Friday, February 1, 2008

Home Sweet Home: Family Room Renovation, Part III

This post is out of order, but since there was a special request, I'll get over it.

Since we moved into this house almost 4 years ago, the family room has been the winter of my discontent. Until last February. During that time, I (quite pregnant) ripped up the awful old brown carpet, the awful older red flowery outdoor carpet that was used instead of padding, scrapped up the even older linoleum tiles under that... and then we had new carpet and real padding installed. That was step 1... a post is in the works.

The next step was to build a new fireplace surround on the existing hearth, incorporating 2 new Ikea bookcases with glass doors. That happened in October, and boy oh boy am I happy with the results. There'll be a post about that too.

Then, sometime in November I finally got my family pictures up on the wall. I had them up before we started the renovation, but they were not up-to-date or well-placed, and every time the door slammed to the garage, they would all tilt this way or that. So...

What I did this time was to make a template using a really big piece of paper (it's actually a big roll of kid art paper, and it's already made its blog debut as the background for most of the pictures of small things I've posted so far). I laid it down on the floor and arranged the frames on top of it, mixing the wood and black frames as evenly as I could for visual balance. Don't judge me, but most of my frames were collected over a couple years from CVS, and they cost $3-4 each, on average. When I was happy with the arrangement, I put a sticky note on each frame with a number, then traced the frame on the paper and wrote the number in the middle. Then I taped the big paper on the wall with the frame outlines where I wanted them, using a level to keep things straight. Placing the hangers was the tricky part. I had to measure each frame to figure out where the nail should go, then make a corresponding dot on the paper. I put each hanger right through the paper and hung the picture on top to make sure it was in the right spot. I had to move a few nails because the pictures didn't end up where I wanted, but the errant holes were hidden so I didn't bother doing any patching. When all the pictures were hung, I took them down, pulled off the paper and put them back up. I also put a clear plastic "bumper", the kind you use for making cabinet doors close more gently, on each lower corner of each frame, hoping to keep them more level.

A key ingredient to keeping them level was to move them to a different wall than the one with the door that always knocked them off kilter. They unlevel themselves a bit over time, but it's easier to get them back in shape. For the trouble wall, since it was the biggest in the room and needed some pictures too, I used two large collage frames from Linens'N'Things (about $33 for both). They took up lots of space, were balanced, and each had two locations for hangers so they can't become crooked when the door slams.

Good luck if you are trying to make a wall collage too. If you find any secrets for keeping the photos from tilting, come back and leave a comment!

1 comment:

Emily said...

Love it! Thanks for making an exception :) I plan to do this on my next free weekend... that might be awhile, but I'm already looking forward to it!