Tuesday, December 9, 2008

How Family Photos Transformed A Dark, Narrow, Weird Stairwell


Dr. Gollum loves to take photographs. A few years ago, we had them matted, and then we entered them in the local fair. He didn't win a ribbon, but I loved the photos and decided to frame them in the "basement staircase." It's so narrow and odd, even the Yorkies won't bother with it. They sit on the landing and watch me, as if to say, "Our mother is so strange. Why must she hammer and hammer?"

The stairway was further complicated by painted boards--you can see them going up both sides, and it's all my fault. I thought it would solve the handprint problem; but it certainly made hanging art a challenge. Dr. Gollum was more than happy to hammer the Way Up High nails, and he hung the pictures, too.


If you look close, you can see A Very Young Gollum with a marmalade cat on his head--this picture was taken over a decade ago in a Welsh churchyard (er, graveyard, or kirkyard).
So, as it happened, this stairway was brightened up considerably with family photos. Whenever I go downstairs, I can't help but pause a moment and smile at the swans from the Serpentine Pond or the snowman in the front yard of our first house or Blarney Castle (where, after a lot of climbing, I did NOT get the gift of gab). LOL

I know many design lists eschew photos, but personally? I don't understand those lists. I would really love to know who thinks up this stuff. And I'd love to tell them that they're wrong. A simple photo has the power to bring back a moment from a long ago trip, a smiling child, and a cat in a kirkyard.

41 comments:

  1. Your basement staircase walls look great!!! Walls of memories..I can see why you stop and pause..I sure appreciate the visit... :-)
    hugs ~lynne~

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  2. Wonderful memories there - and I couldn't agree with you more! Linda

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  3. Gollum,

    Dr. Gullom's photos look great in your basement staircase. Great idea! Each time you go down the stairs its like a walk down memory lane. :)

    xoxoxoxo
    Donna Marie

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  4. Dr Gollum has talent Gollum, these photographs are beautiful and look so good all framed up in your basement. Lovely memories, I would love to hear more about your travels to the UK.
    I used to take my kids to Hyde park to watch the swans my daughter certainly has the "gift of the gab" she would natter to those swans and ducks for ages :) hugs, Kathy.
    Hope you received my email re the Britishspeak.

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  5. I totalllllly agree . It is your home to do what you enjoy and enjoy what you do, Joy to all. Kathy

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  6. I totally agree with you Gollum... Who makes up decorating "rules" and even if they do, why do people feel the need to follow them??? I LOVE that stairwell. The pictures are amazing.

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  7. They're wonderful! The photos are beautiful and the placement perfect.

    I don't know who makes up all those rules either. I like to break those kinds of rules!

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  8. well said gg ! 5* vickydarnell

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  9. Oh I agree! I can't imagine a house without photos!
    Love the pic of your son wearing the "cat hat"! :-)
    Have a great day!

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  10. I agree, the pictures look great, and a good job with your choice of frames. I guess I never mentioned that we almost bought into a framing shop before we opened the boutique, so picture framing is another one of my past undertakings.

    'D'

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  11. First chuckle of the day in seeing those adorable Yorkies at the top of the stairs looking down.
    Dr. G's pics on the wall add just the right touch. The memories are priceless, so bah humbug to those list makers.

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  12. I absolutely love the way this looks, Michael. And, I think the boards on the wall just add to the design look of the pictures! GREAT job!

    Justine :o )

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  13. Wow what a difference that made... It looks so warm and inviting now... Great job Gollum... Have a spectacular day

    (((HUGS)))
    Donna

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  14. I think it's perfect. The molding on the walls just adds another frame to the pictures. :)

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  15. Love your photos! And although your "panel moulding" may have presented a challenge, the end product is beyond wonderful. I, too, love family photos and those that just plain evoke memories. I've often wondered about the rules against such. Who makes up this stuff? A home should be just that. It should reflect the ones who live there... not the so called powers that be! I'm giving you 5 big fat juicy stars for this--- and some hugs to go with them.
    Carol

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  16. I know what you mean about design rules.If someone famous breaks a rule they are the next new desing diva.A home is not a home without a family in it,whether in actual people or photos full of memories.I love the stair case you did,now don't pause and fall that would be my problem,kind of a klutz,hehe.Enjoy your sweet memories,Merry Christmas,Miss G.Smiles to you Kathysue

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  17. Oh Gollum...Those family photos really transformed your stairway!And how nice to see reminders of happy memories each time you go up or down. I laughed when I saw the Yorkies at the top of the stairs. Thanks for the visit to my blog. I love it that you lived in an old funeral home. My grandfather was an undertaker and my mom and aunt used to play "ladies" with the pallbearers gloves when they were little. Have a great day!...Debbie

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  18. Oh Gollum, this is beautiful. It looks like a perfectly planned and gorgeous design - from the painted boards originally put in to prevent handprints that now frame each trio of photographs perfectly, (I love things in 3s, don't you?) and the gorgeous frames you chose bring out the warmth in the floorboards down the stairs -- Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!

