Seeing your loved ones even more: The Photo Wall

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Welcome back, friends. If you’re like me you probably don’t get to see your loved ones as much as you like. I was thinking about how to bring some character and life to my grey walled kitchen and harkened back to something I’d seen at my favorite haunt, Bar Centrale. Simply stated, it’s a collection of photos hung closely on the wall. What I wanted to bring to it was a cohesive point of view.

So I took to my photo editing software. I culled images of people I loved and missed and perhaps weren’t here anymore. I had the good fortune to know my great-grandparents very well, but of course they’re gone now. Friends, sisters, cousins, loved ones. I adjusted all these photos and put them in black and white so they became more of a background than a colorful collection. Then, I had them printed in varying sizes.

I started collecting frames from second hand sources: craigslist, the wallapop and letgo apps (which are basically garage sales on your phone), Goodwill. I bought no new frames and ended up with a great collection for very little money. Of course they were all filthy, but who cares.


You can see that I got some of these from the York Theater Company. They were from old sets. Haha.

I disassembled them all and did a fair amount of cleaning, which I didn’t mind since I paid less than a dollar per frame.

I got myself into a real quandary wondering where the hell I was going to spray paint these things. And then it hit me: THE FIRE ESCAPE. Through the bedroom window I went. I chose navy blue for the paint color – neutral, but not.



Now quit being envious of my Jem and the Holograms tank top.

I realized that trying to back-mount these frames would make me insane, and I knew that seeing silver screw heads would also make me insane. I inserted my screws into a piece of cardboard and painted the heads.


I realized it was going to be necessary to drill pilot holes for the screws or the frames could potentially crack. I measured and marked where to drill the pilot holes.



Most of these frames aren’t flat and I didn’t want the screw heads to extend out from the surface, so in order to get a more recessed look with the screws, I used a drill bit that was the same size as the screw head to notch out a little divot on the surface of the frame where the screw would go in.



Now, making sure each plate of glass was carefully cleaned and free of streaks and fingerprints, I reassembled all the frames.


Determine how close you want them. I chose an inch and a half. I am working with between 20 and 25 frames, so that’s a lot of surface area to cover. I am using the existing features on the walls as guidance – measuring out an inch and a half from door frames, etc.


Using the level app on my iPhone and my careful measurements, I start hanging the frames with my pre-painted screws. Now, my old ass New York apartment is not square AT ALL. Sometimes you need to trust your eye and not your level. Having symmetry and making it orderly is very important.


I re-thunk my configuration as it evolved. Even though I had laid it all out on the floor prior to hanging, it didn’t always look right once up. That’s ok.

As luck would have it, I found frames that allowed me to hide my circuit breaker box, which was a huge eye sore, and frame out my door buzzer!


Some of the frames chipped some paint as the screws went in, so I got a piece of cardboard and cut a small opening. I put the opening over the screw hole and hit it with a quick squirt of paint.


I will concede this task as a whole became a little more involved than expected. But it looks fantastic. If I may say so myself.


Good luck with yours! Send me your photos if I have inspired you.


The Gentleman Caller

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