One of my very favorite home decor "items" are family photos. Maybe it's because I live 800 miles from my mom and many extended family members. Maybe it's because my siblings and I "ended up at the four corners of the earth", as my parents predicted, but were truly dismayed that we fulfilled their prediction. (Actually the four of us are all in the United States, and for a few years we were all located somewhere off of Interstate 80 in various states.) Never-the-less, I had been doing a lot of "thinking" about updating family photo displays and it was finally time to get them off the floor, out of the box, and on the walls!
One inspirational lady for this post was my dad’s Aunt Leone. We stayed with Aunt Leone and Uncle Jul in Gainesville, Florida, for our first big family trip to Disney World. This was back in the late 60's or early 70's. It was a major vacation for us, made possible by the generosity and hospitality of Aunt Leone and Uncle Jul.
Aunt Leone had photos of her family all throughout their house. They were on the walls, under glass on dressers in all of the bedrooms, in the living room, and even in small frames in the bathroom. I thought it was great and loved looking at all the photos. You knew she loved each and everyone of the grandchildren, children, family, and friends in those photos.
I overheard my mom and Aunt Leone reminiscing over the photos. Then, Mom recalled that she had read a magazine article that said you should only display family photos in bedrooms, not in the living areas of your home. Aunt Leone got a twinkle in her eye and gave a little giggle, and said, "Oh, really?" Then she giggled some more, as only Aunt Leone was prone to do. The photos made her happy, and magazine articles made no difference to her. At some point in my adult life of home ownership, I made conscious decision to include family photos in my home decor, just like Aunt Leone and my mom.
I love hanging a wreath on my kitchen window. This one was made from a garland that I wound into a circle two times. I added the black grow grain ribbon with the polka dots. These make me happy, too. I first took this photo in early spring. Soon, there were little buds on the trees and eventually a wall of lush greenery. Mother Nature always completes the picture. I placed the mercury glass votives on the window sills as an afterthought. I like how they shine when the light comes through the window. Just imagine what they will look like on a sunshiny day!
So, in January, I got busy. I had been overthinking things for too long, and had photos I wanted to display and rearrange. Here is a report on my progress so far.
First up, I decided to change things out as part of my view out my kitchen window. Christmas decorations were packed away, including my favorite holiday plates that I hang on either side of my kitchen cabinets that border the window just above the sink. I decided I would replace the decorative plates with fun photos. After all, the view out the kitchen window is a little stark and bleak in January. I chose photos of my Dad and my husband, both as babies. Perhaps, the most important reason for including family photos in your décor is that you love the subjects of the photos and they bring back happy memories.
I had these particular photos in a file on my computer. This enabled me to print both of them in black and white and add the titles "Bath Time" and "Love" to the photos. I have a small laminator, and because these are near the kitchen sink, I decided to laminate them for extra protection. (I'll include a link to a tutorial for this quick and easy clipboard photo project, soon.)
These photos have been lots of fun to have in the kitchen and I have gotten lots of questions and compliments on them. Family photos can be great conversation starters with guests in your home.
One of my absolute favorite photo displays is also in our kitchen/family room. My Grandma Marshall was known for her angel food cake. As a young girl, I can remember going out to get fresh eggs from the hen house for Grandma to make angel food cake. Then, I would stand on a small gray chair next to her at the countertop, and watch and chat as she made the cake.
One Mother's Day, I had the idea to have Grandma's angel food cake recipe framed with photos of Grandma and Mom and me, for my Mom. (My Aunt Phyllis helped me out with photos and the recipe.) I had the photos and recipe professionally matted and framed. I gave it to my Mom for Mother's Day and immediately vowed, that when I had a home of my own, I would make one for my kitchen. This is the result above. It was my house warming gift to me! (Since then, I've also made a similar one for my sister, using photos of Grandma and Sandra and Mom.)
Later, I had the idea to do something similar with photos of my dad and me. Photos, a silver dollar, and a song were the focus of this collage. Dad had served in the Korean War.
Prior to Dad being deployed to Korea, a good family friend, Annie Rose, gave him 4 silver dollars for good luck. Dad gave me one, when I moved from Iowa to Pittsburgh—for good luck. The silver dollar had to be in the collage. I added a photo of my dad in uniform with the family dog, Pepper.
