DIY-ish Picture Matte

If you ask my husband, I am the queen of finishing something 98%, then calling it quits. I will clean the kitchen spotless, yet somehow every time overlook the kitchen sink, leaving scraps of food laying in it. I don't necessarily mean to do it, it just somehow happens. As much as I'd like to argue against this fact, this last guest bedroom renovation has been no exception. I really should have done a room makeover reveal months ago, but instead have continued to stare at this large blank wall on one side of the room. Really, everything has been done (for so long now that I'm already itching for a new duvet cover), yet this one wall has remained bare. This time I can't plead the case that I forgot about it. Oh no, that big blank wall just stares you in the face every time you walk in. It was more so that I didn't exactly know what I wanted to do with the space.

Rewind several months back to March when Kyle and I traveled to Paris and visited a French Flea Market (you can read all about that here). One of the items we purchased was a floral print picture. It was from the first collection of engravings printed in color and dated back to the 18th century. I've always loved the vintage floral prints, so decided it was worth the splurge to purchase one. I knew it would look great in this bedroom, but unfortunately one picture wouldn't really do the trick for this wall. I still kept that idea in mind while finding a different space for the original print.

So now fast forward to a month after that when I was out browsing at one of my favorite resale stores. The store specializes in buying entire households of items before they ever make it to an estate sale. It's one of those places where you never know what you're going to find, but always manage to walk away with something. Well that day I spotted three of these vintage floral prints. They were originals, however the matting and frames were totally not my style. But for the price, I figured I could figure that out later. 

It was clear someone had spent a lot of money on having these pictures professionally matted in leather and framed with a large, ornate frame, but I was going for a more simple and understated look. The first step was swapping out the frames. I found a company online, Art to Frame who specializes in creating odd sized picture frames. I ordered three classic styled frames in a silver-grey shade.

I thought this would suffice, but I just couldn't look past that textured leather matting. The color was off and it just felt so formal. The dilemma was that the matting was attached to the picture, so I couldn't really find a way to remove it without compromising the picture. Well, if I couldn't remove it, I would have to add to it! I reached for a can of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Cream and proceeded to paint over the leather. 

I kept the coat of paint pretty thin by first dipping my brush in water. I didn't want a perfectly solid coat of cream, just something to soften up the overall look.

The end result...it still has a hint of elegance, however it's a much more casual kind of elegance.

The toned down frame and matting really help to tie everything together. They give the pictures a fresher look that's more conducive to the style of the room.

And finally, no more big, bare wall!

And while I will never actually consider a room 100% done, I will admit that this room is pretty darn close!