Operation: A Well Hung Peter Redux

First off, I just want to extend our best wishes for the speedy recovery of our surrounding communities as they were hit by a horrific F4 tornado over the weekend.  Fortunately, no one we know was injured – it is still unclear at this point whether others in those communities suffered losses but our hearts and prayers go out to everyone impacted by this tragedy.  Many of our friends have lost their homes and I can only imagine what they must be feeling at this point.  Keep your heads up and we are all here to help wherever we can.

I had some downtime so figured it was good time to crank out a quick post.  Project Auuuunnnnooold has entered another phase and that is taking a huge amount of my days/nights, so I need to get these out when I can.  If you recall, Linda’s favorite photographer is Peter Lik.  Clearly an unfortunate name to carry through the early school years.  If you are an avid reader of this blog you might also remember a trip to Vegas a couple of years ago netted us our great room centerpiece (link here).  Earlier this year we made our annual trek out to the desert.  Our new tradition is to visit the Peter Lik Galleries to see what is new in the collection.  We should probably reconsider that new tradition since we now have a new piece for our guest room.

These are cell phone pictures so don’t take this as an indicative shot.  The captivating component of Peter’s work is how it reacts to light.  Again, you really need to experience it in person, but imagine the shot above as the “low” light state.  It essentially darkens and the vibrance in the sky kicks in as if the storm is in full force – this is the reason I thought of this post topic based on the recent events in Washington).  When the lights are on it, the pictures brightens and the lone tree becomes the focus of attention.  The storm then looks like it is just building in the distance.  Quite amazing really and dramatic change is what captivated Linda enough to want to add it to her collection (she may claim it was I who wanted it, but that’s probably just crazy talk).  They added an Elements pack of our choosing so we technically came back with FIVE Liks.  Of course, the minute we signed on the dotted line the thoughts switched to the work to hang it.  The last one took everything I had, but the guest room would not require any stress with the cultured stone that the great room had.  There was one MAJOR concern that kept swirling around the head – it had to be hung in a manner that provided confidence it would not fall.  This condition is not so much a concern for the replacement cost, but rather due to where it was going – essentially directly over our sleeper couch which means directly over the heads of our guests.  This was not something to take risks on.

The picture needed to be centered on the wall or I would soon end up in a psych ward somewhere – Linda often points out my small amount  of OCD when it comes to symmetry.  Non centered or worse yet crooked pictures will slowly grate on me until I can’t take it anymore and have to do something about it or vacate the room – and no, this is not just in my house so my apologies ahead of time if I happen to tweak a picture when no one is looking hehehe.  Having help build our home, we have the luxury of knowing exactly what the interior of the walls look like.  This provides direct access to where the studs are and any interferences that might be in the area.  The first concern was the plumbing for the master bath on the other side of the wall, but that turned out to be lower than the hanging point.  The stud locations were the problem.  Unless there was some way of knowing ahead of time what you are going to put on the walls, just assume you will NEVER have a stud where you need it.  I knew this going in so spent the flight home trying to think of a way to address this problem and still allow for the picture to be perfectly centered.  The graphic scene of this picture hitting someone sleeping under it kept popping into my head.  The standard answer is to use drywall anchors but history has shown those can pop out if they do not get a good hold or if too much weight is applied.  This picture is heavy so wanted to leverage studs … if I wanted any sleep when we had guests.  After significant noodling this solution evolved.

Hit the jump to read details on the hanging process

It is pretty hard to tell at this distance what is going on, but wanted to give the overall view before diving into the details.  First of all, the top metal anchors are definitely in studs.  This met the key requirement so the picture wouldn’t send someone to the hospital (or worse).  I did not take a picture of it, but like the first hanging, I made a paper template and put it on the wall first as a visual to determine how high it should go on the wall and most importantly .. give validation it was centered left to right – the frame has a curve on it making it hard to just measure it directly.  Once the placement of the template was set it was just a matter of finding the closest stud moving inward to the picture.  Of course, they were different distances in!  The design took that into account – all that mattered is they were both in studs and as far up from the frames anchor points (on sides of the frame) as possible without going past where the frame started to curve at the top.  Note, the gallery requires it to be hung by those points as opposed to running a wire across the back – the wire would eventually break the frame.  Here is a closer look at the stud anchors.  I found them at Lowes and they were rated way beyond the weight they had to hold.

