You’ve heard of a galley kitchen (right?), but what about a gallery kitchen? I decided that was what I needed.
I’ve been pondering how to treat this oddly-allocated space on the one free kitchen wall. Jutting in a little or a lot were: cupboards on both sides, but of differing sizes; a refrigerator; a microwave; and a counter trim piece. Everything I tried there looked weird. But brown paper…man, brown paper was the look I had been going for.
Just kidding! The brown paper-and-packing-tape monstrosity was my template. I measured the wall, including the intrusions of the above-mentioned appliances and fixtures, then cut brown paper to that size and shape. Then I arranged my frames this way and that until I had a layout I liked. I traced the frames, marked where the nail holes should go, then hung the template on the wall and studded it with nails.
I had to adjust on the fly because I skewed my template a little too far to the left at first–me and arithmetic. It’s pathetic, really. I just cut out the parts of the pattern that ended up in places I didn’t want them and moved them to places they’d fit. After ripping the paper off the wall, I had a constellation of nails just waiting for frames to hang from them. So I hung frames from them.
That was on a Friday. It wasn’t until Sunday that I had time to think about how I wanted to fill those frames. One thing I noticed immediately after hanging my gallery wall was that I was going to have to work extra hard at keeping the rest of the kitchen spic and span! For me:
busy art wall + dirty dishes + a fridge hung with menu/coupons = mental chaos!!!*
(*That’s the kind of arithmetic I understand.)
So the menu/coupon thing had to go. Not shown in the above photo are the cookbooks I had piled on top of the fridge. Those had to go too. They’re on the shelf in the dining room for now. As for the paper clutter, I figured I’d just move it to a cork board that I could incorporate into the gallery design. I took an 8×10 frame, replaced the picture with cork, used the glass as a firm backing instead of a covering, and was ready to call it a day.
One problem: the cork is super-thin, meant to heal thumbtack holes but not meant to support the thumbtacks themselves. I had to get rid of the glass–I put it in the box where I store not-in-use frames–and swap in a couple pieces of corrugated cardboard from our recycling bin. They worked just fine for something the tacks could sink into.
Next I gathered some color-coordinated images for the rest of the frames. The bluebird is one of my favorites. He comes with a speech bubble that says, “I prefer the sweet stuff.” Don’t we all, little guy? On the notepad you can see my very mathematical schematic of which frames needed which kind of picture. Orange was for vertical 4x6s; blue was for 8x10s (all horizontal); and green was for horizontal 4x6s.
The main colors I wanted were blue and green. Of course I couldn’t resist liberal doses of yellow, and pink naturally made its way in via text, polka dots, and GramE’s T-shirt (below):
I didn’t have nearly as many 8x10s lying around as I had 4x6s, so I decided to put some small photos in large frames. That means some of them still need backing. Anything swimming on a field of gray is waiting for me to take a trip to the craft store for scrapbook paper to fill the void.
Other than that the wall is complete. I’m so happy with it! After the gallery wall in our last apartment’s dining room…
…I thought I was finished with such art arrangements forever: they can be overwhelming. The problem before was that I used all different colors and styles of frames and there was no “rule” for the art. Now all the frames are black or silver (with one rogue ivory one in the middle) and all the art plays from one four-color palette (blue, green, yellow, pink). I think this one’s a keeper. As long as I remember to do the dishes I won’t go crazy. I think.