Hello from Algiers, where the number of coronavirus infections continue to rise. There are some new restrictions, like most shops will be closing at 3pm now, and there’s an 8pm curfew for everyone. We’re still safe and cozy in our Algiers house, seeing friends in socially distanced gatherings, and working almost exclusively from home.
This post is about the completion of an epic dining room gallery wall, but also a reveal of the dining room itself, which is probably my favorite room in the house, as it’s the location for dinner parties. (At least it was, in pre-COVID times. Now, if we have a gathering, it’s outside on our patio).
So first: The room. When we received photos of our future house, I was 1) surprised it was a whole house just for us, and 2) Intrigued by this room with all the windows.
And when we arrived in July of 2019 and saw the room also had two sets of French doors that each opened to charming balconies and that the room had a vaulted ceiling with wooden beams, well, we were smitten.
The one piece of government furniture I kept in this room is the hutch. I switched out the knobs, figuring the black made the piece look a bit more modern. I do not like the two-toned yellow finish. Do I want to buy a fabulous hutch and potentially go over our allotted weight limit schlepping it around the world with us? Maybe. Probably.
The rest of items in the room — the rustic wooden table and 1980s black lacquered dining chairs we bought in Spain; the little black dresser that has always been missing a bottom drawer; the rustic-industrial console table from Jerusalem; the black and white IKEA rug; a hearty dash of Moroccan accessories — it was all working just fine. And I really dig these very Moroccan-looking drapes from Anthropologie.
One thing we did right when we moved in: Replaced four wall sconce lights in the room with West Elm globe lights.
One day a few months back, I was in a work Zoom meeting, and my eyes traveled up the mostly bare white wall above the console table.
And up and up and up. It’s a high wall! And you know I hate bare white walls. It hit me: It needed to be a gallery wall. It was screaming for it. That night (or whatever, during the day, as I doubt my boss reads this) I proceeded to mock-up a gallery wall using Google slides and screenshotting art from Minted. Minted’s art selection, all from independent artists, is awesome. It’s where I got the massive mural in our bedroom. I selected all black and white pieces, a few photos, some figure drawings, a little whimsical ink drawing of four pears. I also decided to have a photo I took during that magical trip to the Sahara desert blown up and printed.
All the pieces finally arrived to Algiers, and I had them framed at my favorite frame shop. When the embassy workmen put up the gallery wall, it looked a little more spare than I had envisioned, because I didn’t really account for scale in my mock-up. I envisioned a fairly crowded wall, but all the white space bothered me.
So I went back to my Google slides and played around with adding a few more pieces from Minted. When those finally arrived, I hung them myself, perilously perched on the top part of the ladder that is pretty clear it does not want anyone standing on it. I lived. The gallery wall looks just how I wanted – modern, clean, dramatic. I like to stare at it often. In addition to all of this art looking great together, I really love each individual piece, from the Slinky going down the stairs to the piece called “Writer’s Block” (that’s the black squiggle in the upper right corner).
As you can see from the last photo, this is Adam’s flute-playing area. The room, with its high ceilings, has great acoustics.
This gallery wall was a really satisfying project because I had a vision, I selected and ordered all the things for it, it wasn’t quite right, I selected and ordered more, and then I BUILT THAT (GALLERY) WALL. It was a project that from conception to completion took about two months. And really, during coronatimes, which feels like such a time of languish, completing something feels real good.
We won’t be in this Algiers home forever and so the wall will come down. I’ll bring all this lovely framed art with me to future dwellings that very likely will not have 18-foot ceilings. But I also really love the look of a gallery wall that extends from floor to ceiling, so that’s likely what this will look like in the future.
To gallery walls,