    I agree with you entirely - family photos do, and should always have a place in a home. It fills your house with love and good memories, and touches your heart each time you look at them.

    I got a good giggle at the photo of the dogs at the top of the stairs. They are so cute and so expressive. Happiness on four legs, as my son says.
    Hugs,
    Isa

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  19. I love how that turned out & I totally agree about the power of a photograph being able to transport us to another day and place in time..I love how you have the walls framed...I think it adds to the whole look! Have a great day girl!

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  20. Love the photo's, Gollum. I agree and love family pictures. I think if someone is trying to sell their house, they do not want TOO many family photo's out, but if you are not in the market to sell they are delightful! Love your stairwell, the pictures really added interest!
    Desiree aka desid

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  21. Ooops, forgot to tell you that I LOVE those little snowflakes falling on your blog! Thanks
    Desiree

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  22. Exactly! Whoever made up that rule must not like family pictures because of some deeply disturbing family issues.

    hugs,
    rue

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  23. I agree, Gollum! Give those "no personal photos" thinkers the boot! Your staircase looks lovely, and I love the way that you've hung them. You're right ... it makes the narrow hall a beautiful memory gallery!

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  24. The painted boards became the perfect framework for the framed art. Total serendipity if you ask me! Another design inspiration.

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  25. You did a fantastic job with a difficult area! The photos look fabulous there.

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  26. It came out perfect for this stairwell!!! Love it!

    Buffie :)

    Dr. Gollum is a cutie too! :)

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  27. I have been working on a huge wall and I have all the family photos pulled and copied in black and white. I still need to put them in frames. I need some advise on
    how I should hang them. I will post a photo tomorrow of the wall and see what suggestions I get. I have a really special quote to put above them. Your photos so make me want to stop what is going on right now and finish this wall; but it will have to wait until after christmas.
    Thank you for sharing your idea and those lovely memories.
    Blossom

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  28. I totally agree with YOU...and not the "critics" who say no photos, and do NOT tell my DH no photos either!!! I love your display. I have all my fovorite photos here in my "office" where I can see them (and change them out) when I feel the urge. Thanks for shring this, Michael! Pinky

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  29. What a wonderful journey you made this treck downstairs! I totally agree to disagree with the design experts! There is nothing more personalizing to a space, or more welcoming, than seeing photos of the occupants. I like knowing that real people live in a house. That's what makes it a home. laurie

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  30. Your framed photos look fantastic, and I think the painted boards actually enhance them. I agree that certain photos are so worth the memories that it contradicts the designer 'standards' of personal displays. They can be a conversation point, and if they don't invoke conversation, that's ok too. That said, your photos are exceptional and worth a leisurely stroll (not trip) ;) down the stairs! Thanks for sharing, Jan (jjlmnaz)

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  31. Oh, thank you all so much! I thought and thought about how to hang the pictures. You can't see all of the nailholes. LOL Normally I would hang the pictures with more "geometry," with the second picture in the first row lining up with the first picture in the second row...but it looked so stiff! It looked flat.

    When I put them off center a bit, it was much more interesting and gave the "rows" more of a flow.

    If you click on the picture with the cat, it will enlarge.

    Hugs to all

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  32. Hi Dear Gollum! I love how you've hung the pictures down your staircase. Let's all find out who made up this stupid rule and all go punch him/her in the stomach! I did enlarge and saw Dr. Gollum with a kitty on his head! lol
    Again, your home is so beautiful!
    Be a sweetie,
    shelia ;)

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  33. Gollum, I like your choice of frame and how they are uniform, then with them off center it really does flow much better. Very interesting! YoungGollum is very handsome, BTW! ~ Robyn

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  34. Wow, problem solved! Really clean, love the look!

    :-)
    Cathleen

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  35. I couldn't agree more! Pictures are the most wonderful reminder of all things past and future;) I had a hard time getting here again this is my fifth visit and finally my puter didn't freeze up....naybe I need a new one;) French

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  36. What a creative and beautiful solution to a tricky space.
    I agree with your sentiments. Isn't Style all about making it you! Whatever that may be. Love your home. So lovely.

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  37. Love the damask stair carpet! The photos look great displayed like that. As usual, I'm impressed.

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  38. I love the pictures...it's a brilliant idea and it worked so well...but I must admit my favorite part was the picture of the pooches looking down the stairs...that just tickled me!

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  39. Those photographs look so good on the stairway walls. You hang them so perfectly....Christine

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  40. I think Dr. G. is a very good photographer and should have won ribbons....

    We have friend in Wales who visited us last May and we hope to go to Wales this year. They have a centuries old church (kirk) within walking distance...Originally from Winchcomb, UK, they have restored and refurbished and old police station...

    As to dish collecting...there is a 'c' gene present in untold numbers of our bodies...the 'Collecting' gene....there's nothing we can do about it...it's in our DNA makeup...I'm passing it along to my daughters and granddaughters...

    So many dishes....so little time...so keep going at a break neck speed...Betty @ Country Charm

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There you are! I'm so glad you're here. Love, MLee xxoo

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