Painting Gallery Frames: Cheater DIY from Bland to Black!

Not too long ago in one of my treasure hunting adventures I came across this set of four vintage pencil drawings, and knew instantly I wanted to take them home! Vancouver, after all, is my home away from home.

Pencil Drawings of Vancouver, BC

I love Vancouver! But… I wasn’t so sure I loved the blonde wood frames. I propped them up against the wall for the time being, just to live with the frames and see if a clear wax was in order, or if painting the frames black was tugging at my soul.

Lo and behold, on another thrifting adventure a few weeks later I came across two more drawings to this set.

Pencil Drawings of Vancouver, BC

So now, hmmm, a gallery wall with six framed drawings in blonde wood frames? I wasn’t feeling it, not for me. What I did know was I wanted to keep the frames. But here’s the thing. These frames are old, and this is what the back looks like.

Back of Vintage Frame

Tiny little nails hold the print inside the frame, so I wasn’t really keen on removing all the nails from all six prints to paint the frames. In fact, I needed to add a few more nails to push down spots where the prints have warped over time. I just call these imperfections the ‘Wabi-sabi‘ of the find!

So here’s the cheater steps I took to paint the frames without disassembling the prints from inside.

1. Tape off the inside edges of the glass next to the frame.

Taping Off Frames for Painting Prep

My painter’s tape is fairly wide, so I was able to take one strip and cut it in half length-wise to tape off opposite sides of the frame. If you do this, make sure you put the factory edge against the frame. I used an X-Acto knife to cut the end of the tape so it fit snuggly into the corner of the frame. Works like a charm!

2. Elevate frames on empty containers, and brush the first coat of paint on all sides of each frame.

Taped frames for brushing on paint

Don’t worry too much about the back of the frame. Just make sure the paint wraps the back edge slightly…

DIY Cheat - Painting a Frame with Print Inside

Like this. If you paint like me, that won’t be a problem! ūüėČ

3. Apply second coat of paint, and remove tape. TIP: Make sure you remove painter’s tape before second coat dries.¬†

Brush Painting Frames with Print Inside

I recommend scoring each edge with the X-Acto knife before you remove the tape. This will cut through any paint that’s already dried and help prevent the paint from peeling off with the tape. Remove the tape slowly, and leave frames to fully dry. Even when they’re dry, the paint will still be soft, and will knick easily

4. Once frames are dry, touch up any spots where the paint got away on you! And trust me, this will happen.

Spots for Touch-Up on Painted Frame

I cleaned the glass first just to remove any random paint flecks, and then used a black felt Sharpie with a chisel tip for my touch ups. To keep the felt from marking the glass, place a small, thin piece of paper between the pen and the glass where you’re doing each touch-up.

And voila!

My gallery find went from this…

Pencil Drawings of Vancouver, BC

To this…

Pencil Drawings of Vancouver, BC

From this…

Pencil Drawings, Vancouver, BC

To this…

Pencil Drawings, Vancouver, BC

And the whole set together looks like this!

Gallery of Pencil Drawings, Vancouver, BC

I bet you’re dying to know where I’m hanging this little gallery, huh? I promise, there will be a reveal. Just not today! ūüėČ

The thing to remember with a gallery presentation is it will generally be admired from afar. And that’s why I opted to do a quick brush of paint on the frames with the prints intact. The little flaws from this cheater approach won’t even be noticed. Normally I would remove the print, the glass, and all hardware. And then I would spray the frames for a smooth, even application of the paint. But in this case, seriously, would you pull all those little nails for that?

Thanks for stopping by!

Signature 100x47 b&w

Photographs by Sheila Zeller

IDSwest 2012: A Final Tour Through the Show

Omer Arbel 28D Bocci Desk Lamps

Now that the buzz has died down a bit, I thought I’d do a photo tour through the show with you! And seriously, this is just a snippet of IDSwest this year. But you know how it goes. It’s hard to see and do everything! Even so, this post is photo heavy, so you might want to grab a coffee, and settle in for a bit!

Up first are the whimsical Chickadee bird houses designed by Trevor Coghill and Nathan Lee of Contexture Design.

Chickadee Bird Houses

This exhibit features the prototypes designed for the Chickadee! If you’re loving them, the Chickadee bird houses are slated to be launched in time for Christmas.

This next exhibit was created by Hatch Interior Design out of Kelowna. This design firm specializes in sustainable interior solutions for the modern work place.

Hatch Interior Design Exhibit

5 interior designers were invited to create 4’x4′ spaces for IDSwest, and this is the space created by Hatch! I’m thinking all you need is a laptop, and you’re good to go, but I’m not so sure about the ergonomics of that stump ūüėČ

In the background you see the sign for MOES Home Collection.

Want a closer look?

MOES Home Collection Exhibit

MOES is a family owned and award winning home decor retailer. They have been in business for over 20 years, travel the world for fashion forward furnishings, and they source new pieces every week.

And we also had IZM modern furniture featuring their high quality handcrafted pieces.

IZM Modern Furniture

IZM furniture is built to last, to age gracefully, and to stand the test of time.

Back again this year was Salari Fine Carpet Collections with their always popular Salsa Lounge poufs by Paulig.

Knitted Poufs

Don’t you just love their texture and colour? And you have to admit, they bring in a little cozy, too! Salari also¬†launched a new collection of hand-knotted carpets that were inspired by photography. Totally stunning, but sadly I didn’t manage to get any photos of these beauties ūüôĀ

And speaking of cozy, how about this Trapper Chair by Identity Apparel’s Home Division?

Vintage Hudson's Bay Point Blanket Trapper Chair by Identity Apparel Home Divison

Identity is a brand stemming from the ideals of what it means to be Canadian. ¬†And this one-of-a-kind chair is made from a vintage Hudson’s Bay Company point blanket. Now how Canadian is that?

The glow of light you see hanging in the background of Identity’s exhibit is actually this!

Identity Apparel - Antler Light Fixture

Antlers. Are they in, or out? Either way, I thought this was a pretty cool feature that totally suited the theme.

And then there’s Montauk Sofa.

Montauk Sofa

Seriously. What’s not to love? I wish I captured the whole¬†grasshopper lounge chair in this photo, but it was super hard take a photo of this exhibit without people walking in front. This was a veeery popular stop!

Here’s a close-up of the walls (and the ceiling)!

Montauk Sofa Exhibit

Did I mention how much I love the Grasshopper Chair? See, there it is again, bottom left!

If you saw my last post featuring Matthieu LeBlanc’s¬†reclaimed wood creations, then you know how much I love his approach to design.

So when I saw these pieces by mth woodworks

mth woodworks - organic resin in hollowed out stumps

I was totally blown away to learn these salvaged pieces have been filled with organic resin! Isn’t this the coolest eco-friendly idea yet? And if these pieces from mth’s Bloom Collection aren’t enough, what do you think of this coffee table, also from their Bloom Collection?

mth woodworks - Bloom Coffee Table

I am totally loving the juxtaposition of this modern top and salvaged wood base.

ox + monkey. This gorgeous ceramic sculpture is one of theirs.

ox + monkey - ceramic sculpture in acrylic case

Yes, you read that right. This sculpture is ceramic, made to look like torn paper! Can you imagine the work involved? This piece was actually in a clear shadowbox, and I can see why!

I loved this colourful exhibit by Beyond Beige Interior Design. I just thought it was so much fun, and really demonstrated a great mix of pattern and colour.

Beige is Dead Exhibit

And even though I’m not a huge fan of yellow, I thought this light fixture made a perfect statement in this space! If you want to see your space infused with character, there’s no doubt, Beyond Beige can make that happen!

Lighting is always a big draw, and these pendants were no exception. They marked the Robinson Lighting & Bath Centre exhibit, and when I saw them I just had to get a photo.

Duravit - Robinson Lighting & Bath Centre

Don’t ask me what that green horseshoe is on the glass shade! I think it’s just the way my lens caught the light!

