Friday, June 1, 2018

Art in our Home

Our main living room gallery wall

Yesterday was the last day of our lease at our old apartment.  The last week and a half has been mostly consumed by many car trips back and forth packing up our belongings and running up and down flights of stairs whilst wishing we had less things.  I am looking forward to the coming week
without this added stress of "how much more is there left in this room again?", and "about how much newspaper do I need to wrap around this plate to ensure it won't break?".  Even though we had movers from Two Men and a Truck move most of our larger awkward furniture, we still had SO MUCH stuff that we accumulated over the last four years.  I am glad to say that we were able to part with a lot— taking some things to Goodwill and others straight to the dumpster.  And though I do think we did a pretty good purge, I think we still really need to challenge ourselves to pare back even more.  ugh.  Happy to be closing the door (pun intended) on moving, it is still bittersweet to be leaving our cute little vintage one bedroom.  But with my Etsy business and our general desire to have more living space, the upgrade was for the best.  For instance, now I will have a designated office corner that isn't smushed into the kitchen, and we could have friends over and feed them food at a table. It's the little things, guys.

Now that I've expressed this little bit of feels that came to mind as I sat down to write this, onto the main reason I am writing today's post. One of the things that is bittersweet in moving to a new 'partment is dismantling the art in our space. Before I first made the gallery wall above, I had not spent a whole lot of time thinking about how one buys art.  Sure, I too flipped through the poster carousel at Walmart as a teenager and you can bet there was a Christina Aguilera or N*SYNC poster in my bedroom. Then there were the tear sheets from magazines and the classic wall of pictures collage every 90s baby made and tries to forget.  And in college there was the art I made and the photographs that I had printed from class.  But I had not done a whole lot of going out and purposely sourcing and pairing together art. 

I was really excited to find all these pieces, and I love the stories that they tell, mixed with a common theme and color scheme.  I also love that they fit together and they come from a wide variety of sources, artists, and mediums.  I love the balance between texture, sculpture, image, negative space and shape.  There is the lobster bobber from our trip to Maine, a porthole mirror from my grandparents' cottage in Ephraim, a metallic print of a rock at Enderts Beach where Drew proposed, a surrealist canvas print from an artist I love on Society6, a pastel drawing and an old group photograph from a local vintage shop, and two of our engagement photos framed and matted.  I love the eclectic quality of all the pieces, yet I think they blend together and balance each other.   While it's sad to dismantle it, I am excited about thinking about new ways to display the same art.  I am excited to tell a new story here in our new home.  

Living room vignette with masks from New Orleans and two pictures of the sea

I am not sure exactly what I'm going to do in our new space art-composition-wise, but there is opportunity to do some more small vignettes like this one from the living room at our old place.  I haven't decided if I will do another gallery wall because while we do have some large walls, there is also a fireplace that kind of grounds the room as a focal point.  But this also means there are probably lots of fun things that are going to happen with styling the mantle!

The art pieces above are kind of a cute story. Last November Drew and I stopped into my favorite little vintage store in town, and I spotted these two sea themed pictures.  Both are very old and moody, and I fell head over heels in love with them.  I've always loved the surreal, the romantic, the song in a minor key.  I there is something so beautiful to me in these scenes, they are a photograph in a minor key, a sweetness in sorrow.  I loved them.  But I thought no, I don't NEED them, I should save the money (though they weren't super expensive or anything), and we left.

A week later I couldn't take it anymore.  I needed to go back and get the beautiful pictures of the sea. I stopped back in the shop on my way to get groceries and I looked around — both were gone.  I even went so far as to ask the shop owner if someone had bought them (a silly question, but this was how much I had wanted them).  She had said yes, a gentleman came in and had bought two pictures of ships.  I was sad, but I thought, "I guess it was just not meant to be".

Fast forward a month later, it's Christmas.  It turns out Drew had been the gentleman who bought both pictures, and he had gotten them as Xmas gifts for me!!  Apparently the day I had come home empty-handed and told him the story he thought that I had figured out that he had bought them.  But no, I somehow did not put that together and was totally surprised by them.  :)

Focal bedroom wall

Another feature of our old place that I loved was the southwestern meets celestial wall in our room.   Still carrying the soft blue color palette and touches of gold and white into this room, I wanted to play with a different approach.  I found this awesome could and starry sky tapestry off Urban Outfitters online, and though it was on backorder for MONTHS, it was totally worth the wait.  We didn't have a headboard for our bed so this was a beautiful backdrop to look up at as we drifted into slumber.

