A simple outline around a picture can make the difference between “looks good” and “looks great”.
The BIG frame up
We needed some big impact in our living room. I mean, BIG. We found this oversized abstract wall art from West Elm. At seven foot tall, it had the presence we needed for our 18 foot wall. The West Elm wall art looked good but I knew it could look great. On a white wall the art didn’t pop. What it needed was a big outline on that big white wall. It needed a frame. A simple project with a lot of impact.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
Poplar wood – Poplar wood is a good affordable choice because it typically has a straight, uniform grain which is good for staining. Choose a size that proportionately fits the canvas. For my large canvas I used 1 x 3 poplar.
Miter box and saw
Wood stain, polyurethane, steel wool and disposable foam brushes
Panel nails and hammer
Measure the length you will need for the top, bottom and sides. Measure each separately. Each sided may be slightly different.
Cut each piece with a miter box at a 45 degree angle. Make sure you cut the angles correctly. It’s easy to have a dyslexic moment and cut the angles wrong.
Mark the ends of each piece top, bottom, left and right. This will be helpful when putting the frame together. Stain both sides of each piece. After the stain has dried coat both sides of each piece with polyurethane. Three coats should be enough. Between coats lightly sand with steel wool to smooth the grain.
Lining up the mitered corners, nail each piece directly into the sides of the canvas.
Now our seven foot canvas is the focus on the wall instead of blending into the wall.
Mad Men is over but Don Draper’s world lives on. We see his living room flipping through the pages of a Crate and Barrel catalog. In artwork inspired by the era at West Elm. At IKEA, the Scandinavian originator of today’s modern functional design. And if we’re lucky enough to afford it, the real deal at Design Within Reach.
What is so appealing about this era in design? FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION. Not a catch phrase but a practical manifesto for post war Europe and America. While Europe was rebuilding, America was entering an era of manufacturing might. After the hardships of war decorative design elements became frivolous, costly, and time consuming. New techniques in manufacturing introduced the world to new possibilities. Artists began designing with a view towards a modern utopia. Not to decorate and hide, but to reveal the structure within. To make beautiful the materials of manufacturing. Strip everything bare to its simplest forms. Painting became abstract, office buildings exposed their skeleton structures, and furniture became bare of decoration. Ultimately, a simple beauty emerged which remains timeless and still popular today.
Modern design emits hope. Hope in the future. Hope in possibilities. Hope in ideas and invention. The style will never go away and will always continue to evolve.
The simple elegance of this design period plays well with so many other styles. It’s been combined with african art, oriental rugs and global textiles.
We’ve said goodbye to Don Draper and company but we’ll never say goodbye to modern.
To view the entire galley of award winning Mad Men sets at Interior Design click here.