Stairwell Gallery: stage 1

Finally.  Finally!  I finally got started on my stairwell art gallery project.  

My stairwell is right in the center of my home and is very open.  It is begging for something on the walls, and I felt a gallery of frames filled with art, kids' art and family photos would be perfect for the space.

For the better part of the last year, I've been going back and forth on whether to paint the house first and then do the gallery or do the gallery and then figure out if I should even bother painting the house.  I went with the latter.  I'm hopeful that once this space is transformed, I won't feel that overwhelming need to paint the house.  That's wishful thinking, of course, because this paint color is awful and I want to murder it every time I look at it.  You know ... if one could actually murder a paint color. 

It's also taken me awhile to get to this point because I had to buy a bunch of frames of varying sizes.  Rather than drop hundreds of dollars and do it all at once, I have been buying a few here and there on my many trips to Target, Home Goods and Ikea.  I also bought a gallery set from Pottery Barn right around Christmas when there was a big sale with free shipping. Behold: Frame City:

I stored the frames in my dining room for the better part of this year.  My thought was if I saw them sitting there, I would be inspired to get the wall hung sooner, since they would sit and taunt me.  This was a good idea in theory, but a little thing called Ironman demanded all of my time and energy.  So the frames sat until the week after Ironman.

I decided to break the project into two stages: (1) stage 1: I would hang the frames and (2) stage 2: I would fill the frames.  I had a handful of things that I knew would go up, but by and large, I had a bunch of empty frames.

I had some pieces that I knew I'd use: the picture of the kids and their cousin that my mom drew and framed for me:

The awesome print I picked up at the Hatch printing company in Nashville:

I framed one of my favorite literary quotes ever:

I incorporated the adorable art that Little made out of a coaster:

As for the rest, I had a bunch of kids' art work and prints and figured I would decide which photos to order and put in the frames once everything was up on the wall.  I got started by placing all of my frames on the floor in groups.  I had four walls to work with, but I only worked on three, because I want to have a shadowbox of my Ironman pictures, medal and race bib professionally framed, and will base that wall around that piece.

It took a little trial and error, but that's the way these things go.  Once I made my arrangement on the floor and liked it, I traced the frames on paper and used painters tape to hang the paper on the wall, following the steps that I used in this tutorial from a few years ago.  It's also key to measure on the paper where your hook is, so you can simply nail through that, remove the paper and put up the frame.

Here are my three walls!  The first wall I did was the one at the very top of the steps.  Ignore the artwork in the two white frames at the top. I'm going to switch them out.

I mixed things up a bit.  I felt that four walls with tons of frames may have been a little much, so I did two walls with a lot of frames and one wall with four oversized IKEA Ribba frames, which have my very simple and easy DIY art that I blogged about last week.  That wall was the tallest one and the hardest to hang the frames, so I wanted to do it just once.

The one wall on the main floor leading to the downstairs playroom has the DIY canvas that I blogged about last week and the picture of the kids my mom painted.

Next up: I have to get my Ironman shadowbox done!  Once that is done, I can hang that final wall and then I can figure out what goes in each of the empty frames!  That's the fun part! 

See you swoon,

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