But for lighting the real show stoppers were definitely Omer Arbel’s Bocci 28D desk lamps.

Omer Arbel 28D Bocci Desk Lamps

Do you think the fact they lit up the bar, facilitated the ‘stopper’ part? ūüėČ Well, okay, it might have been the price, too. These lamps were being sold at an incredible price, for the show only, and were available in both yellow and gray.

One of the exhibits that caught my attention was Global Surface Solutions. Concrete fabricators out of Kelowna, they specialize in crafting unique concrete surfaces and products suitable for both interiors and exteriors.

Like this fully sealed concrete desk.

Global Surface Solutions - Kelowna

Looove this desk!

And all that you see here including the wall!

Global Surface Solutions - Kelowna

My friend and thrifting buddy, Carol from Carol Smyth Colour & Design was on the inside track with this exhibit! She consulted with this company to help them plan their booth. Check out Carol’s blog article for close-ups of the gorgeous vignettes she planned for them, and for a little more behind-the-scenes scoop!

Also working with concrete, was Sticks & Stones Furniture.

Sticks & Stones Exhibit

Sticks & Stones specialize in custom built furniture that features the contemporary beauty of wood and concrete. They work with recycled or reclaimed wood and materials to create one-of-a-kind furniture designs that are both modern, and functional.

I know the¬†Aya Kitchen designed by Kelly Deck Design has swept the internet, but I couldn’t imagine leaving this star out of the mix!

Aya Kitchen Design by Kelly Deck Design

I interviewed Kelly Deck at IDSwest last year, and if you missed it, you can catch up on the interview here. You will see reflected in this kitchen, the intelligent, timeless design Kelly speaks of!

Would you love to call this kitchen your own?

I know I’d sure love to call the¬†Brent Comber table my own!

Kelly Deck Design - Reclaimed Stump Side Table

Did you notice the gold detail in the crevices?

What I really appreciate about the Aya kitchen is the collaborative effort that went into its conception, and which ultimately resulted in its standing ovation success!

And as we exit this photo tour, I wanted to leave you with a little more of…

Brent Comber Exhibit

A creator of sculpted and functional objects, design environments, and a specialist in designing modern urban forms from ancient sources.

Brent Comber Exhibit

Brent Comber Exhibit

Brent Comber Exhibit

Isn’t Brent’s work incredible?

I hope you enjoyed the show as much as I did.

{UPDATE: The Marilyn Denis Show did a great recap of IDSwest}

{Click here to view}

I’d like to extend a special thank you to Jason & Leonie for once again providing our dlbWEST group with press passes, bubbly and the opening night tour! Definitely a great way to get the show started!

Thank you for stopping by!

Photography by Sheila Zeller

Lighting: The Lipstick in a Room

Do you know what brings a room to life?

If you said lighting, you are so right. Lighting sets the tone, creates the mood, and illuminates like a smile. As the lovely Kelly Deck puts it, lighting is the lipstick in a room! And if you think about it, lipstick can be light, bright, mid-tone, dark, glossy, sparkly, muted, or matte…

Do you want to see some of the lipstick that was in the room at IDSwest? Trust me it was the Guerlain of lighting!

This is the ‘tunnel’, the entrance into the show.

Does drum shade come to mind?

When you entered the room you were greeted by a twinkling exhibit called¬† Enlightened Design. My pictures don’t do it justice, but here’s a look anyway.

In the front-left you see the Varmluft pendants by Jon Karlsson for IKEA. I think these are really pretty in a whimsical way. And the red Torch Lights in the background, designed by Sylvain Willenz, also caught my eye. I think they would be great in a funky industrial restaurant setting. How about you?

Did you notice the shopping bags on the far right?

Up close and personal they’re so much fun, even if they are a little bright!

This is the other section of Enlightened Design.

In the background you see ceramic artist Jeremy Cole’s Aloe Blossom pendant. Even from a distance it’s just such a beautiful work of art. And the lamps to the right are Bastone lamps by Jaime Hay√≥n. They’re just plain, simple fun.

