Thursday, March 17, 2011

$12 dining room art (plus the frames)

Remember this big blank accent wall? And how I decided it needed not a console but a nice big piece of art?

Well, after reeling in shock at the price of oversized artist canvases (the size I needed would have been $100 during the Blick 50% off sale--that's $200 regular price!), and having cashed in all my carpentry chips with the hubs for a while, and not wanting to build out a frame myself, AND admitting to myself that that's a lot of canvas for a non-artist to have a go at, I went another way. In fact, while pricing canvases and buying a projector, I took a peek in the big flat files over at Dick Blick's at the suggestion of my artist friend Amy (she thought I would find great inspiration for the blog header). And lookie here. I found this orange and coral tie-dyed nepalese paper, all splattered up in my favorite color: gold!

At under $6 a piece, I figured it wouldn't be such a loss even if they didn't work in frames and I used them for wrapping paper or something. Two big Ikea Ribba $25 frames later, and I'm loving my dining room all over again.

62 bucks seems okay to me for tackling such a big wall. I know I could have stenciled it, but didn't want an all-over pattern, or I could have done a blow up of a print (check out this amazing Durer reproduction in Lauren's Dining Room--hers was blown up on canvas), and either would have been (arguably) cheaper as a DIY. But this? This is done! Quickly! and there's value in that. Okay, not totally done. I do still want to do grasscloth on that wall to add a layer of warmth and depth, but for now I'm so happy to have a more finished-looking room.

I love the way the paper picks up the coral and red in the rug and the tone and pattern of the wood in our farm table. (My father-in-law and HIS father built that for us back when we were in Brooklyn. Isn't it beautiful?) I wanted something abstract to play against the graphic chandelier and the traditional rug. I chose the two pieces of paper that were the most different from one another, so they would look like two individual works of art. The top one has lots of all-over gold splatter, the bottom one has larger bubbles of coral, and more black, which grounds everything nicely. (I am finding that they are quite hard to photograph, with the light from the window reflecting off the plexi. I suppose that wouldn't happen with an actual painting, but oh well.)

The scale does a nice job standing up to the armoire on the other side of the room.

And I like the way the pair repeats on the pair of portraits visible in the living room. (don't be confused by the third head: that's my 2 1/2 year old, jumping on the couch, because hey, Mom's not looking, she's taking pictures of the house again!)

Also, giving credit where it's due. This whole repurposing hand-dyed paper thing was not my idea. I totally copied it. Nick Olsen used marbelized paper to add interest to a coffee table in a Domino spread a while back.

[via Domino]

Jenny at LGN blogged about that same marbelized paper and even framed some herself, here. It's making a run for it in the backs of secretaries and other furniture, like here. But most people who come into my house won't know that. And if it looks good, who cares? Makes me think of a quote from Amanda Peet when her house was featured in Domino and she said she didn't have a ton of original ideas, she just copied what she liked. See? I'm such a good copier, I'm even copying a quote about copying. (And yes, I read the articles. And remember random stuff like that.)

So I wonder: what have you coveted and copied in your home?


  1. LOVE it. Love the scale in the room, too.

    Yrs. ago I made set of 3 paintings for above our couch. The paintings are still there, but since I found them pretty terrible overall and I was sick of looking at them, I just stapled some cute fabric over the canvases. MUCH better.

    (Which reminds me - have you checked out Crafty Planet yet? It's over in NE and some friends of mine own it. They've got lots of fun fabrics!

  2. Love this, Heather! I used some handprinted paper from India to paper the back of two corner built-ins in our dining room a couple of years ago. Actually, I remember I started two weeks before hosting a Christmas meal and then realized I needed more paper and it had to be special ordered so the project was only half-finished. Not the best planning there!

    Anyway, I stole the idea from something I'd seen in House Beautiful - the back of an armoire with glass doors had been wallpapered. Finding the right wallpaper sounded exhausting and expensive so I just went to Wet Paint on Grand and found some beautiful paper. But I love the idea of framing it and might have to copy you!

    Also love Renee's idea of covering canvas with fabric - that's what I could do with all of the Amy Butler I drool over at Treadle Yard Goods.

  3. Look great! Sabrina Soto/Get It Sold often frames gorgeous wallpaper or fabric for art on a budget.

  4. Renee, I still haven't made it to crafty planet, but I will!

    Kate, I've been there with the project planning. Lately it seems that I am always missing one critical supply when I sit down to start on something.

    Thanks for reading!



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