How to hang a gallery wall in 9 steps

In my mother’s lexicon, we call a gallery wall “The Smithsonian Institution.” The best gallery walls tell a story about the people they surround, like a museum of  lives.

They can seem tough, but I’ve found nine steps to making a wall pretty and personal.

This is the gallery in our upstairs loft, which my mom helped me assemble from things I’ve collected over the years. (The camera angle makes the silhouettes seem higher than everything else, but they’re even with the eagle on the mirror in the middle.)

Step One: Limit yourself to two or three colors of frames. Mine are white and black with silver accents.

Step Two: Choose a large centerpiece to anchor the wall, like this bullseye mirror I found in an antique store.

Step three: Choose things that are round or oddly shaped, especially things that have unusual texture, like aged metal or wicker or yellowing paper. This metal horse is a vintage piece from FOUND.

Step four: Add a few vintage keepsakes to make the assemblage look collected instead of bought, as well as adding in meaning. This hat was my Granna’s, from the ’40s.

Step Five: Dig around the garage for things that tell your story. At my sister Heidi’s house, we unearthed her husband’s deflated football and hung it on the wall, along with a favorite baby outfit.


Step six: Almost anything that means something to you looks good in a frame. I dressed up this old varsity letter, because my T was a jock.

I found this greeting card when Tyson and I were first dating, hoping he might be more.

Photo booth pictures? You bet. This was from the best Halloween Marni and I had in New York City a few years back. We danced on tables at the Standard Hotel.

Step eight: Lay out your treasures on the floor in front of your wall. Get the spacing between the pictures as even as you can. Balance round and small, light frames and dark, on each side of your arrangement. Start hanging them up.

Step seven: Hang something in an unusual way — not from the usual hook or nail. Try an oversized coat bracket, or one of those pretty Anthropologie hooks. I used a boat cleat and ship’s rope from ACE Hardware to hang my Granna’s old dating journal.

Step eight: Add something with major three-dimensional texture to break up the flat plane, like these paper antlers from West Elm.

Step nine: Make sure that it’s filled with things that mean something to you, like this drawing my editor did of my Grandpa,and old librettos from the Metropolitan Opera in New York. This is your chance to show off things that you love but don’t know what to do with.

Some contenders:

*Vintage family photos

*Maps of places you’ve lived

*The matchbox from your honeymoon hotel or favorite neighborhood restaurant

*A love note from your kid

*Your wedding invitation

*Your parents’ wedding invitation

*Framed jewelry inherited from a grandmother.

*Diplomas and awards

*Baby photos of everyone in the family — even you.

At the bottom of my wall, I added vintage letters that spell out “Proud,” which is how I feel about everything in that space — family, friends, experiences, and love.


By |2012-11-06T05:32:19-07:00November 6th, 2012|DIY + Projects|0 Comments

What Halloween looks like at my house (without me)

Happy Halloween from New York City and your stranded friend Jaimee. I’m so glad I decided to start packing light just in time for this trip. (Ugh.) But I am safe, and grateful to be. I’m spending the days  wandering around upper Manhattan with dazed New Yorkers, who are suddenly not in a hurry, and therefore a bit lost. It’s a strange, suspended New York.

Meanwhile, here’s what Halloween looks like at my house in warm, dry Phoenix. I set it all up before my trip, so I could come home to the fun. Sigh.

T inherited these monster gloves from my grandparents’ attic, which he will use at the Halloween party to traumatize my niece for years to come.

Pumpkins on the dining table, all in a row.

I found this bony wrist at Michaels. A perfect spot of spook for the bookshelves.


I hope you all love Pop Rocks as much as I do. I found the pumpkin variety at Churn, a sweets and ice cream shop near my house.

Spots and studs.


This pumpkin stack will last through Thanksgiving. They’re from Trader Joe’s, my favorite place to find unusual pumpkins in Phoenix.

I put pumpkins anywhere I can: bathroom, kitchen shelves.

Even Bergdorf gets a costume. (That’s his name, chosen by my sister Kapri.)

