Friday, September 21, 2012

Life in black and white

In our prior two home I've had spots for "gallery" walls of personal and family photos.  In our first home, a 1960's era ranch it was the hallway to the bedrooms...  In our last home, a 1970's era split level, it was a feature wall in our family room and I had updated the idea to a gallery of just black and white photos... mostly vintage photos but a few new photos that I had changed to black and white format.  In my little 1920's house here at Red Gate Farm I didn't have a good wall space to have my gallery.  Our hallway is very short and full of doorways... I didn't want one in our only living spaces, the living room or dining room, but soon realized the small area at the top of the stairs would be ideal.... and it's only taken me 7 plus years to get it done!

Our house was built in the 1920's but did have a few updates done in the 50's... think gold speckled laminate and real linoleum floors complete with more gold specks.  It also had a bit of a "lift" done to make the upstairs habitable.  They actually lowered the ceiling on the first floor to give a bit more room to the upstairs. They also added a dormer in the stairwell area... the windows you see are actually a dormer area giving enough headroom to be able to come up the stairs.  Somehow in all this renovation a little ledge was created along the stairwell... a perfect spot for my gallery wall... or to collect crap which is what it has done for the last 7 plus years!

With the wedding over and wanting to use some of the frames and this funky little shelf, I knew it was time to finally get this project completed!

Three or four years ago I came across these two cabinet doors at a garage sale... for $3 a piece.  At the time I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them... perhaps a chalkboard?  Or a hanging rack of some kind?  Even a pin up board?  Then I came across a picture in a Pottery Barn catalog of black and white photos and frames... with an AQUA colored wall!  I knew exactly what I was going to do with these doors... not wanting to paint this wall I decided to find some aqua fabric and make a sort of pin up board but use it for some of my collection of black and white photos!  I found the perfect aqua linen online at

And see how cool these doors are?  The knobs actually are the screws.... I've never, ever seen knobs like this before.  The guy I bought these from showed me this since he thought I was buying the doors just for the glass knobs...

First I washed my fabric... being linen it came out of the dryer nice and soft and wrinkly.... just like I wanted.  The I cut down pieces of foam core to fit in the inset part of the door.

And got some removable strips to attach the foam core to the doors... (notice how nice and wrinkly the fabric is now?)

I did a bang up job of covering the foam core with the fabric... so very nice and neat...  I had to resort to my green frog tape since I couldn't find any other tape in my house....

The push pins were actually one of the hardest things to find.  I wanted the short push pins that are usually labelled as "map pins".... and I wanted just black heads... of course the package I finally found had more red than black!

Now it was time to narrow down the selection of photos to go on my boards...  there's me and my husband when we were just 17.... and yes, my glasses were the HUGE kind from the early 80's.  My husband's baby pic, as well as one of my sisters and I on our swing set.

And some of you may not know... but my name is actually "Ruth Christine" and I go by the shortened version of my middle name... so a few years back I couldn't resist a photo of Ruth's Chris Steakhouse... and a picture of my great-aunt that I am named after...

Our home, Red Gate Farm, circa 1940....

My kid's silhouettes from Disneyland along with another baby shot of my husband complete with cowboy hat... and me at about age one... yep, those are glasses on a baby and I still have curls in my hair!

My husband's grandfather and his team of horses that he farmed with on plains of Saskatchewan.

My own babies at two and four.

It was tough narrowing down the photos... I finally went with one door with the more "yellow toned" black and whites...

And one door with the more "white" black and whites...

The space above the ledge is higher than it looks and awkward so I needed a bit of help hanging most of the items... from my much taller husband.

I added a few non picture items like my  frame of vintage silver sewing scissors that were my grandmother's and great-grandmother's.

I also used a vintage clipboard to hold an old photo of my then 17 year old husband on his motorcycle... well he wasn't my husband and 17 but you know what I mean... The large black and white photo is of the ski area at Mt. Baker... a much sought after spot in Washington state... especially by snowboarders.

The funky little shelf was used at my daughter's wedding... painted a charcoal kind of grey to fit in with all of the chalkboards...  originally the idea was for it to hold cupcakes at the wedding but that changed as things do... it's full of milk glass and silver pieces...

Pieces like my kid's silver baby cups....

And I like that tarnished silver is an acceptable look now... since all of mine is!

I like how the arrangement came out... the doors were actually hung be the hinges that were still attached... and the aqua works well with my vintage looking wallpaper which is another wall of this area....

And even the ledge was put to work... holding additional black and white photos in many of the frames that were collected to use in the wedding decor.

So although I like life in color... a little bit of black and white is a nice change of pace,

linking up to


  1. I just love your gallery wall! Very creative and sentimental... we are in our tenth year and I've yet to create one for us... but thanks to your post I have some new idea brewing!

  2. Love your gallery awesome work ! Papa and I have been in the process of printing our favorite photos off framing them and deciding what wall to make our photo gallery ! We have our photos all over the house but this wall is to be for our best photos as we have expanded our photography ! Have a great day !

  3. Your amazing talents are shining through once are so clever! You could always spray paint the push pins, although I'm sure you've thought of that already!
    I did send you an email, did you receive it?

  4. Thank you for sharing your creative touch with Potpourri Friday!

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