Pretty clever hook – the 7 pins went in at downward angles holding the hook solid – it passed the pull down test with flying colors.  It is going to take some serious downward force to get those to give.  Okay, so that addressed the weight issue, but not the alignment issue.  This I was willing to address with the drywall anchors.  If for some reason they gave, the picture would just slip a little but stay affixed to the wall.  All that needed to be done was to put the wall anchor directly above the attachment points on the frame – think these were placed about 6 inches above the locations of the frame hooks.  Lowes also had anchors that were specifically designed for wire hooks which would work perfectly when turned ninety degrees to help hold the wire in place.

Hopefully now the wide shot makes a little more sense.  I can’t tell you how long we stood in Lowes working out the details of the plan .. actually, Linda can probably tell you EXACTLY how long!  So, now I have a majority of the downward force vector addressed by the stud anchors at the top – that would be taking all the load if it wasn’t being directed on a slant towards the outer width point.  This adds an additional force vector inward on the wall anchor but only a fraction of the total force is being applied to that weaker connection point.

From there it was just a matter of holding the picture up to the wall, putting the wire through the frame hooks, making sure the proper height is set and then twisting the wire around itself about a thousand times to make sure it didn’t let go.  Repeat on the other side and presto!

..another well hung Peter.  I appreciated the extra leeway for setting the height – having to get the screws in the exact spot to align with the fixed hooks on the picture would have taken a looooong time.  Our guests can be assured, this Lik will be staying right where its at.

What a relief.  Again, don’t judge the art by these crappy cell pictures.  Check out one of Peter’s galleries sometime to get the full effect .. or just come on by and check it out for yourself.  The show lighting isn’t finished yet, but you can still see how it changes to the ambient light in the room.

That’s all for my little problem – seems so trivial now in light of what our friends are going through – please keep them in your hearts and prayers, they can use all the help they can get.

2 thoughts on “Operation: A Well Hung Peter Redux”

  1. Nice idea to bend the wires where you needed them to go vertical! And a cool picture, too.

    You did forget, though, to thank Dan and me for our constructive comments from the original pictures you sent of the installation. I presume you followed our suggestions such as remounting the picture 5/16″ to the left considering it is now centered over the couch. But I’ll be measuring it more exactly when I’m there Saturday. I’ll bring my own tape measure and laser level, no worries, glad to help.



  2. Thank you!
    I love it when a plan actually works – this being typed as I look down at my den floor covered in the all too frequent failures (somehow those never make it to the blog hehehehe)

    Yes, I did forget to thank my two brothers who, as stated, did provide suggestion on how to improve the overall project. I decided to heed the 5/16 suggestion since that would probably drive my OCD into overdrive. This resulted in having to completely pull out the pins in the frame holders and spend a few hours trying to match up the texture with filling crack. Then shifted over both of the side pins since those were the main placement points. That would have been easy but I ran into the pipe on the left side – again, not a huge problem, just tore out that part of the wall, double 45’d a PVC bypass, re-boarded, re-plastered taking care to again match the texture and through a coat of paint over the whole thing. Now for the bad news. Unfortunately, after doing all this it looked 5/16″ off the other way. After all that, I went back and took out all the late changes and put it exactly back the way it was. It must have been an optical illusion from the cell picture – sorry about that, should have used the big boy camera.

    As a warning, I’ve taught Kerby to attack anyone with a measuring tape (just saying..)

    Hey, thanks for taking the time to comment – two in one night – impressive


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s