My Design Ode to the 2012 Summer Olympics

My Design Ode to the 2012 Summer Olympics

Twelve years ago I started off a 5-week holiday in London, toured around the UK, and then enjoyed some of the great cities that Europe has to offer. When I holiday I like to buy at least one piece of art to remember the trip by, and on this journey I opted for a few pencil drawings.

The two large ones are from the City of Bath, and the small one is of Stonehenge.

Pencil Drawings of Bath & Stonehenge

I love these pieces, and have enjoyed them since the day my Dad matted and framed them for me. That is until this home we moved into last summer. You see, I’ve had a project for a TV stand brewing since about this time last year. I know, right. Who leaves a project for a year? You can catch my teaser post about it here.

Anyway, I always thought the space behind the TV stand (upon completion, of course!) is where these prints would go. You know, something like this.

With the TV stand sitting out in front, I thought they would be a good fit for this spot, both in their look and scale. And so they’ve remained unhung just waiting for the stand to be done! I’ll let you in on a little secret… the TV stand was finished 3 days ago, which is why you see the chaos of cables in this photo. We were in the middle of switching stands over, but I’ll be posting that reveal a little later.

To cut to the chase, my well-laid plan for the prints was a FAIL! And I didn’t have to hang them to find out. What I did first was make a template for each print out of newspaper, and then gave the placement a test-run. I got this tip from Young House Love way back when, and I’m so glad I did! I seriously recommend this step if you’re trying to decide on art placement before you bang the nail in!

When I knew this spot was a definite miss, I had to go to my option B location.

And test it out with my trusty templates…

Tip to hang multiple pieces of art

With the templates I could see this spot was best with just the two larger prints. With three, the top piece would fight for attention with the trim above the window… and that would just create visual pain for anyone looking that way! I tried the templates lower, but the lamp started to fight with the frame of the bottom print…

It’s hard to see, but the top print is slightly narrower than the bottom one, so getting these two pieces hung just right took a lot of measuring, leveling, shifting and re-leveling with the templates.

Template System to hang multiple art pieces

Did I mention how the templates made this part a lot easier?

And, voila!

Pencil Art of Bath UK

All this after living here for a year! And to think I could’ve been enjoying the prints so much sooner 😐

Here’s where I decided to hang the Stonehenge print…

Even though I was only hanging one piece, I still used the template, because I wanted to make sure the size of the print wouldn’t overwhelm this spot.

Template system to hang art work

Ooops! I wasn’t planning to feature my kitchen, and totally didn’t prep the space :-0  Oh well, it’s a day in the life of…!

I think the print looks great in this spot.

Template system to hang art work

Okay, I’ll crop the shot and remove the visual distractions for you! 😉

What do you think? Do you like ‘Stonehenge’ here?

Here’s one more look at the ‘Bath’ prints in location B…

Artwork stacked vertically

When you see them in context, it makes a difference, doesn’t it?

Notice the stacked pieces over the fireplace? The top piece was also hung up today. I wanted to repeat the vertical stacking of artwork… but this particular piece also has special meaning and I thought it was a great place to feature it.

You see, it’s a cross-stitch that my Mom started, but never got to finish. She purchased it in England, and it’s of a little thatched roof cottage. We were on this trip together, and drove through the countryside where cottages with thatched roofs were scattered along the way. It was just so pretty and quaint. When hubs and I got married, my Aunt finished this piece and gave it to us for a wedding gift. My Aunt was on this trip too, and she was the driver… that’s right, wrong side of the road out in the English countryside! Can I just say, I’m so glad she was the one dodging the Hawthorne bushes, driving the M3, and navigating the 4-lane round-a-bouts?!!! 🙂

The point of this post is to share a tip for hanging artwork, but it’s also to demonstrate something I really believe in. And that is the value of the stories behind the pieces in your home. There is a sweet irony in the timing of this post… the 2012 Summer Olympics are taking place in London at this very moment, and these special pieces just happen to be attached to my time in the UK twelve years ago, almost to the day! So as we catch some of the Olympics, and I glance at my prints, I am reminded of a time in my life that feels like just yesterday, and I feel connected… See what I mean about the stories?…


All Photos by Sheila Zeller

6 thoughts on “My Design Ode to the 2012 Summer Olympics”

  • Very nice, Sheila! I don’t use templates, but I usually have someone else hold them up while I back up and view the position before I start nailing. When I do larger groupings of art, I position them on the floor first. Then I take a quick photo of the grouping before I start trying to recreate it on the wall. That way, I can always check back on my camera to figure out what to do next.

  • Looking good! I too love using templates, they are soo helpful in getting it right without nailing too many holes. I hung up some artwork yesterday and even though I thought I had it right, still had to make about 3 holes – argh….

    Your place looks so large and spacious! I am jealous you have hardwood floors!

  • The Stonehenge piece looks great where you hung it – it’s not necessarily a spot where you would expect to see artwork, which is what makes it so interesting there 🙂 And I think you found the perfect spot for the the two stacked pieces 🙂 I love you you’ve hung them low enough on the wall that your lamp becomes part of the vignette.

    I often buy art on our trips too. Two of my prints from Cape Breton were in a drawer for 13 years before they made it onto my ocean-inspired gallery wall. Oh well, better late than never, right? Now we can both enjoy the art from our trips 🙂

    • I bet it was exciting, and also a nice moment of reflection when you hung your Cape Breton prints… that’s why I like to buy a few pieces of art from my trips – they always bring back a memory, a moment, and a smile 🙂

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