Picture Perfect Framing {& A Gallery Wall Update}

A couple of weeks ago I took a break from cleaning house and playing taxi driver (leaving Audley to handle things for a day) and drove up to the Biltmore House as they were bringing in the grand 35 ft Christmas tree to the banquet hall.

via Biltmore/Facebook

I had mentioned on Facebook that I was going to ride up there, so one of my girlfriends from Atlanta mentioned that her company Larson-Juhl framing was hosting a presentation on art and framing and asked if I would liked to attend.  The presentation was to be done by the art curator at the Biltmore house, Leslie Klingner, and lifestyle blogger, Eddie Ross.  Since I had nothing pressing to do, and knew Audley had the kiddos taken care of, I decided it would be an enjoyable presentation and told her I would love to attend.

via Larson-Juhl (Facebook)  Eddie & Leslie are on the left


{And I am so glad that I did!}
Leslie Klingner, Biltmore’s art curator  did a fantastic job of sharing stories and facts about some of the more prominent paintings and artwork collected by George Vanderbilt and displayed at Biltmore house.
via Biltmore.com

George Vanderbilt was a well traveled and educated man who loved his artwork.  He used such artists as Sergant and Whistler for his own personal paintings.  Leslie shared some of the stories behind the paintings as well as personal correspondence between Vanderbilt and the artists.  One letter was even talking about choosing the perfect frame for a portrait which was important even 125 years ago! I really enjoyed listening to her speak and as Audley and I toured the ouse with friends last weekend, I found myself paying more attention to the artwork displayed throughout the house.

Eddie Ross’ talk focused more on artwork and pictures in our own homes.  As we are trying to put our own house together, I found this so informative.

Here are a few things I picked up from Eddie as he spoke:

** Use artwork as a focal point to complete the look of a room.  Art is personal and should reflect our personal style.

**Frame the unexpected: vintage scarves, buttons baby clothes, even silverware in shadowboxes to use in a kitchen or dining room.

**Monograms are beautiful when framed and make an heirloom keepsake.

**There are so many ways to hang or display  pictures:  a salon style gallery, in a chain or ladder style, up a wall in a stairway, down the hallway in gallery style, floor to ceiling displays, leaned on shelves, or even on a bookcase.

**There is no right or wrong in the height you use for hanging art.  It all depends on what you want to see.

**Mix and match frames, or go with a unified look.  Go bold, using matting and frame edging as a means of emphasizing the picture. Another great idea was to use unified mats, but different frames.

I left the lecture feeling quite inspired, which is always a good thing.  It also gave me a little confidence about my own gallery wall that I put together back in the spring after we moved in (Creating an Entryway).  In the last four weeks Audley and I have finally gotten around to doing a little painting and making this house ours.  Color is always the most inexpensive way to update a room, and I am quite excited about what it has done in our dining room and kitchen.

As we finished painting the dining room, which runs right into our entryway, I updated my gallery wall just a little by taking it on up to the ceiling.  The black frames (while slightly different from one another) really go well together as they all are matted the same and hold black and white photos.

Here is the space as it was when we moved in.

Here is what I put together back in the spring.

And here is my gallery wall (as narrow as it is) updated with our new wall color….. “sparrow” by Behr from Home Depot.

yes, I have started decorating for Christmas …. don’t judge.
Each photograph represents a special place in our lives, including all six states we have lived in during our 17 year marriage.

I may eventually carry the gallery on around the closet door, onto the wall that runs into our kitchen, but I want to put the final touches on the dining room first to make sure it will fit into the entire space.

I hope Audley and I can put the finishing touches on the dining room this weekend, as I am very excited about the changes.  They may not be drastic, but they certainly make the space so much more enjoyable and personal.

Have you done anything special with your photos in your home?

