CREATE YOUR OWN PHOTO WALL

Sometimes life gets busy, who am I kidding, life is always busy. It can often make me a little complacent and I forget to appreciate the most important things. I’ve recently created a photo wall in our dining area, I love that being surrounded by memories of special moments with those I love the most puts a smile on my face throughout the day, even if I’m in the middle of folding my third pile of washing. Here’s a guide to help you create one of your own…

create your own photo wall

1. Choose Photos
Choose 10-12 photos that remind you of special moments, I included ones from our wedding, our honeymoon in Greece and a family holiday in Bali. I also added a great print – Blacklist ‘Forever + Always’, from Paperplane. You could even add some of your children’s favourite art into the mix, it’s really just whatever makes you happy. Choose images that everyone in the family is happy with. I wish my mum had followed that rule, I remember rushing inside when bringing my now husband home to introduce him to the family and hiding all the super embarrassing photos on the wall. No one needed to be reminded of my spiral perm, monobrow and braces. No one.

2. Pimp Photos
There are so many free photo editing programmes these days, my favourite would have to be PicMonkey. It’s so easy to use and can really transform your images to rival professional pics.

3. Choose Frames
To help your photo wall look cohesive choose frames in the same colour, or colour palette. I chose black and natural wood which went with the atheistic of our home. If you are going to purchase all new frames, it’s worth finding a framing wholesaler as you will get a high end finish at a great price point. I used Harrison Framing Factory Shop in Mount Maunganui, their customer service and knowledge was outstanding. I bought 10 frames for just under $300.

4. Print Photos
It’s definitely worth getting your photos professionally printed when wanting large prints rather than using the self service machines. Because I had chosen some custom sized frames, having someone help make sure the photos fitted perfectly was fantastic.

5. Design Layout
I love photo walls that look balanced, but not too uniform. The easiest way I found was to lay them out on my lounge floor and have a little play until I was happy. Take a photo once you have chosen the best option.

photo wall on ground

6. Hang Photos
I learnt a new word from my husband ‘eyeometer'(I actually thought he had just made it up!), basically it means calculating sizes and shapes using only your eyes. Using an eyeometer we replicated the layout I had previously designed and photographed onto our wall. We used a spirit level to make sure each frame was straight. The staff at Harrison Frames had advised against using hanging strips (that was music to my ears as they are ridiculously expensive), and instead suggested sawtooth picture hangers. They also sold me little discs to place on the bottom corners of the frames so they sat level against the wall.

7. Enjoy Your New Photo Wall!

photo wall final

When going through all my photos I found it so hard to narrow it down to just ten, in fact I had about a hundred I loved! So I decided to get the framers to make a large plain white frame with no glass and basically used it like a pinboard covering it with photos. I love the end result and it has really brightened up our all white hallway.

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RENOVATION: KITCHEN

As I write this post, I am sitting at my kitchen island with a coffee, the large doors out to the deck and garden beyond open wide and sun is streaming in, I can even hear the ocean! This was my dream for what I wanted in our new kitchen. Although I had definite thoughts on the atheistic, the way it felt to ‘live’ in the space was even more important.
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My favourite part of our kitchen is definitely the large island bench. It’s 3m long and 1.2m wide and I love every inch. Being able to have the kids sitting around it, chatting with me while I cook dinner, or having my girlfriends over for coffee and all be able to fit around the island easily is just magic. I guess that’s the way I consider it best to think when building or renovating, think about how you live, how you want to use a space that best suits your family’s life and then design around that.

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I would have loved a concrete island bench with a waterfall end, but it was a lot more expensive that I expected, stone was also out of our reach. I was really worried about the options available, but ended up finding a great acrylic product that looks like stone, is even more hard wearing and was in budget. Major high fives all round after that discovery!

With our house being quite small it was really important to blend the kitchen into the open plan space as seamlessly as possible, so the cabinetry has no handles and is matched to the same colour as the walls (Resene Black/White, not all whites are created equal and this is the BEST). We also tried to blur the lines of indoors and out by having large sliders going out to the deck, that can be pushed completely out of view. Beyond the kitchen we have a covered deck, that eventually (i.e. in our dreams) will house an outdoor kitchen, we’re hoping to continue the same cabinetry outside to create more illusion of space.
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I found so many amazing tile options and literally every single one I had my heart on were crazy expensive, like I’m talking a couple of grand crazy. We ended up going with a square subway tile with contrasting dark grout, all up less than $200!

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Although I love the minimal, white, scandi feel we have achieved, I was worried about the space looking too stark. If I have one regret its that we didn’t use timber for the floating shelf, just to add a bit of warmth. In fact I may see if that can be altered at some stage (at this point my husband will be rolling his eyes reading this, as I haven’t mentioned that to him!). I am kind of obsessed with plants right now, and already have several in the kitchen, and would be happy to fill it up even more. It was hard finding cool pots for them, so I did a little DIY and painted cheap $2 terracotta pots with teals, blues and yellow. So easy and the little pops of colour they add was just what the space needed. Other accessories like the art and bluetooth retro looking stereo have been picked up from Paperplane, my favourite design store in the Mount.

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We have industrial white pendants over the dining area, so I wanted quite a different look in the kitchen. The David Trubridge lights I chose give a warmth to the space and an interesting design focus. They also look amazing when lit up at night, bouncing light and shapes off the walls.

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I had been coveting basically everything from Icotraders for so long, and one magic day they had a 50% off sale for 24 hours. I totally did a happy dance in front of my laptop! I chose the Lyttelton Stools in black, I just love them and they are so surprisingly comfortable.

Overall I couldn’t want for more, the new kitchen has really turned into the soul of our home and actually makes me WANT to cook – how good is that!