Framing Art

Buying art for a client’s apartment in San Francisco seemed like a piece of cake. Having worked with this family for 3 years in San Francisco and London, I know their style and budget. I had purchased their furniture for their San Francisco apartment over the course of a few months. It felt much more comfortable to them than the rental furniture they were using for the past two years. They were really pleased with the results.

“Thank you so much for the apartment transformation. It looks and feels really comfortable and beautiful to spend time indoors. Super job, thank you.”

Entryway print that the (more traditional) husband loves. His favorite animals are birds and parrots in particular.

I set off on researching art online to find “Afro-centric” works and I found a few galleries in the area where I could see some pieces in person. Working with specific dimensions to fill particular walls, there were limitations. I would actually “google” specific sizes and descriptions but often, I would end up on generic art sites with great SEO optimization that weren’t relevant at all to what I was hoping to find.

I ended up putting together dozens of options for my client which I would email to her because she is a world traveler and rarely in town. After getting her likes and dislikes, I narrowed down the images, and the prices ranged from $20 to $400. Some were prints and some where actual paintings; two were fabulous masks found on Etsy along with two vintage oil paintings that came from a French antique shop depicting rural Africa.

So with all these beauties in my possession, I now had to figure out how to frame them. I personally collect art and have had pieces framed over the years but my budget has been small so my choices have been limited. Getting to pick the “right” frame for my client’s artwork was a tremendous treat! While there was an unspoken agreement not to go “hog-wild”, I was still able to find fabulous frames within their budget. I did not have the vintage French paintings framed as they were hung in the master bedroom which they prefer to have a “causal California” feel. I splurged in the living room where I hung 5 of the images.

While you think you know what may look right against a print or a painting may just end up being a bad choice once you actually see it finished so I relied on my local experts for help. When confronted with a mat that is white or off white or Robin’s egg blue or beige, what’s best? Do I want a black frame or a brown frame or decorated or plain? Should I keep it simple or does this image deserve something more substantial?

I started at Frame Crafter’s in a local mall. It’s run by two women who know what they are doing! After trying out what I suspected would look good, one of the women came up with the winning combo!

The dark mat with a bronze frame with texture perfectly matched the rest of the modern/causal decor. I was thrilled to see the results.

I next went to Cheap Pete’s looking for a more moderately priced frame for a piece for the daughter’s room and I came away with 3 pieces custom framed (and not the one for the daughter’s room). I didn’t know that they did custom framing. The young man who helped me make my decisions was fantastically patient with me and, again, I was thrilled with the results. The two prints by Kehinde Wiley were a bit challenging because they were different sizes so I used the same frame manufacturer but different styles.

I am always so grateful to all of my clients for how much I learn on each job. It’s a pleasure to work for such kind and generous clients who allow me to expand my experiences. And that they love the results makes it all that much better!!

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