What to put on that wall??!!

2018-08-13T15:41:27-04:00July 12th, 2018|Home Decor|

Photo credit-Pat Bourque Photography

Why is it that summer flies by like a dream? I rather thought that time might slow down for a few nano-seconds as I was no longer working full time(my euphemism for retired). But it hasn’t…not one bit. People ask me how I like being retired but I really don’t have an answer yet. But I feel as thoughI have been very, very busy. No, not doing anything super productive…busy as in gone. I’ve been to Cashiers, NC, Smith Lake, AL, Greenville, SC, Brooklyn, NY and I’m getting ready to embark on boat trip up the ICW…the Intracoaastal Waterway. That’s something I’ve never done before. I think it will be fun? Will let you know. But being away from home so much makes me feel like I’m simply on vacation. As odd as it may sound, it wasn’t until this very week at home that it felt a bit real to me. Do I miss work? If one is to be totally honest, no, I do not. But enough of the navel gazing…I have a find to share with you!

It’s a conundrum that all of us come up against sooner or later in decorating our spaces…a big, awkward stretch of wall.  An empty gap, that just stares coldly at you every time you pass. I mean, it’s so big, no single picture or mirror will do the trick…a minnow in the sea. What can you do?

Could this be any more perfect…look at the colors!

Enter designer John Derian. His fascinating John DerianPicture Book … with a giant eye on the cover, is one of the most wonderful finds I’ve ever stubbled across. Derian says that most of the 300 images (he whittled down his collection from thousands-these made the cut) come from eighteenth and nineteenth century books, that were mostly, done for educational purposes, but certainly not all. Some are whimsical in the extreme…get an eyeful (you see what I did there?) of the one below!


So delightfully weird! “Look-alike” was a trade card published in the 19th century….

There’s a glossary in the back, telling the past of each image that he collected from all over the world. Once you begin to look through, I promise you’ll be lost in it-kids will love it. But it was also the beginning of a unique gallery wall in my daughter’s new home in Greenville SC. She had one of those big old awkwardly placed walls. I know what you’re thinking…”You’d cut up a gorgeous book to decorate a wall?” Fair enough, and obviously the answer is, yes. But here’s what John Derian himself has been quoted as saying on the issue…Being a crafter I want people to feel that it’s okay to take the book apart, frame, wallpaper a room—and wrap gifts with it, too.” Permission granted


Lay them out and see what looks right to you…get a nice mix of things..a little nature, some architecture, and of course…some whimsey.

All of the images all fit perfectly into an 11×14 frame(which you can find inexpensively). Decide on the ones you like the best, and then the fun begins. Mixing the colors and images to the way your eye likes them…and take some time doing this. You’ll be amazed at how moving or adding one or the other changes the grouping.  It’s such fun to play with!

Do you see how the grouping changed with adding the red lobster in the upper right hand corner from the one above?

The gallery wall in the room…I was really happy with the way it turned out. The turquoise rocker is an antique chair I’ve had forever in the basement…paint gave it an update!

So think what this one book can do…looks great sitting on a coffee table….entertain a curious child…provides some easy and inexpensive decor and the perfect gift! My son and daughter-in-law just bought two of them…one for themselves and one for a hostess gift.  Have any of you ever seen this amazing book?

Open it if you dare!

P.S. If you’re in New York, stop by Derian’s incredible shop in the East Village…it has the most beautiful things. And hey, don’t be a stranger….let me know what you think!


  1. Bob Lookingbill July 13, 2018 at 10:25 am - Reply

    I’m with the guy on the couch!

    • Donna July 13, 2018 at 12:51 pm - Reply

      You know it!

  2. Lana Amoroso July 13, 2018 at 1:36 pm - Reply

    Love the wall.
    I’ve been doing this for years. Not with the Derian book but with old calendars, old Life magazines, any pictures that were of interest to me. I’m pretty sure I’m headed to Barnes and Noble this weekend to get the Derian book though. Thanks for sharing. Miss seeing you on a daily basis on TV but understand your “retirement.” It comes for all of us eventually.
    God bless you.
    Lana Amoroso

    • Donna July 13, 2018 at 3:59 pm - Reply

      It’s lovely Alana….just lovely!

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