Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Colorful Gallery Wall: Harder than it Looks

The Gallery wall. I have Pintrest to blame for this small obsession. As soon as a saw the 2 story staircase in our house I knew I wanted to cover the walls with a random assortment of frames. Unfortunately, I thought this project was going to be much simpler than what it turned out to be. 

It all started with the frames. A quick stop by the Pottery Barn Outlet on a early July weekend got me 5 out of the 6 frames in a Pottery Barn Gallery in a Box set for $20 (set retails at $129). We stopped at a big thrift store on the way home bought 18 more frames for $30. I came home from my shopping trip and and laid them all out on the office floor in the layout that I wanted. I wanted to bring in some more color, so I bought spray paint in Moss Green, Purple and Turquoise and choose 2 or 3 frames to be spray painted in those colors.

And there they sat for weeks, I ordered pictures and filled the frames but left them on the office floor. It seemed like such a huge undertaking, all the measuring and aligning and color coordinating. I was completely overwhelmed by the task and kept delaying it for weeks. This weekend I reached my limit,  realizing that my house is not a museum and that I don't care if it's not perfect, if it's not exactly aligned or centered. 

I started by marking the limits of where I wanted the gallery wall to start and end. I chose to start at the same height as the stair's handrail and for the frames to reach approximately 45 inches from that point. I cut out outlines of the frames on craft paper, marking where the nails would hang from and taped them on the wall inside the outline. I played with the paper cutouts a bit until I achieved the look I wanted.

I hung all of the frames on the nails that had been previously placed and noticed a couple of holes in the frame arrangement. Off to IKEA I went early on a Sunday morning, in search of 4 or 5 frames to finish the damn gallery wall.

A couple of hours and $30 later, I went back to the wall to move some pieces around and make sure that the 5 RIBBA frames I bought at IKEA were evenly distributed in the layout.


The finished gallery wall is a bit narcissistic but filled with great memories of our travels in the U.S. and around the world. Empty frames are motivations to add to our travels.


We have a great new view as we climb up the stairs. It's bright and cheery and the frames add a lively spice to the otherwise blah staircase.

Monday, August 12, 2013

3 Day Getaway: Denver

Tomas and I recently spent a marvelous weekend exploring the great city of Denver thanks to a last minute business trip. I flew in on Thursday morning and spent Friday and most of Saturday, presenting at a leadership conference. Tomas flew in on Friday and went directly to the Anheuser Busch brewery tour that day, while I wrapped up my presentations.

We finally had some time off on Saturday afternoon and we chose to go to the Denver Zoo first. I had read great things about it, the new elephant enclosure was definitely the highlight. It was ginormous!

We got up bright and early on Sunday morning and decided to explore some of the great outdoors Denver has to offer. We chose to go the easy route, by driving up Mt. Evans through the Mt. Evans Scenic Byway. The two  hour ride up allowed me to witness some of the most spectacular views I had ever seen.

Echo Lake
Echo Lake
Echo Lake
Echo Lake
Echo Lake

Summit Lake
Summit Lake
Summit Lake

We got as far as possible in the car and then hiked up the last couple of feet and were met with the incredible scene.

We got back down the mountain and realized we still had a enough time left to make it to the Coors Light Brewery Tour. It was uneventful and uninteresting, the best and only good part was the free beer at the end. Complete waste of 4 hours in Denver, do the Anheuser Busch Brewmaster tour instead. We were starving by the time we finished the brew tour and luck may have it there was a restaurant close by that specialized in game meats.

We had dinner at The Fort, tasting a variety of different dishes that we hadn't seen any place else. As an appetizer we had Roasted Bison Marrow Bones, Rocky Mountain Oysters(bull calf testicles) and Bison Eggs (Pickled quail eggs wrapped in buffalo sausage) . For dinner we had a game meat sampler which included buffalo sirloin medallion, bone-in elk chop and a grilled quail. Dinner was unique and delicious and the restaurant itself was a great experience. It felt like being in a romantic old Western Film, since the building is a built like a adobe castle and all the servers are in costume. 

I spent all of Monday working from the hotel but on Monday night I got to visit Red Rock Amphitheatre for the Bruno Mars Concert. The concert was awesome but the venue was insane! One of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. It's a great place to listen to good music with great friends.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Purple Staircase Light Fixture

In our determined campaign to rid our home of brass, there were only two survivors: the stairwell and breakfast nook chandeliers. We finally got around to replacing one of them and we started with the biggest eyesore, the staircase chandelier.

I wanted a LARGE globe lantern for that space to make a bland space more interesting. Unfortunately, most globe lanterns are much more than I'd like to spend on a light fixture right now. Enter Young House Love's lighting collection, all under $99 and most of them gorgeous. One look at the Young House Love Large Wire Globe Lantern they installed in their dining room and I knew that it was the perfect light fixture for the space.

Young House Love Second House Dining Room
The globe comes in 7 different colors, after debating between going classic (Grey or Black) or adding a bold punch of color (Teal or Eggplant), I chose the Eggplant to add a bright pop to an otherwise boring stairwell.

Young House Love Large Wire Globe Lantern in Eggplant

Will the help of a friend's extendable ladder I climbed up 16 ft in the air to install it. It looks much better I would say! A large round purple chandelier is definitively not for everyone but I think it goes well with the fun colors and cool personality we've injected into the house. It definitively make the stairwell more fun! So far, we've gotten a ton of compliments of the new light fixture so it looks like I'm not the only one that loves it.

Pretty purple!
Can't wait until we change the breakfast nook fixture (We'll be installing a small version of this globe lantern also in Eggplant) so we can officially be rid of all the brass.