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Place family photos down a hallway or stairway to create an art gallery

September 11, 2009|By ROSE BENNETT GILBERT / Creators Syndicate

Q: We have a lot of family photos with four siblings and 14 children between us. I used to keep our photos on a large round table in the living room, but we've outgrown it. Plus, my sister is a professional photographer who sends large prints. Please, we love seeing the family, but need ideas on how to display our ever-growing collection of photos.

A: You're right-on: For maximum impact, it's key to display similar items, like photos, all together in one place.

The trick, as you've found, is finding the right area in the first place. One suggestion: Hang the photos down a hallway, on both sides, so it's like walking through a gallery.

Another thought: Arrange them floor-to-ceiling on a wall in the living room or family room. Put the frames close together to create architectural "wallpaper."

Or you might commandeer a stairwell and hang the pictures up and around the wall to be enjoyed as you climb, as in the dramatic pictured stairwell. Adding interest to life's ups and downs, this family's "archivist" has framed all the photos simply and very much alike. Then the photos were grouped by theme and content to help make visual sense of the display.

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The effect is intriguing, if a bit dizzying, and proves yet again that the sum is truly greater than its parts -- even when more than 1,000 photos are on display, according to author Michael Lassell, who included the stairwell in his new book, "Glamour: Making it Modern" (Filipacchi Publishing).

Q: Tired of looking at television?

A: We mean the flat blank screen itself (not much we can do about the programming, per se). Home decorators, who have been trying to hide the TV screen since the era of Uncle Miltie, finally have a solution.

One inspired company is offering framed fine art prints that motor quietly down over the screen between viewings, then rise again at the touch of the remote. You have a wide choice of frame styles, from traditional carved and gilded wood to contemporary steel, leather and mirror. The subjects and sizes of the Giclee prints are as varied as any art collection: landscapes, Oriental paintings, seascapes and even photographs. Or you can supply your own art or photography.

It's a sophisticated way to escape the blank eye, but it doesn't come cheap -- think $7,500 and up. But, hey, you'll finally have something worth watching on TV. For a closer look, visit VisionArt at www.visionartgalleries.com.

Q: A while back, you wrote about using wood garden trellis indoors. I loved the idea, but now I can't find my clipping of your column. Can you tell me again if I could put trellis on my sun porch wall, and where to find something better than the garden variety at my local lumberyard?

A: Wooden garden-style trellis -- or "treillage," as the French have it -- came in, literally, with Elsie de Wolfe, the woman who invented interior design as a paid profession, around the turn of the 20th century.

Trellis has never gone out of fashion since Elsie delighted tout New York by trellising the interiors of The Colony Club, the first for women only, designed by Stanford White. The club kept the treillage when it moved to new digs uptown, still using it as their signature motif.

That said, you can trellis your sun porch and know you're in great company, especially if you seek out the high-end, quality trellis made by a company like Accents of France (www.accentsoffrance.com).

Rose Bennett Gilbert is the co-author of "Hampton Style" and associate editor of Country Decorating Ideas.

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