I wish I could say this is going to be a enlightening tutorial on how to create a gallery wall.  The truth is, I am super impulsive and impatient and have never taken the time to create a template.  Fortunately, there are some great DIY how-to’s online.  I had planned on trying this one out, but alas, I didn’t have the wax paper and I wanted it done like NOW.

The most fun part is collecting the art.  Like I said, I’m pretty impulsive and get the itch to do a project at a very inconvenient time like, for instance, the night before a photo shoot.  Don’t get me wrong I LOVE collecting art, prints, photography, postcards, ANYTHING I could use for a gallery wall but I also created about half of the “art” you see on the wall.   

My first step is trying to find enough space to lay out all the pieces.  I take photos of the different configurations with my iPhone and then analyze. 

Then I enlist a.k.a. dragmy husband in the room to assist.  I definitely tend to “eye ball” most everything and am notorious for using seemingly insufficient sized nails and even straight pins from time to time.  This helps keep the damage to the wall  at a minimum and makes me feel less guilty if I move a print over a hair.   

The “After” – the best part is I can keep adding pieces as I collect (or create) them!

The sketch in the bamboo frame was in a bag of un-used drawings from design school.  The charcoal canvas was created by me on a whim.  The chair sketches were from an assignment in school, chair photo I took at Versailles, the settee sketch was inspired by a sketch in Suzanne Kasler’s book, the antiqued mirror frame and print were purchased at Mockingbird Manor in OKC, I painted the “crown of thorns,” the pagoda was purchased at Clutter in Warrenton at the Antiques show, and the drawing of St. Paul’s Cathedral was purchased at the gift shop in London.

{photo from Visual Vamp — I think??}

A very common decorating dilemma is the ever so daunting blank wall behind the sofa scenario.  I am constantly looking at how different designers address a wall that in my opinion, can make or break a room.  I have found the most common mistake people make is scale.  Scale is one of the most important design elements.  Always, always, err on the side of too big when it comes to artwork.  I much prefer larger pieces on a wall that make an impact over  a scattering of things that are too small and random- major pet peeve.  A very favorite way to address this wall is a large Oriental screen as seen in the photo above.  When decorating on a budget (which as we say at work, everybody has a budget) these large pieces, especially screens, can be tricky.  My friend, Katherine, let me in on a little secret…Horchow Finale.  She got her screen for a very good price, and I have one over my sofa that I found in the clearance ding and dent section of the outlet for $200.

Another way I like to see the wall behind the sofa addressed is with a series. Whether it be maps or prints, this look is very polished and symmetrical and allows other parts of your space to be quirky and a bit “off.”

I love these Paris Maps that Carolina scouted at the fabulous Houston store, Area.

This (as seen in Elle Decor, May 2007) is a room I just keep coming back to.  It makes every part of me want to completely redo my living room and go all white and neutral (I’m a color lover, but I’m working towards this).

{Photo by:William Waldron from House of Turquoise}

I love how Jan Showers used the architecture of the room to incorporate antiqued mirror flanked by a series.

{photo from Girl Meets Glamour}

I love how different pieces of art are hung on a framed mirror, genius!
Like I mentioned, I am a huge fan of oversized {contemporary} art of the sofa.
{photo via Habitually Chic}

I LOVE this piece, and talk about oversized!

The art makes this room feel fresh, not stuffy.
Another no-fail trick is a fabulous mirror flanked by art/photos on either side.

Love, Love, Love, this grouping by Ruthie Sommers.
Symmetry is key in this Living Room designed by Scott Laslie for the Traditional Home’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” Showhouse.
Bottom Line: Think scale, think drama, and think symmetrically.  This will make your room balanced and allow you to experiment with your furniture and accessories.


Posted By Lauren-Houston | Aug 21, 2008 | 5 Comments | Category: Decor Accessories, Walls

I saw this picture in the portfolio section of the M Design website and thought it was a clever way to display your collection of Chinese Calligraphy Brushes (or whatever you want to call them)!  My sister did ask dead serious this weekend, “is that a whip for Hartley (my dog)?!  A whip, seriously (hopefully she was kidding that it was for Hartley but perhaps she did think it was a whip of some sort).  And no, I do not whip my precious Malti Poo.

