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Custom Watercolor Artwork For My Hallway (Without Any Actual Watercolor)

Remember how I originally intended to use the bird illustration gallery wall in the hallway, but then loved it so much I put it in the living room instead? Well, that left me in need of a brand new idea for the hallway. I searched on Pinterest for inspiration, but couldn’t really find any grand ideas that I wanted to use.

Then I decided that since it’s a hallway, I wanted something more personal and meaningful to Matt and me. I’m not necessarily one of those people who likes a bunch of framed personal photos all over, but having something truly meaningful and special to us in the hallway felt just right to me. Immediately one photo in particular came to mind.

Matt and I got married in Canby, Oregon, in a picturesque little chapel surrounded by gorgeous trees, and this has always been one of my favorite pictures from that day…

wedding day at Canby Chapel

So I had a grand idea. Y’all know that I absolutely love watercolor. Anything from landscapes to abstracts, if it has that watercolor painted look to it, I’ll probably love it. So I decided I wanted to commission a watercolor artist to paint that picture really large (20″ x 30″) to fit inside a 24″ x 36″ frame with a mat.

Of course, finding someone who can paint such a large piece with quick turnaround is quite the challenge, but at this time of the year, it’s impossible. And I’m the type of person who likes to have a grand idea and act on it immediately, so the idea of waiting three or more months for my artwork just didn’t appeal to me.

Then I remembered a post I wrote almost four years ago about apps you can get for your phone that turn photographs into artwork, and one of them specifically was a watercolor app called Waterlogue. So I downloaded the app, and used it on the photo. It was a good start, but definitely not the final end result I wanted.

wedding day chapel picture turned into a watercolor using Waterlogue app

This was clearly a project that I couldn’t do myself, so I called in reinforcements — my mom, the Photoshop expert. My mom is a retired professional photographer and photo restoration expert. She’s the person you would go to if you found a rare picture of your great great grandmother buried in the back of your closet, then noticed that half of her face was smudged or torn and you wanted the photo restored to its original condition. My mom is a wizard with Photoshop. You’d be amazed at some of the magic she’s worked on restoring old (or even not-so-old) damaged photographs.

So I sent the picture from the Waterlogue app to her and asked if she could use it as a starting point, but make it more…something. More colorful, more artistic, brighter, not quite so blotchy, and maybe a tiny bit more detailed. And she did just that. She turned the above picture that I created just using the Waterlogue app into this…

chapel watercolor completed

Isn’t that amazing?! I have been so unbelievably excited about this. Here’s the original photo and the “watercolor” side-by-side for comparison. I left the picture pretty large so you can click on it and see more detail.

Canby chapel watercolor artwork - before and after

And here’s a comparison of the picture just with the Waterlogue app on the left, and the changes my mom made on the right.

Canby chapel watercolor artwork - Waterlogue app only on left and customized changes on right

I didn’t want this printed at WalMart like the bird illustrations. I wanted this done right, so my mom sent it off to her professional lab to have it printed and mounted. It arrived yesterday, and I was ecstatic to see just how beautiful it looks in person. I had her print it on the lowest sheen paper available, and it actually does look like a watercolor painted on watercolor paper.

I had already ordered a double mat for it (I told you I was excited and anxious! 😀 ), which I found here on Amazon. So as soon as I got the print home, I attached the mat to it and propped it on the console table in the hallway.

watercolor chapel pic in hallway with console table

I still haven’t found a frame for it. I’ve searched high and low, both locally and online, but I just can’t find anything that’s right. And I thought that seeing it in the hallway might make it clear to me what color I need to paint the console table. (I’m definitely painting it. That stain is way too countrified for my taste.) But I just can’t seem to make up my mind.

This picture just might be my favorite thing in my house right now. 🙂 I want to find a frame and a console table color that will do it justice, so I don’t want to rush any decisions. But at the same time, I’m so excited to see this wall all put together with that “painting” as the star.



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  1. How about a grey for the table. A taupey-grey several shades darker than the stripe on the wall? With the doors and that picture, I think anything beyond a neutral would compete. Maybe a medium-dark green, like the trees?

    1. Yeah …. I do like your wedding photo and i think it looks really good as a watercolor. But I do think that your little console table would look nice if it were painted grey and then you put your wedding watercolor above it.