Creative Entertaining with Eddie Ross

A couple of weeks ago my daughter, MacKenzie, and I enjoyed a girls night out while attending a fabulous spring entertaining demo hosted by Travadavi in Atlanta.  Travadavi is a wonderful gift boutique located near the Buckhead community, owned by Ann Davis.
While books and magazines offer much inspiration for your home, live demonstrations really spark my creative mind!  The evening proved to be quite informative; even MacKenzie was fascinated by all of the color and drama of a beautiful table, and the cheese platters.

Eddie Ross is one of my favorite sources of inspiration when it comes to entertaining.  Using what you have with the addition of color and unique accessories, he can set one beautiful table!
The whole evening was quite informative with so many wonderful ideas that will be easy to incorporate into any home.  I thought I’d share some of Eddie’s ideas to inspire you as well.
First, anyone can set a table.  It’s not an art, but about having fun.  Know the rules for setting a table, but know when to break those rules as well!  A good example of this would be in the use of silverware; if you don’t need a spoon, don’t set one out!  Set out what you need.  Besides who wants to wash extra silverware that wasn’t even used?
Secondly, your table shouldn’t look like a bridal registry.  Be fun, be creative.  Your table can be “formal” and have a personality!
So how can we achieve this with our own table?
**Start with a focal point; something you love.  It may be your grandmother’s china or the pink and brown dessert plates that you love.  Once you have your inspiration, build from there.
Sharing another creative idea … combining modern & vintage with a combo of salt cellars and salt shakers containing white & black pepper and kosher salt.
**Mix antique dishes with modern wares for a fresh look.  A modern dinner plate mixed with grandmother’s salad plate or vice versa could make for a lovely setting.
**Let your salad plate be a focal point that is framed by the dinner plate on a colorful tablecloth.
**Update your china through the use of table linens.  Tablecloths, placemats, table runners all make great backgrounds for your dishes.  Use color consistently throughout a setting.
**Mix your silverware up.  It doesn’t have to be match-matchy.  Patterns can be different as can metals;  mix vintage with modern for a unique look.
A mixture of glassware creates interest and the butterfly placard adds whimsy to this tabletop.
**Get creative with your place cards.  Copy an image from the internet onto card stock and go from there.
**Add little touches of flavor and color through the use of candy in your decorating or use sugar-rimmed glasses for serving cocktails.
{Such simple ideas that make a big impact!}
 Eddie mentions using color a lot for creating beautiful tables.  I am slowly learning not to be afraid of color, but it’s a slow process as I feel so safe with white.
Eddie’s suggestions for adding color?
**Use colorful tapers and candles on the table.  Pick a color from your dishes and use it as an accent for your candles.
**No white napkins!  Use colored napkins.  Try dyeing some of your white ones if you discover you have too many.  Easy and inexpensive fix!
**Keeping in mind that centerpieces should be kept low to allow for easy conversation, go with something colorful and fun to brighten your table.  I never call a florist to make arrangements for our table, instead I check out the flowers available at my local grocery.  Fresh Market, Publix, and Costco (just to name a few) all have seasonal and gorgeous choices available year around!
Eddie purchased all of the flowers for this arrangement at Fresh Market!
While I am on the subject of setting tables, Eddie threw out a startling fact during his presentation; only 4% of children know how to properly set a table!
Four percent!
MacKenzie looked over at me and said, “I’m one of those!”  Definitely a proud mom moment.
I really enjoyed the evening out with my daughter and so surprised at how MacKenzie enjoyed herself.  She was taking pictures with her iPod to save for her own albums of inspiration.
MacKenzie and me with Eddie & Jaithan
It was also a great evening for catching up with a few other people I have met through social media over the last couple of years: Miss Rhoda of Southern Hospitality dropped by with her sister, my friend Tammi Reed of Talking with TamiKerry Howard ( a fabulous interior designer from Atlanta) fresh off of his premiere on HGTV’s Design Wars, and Arlynn Wilbanks who works with Larson-Juhl framers.   It’s fun to meet up with people you have met through social media!
Right to Left …. Jen (Me) with Kerry, Tammi and friends
As spring is well underway I am looking forward to having some of our new friends over for dinner and cards.  After this little entertaining demo, I am so excited to let my creative side take control!