Mirror Round-Up

Posted By Lauren-Houston | Aug 20, 2008 | 10 Comments | Category: Decor Accessories, Walls

It’s no secret that Emily and I love mirrors. I think one in every room is totally appropriate!

Can I just say I am so excited about the direction that Pottery Barn is going! Their mirrors have been so drab to me in the past, and in general I’m really picky about the big chain store mirrors (they tend to be very cookie cutter & everyone has them). The problem is a big, gold leaf, antique mirror can really set you back some $$$ so if budget is an issue I think this is a good option. Only $299 for a 34″ x 55″ mirror, not bad!

One more from Pottery Barn, I LOVE it. Really, you should check out the other great mirrors on their website, I’m not going to post them all but there are some great new products.

Speaking of big box retailers this mirror hails from Lamps Plus. For $199 each, do a pair over a two bowl bathroom vanity.

I really do love a good French Trumeau mirror, now this one from Ainsworth-Noah on 1st Dibs costs $18,500. I have seen in various antiques stores and shops reproduction or new mirrors faux finished to look old for a fraction of the price (which would be much more budget conscious) but a good one can be $900+.

I have yet to see this Ethan Allen mirror in person, but I sure have tried (especially since this was the “similar to shown” mirror recommended by Domino in the spread about Drew Barrymore’s office).

Cute pair of 50’s sunburst Mirrors from Ebay.

Louis Starburst Silver Leaf Mirror by Worlds Away.

Quirky Black and White Shine Home Mirror.

Mirrors from one of my favorite online sources for drooling…Mecox Gardens. I just couldn’t help myself!

** Sorry for all the techincal difficulties***

More Mirror Love

Posted By Lauren-Houston | Mar 24, 2008 | 5 Comments | Category: Decorating, Walls

{Ethan Allen Mirror – “similar to shown” tremeau mirror in the office of Drew Barrymore featured in this month’s Domino}

The mirror posts are really self-serving because I am on a mission to find the perfect mirror for above my current sofa.  I want a versatile mirror that would look great framed by my sconces I picked up at the Guild Shop.

This chic mirror hails from Thomasville?! Who knew?!  I usually loathe the big-chain-uber-goopy -“old worlde” furniture stores with the commission sales people breathing down your neck, but I do peruse the websites because I am a big believer that you can find at least one stylish thing in ANY store.

I could hardly wait for my Domino to arrive so I could see a full shot of Drew Barrymore’s tremeau mirror that hangs above her sofa in her office.  It did not disappoint.  The “similar to shown” mirror (seen at the top of the post) they source is from Ethan Allen .   I like to think that my antique sofa is similar in shape to Drew’s and will one day (after I decide on a fabric) be as chic.

I have not given up on having the Mecox Mirror made, but I do love to having options!

Mirror *Love*

Posted By Lauren-Houston | Mar 21, 2008 | 4 Comments | Category: Decor Accessories, Walls

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this mirror from Mecox Gardens, it’s simple and glamorous, and would look oh so fab over my sofa. The price tag is rather steep for me so I’m thinking I may ask a local glass shop if they can duplicate it and then have it framed to match!

Re-Think Wallpaper

Posted By Lauren-Houston | Jan 22, 2008 | 2 Comments | Category: Walls

“Wallpaper” is a word that strikes fear in the heart of anyone that has been stuck living with some unfortunate paper for any given amount of time. For every “good” wallpaper there are 5 horrid ones.

Wallpaper can be a blessing. If you find one that moves you, it is like living with your favorite piece of art everyday. My dream Dining Room would be dressed in hand painted Gracie wallpaper.

Here are a few wallpapers from Walnut Wallpaper and Cole & Son that would be gorgeous in a Powder Room, Dressing Room, Dining Room, etc…