A Big Art Update

I partnered with Urban Garden Prints on this blog post- a Charleston-based and female owned small business I love that I know you’ll love too!  Code STRIPES30 will save you 30% site-wide.  Thank you for supporting the small business I partner with!

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We moved into this Arlington, Virginia rental in June 2020 knowing that we would spend 2 years here.  We had just moved from Hawaii and Tom had just retired from the Army, and we figured that a two year committment would be enough time to allow us to decide whether or not we wanted to put down roots in this area.  I’m from Georgia and Tom is from Maine so we weren’t sure if we’d stay in Northern Virginia or explore possibilities elsewhere, but in the year plus that we’ve lived here it has become clear that Northern Virginia is home.  We have great friends, we love the lifestyle here and the proximity to DC, the kids are happy, job-wise it’s a great spot for Tom and also for my world of blogging, it’s a wonderful place to live!  We plan to buy in the area next spring before our lease runs out, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t stalk Zillow daily and day dream about our hypothetical forever home that we don’t even have yet.  We’re excited for the next chapter, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t want to make this little 99 year old Craftsman bungalow rental feel as homey as possible.  I shared a full empty tour of the house in this blog post and some home decor blog posts from the past year can be found below:

Breathing New Life into Our Dried Out Front Porch

Virginia Home Update (backyard and home purchases)

Our Spooky and Fun Outdoor Halloween Decorations

Classic Outdoor Christmas Decorations

Our Festive Bedding and Decorations

Trimming the Tree

Our Dining Room Area (and how to find great pieces online and in thrift stores)

Recent Thrift Store, Marketplace and Roadside Finds

Tips on Painting Furniture (“new” old dresser in our entryway)

Decorating with Books

Spring on Our Front Porch

A Low Key Backyard Brunch

Patio Chairs I found in the Trash

A Simple Blue and White Tablescape

All About our Automatic Watering System

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I initially had a round mirror hanging over the sofa (the IKEA Sandbacken, which is no longer available) in our very small living room, but it always seemed a bit mid-century mod when paired with the clean lines of the sofa.  Something just felt off and not quite the traditional (with a twist) aesthetic that I’m into these days.  Then it dawned on me, I needed a large grid of framed prints over the sofa!  I immediately reached out to Urban Garden Prints because they make the most beautiful fine art prints that I’m always swooning over.  From chinoiserie panels, to vintage Audubon prints,  they have so many beautiful options if you’re looking for a high quality yet affordable way to fill up a big blank wall.  They agreed to partner with me in exchange for sharing here on the blog and social media- and I’m so thrilled to share this blog post with you!

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I decided on 2 sets of the pressed live hydrangea trio in the 18″ x 24″ size.  The trio is also available in different colors and you can also purchase the hydrangea as a pair or as a single.  I wanted to incorporate some green into the space so I knew that the live hydrangea prints were the way to go.  Urban Garden Prints harvested and pressed the hydrangeas themselves and then turned them into giclee fine art prints that they’re able to print in different colors.  They’re absolutely beautiful and when you see them in person you can see the delicate features of the original live hydrangea, with little variations on the petals and veins in the leaves.  They’re so stunning and timeless!  They’ve kindly given me a discount code to share with you, and code STRIPES30 will save you 30% site wide, and it will never expire!  I made sure to not hang the prints in any sort of pattern (I just did 1 of each on the bottom and 1 of each on the top) to make it look like there are more than 3 different particular prints in the grid of 6 pieces of art.  The ceiling in this room suddenly looks so much higher because the art draws your eye upwards.  This room makes me so happy now- at least when it’s not covered in toys 🙂