  2. Love love love love It! (Btw, does your mom sell her services? I’d like to hire her to do something similar with 2 of my favorite pictures!)

  3. That’s such a great picture! Your mom did an amazing job. I kind of wanted to see the before/after of the app-only and the mom-tweaked versions next to each other- it was hard to to see the more subtle changes without a side by side comparison. But I could tell she vastly improved it, and not just changing the street to grass. I have no idea what color you should paint your console though 🙂 I was going to say blackish green like the tree shadows but it seems a bit dark for the spot. And sky blue is too bright.

  4. WOW…it is stunning – you both look stunning! Amazing choice !! Love your style! If you’re looking for recommendations for a paint color for the table, possibly two shades darker than the stripe on the wall? That way it blends nicely, grounds the table, and lets the picture take the center stage! Just my opinion…but I’m sure you’ll have some good ones of your own!

  5. What a lovely bride you were! I love this watercolor! Could you try a graywash in the wood? It would show the grain while bringing it out if the rustic country look.

  6. Hi Kristi,
    This is one of my favorite projects you have done because it has so much meaning, very artistic. The hallway is a perfect spot for it because it is so personal. I personally would frame in a black and paint the console a soft black in a pearl finish. Bring colors from the picture with table accessories, like a good looking fake plant with flowers you might have had in your flower bouquet. A timeless look giving the arrangement presence…not competing with any other color for attention. This could be Matt and your special place and close to the bedroom reminding you of that very special day.

  7. There’s like a muted raspberry looking color in your living room rug, a splash in your paintings in your entry and even a little bolder in one of your bird prints, that would be cool for your table. And maybe a wide gold frame, with some interesting detail, that compliments your mirror over your fireplace? I don’t know but it will be fun to see where you go with it! Love the picture and the idea!

    1. I was actually looking at a beautiful carved wood frame like that on eBay in the 24″x36″. I think it may be too wide, 3″, and cut off too much of the mat. It was really beautiful, though.

    1. It’s funny you say that because I felt the exact opposite. I LOVED the addition of the flowers. Without them I felt like the picture was flat. But, to each his own, right? 🙂

      1. I agree…the flowers were really needed near the bottom and the color is a very subtle pop that the pic needed. I love it.

  8. Love the picture! It’s very sweet and personal, but without smacking anyone in the face! 🙂 I personally like the suggestions that you paint the console table a darker version of the stripe. My thoughts are that a bright color in there will overwhelm the space. I think you can add color and interest ON the console table (plant, etc.) and let the painting and those decorative items shine. Just my opinion, though!

  9. WOW! Such a terrific idea and BAM! Hit it out of the ballpark 🙂 🙂 🙂 And for my 2 cents, I’d paint the table black 🙂

  10. This is amazing and one of those projects from you that I’m pretty sure I will try to do also!
    Kristi, just make the frame. Bodda Bing Bodda Bang ! You’re great with that kind of thing and it cost so much less.
    How would you feel about silver leaf for the frame and a dark gray for the table? There’s already so much color in the picture and the door that I think a neutral shade would not compete as much.

    1. This was my first thought – silver (because silver is grayish, and perfect for wedding pictures) for the frame, and the dark gray for the table. But that’s when I hit that paralyzing moment, and say, but wait, isn’t the light fixture gold? And what about the other hardware and fixtures visible from there? My inability to coordinate colors, tones and metallics means my things end up being white, black, or matchey-matchey! That’s why I love your work with color, and look forward to seeing your choice. Is it wrong to have a gold fixture next to a silver frame? I guess I’m looking for permission…

      1. It’s perfectly fine to mix metallic finishes in a room. 🙂 My general rule of thumb is to keep certain things that recur throughout the house the same, like door knobs/door hinges. But when it comes to decorative items that aren’t part of the basic house structure, mix and match to your heart’s content.

  11. For your frame use a med/dark stain and dry brush stripe color and the bathroom door color. Don’t use too much color.

  12. I really like this. I also think the table in a darker shade of the grey stripe and think a frame the color of the doors in the hallway would work perfectly.

  13. KRISTI!!!! This is beautiful. Your mom is super talented and did a fantastic job on your picture. Now I can see where you get some of your talent from! 😉 Hope you and Matt have a Merry Christmas!