Wishing you all fun tonight with kids in costumes and roasted pumpkin seeds. And if you need a jack-o-lantern carving idea, may I suggest this:


By |2012-10-31T07:33:20-07:00October 31st, 2012|Style|2 Comments

My four-hour laundry closet makeover (the black paint strikes again)

The reason I had black paint in my life to begin with:  I wanted to makeover my laundry closet with huge black and white stripes. Tyson went out of town . . . again. I got out the black paint . . . again. (Where will I attack next!?)

My hair, apparently:

It’s possible that I put on a baseball cap and went to Target like this. And Ace Hardware. And Home Depot. And the grocery store. And I’d do it again.

Our laundry room/closet sits off an (undecorated) hallway behind these double doors. I liked the idea of the doors opening to a big surprise.


DURING: The taping extravaganza occurred on a Saturday night, and Puddinn’ and I went back and forth via text over who was the sorrier soul: she alone in bed watching movies with wine, or me on a romantic date with Kermit the frog tape. I won, because I ordered pizza for dinner so I wouldn’t have to leave the house. #MissPiggy

But in the morning, I woke up to the AFTER:

Isn’t it fun?

I kept walking down the hall, opening the double doors, and pretending to be surprised – like I was on a TV show and there was a big “reveal” and the camera wanted to catch me in a squeal. (I dislike the word “reveal” used as a noun, by the way.)

And clearly, I should not be left at home alone.

THE DETAILS: To accessorize, I dragged out a random assemblage of bits I had tucked in the garage and in cabinets, unused. I hoard strange things. Last weekend, for example, I bought a vintage lucite cowboy hat.

For my equestrian fantasies, I added two horse bit hooks I found on clearance at Anthropologie a few months ago, thinking my clothes closet needed some Polo flair. Much better here: they can suspend things that need to hang dry. The hooks were $32 each, but I paid $8 – and lucky you, they’re still available online. The bamboo hangers were left over from a client’s decor project. They’re from Cost Plus World Market, about $12 for 4-5 hangers.

What, don’t you have pumpkins in your laundry room? I keep OxyClean and Borax in these pretty glass jars – look for these at Hobby Lobby or HomeGoods/T.J. Maxx/Marshalls. I’ve had them for a few years – it’s a good upgrade from store packaging.

My laundry baskets are vintage fishing baskets I dragged home from an antique store on 7th Avenue.  They previously lived in a sad corner of the garage, holding books that I still need to take back to the library.

The silver hook holding the blazer below is an actual boat cleat, inspired by this photo gallery idea I cribbed from the Pottery Barn catalog. In theory, it will hold more line-drying clothing instead of the blazer my sister wore to compete in Miss America.

I unearthed those weird wooden leg forms from my pile of discovered treasures. (Lucite cowboy hat? REALLY?) They’re actually vintage stocking blockers — used once upon a time for knitting stockings, or molding pantyhose, or somesuch. I found them at Grey House Antiques in Tucson. I liked them in the laundry room because they reminded me of walking into my Granna’s lavender bathroom and seeing her pantyhose wrung out and dangling over the shower door.

My Granna was a NUT about laundry.  She folded her sheets to fit perfectly on her shelves and kept her pillowcases in ordered, tri-folded rows. I had lessons in these things, but sometimes, when people come over unexpectedly, I gather  all the piles of clean laundry waiting on my sofa to be folded and shove them back into the dryer to hide.

Probably, she’d consider that inspired.

What do you think of my makeover?

By |2012-09-18T05:30:10-07:00September 18th, 2012|DIY + Projects|6 Comments

Try it: I painted my living room wall black

When I was an intern at the L.A. Times a dozen years ago, I had an all-white bedroom. I liked to lie on my white bed, beneath white mosquito netting, and consider the fragrance of the white Casablanca lilies I kept ever-present on the nightstand. Often, I played Pavarotti. This all-white room (in my friend Kim’s sweet beach house) felt like all I’d ever need in the world. (I was 22, OK?)

When T and I moved into our new house, the walls were white and I wanted almost everything else to be, too. The result was pretty, but all the furniture was fading together. I needed drama and contrast. And so last weekend, I had black paint on the counter and an encouraging friend on my sofa.  On a wild, gleeful spree, I painted one of the walls black.


I love it. My friend loved it. Her event-planner husband pronounced it fantastic. My mom and sisters – ultimate test – all approved.

Tyson is not sure.

I explained to him why it works: the room is large, the ceilings are high, and half of the walls are floor-to-ceiling windows. The place is flooded with light. All the furniture is light and bright. The black makes the shape of the furniture pop.

Am I crazy? Do you like it?

P.S. This weekend at the grocery store I was greeted by a cardboard bin of  pumpkins – real, stacked, orange pumpkins. (I squealed and posted a photo immediately to Instagram — are you following along? I’m @JaimeeRoseStyle) Anyway, another major pumpkin find: pretty silver-leaf pumpkins at Michaels. They come looking like this. And they come in gold, too. You don’t have to do anything but display and pretend you silver-leafed them yourself.

But now really, I want to know: the black walls . . . would you, could you? Am I nuts to be so in love?



By |2012-09-10T07:18:57-07:00September 10th, 2012|Style|10 Comments

Bits (that’s British for things you don’t need)

My British friend Angela has a gorgeous accent and a charming vocabulary. I love her word for the little fripperies we haul home from our travels together: “bits,” she’ll say, filling her carry-on with teacups and earrings, or paper straws.

Bits = the small, inexpensive, pretty objects of life.

I love bits.

(Angela’s husband has ordered her to not bring home any more bits.)

I keep telling myself the same, but can’t obey. Some new favorites:

A vintage silver salt cellar in my cupboard of bits.

A miniature clock for inside the medicine cabinet — yes, late again. (From Kitty, something like $12.)

Ty’s Sunday morning donut ritual under a mini silver dome from The Grey House, my favorite antique store in Tucson.

And little Miss Scarlett dancing in my living room in her pink nightgown — the best bit of all.


By |2012-02-22T07:52:49-07:00February 22nd, 2012|Style|2 Comments

Alphabet-Addled: Sugar Paper monogrammed coasters and prints

As a writer/journalist, my brain spins to think that our entire society and communication pattern is held to a set of 26 letters. I collect ways to properly worship our system.

Monogram Coasters Sugar Paper

Alphabet of the day: Sugar Paper Monogram Coasters, which I found when I was hoping to run into Reese Witherspoon at the Brentwood shop. (It’s her favorite.) They make me feel very put together, $24 for 15. What I really wanted, though, was a set of the whole alphabet to frame. There are even matching notecards, $26 for 10.

My mom was with me, so I got an extra party favor: the letterpressed alphabet print. (It’s not sold online.) Thanks, Mom.

(Photo by Michael McNamara for The Arizona Republic.)

I also had big eyes for these typewriter note cards, $28 for 10, and about drove my genius blog designer Carrie insane trying to get that typewriter in my header. (Sorreeeee, Carrie.)

Add Sugar Paper to your Los Angeles must-sees. It’s a pink paper paradise.

By |2010-08-15T15:29:54-07:00August 15th, 2010|Style|0 Comments

I hate my armoire

I still have my armoire from the early ’00s. You know, those hulking mammoth beasts meant to hold wretched ugly televisions. I had mine built to hold the most hulking, awful (man-purchased) TV ever. Happy news: we upgraded to a flat screeen years ago. Dilemma: I still don’t like looking at the television, so The Hulk remains. Almost 8 feet tall, four feet wide, and three feet deep, it occupies approximately 1/2 of my 800 square feet.

(What? Don’t you all love pictures of your house at Christmas?) The Hulk is feeling a bit outdated to me (or maybe just outspaced.) It needs some love.

I could paint it black and white, like so:

(The lovely above can be found at Kelly Wearstler’s Maison 140, my fave L.A. hotel.)

I could do something about the doors. Maybe mirrored panels, in homage to the Oly Studio Elisabeth, as seen in Domino.

I could downsize: Hickory Chair’s Cleo cabinet is beautiful (and $$$$).

By Suzanne Kasler for Hickory Chair, the Tuxedo Armoire is also tempting me:

‘Or, and here’s my favorite: scour the globe for a vintage fireplace and trick that baby out, like so:

Details here, spotted on Apartment Therapy.

What should I do? Even new hardware would help. (Distressed cup pulls from Lowe’s, $20)

By |2010-08-15T14:51:52-07:00August 15th, 2010|Style|1 Comment


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