7th House on the Left


posted by Ashley  /  16 Comments

Custom framing. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been a bit intimidated by the process. So many choices. So many decisions. When Michaels asked us to test drive their custom framing service, I have to admit, I was a little hesitant at first. The more I thought about it, the more I was intrigued, and we ultimately decided to give it a go.

Michaels Custom Framing // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Keeping in mind that Michaels can frame pretty much anything (including guitars, jerseys, quilts, etc), we racked our brains for a few days trying to narrow down what to have framed. We didn’t have any vintage guitars or quilts on hand, so we thought it would be fun to have our prized vintage gas station number framed. For over a year, I’ve been noticing a ton of old red gas station numbers at our local flea markets and antique malls. I’ve been keeping my eye out for a number 7 for what seems like forever and found a plethora of 3’s, 2’s and 6’s but no 7’s. About six months ago, I finally found a 7. It was $20 – which was about 75% more that what all of the other numbers were marked – but that was okay because it was exactly what I’d been looking for. Finally. Since then, Greg and I’ve been wondering what to do with it.  We couldn’t necessarily frame it because that’s not really your standard frame size.

Next, we had this box of post cards that had been sitting around for almost two years. My mom gave them to me as a part of my birthday present, and the moment I saw them, I thought they would make great wall art. I envisioned them being hung in a grid of 6 or 9. Since the postcards are 4×6, with a tiny white border around the edge, and we wanted a slightly larger than average mat (at least larger than the other 4×6 frames we’d seen). That made them perfect specimens for custom framing.

Michaels Custom Framing // 7thhouseontheleft.com

When I arrived at the store for my custom framing appointment, I met my framing expert, Kate – who by the way is a very talented illustrator (I so wish I could draw). I showed her what I had to frame and the style I was going for (simple/timeless/modern-ish).

Michaels Custom Framing // 7thhouseontheleft.com

To start off, Kate took a photo of the metal number using a digital camera on an arm that hangs over the table – or what I refer to as the “handy dandy sky cam”. The photo was immediately uploaded to the computer where she loaded it into the in-store Frame Visualizer. By the way, the consultants put on the white gloves to protect the artwork they’re working with, which is a very nice touch, if you’re working with something that’s easily damaged or discolored.

Michaels Custom Framing // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Michael’s has tons and tons and tons of mat options. 480 to be exact. They also have different textures, finishes and details to choose from. For both of my framing projects, we decided to go with a simple white, classic mat.

Michaels Custom Framing // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Now for the frame. Oh my goodness. So. Many. Frames. Luckily, I wasn’t too overwhelmed because we already had an idea of what we wanted for this piece. Since we’re thinking about hanging this in the kitchen (or at least near the kitchen), we wanted a dark frame to stand out amongst the white cabinetry. I showed Kate a photo of the space we were thinking about hanging it and she agreed – a simple black frame was the way to go.

Michaels Custom Framing // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Each frame option has a “grade”, and each piece of artwork graded based on its dimensions. The grade of the frame has to be the same or greater than the grade of the artwork, or the frame won’t work. At first, I was thinking more along the lines of a small, thin frame (like the one on the far leftt of the counter), but since the frame’s grade was a lot lower than the grade of the gas station number, we had to upgrade to a beefier frame.

Michaels Custom Framing // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Since the width of the frame was smaller than the width of the red number, everything actually balanced out perfectly. As far as the mat, Kate and I both thought it would look really cool to mount the number on the mat rather than having the number surrounding the mat like traditional matting. I’m so excited to see the results of this! Now, on to the next framing project…

Michaels Custom Framing // 7thhouseontheleft.com

The box of post cards came with 100 book covers. Before coming for the consultation, I narrowed it down to 9 cards. Once I laid them all out on the counter, I thought that 6 framed cards might look a bit less cluttered, so I narrowed them down to six. Once I settled on the six we were going to have framed, Kate took each one, measured the artwork and took a photo of it using the handy dandy “sky cam”.

