A little insight to my family: My parent's are completely amazing. They are the type of parents that I hope I can be if/when we have a kiddo. One of my greatest memories growing up, and even now, is Christmas. My mom's favorite holiday, she spends an enormous amount of time picking gifts that she knows the recipient will LOVE. The thought and details she puts into making sure that everyone is happy (both via gifts and experiences) is truly outstanding.
My parents also happen to be impossible to buy gifts for. They are at that stage in life where if they want something, they buy it. So a few years ago I decided that I wanted to make sure my parents had as memorable a Christmas as they'd always given to us kids growing up. I teamed up with my younger brother, Jeff, to gift them experiences for Christmas. Concerts they would never buy tickets to, but would love, a tour of Oregon's wine country with their close friends, etc.
Why am I telling you all this? Because today I'm going to share what we gift them this year: a gallery wall. Not an experience, per se, but also not something they would ever create themselves.
They sort of unexpectedly moved out of the house they'd lived in for 30 years, a couple years ago. It's taken my mom a couple years to really get comfortable and start to decorate. The downstairs is gorgeous, but the upstairs walls are a little neglected. This is the view when you walk in the door. Because of the insane staircase, you automatically look up to see ... nothing.
Here's the wall. Jeff is a super amazing photographer, and every once in a while I get a good shot. So we decided to pull together some of our best photos of places that have meaning to my parents and create a gallery wall.
Here's how we went about doing that :
1. Creating a layout doesn't have to be as structured as I'm showing here. You can see how I created the layout for my own gallery wall here. It was way more casual. But, since this was a gift I wanted my parents to see what we had in mind for the wall right away. So I pulled all the photos into Adobe Illustrator, sized and scaled them to the wall measurements. I came up with three layout,s and Jeff and I picked one. The perk of this is we realized we were short one frame and were able to get a new picture framed without holding up the whole process. We also gave this layout to my parents after they'd opened all the frames so they could see what we were planning.
2. I think paper guides are a MUST DO for large gallery walls. Even though we had a very specific guide, we ended up making a couple minor changes once the guides were on the walls. Moving taped paper is so much easier than creating more nail holes.
3. Hang the frames. Here Jeff and Chris working hard, while I'm ....
managing taking photos. HAHA!
This one was also a HUGE help ;)
4. Remove the paper guides from under the frames. And, you're done!
You can see that we mixed brown and black frames. All from IKEA. We tried to get the widest variety of IKEA frames to keep it from being too matchy-matchy.
Do you recognize the bridge sunset picture above? It's from our trip to Astoria last summer! My mom grew up there and my parents met there. I was so happy to captured such an awesome moment in that town to share with them.
And, here's the view now when you walk in the stairs. So. Much. Better. My parents LOVE it, which is the most important thing of all.
Have you ever created a gallery wall for someone else?? What unique gifts have you given someone in the past?
ps. If you'd like to take a look at my gallery wall, you find it here.
I am also linking up to:
I am also linking up to: