Creating an in-home gallery (Part 2)

“I believe that if you love everything you are consuming/purchasing/
collecting/surrounding yourself with, it will all go together.
I suppose that’s the idea behind eclectic style,
that if you love it, it matches.”

~ Megan Hunt, It matches if you love it

Since 2008 my home has undergone a few small improvements, but my library walls were always a long-term project.


When I freelanced in 2012 I paid my funds forward by purchasing art from my friends (read this lovely article about art collecting).


Quickly a butterfly theme emerged, but I also acquired/was gifted pieces that spoke to me emotionally.


Then I started working on my art business more and my affluence waned. It wasn’t until I got my estimated taxes back this year that I gave myself permission to have the pieces framed and start a hanging system.


It’s funny how frugal I am with myself (to the point of stingy) when for anyone else I would be in total support of them surrounding themselves with beauty. But if I was willing to fork over that money to the IRS, I should be willing to invest some in my home, right?


So I swung by the Frame Warehouse to get the non-standard sizes framed, and had a wonderful collaborative session with Marian on matching mats and frame styles.


Because the content of each picture is so varied, I decided to form cohesion with basic black frames, rather than getting creative with tones in the work which can be great as well.


I realized my art fair-buddy Jason McPhillips wasn’t represented, and went through his “bargain bin” one afternoon to remedy that.


Since I had to go back to the Frame Warehouse for his piece I decided to also frame my own favorite studies from Lauren Levato Coyne’s drawing workshops, a vanity-project if you will.


It was another collaborative project with Maggie picking the mat color and getting a visual of what the final frame would look like.


Then came the hardware adjustments, since store-bought frames aren’t set up for gallery-style hanging.


It took some time to figure out gravity and weight. Smaller and lighter pieces hang differently than wider and heavier ones.


I got my exercise stringing, hanging, seeing how it looked, and adjusting.


The project wasn’t as expensive as I thought. The big ticket items are large frames (on which I got generous discounts), as expected. The fishing line (I chose 30 lbs strength) cost $3, the moulding hooks can run between $1 to $5 a piece, and the d-ring hanger hardware was about $2 per pack of 3 (why they pack those in odd numbers is a mystery to me).


Michaels often has 40% off deals on their frames and shadowboxes, and I took advantage of that for the two butterfly prints and the pinned specimens.


From dropping off the pieces for framing to getting the second set back the process was about a month, and I didn’t complete the walls all at once.


You need a breather to step back and review the progress and rethink the layout-even after you’ve stared at it on a floor for 3 weeks.


The great part is that no holes are in the walls, so you can re-commit anything at any time you want.


The completed landscape and places corner.


The original works are:


Lest you imagine my whole home is spic-and-span, here’s the pile of paperwork I ignored while taking the weekend to finish the bigger wall…


But now the butterfly collection is complete.



  • Vintage butterfly print gifted from a friend via Anthropologie
  • Shadowbox of Buckeyes
  • Morning Drawing by Lauren Levato Coyne, tropical moth, species unknown, colored pencil on maple
  • Selah! by Crystal Neubauer, collage, ink, graphite, pastel




Time to throw a cocktail party with the artists represented here! It’s been a pleasure to get to know each of them better over the past few years, and I’m so happy to have their creativity and talent present in my home.


“Investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make.
It will not only improve your life,
it will improve the lives of all those around you.”
~ Robin S. Sharma, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

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