our black + white gallery wall
a Better Happier Home story
where simple meets curated
I smile, without fail, every time I look at the pictures above our couch. Why? Because it has been far too many years that we've spent living without any trace of our photographs displayed in any real capacity, (real talk: I didn't even order us a wedding album yet!) and I decided it was about time I put something meaningful together that we can see on the daily.
One of my New Year's Resolutions was in fact, as follows "print more photos and hang them up where we will actually see them frequently." I'd like to think this gallery wall was partially a result of that desire, and partially because of a conversation Robert and I had in one of the wall art aisles of At Home. Have you ever been to one? I've definitely mentioned it here before, because they are completely overwhelming and full of every home accent in every color you could think of. I'd been telling Robert he had to see it to believe it, so we finally headed in one quiet Friday night. Everyone else was down at the shore, while we wandered around all googly eyed and impulse purchase ready. When we got to the wall art section, one of many sections that spans no less than five aisles, we looked at these two black and white foggy beach landscape photographs. We talked about them, thought about getting them, and then Robert goes "I still don't understand, why aren't we hanging OUR pictures? YOU'RE a photographer!" It's a conversation we have had umpteen times, with me, always nodding in agreement, saying "yeah, you're right. We should really do that."
But then I got to really thinking about it, and decided he was right. It was definitely time to figure out how to display some pictures in our tiny house, it was a resolution of mine after all. I kept the thought to myself, because I knew with Robert's 30th birthday quickly approaching, that this might be a really fun thing to surprise him with. We had a gallery wall in our Northern Liberties apartment, and while I still think of it fondly, it was very much all over the place. I wanted to streamline this new one, and keep the vibe simple and natural. The great frame hunt didn't last very long, because as soon as I saw these white linen mat frames from CB2 I was over the moon in love (if you love them as much as I do, I'm sad to say that the white ones are out of stock and I'm not sure if they're coming back). I decided they were the perfect for the feel of our house, adding a beautiful pop of neutral texture to the white wall. I got to working on a gallery layout in photoshop, and realized picking photo options was the fun part, but the actual wall planning, not as much. Math is not my thing, so I painstakingly triple checked the frame measurements, measured the wall half a dozen times, and settled on six frames that could work well in multiple combinations. I made sure to leave plenty of room to grow on the wall if we decide to add on more frames, which I have a feeling we will.
It was so hard not to spoil the surprise, and when he opened everything up and quickly realized what was going on, his heart melted. I chose mostly travel photos that were meaningful to us, but also ones that I knew translated to black and white well. Two glasses of Côtes du Rhône we had our first night in Paris, walking along the beach in Maine, our wine poured into enamel camping cups in the Finger Lakes, all there for viewing on the daily. Choosing the largest picture was easy, the one we took at our wedding with my Hasselblad and a very long cable release, on a beautiful Oliphant backdrop, jumping in the air just a short time after we were married. It deserves the big frame.
The idea was simple, the result is curated, and the thing I love most about keeping the photos being black and white, is we can swap them out easily, while keeping everything looking cohesive. I printed a bunch of extra options when I first started working on it, and already we've switched one of the originals for an alternate to make it feel more balanced. Sometimes, you just need to see it on the wall. I love the frames I chose, but that being said, they were no picnic to hang. Both of us, Robert in particular, are proficient in wiring and hanging frames properly (thank you photo school!), and these ones are the trickiest we have ever come across. Robert yelled expletives that I have never heard in the decade that I've known him while we measured and hung, but at the end of it, we took a step back and smiled wide at the wall of memories. Expletives aside, and in my humble opinion, it is a damn good gallery wall.
I've linked some inspiration below. I saw that Framebridge now has customizable gallery wall options, meaning it could not be any easier to execute your vision in a clean and curated way. Since I did it the old fashioned way, I also linked to a range of other frame ideas for your next project.
West Elm Wood Floating Gallery Frames • Pottery Barn Floating Gallery Frames • Thin Wood Gallery Frames
12 Piece Matted Frame Set • 7 Piece Matted Frame Set • 9 Piece Matted Frame Set • Uneven Gallery Wall • The Half Wall Grid
Ash Wide Frame • Cherry Gallery Frame • Natural Shadow Box Picture Frame • Corda Picture Frame