Michaels Custom Framing // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Once again, we went with the simple black frame – but this time around, using the smaller one. As for the mat, Kate suggested we do a double white mat. It brings more depth to the simple design of the framed piece as a whole and overall, gives it more “oomph”.

The entire consultation took about 45 minutes to an hour. It really didn’t even seem like that long because, honestly, it was a lot of fun. Not at all as tedious or laborious as I expected. Before I left the store, Kate gave me a paper for each frame (7 total) that included the overall dimensions of each frame and the style frame and mat we used. This will definitely come in handy when we decide to have more pieces framed in the future. The turnaround time for our frames (and most framing projects) is two weeks. We should probably be getting them sometime next week, and I can’t wait to see them!

Out of curiosity, I asked Kate about the largest piece they’ve ever framed. She told me about a guy who is trying to make his own custom-sized projector screen. He’s having a wooden frame made at a local lumberyard, bringing the frame to Michaels and having them stretch a blank canvas over it. Did I mention this “frame” is gigantic? She said it covered both framing tables then some. Now, that’s a big project.

Michaels Custom Framing // 7thhouseontheleft.com

As I mentioned here, here and here, I spent much of last month in LA with my mom and brother (more about our crazy family arrangement in this post). Since being back in Virginia, I have to admit, I totally miss the California weather… and of course, my family. On the plus side, Greg and I just booked our tickets to head back to sunny California in January. (Yay!) While I had a lot of fun scouting out celebrities, seeing the Brady Bunch house, shopping at interesting stores and enjoying Sprinkles cupcakes, with the help of the fine folks at Target, I also managed to sneak in a fun room makeover a few days before I headed back here to Virginia.

While my dad is here in Virginia holding down the fort, my mom and little and only brother (Abram) are temporarily in LA while Abram writes/records (again, more about all of that in this post). While in LA, they are setting up shop home in a cozy apartment in downtown Burbank. My mom (also known as the best mom in the world, FYI) has a crazy talented way of making any space feel like home. So while the rest of the apartment was in tip top shape, Abram’s room was still in need of some TLC. All that was in his room was a bed and a desk. Abram and mom gave me what every interior design enthusiast wants… free reign! Here’s an idea of what the room looked like before…

Yeah. Not much to it. The walls were your typical “builder beige”, but luckily there was a lot of natural light coming in from the large window on the far side of the room. Since the whole reason for Abram being in LA is his music, that seemed like a good place to start. I didn’t want to go too far with a “theme”, though, and I knew Abram wouldn’t like that either (even though he lives and breathes all things music). I decided to put together a room that was borderline “techy” with a fun music vibe – rather than a theme. 

I got an email from Target telling me about their new tool called uStyler. The uStyler is a super fun tool that helps you put together a room using bedding, lamps, and decorative accessories from Target’s college decor line. While it’s mainly geared toward the college crowd going back to school, it’s also a great place to start when decorating a small space or putting together a room for a certain little brother living in LA for music and setting up a temporary home. Perfect!

First of all, I so wish Target had this when I was in college! There are six “zones” on the style board: bedding, lighting, clock/radio, wall accessory, throw pillow, and a furniture accent (floor lamp or chair/bench). You click on the “zone” then they give you a bunch of selections from the college decor line to choose from. A few clicks here,  a few clicks there, bada bing bada boom, you’ve got a completed room! Here’s what I came up with for Abram…

Pretty cool, right? When it came time to name the room on uStyler, we named it “Sound Bytes”. My favorite thing would have to be the colorful chevron bedding! It gave us a really good starting point for the whole design of the room. Oh, and you can click here to view/shop/customize the look online.

Thankfully, the apartment complex said it was okay to paint the walls. So we did! With the pops of color in the Target bedding and Abram’s existing desk, I wanted to paint the walls with something that would really make them stand out. So, I took the plunge… and painted it black. Chalkboard paint to be exact. I’ve always wanted to paint a room with chalkboard paint, and this was the perfect opportunity! Abram loved the idea, and mom was cool with it, so bye, bye builder beige!

