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new art in the dining room

After Christmas I painted the dining room lavender and planned to load the walls up with crazy/cool/unique art.  This is easier said than done.  Needless to say, it’s been a slow process.  There were only three pieces of art on the wall until recently when I finally got an awesome fourth one!  Breakneck speed, I know.  The reason for the feet-dragging is partly because I’m cheap but also didn’t want to pull the trigger on art I wasn’t super in love with or that was mass produced.  (*whispering*….Am I the only who thinks Minted is 90% boring and spenny?  If I see another picture of a pineapple….shhhh, they can probably hear me)

Now that that act of blogger treason is out of the way…..

I knew the space needed a few black and white pieces to anchor things and balance the sweetness of the lavender walls.  Then I would add a bunch of other quirky/colorful pieces in between.

I started with this Matthew Korbel-Bowers print called Burnt Mountain.  I love the shape and graphic punch.  Yes, it’s technically mass-produced….let’s not talk about it.

This little ocean art over the light switch is from Salvation Army in Wareham.  I think it’s a painted photograph actually.  No clue though, it was $2.

Next I found a photograph of an ancient Italian ruin in the attic at an estate sale.

It cost 25 cents.  The photo says the picture was taken in 1891 but I’m not sure when this print itself was actually made.  I had it framed at Michaels with a coupon because the print was odd-sized.

Then nothing happened on the art hunt for a shamefully long time.  I finally decided to start with one section of wall, just like knocking over the first domino, and make a decision.  One really good decision and it would all tumble from there.  I hope.

My search started on Etsy for black and white photos of Chicago – I grew up just outside the city and lived in Logan Square with my husband before we went to grad school.  I was looking for shots of the El or some of the city’s amazing architecture.  Then found this print from Saltwater and Vanilla on Etsy and literally gasped.

My grandparents, who I lived with growing up, went to the Palmer House Hotel on their honeymoon!  I still have their bill from 1947 and a postcard they saved from the hotel.

Charge for the radio.  75 cents.

Digging these out of my bin of old photos, I found this adorableness of my Grandma.  A pin with a faux mug shot.

The Palmer print is in an Ikea Ribba frame for now but I want to get it professionally framed down the line.

Shockingly, taking these photos at 6:30 am in a north-facing room wasn’t a good idea.  But….I love the print so much!  Kinda retro/Deco.  The lights.  There’s just something about it.

Which is obviously the beautiful thing about art.  What you hang on your walls should call your name and make you smile.  That visceral reaction when you walk past it.

Hopefully it won’t take me another 6 months to get more art in this room.  And daymmmmn we need to have a bench cushion made for the window seat.

Okay I’m out….Happy Friday everyone!

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  1. I love the Pamer House photo! In fact, I’ve been wanting to add some B&W photos to my dining room for years. I’m also on the slow, cheap decorating path. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • says:

      Thanks, Amy! I saw a documentary about Vivian Maier recently and want ALL of her black and white photos. Good luck with the search! Be sure to post what you find, I’d love to see it.

  2. What a beautiful picture of the Palmer House! Remember when ALL of us went to dinner there? I have to say that the second time that I looked at the bill that I had tears in my eyes…I do miss them…and what a beautiful picture of grandma. I have an even more gorgeous picture of her…am sure that you have seen it before but will make sure & show it to you…the one where she is looking to the side. When I saw the picture of the hotel, I knew where you were going with it. Beautiful, just beautiful. And black & white pictures can beat out color pictures any time.

  3. What a lovely story, and your grandmother was a beauty! The Palmer House photo is perfect, and that old bill is priceless (and would look really neat framed, I bet). 🙂

  4. when I see that actual bill and postcard, then the photo of your grandmother I feel like they should all be framed and displayed together!
    I always save random things like that knowing it will be used for something pretty and meaningful – which is what I love about art. I have stamps from the Vatican, a photo of my daughter in front of it when she did her study abroad, and a third Rome photo all framed in a grouping together in her room. And it does make me smile EVERY time iI walk by. It may take time to pull your room together, but when you find that perfect piece of art, makes the a it worthwhile. Alas, I too have a long bench that needs a cushion, but I hide mine with laundry baskets, hehe.

    • says:

      Thank you, Lynda! I kept the bill and postcard years ago when we were going through my grandparents things, after they died, figuring I would frame them. That’s why I was so psyched to find the Palmer House print – it tied it all together.

  5. I was thinking the same thing as all of you that the bill, postcard would be so great framed! Love what you’ve picked so far! And thank you about minted!! I’m with you. But we may just be the anti blog bloggers.

    • says:

      You and I are probably a little ornery and “anti”. Really though, I think we just like old and unique stuff. Blogger rebels unite!

  6. Sorry, you probably have this info somewhere but where did you get your blinds? I’m in the process of buying a house (weeee!) and it has the same windows. Thank you!

    • says:

      Hi! Sorry I just saw this comment! Idiot. They’re the Levelor custom cut blinds at Lowe’s. Lined and everything. We love them.

  7. What a great keepsake and print! Happy Nesting.

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