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I purchased my faux bamboo frames from Amazon because I knew I wanted faux bamboo.  The color of the frames was a little garish to me though, so I painted them with gold gilding paint.  Gold spray paint or rub n buff would have worked too, but I couldn’t find either of those when I wanted to work on the project so this classic gold gilding paint from Michael’s is what I used.  They look so much more expensive than they originally did now that they’re a bright and beautiful gold!  The gilding paint instructions did say to spray with acrylic spray to keep them from tarnishing but I didn’t have any so I omitted that step.  We’ll see what happens!  For now I think they’re lovely.  Here is what they looked like before and during the painting process.  You can see how brassy they were originally:

painting bamboo frame updated amazon frame DIY gold faux bamboo frame

I also like that the frame comes with an acrylic facing, rather than glass.  Since they’re being hung over the sofa that my kids play on all day long, I like that the facing won’t shatter should an accident happen, and the frames aren’t quite so heavy.

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As a way to tie in a little more green I purchased some chinoiserie pillow covers from Amazon.  I’m so impressed with them and they were only $9.99!  They’re beautiful and look much more expensive than they were.  They feel like a slightly rough canvas, but the print is on both sides and they’re perfect for the way we’re using them.  They’ll hide stains nicely too, which is always a bonus when you have kids.  I also purchased these block print pillow covers from Amazon that I think are absolutely stunning.  They’re very soft the block print pattern nicely brings in pops of green and blue.  Very great quality, especially for being only $15.99.  I opted to use the chinoiserie pillows here but I know i’ll find a home for the block print pillows elsewhere in our home.  The velvet navy pillow covers are from IKEA- only $7.99 and they come in a number of colors and don’t feel cheap at all.

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As far as hanging the grid goes, I started with the lower middle frame first.  I hung it on the wall using my favorite picture hanging tool, a tape measure and a level (I have this 2 in one tool), and then hung the ones on either side, with 3 inches between prints.  Then I moved on to the upper center one, ensuring there were 3 inches between the bottom and top rows.  Then moved on to the side ones, ensuring I maintained the 3 inch distance all around.  This was my first time hanging art in a grid and I was really worried about how hard it would be to get it right.  Turns out it’s not too crazy hard, you just have to go for it and make sure you have a ruler and a level.  I also used 3M adhesive tabs to secure the bottom sides of the frame to the wall.  This helped me get the frames level and then keep them that way, and it also ensures that my kids won’t be able to easily knock them off the wall when they’re roughhousing.  I didn’t do a perfect job but I’m happy with how it turned out.

I don’t normally keep anything on the coffee table because this is the main place that the kids play, but if I could decorate it this is what I’d do on a round table.  I think the table may be a little farmhouse-y for how my aesthetic is leaning now, but it works just fine for now, though I am constantly on the hunt for an antique wooden square or rectangular coffee table on Marketplace that I can update and paint.  The Rattan book is one of my favorite coffee table books- beautiful cover and spine but also such a fascinating read if you’re interested in the history of how furniture and decorating trends originated.  The Veranda book provides another nice pop of green.  The ginger jar on the books is vintage and I inherited it from my mom.

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The rattan and cane box with glass lid houses our seashell collection.  These are my favorite boxes and they come as a set of 2 on Amazon.  They’re beautiful and practical and we own 3 different sets!  My block print dress is the Juliette dress from Madison Mathews (c/o) and code KATIE saves you 10% site wide.  The cane wrapped hurricane is from Amanda Lindroth and I use it as a hurricane with a taper candle and also as a vase.

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The rug we have doesn’t totally match the color scheme I’m going for now, but it’s been a great rug and it’s very affordable too.  The woven light fixture is from Target a few years back.  The wooden parlor table was found at a thrift store in Kansas.  The coffee table is from Marshall’s a few years back, and the brass floor lamp was also a thrift store find but this one is quite similar and still affordable.  The ladder was Marketplace find that I painted.  The seagrass basket in the foreground is where Tom keeps his shoes and I keep my dumbbells, it’s great for hiding things because of the lid!  The scalloped paper orchid/plant basket on the half wall comes in a pack of 2 for $7.99.  They’re beautiful and make a great gift too.

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