Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wall makeover with a vintage flair

I have been thinking for awhile of putting together a gallery wall with a vintage edge. I've always been drawn to old plates. I like the mix and match look of different patterns, colors, sizes and designs. When my grandmother died, I inherited a few of her many dishes, glass bowls, tea cups and ashtrays. I wasn't sure what to do with most of them and they sat packed away in my barely used china hutch for years.

I had one bare wall in my family room that felt like it was missing something. Every. Time. I walked by it, I knew that it needed a little pizazz but couldn't figure out what. One night while pondering with drink in my hand, it hit me. Bar cabinet! I ran it by my better half who suddenly had visions of neatly stacked craft beer glassware all in a row, and it was a go. After searching a few places, I found a bar cabinet from world market that was perfect size and looks to fit the spot. It was on sale and I had coupon! I sent (husband extraordinaire) J, to the store to measure it in person and to see if it passed his scrutiny since he does all the assembling. It passed the test, sold! After it was built and into place, it was instant love. It had enough storage and the finish was beautiful. The bar was awesome but the rest of the wall was awkward and needed something more. The wheels in my head started spinning. I didn't want to spend any more money on accessories when I have a surplus in various places stored within the house. I have seen arrangements of plate collections pinned all over Pinterest lately and knew I had enough in storage to work with.

I looked through what all I had and found a few glass ashtrays in retrospect that were kind of cool but kind of funny since grandma wasn't smoker, but always the entertainer, she had on hand everything that was needed at the time for her guest. There was only one dish (?) but it was my favorite from when I was a kid, a classic blue and white pattern design. I also had a milk glass bowl, and one small saucer left from my old wedding registry that didn't have a matching place setting. Off to a good start with my collection of ecliptic wares, I decided to throw in a couple of wooden letters that I had lying (seriously, another craft project that never made it into the works) around the house for good measure. I repainted and distressed a large letter W and added in small wooden letters est. 01 painted gray for a 2 dimensional custom piece of art. They all seemed to worked with that vintage collage vibe I was going for.

The next thing to do was to look for easy hanging ideas that I could do without spending a bunch of extra money. I took soda tabs from the cans we drank and gorilla-glued the bottom half of the tabs to the back of my plates. (I knew I wouldn't use these again as they were for decoration. If you plan on reusing these things later then look for other options, there are plenty out there to be found.) Follow the directions on the glue and let it set over night. The tricky part came in making a cohesive design since all the sizes were different. I kind of just held it up on the wall and arranged as I went. When I was satisfied with what I had, I nailed it all into place. I'm not very technical with how I hang things up. Eyeballing usually works best for me much to my husbands dismay. He is a engineer and wants to graph it all out on paper...transfers that to the wall...and then breaks out the level and tape measure. While I can respect his way, and it looks great 2 days later when he's done, "Ain't nobody got time for that!", especially when your working around a busy schedule with 3 kids plus one angel-baby. But I digress.

The last part was to accessorize the bar itself. I topped the cabinet off with a rustic tray I found on etsy used for picking blackberries back in the 60's. It has tons of character. I paired it with some of my pottery that we received as a wedding gift 11 years ago but wasn't being used. All that was left was to hang up some sort of lighting fixture. I had the perfect one that I bought for our kitchen a few years ago that wasn't being used. I throw nothing out! My husband, J, who turns out to be pretty handy, wired a spot for it with a dimmer switch and hung it up. I am so happy with the way it turned out!

What a transformation! I can not picture it any other way now. I can't believe that I never noticed this spare wall before. I'm SO happy with the outcome! It just goes to show what a bit of imagination can do to a blank space. What unused wall in your house might you be over looking? The possibilities are endless and makes me simply wish I had more!


  1. It looks great and I really love the light. You could loan out your husband extraordinaire to wire a few sconces in my house. ;)

  2. Sure thing, if you send yours in return for some woodwork that I need finished in my front hall! :) wonder how'd they would feel about this?!