Thursday, January 29, 2009

Room of Shame, Wall of Fame

Lately, my posts have alternated between the philosophical and the frivolous. Well, we're back to frivolous. Because if you're like me, you love to see pretty pictures of other people's houses.

But first, the unpretty...

I'm currently working on another decorating project. My bedroom. It's abysmal. It's so bad I don't even like to be in the room unless I'm sleeping. Because sleep is bliss. And when I'm sleeping I can forget about how messy, colorless, uninspiring, and unrelaxing my bedroom is. 

But this post is not about my bedroom...because that project is not going well. I'm attempting to use only what fabric, furniture, art, and accessories I already have and be hyper-frugal. Usually that approach works out well for me. This time...not so much. I'm simply stuck.

Nonetheless I will show you a few pictures of it so that you will feel sorry for me. And hopefully the shame of knowing my pictures are out there in blogland for all of you to see and judge will motivate me to finish it. Because if you read my last post, you'll know that I am prone to abandon un-fun projects.

So today, I'm posting about something I finished a long time ago. A lovely wall-scape. 

I am not a "decorator," not even an amateur one. But I have been told I have a knack for arranging things on a wall.

You may think this wall is too "theme-y." It probably is but I still love it. This wall was inspired by my trips abroad. Two trips to Paris and one to Munich. I love to travel. And I love to get all nostalgic about my trips because they were incredibly meaningful, once-in-a-lifetime experiences...well, thrice-in-a-lifetime if I'm being literal.

You can see I have some sketches from Paris...purchased from a street vendor by the Eiffel Tower. 

They are not standard-size prints and I was not about to pay the big bucks to have them custom-framed. So I just did it myself. I spent about $13 per print for all the framing. 

First, buy some frame pieces you can get at Hobby Lobby or Michael's in whatever lengths you need. They come in sets of 2. Then buy some foam board (that you'll just cut to size and mount behind the print.) Then have the frame department cut glass to whatever size you need. Anyone in the framing department can help you find these items. I promise it's really easy.

There are a few artifacts thrown in. A little Eiffel tower from one of my trips. A tea pot that had been my husband's grandmother's. Some framed antique postcards from Paris that I have a huge pile of.

I also framed two tiny watercolors my sister sent me from a visit to Austria, back when she lived in Germany. 

I love blending art, sentimentality, artifacts, and photos in a way that's cohesive. I think having everything in black frames and using black shelves helps bring everything together without it looking too cluttery. 

(Sorry for the bad photography. I do not have a fancy camera yet.)

Oh, I also framed a photo of Blondie when she was about 3. (See above.) My parents went to Germany and brought her back a beautiful wool cape with sterling silver buttons in the shape of edelweiss. I am not kidding. It also has a matching beret, scarf, and mittens. I know, total heirloom. I took a photo of her wearing that precious set and it's framed with the rest of my world travel items. 

Here's another wall that's similar. All black and whites this time. Plus a punch of color with this great vase (that I got at a thrift store even though it currently sells in a catalog for $40.)

The first wall is still my fave. It's probably nothing that special but it's always what I get compliments on. I even had a friend who moved to Florida and took a picture of my wall before she left so she could sort of replicate it in her new home. 

No need to reinvent the wheel, people. Remember, imitation is the finest form of flattery. (And if that is true then Pottery Barn should give me a big ol' shopping spree because I copied all these wall-scape ideas from their catalog.)

I know it's just a wall. But, when it's 5:00 p.m. and my t-shirt is smeared with peanut butter and snot and my face has yet to see a washcloth, I gaze at this pretty wall and recall a glorious moment of sipping a cafe creme and eating pain au chocolat in Paris with my best friend, Lily. Sigh.

Because sometimes a wall is more than just a wall. Sometimes a wall is therapy. And when you're surrounded by walls all day...and surrounded by children all's important that you like your walls. (And your children.) The pictures and artifacts on this wall make me feel nostalgic and inspired and cheery.

Got a wall you love? I'd love to see it.

Got a wall you don't love? Spray paint some old frames you've got sitting around the house. (Or go get some at the thrift store or dollar store.) Spray them all black. Or white. Or even a beautiful red. Pick out a few pictures (you know you have 4,000 just sitting there on your computer.) Then make them black and whites (through the wonder of digital photography). 

Frame, hang, and enjoy.


