).
Since both our names start with the same letter, I thought it would be cute to use it downstairs on the gallery wall.
All we've been doing for the last couple of weeks is patching and filling holes in the drywall downstairs, and I hated the idea of putting more holes in the walls with all my pictures. I was also worried about the picture over the electrical box, since it needed to cover the hole and I couldn't worry about where the nail needed to be. I had so much success with the command strip hanger that has been keeping my sunburst mirror from killing us in our sleep, that I figured that would be the best option for the gallery wall as well.
Like I usually do, I first laid all the new frames out on the floor until I came up with a configuration I liked. Then, I snapped a quick photo with my iPhone because I knew 3 seconds after picking them up I would forget that configuration.
I left some space between the frame on the left and the two smaller frames for the metal 'M'.
When it came to actually attaching the pictures, I started with the big black frame, since that would dictate the rest of the frames. The frame was only about an inch or two bigger than the opening so there was little drywall space around the opening for the metal hanger, so I used four strips of velcro. I figured this would make it easier to take off and on when we needed to.
I first stuck the command strips onto the velcro, then put two pieces of velcro together, and slapped it onto the frame. I should have thought for a second before doing it and placed them a little closer to the edge of the frame since they barely fit on the drywall, but thankfully they worked. Then, I removed the paper backing to the other sticky pieces and using a level placed it right over the opening.
After that frame was up, I cut some kraft paper the same size as the other frames and the metal letter and just taped it up on the wall where I liked it.
Since I was just using command strips nothing had to be too perfect and I just eyeballed it.
The other frames all had those little sawtooth hanger things on them and I had planned to get more of the metal hangers, but found these plastic sawtooth hangers at Target, plus they were all on sale!
I drew where the sawtooth hanger was on the kraft paper and poked a hole through the paper and lightly indented the wall. After I took the paper down, I stuck up the command strip and was good to go.
For extra strength I did use the metal hangers for the letter M. It's probably only about 5 pounds, but scared me more than the frames. Since the letter originally was fitted to permanently hang on the exterior of a building, it didn't have any sort of hanging system on the back. Mike cut a couple pieces of scrap metal to fit the top points and used epoxy to adhere them together. We waited a full 24 hours before hanging it just to be sure.
Since the instructions on the command strips say to wait an hour before hanging we went to hang out with my sister and hung everything after we got back.
I love the gallery wall. Like, more than I should love any frame collection. While I still have strong feelings for my corner wall shelves upstairs, I like this collection better because it feels more collected over time. I also like the mix of wood and metal.
I almost have all the frames filled, (which is a miracle in this house since our dining room frames have sat empty for years), and my biggest critic, Mike, loves them.
Starting at the right I remade a vintage looking poster from the prohibition days. I had to remake it to fit the frame we wanted, plus I wanted to add a little personal touch.
Our godson's name is Marshall, so I purposely misspelled 'United States Marshal' as a nod to the little guy.
The little frame to the left has the international signal code alphabet for Mike's grandfather, who was a signalman in the US Coast Guard during WWII.
And finally, Mike's favorite, the Humulus lupulus botanical print. Better known as hops for those who don't live with a nanobrewery in their basement.
For the last frame I'm thinking of a construction blueprint, either photoshoping one of Mike's project prints, (since we don't use blueprints anymore), or copying one of the blueprints from the storage room in my office, since we have prints from a couple buildings my boss owns that are well over 50 years old.
I've never filled frames up this quickly, but I think once I was able to think of a couple things that were sentimental to us, it was easy.
I've got something big planned for the wall behind the couch, and I just received an email letting me know that it shipped on Friday, so I'll let you know when it arrives!