Once the reno was complete on our “beach house” and we had begun to actually live in the space, it was time to personalize it. I knew I wanted to display some family photographs but wasn’t sure how I could showcase more than just a few? I have always loved photography but truthfully some of my most cherished photos are snapshots that from a photographer’s standpoint might be deemed unworthy of framing! But I had tons that I wanted to show off!
With so many options for gallery walls, my inspiration came from an image I had saved literally years ago onto one of my HOUZZ ideabooks. I knew I had held onto it for a reason. It was a image of a room with a large wall of photo ledges with photographs in frames of all shapes, sizes and finishes.
I absolutely loved the way the pictures were displayed. Having the frames placed randomly with no rhyme or reason to their size, for me it draws the eye to want to take in more of each individual photo. I had the perfect wall. Choosing which family photos to display was harder than the actual process of making these great photo ledges.
I did not intend to make my own ledges. I searched high and low and could not find any in the lengths I needed. My wall was quite large and if I used ledges that were too small, it would look disproportionate. I wanted one long ledge as opposed to two side by side. Checking Pottery Barn, Ikea, Restoration Hardware, Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, Michael’s and on and on and on, I could not find any long enough. I was really getting frustrated, because by this point I had already begun reminiscing through the dozens of boxes of photographs looking for the perfect ones! (the fun part) and if you’ve been following me for long you know that once I make my mind up about an idea I am ready for it to be done like yesterday. So, it was my husband who turns out really was listening to me one morning over coffee. “Oh, we can make those.” Out came the measuring tape and a pencil and paper, and a quick calculation of needed supplies made this a no brainer! So, we made them. It is kind of embarrassing that I didn’t think of that in the first place. I got exactly the size I wanted and saved a boatload of money in the process. I am grateful for my husband’s handiwork, but why do I always get stuck with the painting? And the priming and the sanding and the taping………………..No pain, no gain I guess is how the saying goes.
We used 1X3’s for both the bottom and back and a 1×2 for the front lip. Ours are 6′ in length. Using brads and a nail gun, these were together in no time. Priming, painting and drying took the longest. After doing some measuring and making sure that our marks were level and even, my husband installed them on the wall. Once he found the studs he used a fairly good sized wood screw and just went right through the back of the ledge knowing the screw would be covered by the picture frames. Deciding how to position the frames on the ledges took longer than it did to make them. If I was to make these again, I might use a 1X4 on the bottom, as some of the frames are thicker than others and limits the choices of which frame can overlap which. Of course you can add trim moulding to the fronts to give them more detail, but we like the plain as it goes with the craftsman style of trim we have throughout the house.
During certain seasons or holidays, I change out some of our pictures. Christmastime I will pull out photos of the kids sitting on Santa’s lap or the family on Christmas morning. Naturally we will always have a continual rotation of summer snapshots from the beach. And of course there will be no shortage of grandbaby pictures!
What do you think? I would love to hear how you display your treasured family photos.