Next, came the song. When I married my husband, Bob, I chose Nat King Cole's song, "Unforgettable" as our father/daughter dance song. That was a definite for the collage.
Lastly, I had a photo of Dad just looking at me as a baby. I took all of my treasures to the same frame shop and had them professionally mat and frame the second collage to match the first collage. (Side note: I scanned the original photos and made prints from the scans, leaving the originals intact. That is my personal preference when framing precious memories.)
I treasure these two collage photo displays. The collage of Grandma, Mom, angel food cake, and me was framed a few years before the photo collage of my dad. I am so glad I had them professionally framed and that the framer was able to match the frame and matting. The similarity in frames and matting add visual cohesiveness to this display.
The kitchen sink photos were so much fun, I decided to, change out the decorative plates in the living room for more photos. I had two matching frames. Some black and white kitchen towel ticking became the background for the photos. (Once again a tutorial for these photos will be coming soon .)
My husband, Bob, took the barn photos at sunset on a cold, Iowa winter day. Obviously, these are not “family” photos, but they are photos of the barn on my grandparent’s farm in Clarion, Iowa. I have many fond memories of time “at the farm”, as we called it. I am so grateful that my husband, with his artistic eye and talent captured these images. They are displayed at the bottom of our staircase. The black frames add visual cohesiveness, and the subject matter is allowed to be center stage. Staying with one color of frame can tie a group of photos together.
I hung more photos from the same winter’s day in our bathroom of “the farm”.
Each day begins with remembering good times at "the farm" . It's a great way to start the day!
I was once read that silver frames are excellent for displaying black and white vintage photos . When I lived in my townhouse, I framed many vintage black and white photos of my grandparents and some of my parents, too, and hung them altogether on a gallery wall. The silver added elegance to the photos and enhanced the coloring.
Vintage cameras make fun decorating accessories. Consider adding one to a vintage photo display. Here is one of favorite photos. This is my mom, Inez Marshall Hanig on her wedding day. Isn't she beautiful!
I love surrounding myself with "my favorites" in my sewing room/guest room. I had wanted to update this wall for ages, and after much "over thinking", I did it! The handmade mirror from an uncle of my husband, anchors the wall. More family photos surround the mirror. I also included favorite prints by Tasha Tudor from the "Secret Garden" in this gallery.
My sewing room/guest room is my sanctuary. I have always had family photos displayed here. I decided to do a little update. I purchased two new frames.
Wal-Mart had this collage frame. I put graduation photos of my nieces and nephews in it.
I put a collage of family photos in long, horizontal collage photo frame purchased at Michael’s Craft Store. It is part of their vintage frame collection.
This was a “rescued” photo from Bob’s family. His mother was going to throw it out. Fortunately, he saved it and brought it home. This is one of his dad’s older brothers, Uncle Tony. The period clothing, shoes, and hair are priceless. I love that he is posed with a book. The teacher in me, and the life long book lover had to hang this precious photo in my sewing room.
I also have a wall of photos on the wall that is the background for my sewing machine. Family photos of my grandfather with his parents, my grandparents with the beginnings of their family, and “the farm”, all flank a hand pieced quilt made by my great-grandmother.
There are more photos of family and friends displayed in our home. (I had photos of my Dad and Bob's Dad as young men in their United States Army uniforms displayed in the powder room from Memorial Day through July Fourth. It was a nod to their service to our country.)
I have so enjoyed sharing this post with you. It's been a so heart warming to remember the people I love and who have loved me.
Family photos displayed throughout our home give Bob and I so much pleasure. In some small way, I hope to be just a little bit like Aunt Leone, displaying photos above the kitchen sink, on the walls of the kitchen, in the sewing room, master bathroom, bedrooms and even in the powder room. (For the longest time, I had a photo of my cousin Mark's children as toddlers in the laundry room!) I'm sure, Aunt Leone would approve and would give a giggle. In my opinion, family photos make a house a home. They tell your story. They make you feel loved.
How and where do you display your favorite photos in your home? I'd love to hear your stories!