23 November 2015


Back in August I mentioned (while under the influence of a substantially high fever) that we had professional photos taken during a family trip to Wisconsin in July.

Ever since then, I knew I’d want to hang them in our home, preferably on the one remaining empty wall in the place: the office wall where my desk sits. But it took me forever because I knew I wanted to involve the old shelves from our dining room in Nashville. Remember these?

I brought them with us when we moved, and they have sat collecting dust behind our sectional in the living room for three years. Threeeeeeeee yeeeeeaaaaaars. Every single shot I’ve taken of our living room during that time? Those were back there, mocking me.

Why mocking? Because nothing, NOTHING, frustrated me as much as hanging those shelves did in ALL the projects I did in Nashville. There’s three shallow screw hole pockets on the back, and getting all three screws lined up perfectly (FOR THREE SHELVES) to fit in those holes was nigh impossible. I remember becoming sweaty and cursing and spending hours upon hours hanging those shelves. So mounting even one to the wall here was a serious rate-limiting step to displaying those family photos.

Finally, fed up with looking at the dusty shelf (which I’d leaned against the wall in the office by then, just to annoy myself even more), I took screwdriver to wall.

This is probably not the proper way to screw into plaster walls, with the brute-force-of-an-electric-screwdriver method... but it’s worked so far, so I’m not stopping now.

Lining up the second screw hole is easy. Just use the nifty frame hanger!

But that third screw. Oh man. I tried all kinds of things – the nifty frame hanger (too deep), pencil marks, some elaborate reverse-hole-in-painters-tape thing stuck on my wall:

I finally gave it my best guess and screwed it in, but it didn’t line up and I wasn’t about to destroy the plaster walls further to make it work. So I took it out of the wall, noted the shelf was level and at least not unsturdy, and called it a day.

You might wonder why I was so insistent on using this shelf to display photos instead of just hanging them on the wall. Well... it’s a big wall. It needs something more than objects flat against the wall, because something that extends out into the room seems more substantial (even if it’s the same size).

Once the shelf was up, it was just a matter of ordering large size prints of my favorite photos from Shutterfly, picking up frames from Target, and finding additional mats at Michaels when the frames didn’t come with them. I say that like I knocked all those things out in a single day, but in reality those things took months. This is how projects get done nowadays!

But the end result was so hand-clappingly lovely that it was worth it:

Y’all, I realize the take-home message of this post is “I put up some pictures of my family,” but when my to-do list seems untenably long and work-life balance feels horribly out-of-whack, this was the absolute best project I could’ve taken the time to do. When the afternoon sun slants in through the windows and hits these photos, I get the warm fuzzies while recalling a happy day spent with the people I love most.

And bonus? I can see those photos from the other side of the room, too.

Now that Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, I’m starting to switch gears into Christmas decorations around the house. I’m so glad I could finish this one outstanding project before dragging all the Christmas d├ęcor out of the attic!


Janice said...

Love the new shelf but the photos of the people ON the shelf captures my heart.

Tip for third hole for shelf hanging... measure distance between holes on back of shelf finding where middle hole is located. Measure distance between two current nails in wall, mark where third hole should go, bingo. Shelf properly supported.

Willing to bet, it will stay where it is without that third hole hanging on a nail since frames are not that heavy.

It looks really neat and the reflection in the mirror is a great added bonus!