Loved looking up at these sparkling globes scattered throughout the area.

They reminded me of fireworks, but there was so much to look at, I had to move on.

These Cloud Softlights by Molo Design are incredible.

They’re made of paper, a hollow honeycomb structure, and are lit by LEDs. They’re really quite amazing, don’t you think?

And if you stopped in at the Tom Dixon pub that’s where there was a definite feast for the eyes. And this is where I saw my lighting love…

I have admired these Beat pendants for a long time… and it’s the image I wrote about here where they first caught my eye! If you check out the link I’d be curious to know which setting you prefer them in… the dark and sultry, or the light and airy?

And a similar style, but in white, are the assorted Step pendants.

What I like about both sets of pendants is the way they glow because of the finish on the inside… but for me I’d still take the Beat pendants first.

These brass Etch pendants are pretty stunning too.

They’ll add glam that will liven up any space, day or night…

And I love the drama these Copper Shade pendants infuse.

Warm, soft glow… understated with such a presence.

Mid-Century Modern anyone?

Yes please!

Just so many creative designs…

What’s a room to do?

All this lipstick, but which one do you choose?

Did you enjoy seeing IDSwest with me this week? It’s been fun recapping it for you. Maybe I’ll see you there next year. Do you think you might go?

And don’t forget… Next week I’ll be posting my interview with a very special designer, so stay tuned ūüėČ

Happy Thanksgiving – I hope you have a great weekend doing the things you love with the people you love!


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It’s about coming home… If you want a remarkable space that tells your story, contact me to see how we can help!

Did you enjoy this post? By subscribing to my RSS Feed you‚Äôll receive each new post without missing a beat! And you can find more posts here‚Ķ If a thought comes to mind, comments are always appreciated and I read them all. I’d love to hear from you‚Ķ


IDSwest: FRAME Magazine Booth

What do string art and FRAME magazine have in common?

Well, string art, though an artistic fad of the 70s, can also be modern and graphic. And that is what you’ll find on the pages of FRAME magazine. Creative, edgy spaces featuring astounding architecture that is punctuated with dynamic art and the coolest of cool products.

Here’s a look at FRAME magazine’s booth in the stages of set up at IDSwest this past weekend. (View a short video of set up)

With 2 days and the clock ticking, all the turquoise yarn was strung, and the booth fully installed. Did you notice the ceiling?

Great design is intentional, and as random as the turquoise yarn might seem, it is anything but. There is a deliberate attention to detail in the planning behind this booth, and every feature has a purpose. Did you notice the white frames? The translucent counter ‘framed’ in contrasting wood?

In speaking with Erik Bean, co-partner with Stefan Levasseur in the new firm Design&, he explains the ‘whys’ behind the booth design…

The¬†turquoise yarn was chosen because of its brightness and contrast with the white walls and white frames. ¬†The yarn’s chaos allows for the simple geometry of the counter and frames to break away and highlight their content — FRAME! ¬†Much the same way the magazine is able to edit down and highlight only the best design from a sometimes overwhelming¬†interior design discourse.¬†

Here is a look at the FRAME magazine booth on completion.

(L to R: Stefan Levasseur, Erik Bean, co-partners in Design&)

Now that you know the strategy behind the design can you see it? Take another look. See how the white frames and the counter pop to the eye? You can’t help but notice them and that which they are each framing… the magazine, FRAME! I wish I had captured the wall on the left, because it was really amazing too.

I love the subliminal strategies at play… you know it’s there, yet without consciously being aware… seeing without seeing.

Another thing I learned is this booth was built on a $500 budget. Can you believe that? And what really resonated with me was the fact that the team had to be resourceful. They had to find innovative and inexpensive ways to create the effects they wanted. One example of this is the white frames. They were repurposed from thrift shops, and then given shadow boxes. Can you see the shadow boxes in behind the white frames?

Oh, and did you notice the E on FRAME is backwards? Can you guess why that might be?

So what do you think?