  1. Okay, have I mentioned that I need you to come visit? Think of all of the college friends you could see while you were here.....AFTER you come to my house and help me decorate!!! I am so serious! We have a wonderful zoo that is nationally known for being wonderful and we could send the men there with the kids (HA!) and you and I could decorate. :o)

    That being said, I do love my bedroom. I painted it this GHASTLY shade of blue when we first painted it after making it bigger and adding on a master bathroom. It was HIDEOUS. I had momentarily lost my mind. Upon finding a much, much more suitable bed set, the bedroom is now a lovely, warm shade of brown. I love it. The furniture may be from the '60s, but it works and didn't cost us anything. My master bath is still hideous though.

    Did I mention we have really cool spray parks for kids to play in during those hot summer days? A big backyard with trees to climb? Maybe I should send you a tape to play in your sleep that has subliminal messages saying, "Go visit Heather. She needs your help. Go soon." :o)

    Have a great weekend!

  2. Sigh...I need a wall like that! I love taking out my Paris Scrapbook and remembering how much fun we had together. It's only missing one photo now. You know the one...I'll have to come down there for you to add it for me. It will top it off perfectly, just like ice cream on a brownie. lol:) I had so many other comparisons I was going to write here, but best left unsaid for fear of it getting too obvious.
    Paris is calling us....this Fall! :)


  4. You do have a knack for wall arrangements! They're both lovely.

    And you're off to a great start with your bedroom. It won't take much to make it wonderful!


  5. Your walls are lovely! Isn't it wonderful to have a place in your home that stops you in your tracks and makes you smile...if only for a moment!

  6. Great walls! Great kids! And there's a great bedroom in your future! I just know it.


  7. You are too a decorator!

    The bedroom - the computer & desk need a new home. I have been reading tons of fung shui stuff the last few years. Some of the philosophy is a bit odd, but I completely agree with the basics and its amazing what a difference it can make. Anyway, you should NEVER put your home office stuff in your bedroom. Everything else in your bedroom is wonderful. Find a new home for the home office and I everything else will fall into place. You've spent all this time being stuck only because you were trying to decorate around something that didn't belong.

  8. Your wall is beautiful and classy :)

    With regards to your bedroom, here is my completely unsolicited (and non-decorator)

    Maybe rearranging furniture will help you get the relaxing retreat you are looking for. I totally feel your pain on having ZERO budget for decorating..sigh. But one thing I noticed is your gorgeous ceiling! I love the architecture your room has :) I have UGLY popcorn ceiling from the 70's...GAG! And you have a beautiful HUGE window that lets in lots of natural light. Your bed makes a grand statement...the kind I wish mine made.

    I think one of the problems you are having is one of the same that I have. Mismatched furniture...and mine is old and tired looking...maybe a fresh coat of unifying black paint would help you feel a little better. (I can't tell what color your headboard is, but it looks black to me) Some people like the different shades of wood look, but to me (in my bedroom) it just feels mismatched and cluttered. I really need to break out some black paint and take my own advice. :)

    You also might want to switch the window treatment so that the darker fabric is on the outside to "open" the window more. My eyes are immediately drawn to the darker inside portion which makes your window seem smaller.

    Now you have inspired me to do my bedroom! If I post pictures will you come over and give me some advice and fresh eyes? :)

    Blessings..and you can do it, just get the same creative genius going that helped you transform your wall into a gallery of beautiful, meaningful photos.

  9. 1. your walls look fantastic
    2. I love you for showing your pile of clothes!

  10. Have fun working on your bedroom! You will be so happy when it is finished. I love your wall scapes! Those pictures are amazing!

  11. I commend you for your openness and honesty! I still owe you a painting to put over your bed. Do you still want me to use the colors robin's egg blue and browns? Maybe I should just come down and paint at your house. Kiss Cupcake, Blondie and Brownie for me. Hope to see you soon. Luv, Debbi

  12. I love filling up my walls- I even have things on my office wall, even though I don't have any furniture! Love the shelves with pictures hanging on the wall and leaning. lovely

  13. WOW! That looks great. I have some of those same Paris prints. They are sitting in a portfolio. Maybe I'll have to dig them out. Indy was born in Germany and I have a set of Lederhosen that he wore on his first b-day. I could never get rid of them. I love the photo (what I could see of it) of your daughter in her Bavarian outfit.
    I'm now staring at my walls wondering how I could do something similar to yours.


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