Living Room Art
I prefer slowly building a room by collecting items on antiquing excursions and estate sale finds. We've been in the cottage a full year, we've made some friends, wandered around discovering are little town and collected a few treasures. For me a collected room is more interesting, less staged.
Our living room is long; from the front door to the back wall it is 34 feet long, with a width of roughly 18 feet. Creating a warm, inviting room can be tricky. I chose to divide the room into three sections; entry, sitting area and dining. The furniture traveled about the room for months before it settled in their current positions.
The fireplace wall is wide; framed by pilaster columns that fall from the ceiling rafters, a long mantle shelf, also a wood storage cabinet - its style reminiscent of New England.
We happened upon a lovely acrylic landscape of blues and greens at an East Texas estate sale. This picturesque scene of Holland has found its way to the fireplace mantle We were both drawn to the quiet solitude, the soft color pallet, as well as the water, we felt a lovely choice for our first painting.
Directly across from the fireplace is a section of wall the same width. I chose to rest the settee along the wall featuring an ugly HVAC vent, thermostat, finally a carbon monoxide defector. Isn't that pretty! But - directly across from the fireplace a wonderful place to curl up and enjoy a fire.
The other side of this wall is the stairwell, I hope to have the thermostat and CD detector moved into the stair well. I'm scheming to add pilasters along the edge of this wall, to mirror the adjacent fireplace. My first tasks, dealing with the vent, thermostat and art.
A dear friend gifted us these stunning French chamber cabinets. Tall and thin, the size is perfect for my wall scheme. These beauties feature a hint of marquetry, a bit of ormolu, and topped with marble - they make my heart sing French. The pair of buffet lamps we've owned for more than 20 years.
I solved the first problem with a fretwork grill cover found on Amazon here. The cover is a bit larger than the actual vent opening. I painted the wall area around the opening black, so when the cover was installed you wouldn't see the white wall through the fretwork. It worked perfectly.
The ceiling is nearly 9 feet in the living room. I considered a grouping of art verses something large. I wanted something that would compliment the landscape over the fireplace. I didn't want anything to steal attention and demand to be the Diva in the room. After weeks of perusing the internet I happened upon this gem at Great Big Canvas online store here:
"Dutch Panorama Landscape with a River", this print had the perfect colors, a little water, a clay roofed cottage, soft blues and greens; all the elements of the painting over the fireplace. The basis of our space is neutral, any color instantly directs focus to it. I felt the print would accent our painting, create a focal point over the settee, while added some color to the space. The best part, it is available in 60" X 45". Yes, please! A single large print, I thought would certainly add interest.
When my treasure arrived it had been squashed in transit leaving it with several creases. A normal person would have returned and replaced the print. I admit it, I'm not normal, I have a little "goofy" in me. My original concept for this print was to make it appear old, as well as building a canvas to mount the print to. I thought "Whatever, it will be fine". Oh, the best laid plans....
The scheme; build a frame, stretch canvas over it, paste the print to the canvas. Simple. The frame building was delegated to Mr. GDC, who as usual did a wonderful job of building the frame. We used 2" X 2" oak strips, combined with corner and "T" brackets.
We were off to a great start. I purchased a coated paint dropcloth to cover the frame, with the idea that I would use wallpaper paste to adhere the print to the frame.
I laid out the canvas, cut it to size leaving enough selvage to turn around the frame edge and staple it in place. We have an air compressor and staple gun. I planned to use that to staple the canvas around the frame.
Izzy was very interested in the process.
Things were going well. I stapled the canvas around all four sides, then folded and stapled the corners into place.
And that marked the end of the easy phase of this little fiasco.....
I decided to steam the print to remove the wrinkles. That didn't work. I turned the print face down on the wood floor and tried pressing the wrinkles out with an iron set on low setting. That didn't work. The print actually stuck to the floor. When I peeled it up, little bits of print remained upon the floor, creating white lines on the print. I believe it was at this point Mr. GDC asked how much it was to purchase the canvas print? Whatever. I was determined.
I thought I'd wet the print down, as you do with wallpaper, then when I applied it to the canvas using the wallpaper paste, I'd be able to smooth the creases out. Make sense? That didn't work. Not only did the wrinkles not come out, the print didn't stick. Are you seeing a pattern here? I ran out to fetch some Mod Podge, adhesive used to decoupage. I covered the canvas in a thick coat of Mod Podge and tried once again to adhere the print to the canvas. This time it worked. The stubborn creases remained, but the print was adhered to the canvas.
In my brilliance I decided to hang the canvas on the wall to allow it to dry overnight, while keeping it away from a very curious Izzy. It was late, I was tired. The next morning I awoke to Mod Podge puddles on the new chair railing and a creased print stuck to a canvas. Whatever.
I decided to cover the entire print surface in Mod Podge in an effort to give it an antique look. What could I hurt at this point? I took a little bit of walnut stain on a Q-Tip and ran it over the white lines, created by sticking the print to the floor! Then covered the entire surface with Mod Podge, which gave it a leather look.....that I actually quite like.
After that incredible fiasco. I think it looks wonderful. The print was a good choice to coordinate with our estate sale painting. The color scheme of the landscape is calming and the size of the canvas balances the fireplace wall, it works well with the antique tapestry on the armoire doors. It makes a statement, yet, doesn't steal all of the attention.
We are slowly applying the layers of our found treasures. I am purposefully choosing to move slowly, allowing the room to evolve. Was the fiasco worth it? Yes. Next a rug, pillows, also additional accessories. Hopefully without the fiasco. We will take our time, enjoy wandering the local shops while discovering new treasures...
Until next time, wishing you all the best -