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DECOR SCORE- Even Where There's No Wall, There's a Way PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rose Bennett Gilbert Creative Syndicate   
Thursday, 12 July 2012 04:35

JOSH GIBSON/CREATIVE SYNDICATE

Making life's ups and downs worth the trip, a collection of engravings creates an art gallery in a stair hall

Q: What should I do with a large collection of pictures? My late stepfather loved old sailing scenes. He left me 20 pictures, different sizes, but all matted and framed alike. We love them, but all our walls are taken.

A: Hmmm. Considering how special the collection sounds, I suggest that you weigh the pros of vacating one of your walls in their honor.

An arrangement of like artworks can make a wonderful statement in a room. Hung close together, they become almost architectural — a trick I've often seen top professional designers employ to give a plain room better "bones."

Another thought: Look for wall space in places you might not have thought of, like the stair hall in the photo we show here. Walls that were underachievers become an art gallery that makes it well worth climbing the stairs. In this case, the genius stroke was by designer Phoebe Howard (the "Mrs. Howard" of the Southern design stores, Mrs. Howard and Max and Co., whose new book is "The Joy of Decorating").

As Howard writes, her client's collection of engraved hunt scenes "were of special importance to them, so I hung them on the staircase walls where they are enjoyed on a daily basis."

A couple of pointers for hanging such large collections:

• Work out the arrangement on paper or on the floor in advance so you can preview how well it balances.

• Hang the art close enough together to create a cohesive grouping, say, with only a few inches of wall space showing between frames.

• Mix sizes and shapes within the arrangement, but include vertical and horizontal alignments.

• Be aware of the comparative visual "weights" of different- sized pictures. Here, for example, three smaller artworks equal two larger ones.

Q: I grew up in a house where my mom used wallpaper everywhere. I'd come home from camp or college to find my room changed — new wallpaper! But now I can't bring myself to pick a design I'd be living with forever. Is my "fear of commitment" weird? Curable?

A: Not weird at all. Why else would so many Americans live within plain white walls with all-beige furniture? They're simply afraid to make a commitment to real color.

Fear no more. You can have your colorful wallcovering and hedge your bets, too, thanks to an attractive family of creatives: artist C. Ashley Spencer, sister Lindsey Wood of Denver, and Lorre Lei Jackson, their mother, who lives in New Orleans.

Partners in the innovative 4- year-old venture, Casart Coverings, the trio has introduced a line of traditional decorative "paint" finishes and modern wallcovering designs that come on an adhesive vinyl canvas. Press it up now; peel it off when your mood changes (and reuse it elsewhere). Cost: $8 - $10 sq. ft.

Latest additions to the Casart line are marinethemed designs by nature artist Karen Robertson. See all 77 designs at casartcoverings. com, or submit your own art and Karen can work up a custom design.

That should be a sure-cure for anyone's fear of commitment.

Rose Bennett Gilbert is the co-author of "Manhattan Style" and six other books on interior design.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 12 July 2012 04:37