Crescendo of light

by jenny on 20 May 2012 - 11:06am

So I’ve been missing Virginia lately. And nature. A lot. So much that I spent two weeks back home last autumn to witness my favorite season for the first time in 10 years. That’s right. I graduated college in 2002 and moved to New Mexico that summer. Where everything is brown year-round. Then it was off to the Bay Area in 2005 for several more seasonless years. Here in the city we have more of a year-round concrete hue. It didn’t really bother me at first… I hardly noticed it. Then suddenly a powerful homesickness and craving for nature snuck up on me. I spent another two weeks back home this spring.

Simultaneously, I’d been trying to figure out what to do with this wall. As much as I love our wedding photo, it looked small and dwarfed when featured as the centerpiece of such a huge space.


For the longest time, I had grand intentions of doing something very similar to these YHL dining room shelves.


I loved the idea of beautiful and functional organization for tableware so close to the spot it gets used… but was a bit apprehensive that we wouldn’t keep the space looking nice and neat as we put things back. And then, of course, there was the small issue that if you were using quite a bit of your tableware during dinner, the shelves would be looking kind of empty and not so pretty.

Then Lih pointed out that even the skinny 10 inch shelves they used would take up too much space in our room. Given our long seats-at-least-eight dining room table, the addition of shelves would mean a bit of a squeeze at best when trying to walk past the table on either end. I conceded that he was probably right and the fate of the shelf idea was sealed.

Then I turned to another YHL idea: the gallery wall.


I pinned some other gallery wall concepts that I liked as well but hadn’t had the motivation or inspiration to take one of them on. It seemed like a lot of work… and I didn’t know what I’d want to frame. So I’d been living with a barren wall for a very long time.

But back to the task at hand. I suddenly had a very clear idea of what I wanted to be looking at. Nature. Yes… if I couldn’t actually be back in VA, the next best thing would be to surround myself with pictures of it. And my recent success with my living room wall had me anxious to pretty up this one as well.

I started looking for nice quality canvas photographs of nature and landed on I found I could even search for “Virginia” and get precisely the sort of nature I was missing. I pinned like mad.

Three big canvases roughly the size of the wedding photo seemed about the right amount of art to do this wall justice.


With so many great options, how could I possibly choose my favorites? Then I thought, why not change out the art to match the seasons? So in the autumn, it would look something more like this.


LOVED the idea… but at $150 a pop, that would be $1,800. I decided to pick three that would work year-round for $450 and then maybe expand my collection later.

While weeding through to find the winners, it dawned on me that staring at pictures of Virginia all day wouldn’t do much to alleviate the homesickness… actually, it would probably make it worse. My concept for the wall gradually changed to the idea of embracing the beauty of the Bay Area and its own flavor of nature. More mad pinning ensued.

After spending literally all day on this, the finalists were chosen. Three gorgeous representations of California beauty to adorn my wall. I even thought to lean toward choices that incorporated both blues and greens, since that’s the house-wide color scheme I’m going for.


As an afterthought, I decided to pop over to Ikea just to price-check what their canvas prints go for and make sure I wasn’t paying anything exorbitant. And then I found this.


The scale here is pretty accurate, folks. The Ikea canvas print is 78 ¾” x 55,” which is about the same width and significantly taller than the three picture display I’d put together. It kind of blew my mind… I didn’t know they made canvas prints that big. And here’s the kicker: it was only $150. I was torn. Very torn.

I decided to let Lih choose which display he liked better — without mentioning the price difference, of course. He’s artsier than I am and pointed out that one big print seemed a lot more cohesive than three smaller ones that didn’t really “match” in the same way 3-piece canvas sets usually do. While pretty and similar in theme and color, the angles and lines in the three canvas display didn’t go together well and gave a disjointed feeling, so despite the fact that it was Ikea and mass-produced, he preferred the single wall-sized canvas.

And that was that. When I mentioned the price difference he was very pleased with his choice indeed. ;) I was so ready to get beautiful nature up on that wall that I didn’t give it a second thought. I was off to Ikea the next day.




Bonus: By going with an Ikea print, I got to discover how one finishes the corners of a wrapped canvas, something I’ve always wondered about just a bit. It’s just like wrapping a present.




Looking good so far!


Time to break out the tools.


…and it’s perfect.


I might as well mention that I intended to center the picture vertically on the wall as well as horizontally. Somehow I managed to goof the calculation so that there’s exactly 10” more space on the bottom than the top. …but it turned out well since the picture now hangs just above the tops of our chairs and doesn’t get visually blocked by them. Yay for happy accidents.

I love, love, love it. The “sunlight” streaming in makes it feel like an actual window, and the scale invokes the feeling of a real tree.

It’s kind of impossible to capture with the camera, but in person it’s even more stunning since the lush greens in the canvas pick up the greens already scattered around the room in the form of actual plants. See this post for shots of some of the plants in this space (our living room and dining room are one big open area).


Was wondering about this pic for my new pad and how I would get it home,how it would look on my wall etc.You answered all of my questions. thank you.

new photo

You've got your tree back!! Hanging in your DR yet. Very impressive photo. It looks happy in its setting. I'm so glad you found it and love it!!!



Ha! Yes -- I hadn't even thought of that! This one should be safer from cleaver-wielding landlords. ;)