In fact, though, I rarely displayed family photographs in our earlier homes. At various times through our 40+ years together, I've found them too hokey or clichéd or precious, I suppose. More honestly, though, I generally found myself too busy or otherwise distracted or disorganised to sort out favourite photos and then buy suitable frames and then find a spot to display them in an attractive grouping.
But during the last few years I was working, I started wanting a photo wall. Perhaps because I wanted to expose the grandchildren to some of the family stories, and photographs are such a great starting point. Perhaps the desire started with a wish to organise the digital travel photos which seemed to be accumulating quickly on the computer but which rarely got printed. Whatever the impetus, my office in our island home had walls of exposed cedar (that part of the house had been the original "kit" cottage that we renovated and added to), and I wouldn't have hesitated to put nails into it for hanging. Organising old photos, getting new digital ones printed, buying suitable coordinating frames, and getting the whole organised artfully (of course! by my standards, at least) onto a wall -- this project was near the top of what I wanted to do in my first year of retirement.
In fact, within the first month after my last classes ended and papers were marked and grades entered, I got myself out to Ikea and bought a cartful of frames in black, white, gold, silver, and a few in punctuating red. I even tucked a few photos into frames, played around with possible arrangements, felt that happy tug of satisfaction at a project I could see was going to turn out well.
And then we decided to move. So instead of getting organised onto a wall, my photos (and the frames with all their thin, very breakable glass) got sorted into cardboard boxes and stayed there for the better part of last year.
Since we got back here in December and began building an awareness of how we moved in the space, gradually figuring out what furniture we could keep, what to give away, what we needed to buy, and just, generally, all the smaller daily patterns of interaction between us and this space -- all that time, these photos have been chuntering away in the back of my consciousness. Because there are so many floor-to-ceiling windows here, we have limited free wall space. Much of what there is has already been claimed by paintings and by books.
But our entryway has a long wall, and although I wasn't sure I wanted our family photos to be the first thing guests see as they step inside, it really is the only place that makes sense. As you can see, I surrendered my idea of a wall almost completely covered in a splendidly eclectic mix-and-match of frames. I've seen that done beautifully on design sites, Pinterest, but Pater balked both at the number of holes in plaster that would require and at what struck him as aesthetically chaotic.
So we compromised, and I have to tip my hat to him on this one. I love the unifying effect of the simple Ikea picture ledges. As it turns out, we weren't able to fit all the photos onto the wall, but I'm now planning to rotate the ones we have so that the arrangement is refreshed whenever I feel inspired -- or, perhaps, for a special celebration when we might want to feature one family member or other....
Comments always welcome (as long as you play nice, of course, which almost all of you generally do). Any "interior design" projects you're particularly pleased with recently? Or frustrations you're trying to solve in your domestic space? Or a deep contentment you'd like to share with something you're close to taking for granted, it's been sorted domestically for so long? Or just whatever strikes your fancy as we round off this first week in March, sneaking our way up to spring. Happy Weekend!
(Oh, and thanks to all of you who popped over to have a peek at the poem I copied out over here)