After committing to a handful of tweaks for the living room, we were the most excited (and at the same time, perhaps the most undecided) about changing up our wall of shelves. After tossing around a few ideas – because at first, Scott was pretty set on keeping our former set-up – we finally agreed that a clean, crisp ledge of art would be a fun way to inject a bit of color into the room. Together, we discussed what art would set the stage, and you now know we landed on this:
From collecting frames, to ordering mats and finding things that made us laugh, smile and conjure up happy memories, we spent well over 3 months to narrow it down to these six pieces. Here’s what we’ve got:
1. Chair print, by Bo Kim: This was purchased from a student art sale at the Art Institute almost two years ago, but sadly, I can’t find a website to credit the artist (does anyone know?). You might remember it was framed in this dumpster find, but a shiny, polished frame gives it a new look. We love that the bold blue plays off our totally teal console. Update! Bo Kim’s work can be found right here.
2. Map of Italy: During our summer yard sale, our friends Miss M & Mr B were getting rid of these fun maps, and we couldn’t resist snapping one up! I’m half Italian, and Scott and I talk about visiting Italy someday to visit some family tree members – and fill up on the food that my grandma has perfected, of course.
3. View from the Eiffel Tower: I took this photo looking down from the Eiffel Tower during our whirlwind weekend in Paris over the summer. On the last day of our trip, our crew picnicked under the Tower, and Scott insisted that we take the stairs to the top (or, well, as far up as the stairs allowed). We printed this as a 12″x18″, and it’s so fun guessing what the groups of people are doing – we spy photos being taken, an exhausted group of bikers, and, get this, do you see all those teeny white flecks in the grass? Those are cigarettes. Seriously.
4. Strawberry Frosted, by Jennifer Keats: We first spotted these donut prints at a local summer art festival, and at the time, we were torn between maple and strawberry sprinkles. It felt like the impossible task picking out just one donut, but after flip flopping for days, we decided on the strawberry frosted. It’s just the right dose of color, and better yet, it’s pink!
5. Thick Skin, by Aled Lewis: We’ve wanted one of Aled’s illustrations for years, but it was always a matter of deciding on which one. Thick Skin makes us smile, and we’re sure Jack enjoys our daily sing-a-long as a result. They’re all tear-inducing hilarious. See for yourself!
6. DIY Screen print: At the same art fest where we spotted the donuts, Spudnik Press was set up for fair-goers to make their own screen prints! They had a handful of readymade supplies, and we simply picked our design to make a custom print.
The first two frames were picked up at yard sales for $1 each (then spray painted white and gold), the third frame is an Ikea Ribba, frame four was purchased at the City Flea (and the former Jesus print is still in there, being used as backing!), frame five was another $1 yard sale find and frame six is a Ribba.
For the most part – especially with the yard sale frames and big, gaudy gold guy – we framed the art using the pig technique, but for fussy ones, we just taped them in à la our Parisian boat.
We love that the ledge gives us the freedom to swap up the prints and/or frames if the urge strikes, and we think we’ve struck a nice balance between the clean lines of the ledge, the glossy white frames and the mix of prints, photographs and touch of gold. (Whew, hello, run-on!)
Have you added any new art to your home lately? Can we see?
It’s no secret I love them all, but that photograph from Paris? So cool! Thanks for letting us see it closer, too, because honestly I was squinting at my computer screen trying to make out some details. I can’t get enough of it.
We just added a whole slew of art to our laundry room. And now I find myself being an advocate for fine art in the bathroom. It’s a game changer.
Julia, the art is definitely a nice touch! Fine art goes with any room, don’t you think?
And a whole room for laundry… be still my heart!
That photo from Paris looks like something from 20×200.com– It’s absolutely fantastic! It’s also an interesting social study about the comfort zone bubble! Isn’t it funny how all the groups are spaced out more or less evenly? I love it!
We have been hanging art in our new place, thanks for asking! ;) I finally succeeded at hanging my first bonafide gallery wall. http://myfriendstaci.com/2012/10/23/our-gallery-wall/
Looks good, Staci! Mosey is ADORABLE.
I have two really cool prints sitting in cardboard tubes just begging to be framed. Why is that always the hardest thing to get around to??
Alichia, we know the feeling! Sometimes the problem is finding wall space…
Hi! I was excited to stumble upon your blog this morning and see you are in Chicago – my husband and I lived on Southport up until about 4 years ago when we sold our condo and moved about 30 minutes west.
Thanks for this great post. I don’t know why I never thought of checking out the student art sale at the Art Institute. I also want to take a look back at some of my photos from past trips to Europe to look at them with a different eye.
I recently added a Norman Rockwell print and picture frame on the bookshelf in my son’s nusery (second picture in my post below):
I purchased them both at a local resale shop; my original intention was to spray the frame, but when I got it in the room it worked so well with everything else I left it as is. Less work for me.
I was just outside spraying two more frames I picked up at the local Goodwill – praying that the rain would hold off and the wind would stop blowing leaves my way – for his nursery wall. Can’t wait to get them up.
Hi Dawn, that nursery looks so relaxing! Great work!
We love hitting the student art sale. It happens twice a year – during the holidays and every spring!
Love the big art ledge!
I LOVE, LOVE that photo you took from the eiffel tower! I think it’s funny how the people naturally spaced themselves out. It kind of reminds me of the Kite Hill photo by Paul Octavious. I’m sure you’ve seen it, but if not you should check it! Love your art shelf!
Thanks, Tosha! I do know the Kite Hill photo and have always LOVED it, so thank you for the awesome compliment!
Hi I’m Bo Kim :)
Thanks for the frame for my print work
I live and work in New York
My website is
Love your collection of art! I love how they’re grouped together and the donut looks amazing in the large gold frame.
Thanks for introducing some new and fun artists (the donuts and Aled Lewis). You should think about selling prints of your Paris photo. You’d already have at least one customer – me! But seriously, please do let me know if you intend to sell it in the future.
Ashlyn, thank you so much! I really need to get working on that – just trying to figure out the logistics of how to make it all work. I love receiving the feedback, so thanks for chiming in! Fingers crossed I can get it going sometime in the new year…
Beautiful home and loved the tour on Apartment Therapy! Just wanted to let you know that we designed the Wells Prints with Jess LC and when she closed her shop, we transferred those prints to our etsy shop! Just in case anyone is wondering where to find the Just Keep Going poster!