We spent about a day and a half priming, painting and watching it dry. At that point, I was leaving for Virginia in 36 hours, so it was time to hustle. 36 hours of shopping, decorating and a little bit of sleep later, here’s what the room looked like…

Totally different, right?! The black chalkboard walls made a woooooorld of difference, and the colorful bedding and accessories we picked out using Target’s uStyler are the icing on the cake! I used Abram’s filing drawer that used to sit with his desk and repurposed it as a side table.

I’m no chalk artist by any means, but I thought this would be a cool way to bring in some DIY “artwork” and fun chalkboard action.

I took 12 of Abram’s favorite albums, put them in album frames and hung them on the wall in a grid pattern about two inches apart from each other. I love how the black frames make the albums look like they’re floating. They bring a lot of color to the black walls that makes them really pop.

On the other side of the room is what we’ve dubbed the “guitar corner”. I hung two of Abram’s favorite guitars using some wall mounts, and also added a floating shelf for a place to put guitar picks, notebooks and such.

I picked up the styrofoam head for $4 at a local craft store and used it as a headphone stand. As long as you don’t look at him right in the eye, it’s not that freaky, promise, haha!

Like with the side table, I love, love, love how the red desk jumps off the chalkboard black walls. Above the desk, I added a bulletin board for Abram to have a place to display his ticket stubs, passes and keepsakes from home. I also added a fun white table lamp for some contrast. Totally unintentional, but I really like how it ended up tying in with the white chalk art.

Speaking of white chalk art, to add some more chalk-related fun, I drew a sound wave across the whole wall behind the desk. It really helps fill up the wall without being too overpowering.

The red wall clock next to the desk and the clock radio both have a bit of a vintage feel (something Abram really likes) which speaks to the Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin album covers over the bed. Oh, and a total bonus, the cover of the Billboard magazine coordinates with the room’s crazy color scheme. Score!

Oh, and I’ve got to highlight one of my favorite things in the room… the mustache pillow (also from Target). It’s the perfect graphic element to round off the bed and ties in perfectly with the black walls. Love it!

My brother’s dog, Packer (named after the Green Bay Packers), quickly claimed his spot in the new room. I think he really likes it, can’t you tell? ; )

A whirlwind of a project, but I’m really happy with how it came out with a little bit of elbow grease. Thanks to Abram for letting me take over his room and our awesome friends at Target!

Keeping it real: For this project, the super nice folks at Target sent me the items we picked out on the uStyler as well as a $100 gift card.


posted by Ashley  /  4 Comments

A few weeks ago, we mentioned the new Glidden community My Colortopia. Today we’re back to share a little more about the tools Glidden provides to make picking out paint colors fun! Yes, fun. A lot of people find picking out paint colors a little bit daunting, but with tools like this, it’s actually not that bad…

Last week I helped out a friend of mine, Sara, pick out some accent fabric for her living room. She wanted something “classy” but still “young and fun”. After going through about a hundred fabric swatches, she finally settled on this one (found here):

I’ve always loved this fabric but have never been able to find a place to use it. So I’m really glad one of my friends is going to use it for me, ha! With the new fabric, she also wanted to spruce up her wall color. It’s currently “builder beige” but she wanted something with a tad more “oomph” but still neutral. So, I whipped out the handy dandy My Image Inspiration Tool from Glidden…

The My Image Inspiration Tool is a great way to kick off a room renovation – big or small. The concept of this tool is pretty awesome! You just upload a photo of your inspiration (fabric swatch, art, throw pillow, etc), then use select your favorite colors in the photo.  If there is a specific color you’re looking for, simply zoom in on a smaller area when using the selection tool. This will generate colors you’re wishing to see. Then just click “Show Colors” and like magic, you have coordinating colors to choose from.

To go a few steps up from “builder beige”, we selected one of the dark leaves in the fabric. The My Image Inspiration Tool came back with five paint options in the same color family as the selection. We liked Khaki Green the most and dubbed it, “The One”.

Pretty cool, right? Click here to take the My Image Inspiration Tool out for a spin. If you’re like me, you’ll find yourself uploading photo after photo to see what they come up with. It’s a lot of fun!

I have been sponsored by Glidden brand paint to write this post but the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.