Additionally, as renters it gets tricky when it comes down to keeping things interesting with your home decor and not opening a paint bucket.  Luckily though, vinyl clings exist.  Honestly, vinyl is way better than paint or wallpaper in my opinion, at least so far.  I got these cute gold and white triangles off of Etsy and made them into a southwestern pattern to flank the tapestry.  I love this monochrome pattern to fill out the wall.   And lastly but not least, the little whale in the corner!  This little guy was actually a page from a calendar that I liked.  Often I will like things like this— a page from a calendar, or a photo in a magazine — I will feel that they deserve to live a little longer of a life than just a month or a flip through the magazine before it gets disposed of.  Sometimes I will keep something like this and just find a frame that fits with it.  Who says that what you decorate your home with has to come from somewhere and bought "as art"?

Dining nook art

This dining nook was my version of a take on minimalism (something you've probably noticed I struggle with).  I see empty spaces and my brain just wants to fill them up with things.  I just want to keep adding little moments until the point where I'm totally overwhelmed and feel claustrophobic.

Well for some time this dinning nook was my shining minimalism moment.  I was thrilled that our apartment happened to be painted more of a vanilla than a white, so the large amount of blank space in this coral shadow box still popped ever so slightly from the wall.  Then I needed something very dark and rich to add some grounding to the negative space, so I added the fox print and the heavy dark wood table.  Throw in a thumbtack and a metal clip with a small tear sheet from an Anthropologie catalogue of a woman standing near the ocean, and I needed to back away before things got too crazy.

Styled shelving unit in our bathroom

Here is where you may need to do a little filling in of the blanks on your own.  I wasn't able to get good pictures of our bathroom before we started dismantling everything (aka I forgot, and I know I took pictures eons ago but I just couldn't tell you where they are currently), so I may have to paint a little more into the picture for you.

In the bathroom I wanted to go with more color than we had in the other spaces of our home.  The rest of the apartment was very sea-side meets forest, with monochrome white, tan, and gold/ browns paired with a lot of blue hues and some pops of a slight purple here and there for mood.  For the bathroom I wanted to add in more primary colors as well as orange and green.  The art I was able to get photographed doesn't include some of the key focal pieces in the room, so I will do a little picture painting for you:  most of the bathroom has a green tile stripe around it like the one in the picture below, and there are a number of built in features in the tile with this green, but the majority of the tile is white.  We had a small orange rug, and there was a window that had a yellow and orange patterned pom-pom fringed curtain on it.  Also, we have this shower curtain from Modcloth.

I think it was the shower curtain and the idea of bright botanicals that really inspired this room, and I had posted my mood board waaaaay back when about the theme for this room.  Sadly I never made a great post about how far this room came before she got torn apart.  But I can tell you about a few of these pieces in the pictures and that it did come together in a very nice balance of all these bright colors that usually scare me off.  I hope our new bathroom is able to pull off the same vibe that was created in the last one, but in a more photographable space (the last one was a very narrow bathroom!!!).

My favorite pieces for this room are the blue small pottery on our circle shelf that I bought in Bar Harbor, the foxes print I got off Society6 that resembles drew and I in extraordinary coincidence, and the large framed photo of botanical prints.  This was a fun project that was pretty easy to do.  I had bought this book from Modcloth, but you could probably find some botanical prints elsewhere online or there may be other books like this out there.  I flipped through the book and took out my favorite prints that fit the color scheme and had shapes that I liked.  I bought this large black frame from Goodwill and it happened to be the perfect size to do a 3x2 grid of the botanical images.  Finally, I cut a large piece of tan wrapping paper to the size of the frame using the backing cardboard as a stencil.  Then I started playing with how to arrange the prints in a way that balanced their colors and shapes well, and voila!  I fit all the pieces back into the frame (I taped the backside of the botanicals to the wrapping paper first), and hung her up on the wall!

Best photo I could get of the main wall of bathroom without standing in Arya's litter box!

There are a lot of memories in our old place; I feel like it was our first real feeling home out of undergrad.  I loved putting it together and creating pieces to fill out the space, and I can't wait to make new memories and put together a new space in our new place :)

Until next time, 

— The Lovely Red Fox

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