Isn’t it amazing when you learn the concept behind the design? It completely changes the way you see things. Great design such as this is always effective even without an explanation. But once you know the thought that’s gone into the design, it makes it that much more interesting.

Credit for this booth is shared by Erik Bean and Stefan Levasseur with the other collaborators and young designers on the project:  Jeremy Calhoun, Max Hsu, Sanghyun Samuel Kim, Lucy Liu, Sophia Sengsuriya, and Amy Sissons.

And a special thank you to Erik Bean for providing me with this behind-the-scenes information that made this article possible.

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It’s about coming home… If you want a remarkable space that tells your story, contact me to see how we can help!

Did you enjoy this post? By subscribing to my RSS Feed you‚Äôll receive each new post without missing a beat! And you can find more posts here‚Ķ If a thought comes to mind, comments are always appreciated and I read them all. I’d love to hear from you‚Ķ



A Story Unfolds for Bloggers, CDLB West at IDS West

I’m back from Vancouver where I attended the IDS West show this past weekend… and what a show it was! There’ll be a whole lot more coming, but this post is about the incredible planning and organizing by our amazing CDLB West group leaders, Victoria Lambert of Edin’s House, Barbara Matson of hodge:podge, Nancy Marcus of Marcus Design, and Karla Adamatsu of Kerrisdale Design Inc. They made this IDS West weekend possible for the rest of us, along with of course IKEA,¬†our premier sponsor who was just incredible. Thank you Victoria, Barbara, Nancy, and Karla. And thank you IKEA!

Let the story unfold…

IDS West was held at the Vancouver Trade & Convention Centre. Have you ever been there?

Isn’t it unbelievable?

There is so much BC wood in the design, including these stunning chandeliers. They definitely set the tone for what lay ahead.

Our CDLB group was invited for a private tour on opening night…

And then to the opening night party too!

This is where we all met up…

To collect our Media Passes for the weekend!

I really appreciated having a Media Pass. And our remarkable organizers managed to arrange VIP seating for the presentations over the weekend too!

This is how our tour began…

A¬†glass of complimentary champagne…

And 2 fantastic hosts!

Jason and Leonie…

Click here to read more about our tour and the opening night party!

Saturday night. Let the rest of the story unfold…

The next big event was our cocktail party at the boutique hotel, the Loden, where a number of us also opted to stay the night.

This is a glimpse of the sitting area in the suite I shared with Andrea Johnson, another member of CDLB West.

It comes complete with nailhead trim and an espresso machine at the back!

And this is a glimpse of the special guests who joined us at our cocktail party…

None other than Mark Challen, House and Home style commentator!


These two amazing designers, Kelly Deck of Kelly Deck Design and Suzanne Dimma, editor of Canadian House and Home!!!

I know! Pretty incredible ūüôā And so were they!!!

The evening was filled with so much laughter the¬†volume would put a football game to shame! There were¬†lots of draws with amazing prizes, a grand draw for a $1000 IKEA gift card… and a¬†Twitter challenge too! The prize was a sleek bathroom faucet from Delta Faucets

Victoria Lambert Photo

Can you guess what came home with me?! Thank you so much Delta Faucets for your incredible support of CDLB West and our special evening!

And at the end of the evening we were each given a SWAG bag too!

Want to see what was in it?

Well, the Delta faucet wasn’t part of the swag bags, but I thought it should be included in the photograph too! Thank you so much to the many contributors who helped fill the swag bags with design and lifestyle delights!

And as they say, all good things must come to an end…

But for those of us who were still around the next morning, we enjoyed a nice breakfast together.

(L to R: Andrea Johnson, Myself, Karla Adamatsu, Barbara Matson, Victoria Lambert, Erika Reed Cook, Nancy Marcus)

And then some went their separate ways, while the rest of us carried on over to IDS West to take in Kelly Deck’s presentation.

This was the perfect end to an incredible 4 days!

And if you missed my interview with the incredibly talented Kelly Deck of Kelly Deck Design, you can read it here!