Hey all! It’s taken me a while to gather my thoughts and progress photos of our dining room transformation but here is a start. Below are the “before” photos of the space. The first is with the previous owner’s furnishings and the second is a view of the main dining room wall from the kitchen. It’s clean and simple and the previous owners picked out a decent neutral color for the walls but it just wasn’t what we wanted to look at for the next few years. With this wall being the only blank wall in our dining room, it was just crying out to be a statement and an opportunity to bring some personality into our home.
First on the list was painting the walls a nice bright white. In order to cover the previous color, I expected to paint a primer and one coat of quality white paint…but I ended up need FOUR COATS of paint for a solid white! Needless to say that many coats drove me almost crazy and we will very likely hire a painter next time we decide to paint a whole house white. Thankfully that part is done and I’m loving all the natural light being reflected by the white walls.
At some point I fell for the idea of creating a large gallery wall of various sentimental photos and artwork, so for my birthday last year I asked for a bunch of large frames to get things started. Gallery walls are a strong trend right now, so my mission has been to design ours to have a “random but organized” look so that it will age well and not look dated in a year or so. I started by gathering simple frames in a variety of sizes, colors and finishes. Next I input those frame sizes into an elevation format so that I could play around with the overall composition and see how the frames relate to each other as a whole and move them around as needed until I found a pleasing composition.I realize I’m very lucky to have an artist husband who has stacks of oil paintings stored throughout the house from his painting days, so finding large original pieces of artwork was within close reach. As the focal point of the gallery wall I chose this oversized landscape painting. Its size (just over four feet wide!) and saturated blue color is mesmerizing and has a calming effect. It’s actually depicting a sunset from under the Ringling bridge looking out over Sarasota Bay so the subject matter is also very special.
Now if you know anything about original artwork you’re familiar with the serious cost of having artwork custom framed. Based on my knowledge of regularly having items framed for projects at work, something this size would have easily cost $600 – $800 to frame and that’s not with any kind of special frame. That is certainly not within our budget so it was an opportunity (being optimistic here guys) to get creative and learn something new. I ventured out to Home Depot and picked up four long pieces of 2 1/2″ oak lumber and began my mission to make my own frame. Through sheer determination that this had to work, I ended up with a pretty decent looking finished product! All I used was a hand saw to cut the corners to 45 degrees, wood glue to attach the corners to each other and the painting to the frame. I finished it all up with wood filler on little imperfections at the joints and a clear coat of wood sealer. Voila!
When I had a composition of frames finalized on the computer I finally started hanging them! It was a project in itself of about four hours up and down the ladder with a level and tape measure. To get to this point was a very satisfying feeling followed by excitement to start filling the frames with artwork and photographs. More progress on that soon as well as the design plan for the rest of the dining room.