hen I was 12 or 13 I saw this amazing wall full of keys in an Anthropologie store (I know, I know – Anthro strikes again. They’re a constant source of inspiration for me and it’s been that way for awhile!). Visions of recreating a similar wall have been dancing in my head ever since. Seeing as this is the month to add some spice to our walls, now seemed like the perfect time and our bedroom seemed like the perfect space.
A “before” picture to kick things off:
I had those huge posters printed for Bobby the first summer he came to Vermont. While he was at work one day I taped them up and surprised him. They were an inexpensive way to create a visual impact, plus they were fun and quirky. But they had run their course and it felt time to graduate from “college dorm room” to “grown up boudoir” (ha!). We were ready for an update.
My search for antique keys began.
While in Maine earlier this summer, my mom and I stumbled across this great antique store with great prices. That’s my kind of spot. I quickly sniffed out some treasures, including a bunch of old keys. I nonchalantly asked about the price and the guy said he’d sell them to me for a quarter each. “SERIOUSLY?!? I WANT ALL OF THEM!” I shouted in my head but said in an “oh that’s cool” voice to the man. (You see, I’ve been searching on-and-off for keys for awhile…most places I’ve found sell them for $2 each. There was no way I was paying that much so I’ve been holding out.)
Similar to how I hung up my washi tape display, I scattered nails across the wall in a cascade-type, irregular pattern. Then I started hanging up the keys.
This key belonged to a Caterpillar machine. Instant conversation piece (you know, for all those dinner guests who tour our bedroom…)
Once all the keys from Maine were up, though, it wasn’t quite as much of a statement as I had hoped for – it was a start, but a relatively small one. I had grandiose ideas of this waterfall of keys…and this certainly wasn’t it. More keys were needed to make the wall say “BAM, HERE I AM.”
I was in luck when Bobby and I visited the Brimfield Antique Show (uhhhh an amazing experience. I already can’t wait for September when it happens again.).
Amidst all the odds and ends, furniture, and old books, I found a seller who had hundreds of keys. And he was willing to sell most of them to me for $0.25 each. Hallelujah! I bought a big pile.
I filled in the wall with the additional keys and made the design more dense. It had the exact effect for which I was hoping.
I’m still going to be on the lookout for additional keys. The more the merrier! For now, though, I’m more than content with where this is at.
A nice change from the posters, wouldn’t you say?
Oh, hi Graham! (Ha, he was being cautious here because he thought he was about to go in his crate…)
I’d say this “month of making” has already been a raging success – and there is still more to come. Onwards!
Grace, I’m so happy you finally got enough keys to do this project! I’ve been waiting along with you. :)
Looks good! You know how friends have sent me sand from the beaches they’ve traveled? Maybe they’ll send you old keys, if you put out the word. Here’s hoping. :)
I like that idea – that would be really great if people sent me old keys. I’ll put out the word – will you do the same for me, pretty please? :)
This reminds me of the flying keys in the first Harry Potter book. Love it!
You’re so right, they do have that magical, flying quality! Ha, I love that series so much but must confess I that I don’t remember the flying keys (or a million other things about the books). Time for a re-read!
This is great! It reminds me of when I needed something to interest-up my apartment in Denver, but I didn’t want to make any holes in the walls. I glued beautiful puzzle pieces on all my aunt’s plants that she had left me while she went out of the country for a year. She came back to all her pots re-decorated!
Ooo that’s a fun idea, Caitlin! Did you take any pictures of the pots? I’d love to see them if you did!
Grace the keys look very nice, I think old keys hold incredible stories, and I can’t help it but looove old keys.
Hope everything is going good over there. Lots of news over here, can’t wait to tell ya!
Have a nice week.
They do hold so many stories! I love all the discoloration and knicks and scratches. Ah, I must respond to your email ASAP – I want to hear this news!! xoxo
Dear Grace, I don’t know how I missed this post, but I LOVE the key installation!! It looks fabulous! And I agree about old keys holding stories…just seeing a wall like yours makes one’s imagination fly! xoxoxo Gini
Thank you, Gini! It’s been really fun to finally have this up. I’m happy that all the key collecting started up in Maine – it will always remind me of our precious time with you all at the lake! xoxo