Dusk had fallen on The Kenmore Arms. The cats were gamboling in their playroom (someday to be redecorated and known as "Husband's Office"), the house was fully secured, and Piero and Luca were making ice cream sundaes and getting ready to watch a classic road trip movie starring Milton Berle, Buddy Hackett, Sid Caesar, Mickey Rooney, Jonathan Winters and countless others.
(Give up? "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World."
Perfect for seven year-olds and everyone else too.)
I was supposed to be joining them. But I couldn't stop obsessing about the troublesome (to me) wall of my dining room.
For the longest time now, I have been meaning to take down that painting and hang an assemblage of framed photographs on either side of the french doors. You know, something along the lines of this.
(via Style Court)
I wanted it to look artful but not necessarily perfect, because I like things a little bit "laissez-faire." And it needed to look good now, but still allow for space in case I wanted to hang more photos later. (The old "room to grow" scenario.)
In terms of subject matter, I had decided to buck the precept that one doesn't hang personal photos in dining rooms. I was indeed going to do just that because I wanted to eat in a room surrounded by books and friends and stories and laughter and past experiences. I had the books...
...now I just needed to to put up all the others.
I had spent most of the previous day buying an assortment of dark frames and printing out photos. As you can see below, I had arrived at the crucial stage.
Hammering in the first nail was intimidating, I have to admit. It was a freshly-painted wall and all I could think was, "What if I make a mistake?"
Basically, I just started with a "keystone" picture and then hung everything else off of it, either higher or lower. Pretty soon, I was on a roll. I decided not to worry about any extra holes in the walls as I could always bring in my painter to touch up the wall later.
Ethel Merman was screeching away in the next room...
...but I was deep in concentration and heard nothing but the rat-a-tat of my hammer and nails. When I finally got the last photo up, I couldn't bear to take a full look at my finished work so I turned off the lights and hurried up to bed.
When I opened my eyes the next morning, I felt a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. If the wall looked terrible, I didn't know if I had the energy to re-do it. So I sent The Divine Italian down first. Sly boy, he refused to comment and said I should see it for myself.
So I steeled myself...and it was actually okay.
(Left side of wall)
I still need to buy some velcro dots to stick onto the undersides of the frames so they don't wobble when the doors are opened and closed (or, God forbid, we have an earthquake), but I'm pretty happy with the results.
(Right side of wall)
Here you can see the full view. I deliberately chose photos with a simple subject matter: a secret hedgerow, some prayer flags, a bowl of flower soup, an ashram sign, some faces near and dear......and the effect is exactly what I wanted, a slightly random compilation of images linked together by a common thread -- our lives.