  14. That is so cool! I just discovered Jami Ray Vintage, have you ever heard of her? You probably have, but she does amazing things with painting furniture. You should check her out. Inspiration may strike you and you would come up with your own cool idea!

  15. This is pure loveliness!!! Now, for the questions n of the day. Does your mom do this for the public and how does one contact her. I have something I would love for her to do for me.

  16. Just curious…. would your lovely retired mom simply chime in with what she was doing in her enhancements, some comments, did she stay in the Waterlogue app to accomplish this, etc?

    Nice that you have a team of support. Lovely pic of a precious day.

    1. I’ll see if she’s willing to do that. I’m the only one who used Waterlogue, and that was just to do the first stage of the watercolor process. Once I had that initial watercolor, I sent it to her, and she did the rest with Photoshop.

  17. Hidden treasures right under our noses. That is absolutely one of your best ideas yet. You are multi talented. I rate this your “best” idea yet. Not to take away from all the beautiful work you’ve done but “treasures of the heart”, speak to me. (Funny, I’ve been searching for that “little white chapel/church” painting for a few months now. This is perfect in so many ways 😉

  18. I also was thinking along the lines of painting the table a darker version of the stripe, but then I thought, maybe this is a perfect place to bring in some of that lovely dark purple from the breakfast room. Just a thought (I like the dark raspberry idea, too, but it would be tricky with the doors…). I’ve long since learned that whatever you come up with will end up as my favorite of all the ideas (other than painting pristine Victorian wood moulding! Haha!!! ;-)).

    I imagine I’ll be seeing this DIY watercolor idea pinned all over the place now. It is really lovely!!!

  19. I love the final product with the watercolor look. Beautiful and will be perfect in that hallway.

    I like the idea of painting your table a couple of shades darker than the taupe stripe. I think a neutral frame for the artwork with maybe a thin stripe of gold around it? You definately don’t want anything to overshadow that beautiful watercolor.

  20. I know Canby well and that little church. How awesome you were married there.
    I like the way your mom removed the pavement and used grass and flowers to replace it. The whole thing is just a great idea and execution start to finish!

  21. I always love everything you do, but this is stunning! What a beautiful way to commemorate such a special day. Truly beautiful!

  22. Kristi,

    This is perfect for your hallway! I was disappointed to read that your Mom has retired because I would love to do the same thing. Maybe next year. Thank you so much for the Waterlogue app. What a great idea. I too, love the personal touches you do.

  23. The “painting” is beautiful! Your mom is very talented 🙂

    I love your hallway, but it has kind of a beach-y feel to me. Maybe you could do a sleek, glossy (not literally), contemporary finish on the table and frame to create balance? Do they make acrylic frames similar to your curtain rods? That could be cool! It’s there, but barely 🙂

  24. Love the picture. As for a color for the table….this probably is too much color for that small table, but I absolutely loved your buffet when it was painted coral and the flowers your mom added are a bit coral, don’t ya think? I’m sure whatever you decide will look beautiful.

  25. It’s not often you share personal things like this photo. As I look at it, I see your style perfectly, from the colors in the new and improved watercolor to your dress. Lovely! And I like the addition of the flowers.

  26. Never in my wildest dreams would I have suggested this pre-green kitchen but ever since I saw that green I’ve wanted you to bring it back somewhere else! Or a light green to form a visual continuation of the grass so it all leads back to that beautiful painting

  27. It’s a beautiful watercolor…your mom did an amazing job! Question is, what color is that blue door to the left of the console and who makes it? Pleeeeeease!

  28. Love it so beautiful and special! I’m hoping for a coral esque color similar to the flowers in the print. Whatever you choose though will be beautiful you always end up with perfection 😊

  29. I love that picture! It’s so charming and looks fantastic as a watercolor. I would like to do that for our wedding picture (taken nearly 44 years ago) to put in our bedroom, where we have very little on the walls. And the table would look fabulous a couple of shades darker than the stripe, without taking away from the picture.

  30. It’s a gorgeous picture! You never cease to amaze me! Can’t believe I am about to say this…..but….a black frame would be stunning!

  31. Beautiful! My first thought is for a darker gray for the table. And I love the flowers your mom added. You are so incredibly talented.

  32. Black or white frame to match other frames somewhat.
    Try a color from earlier, like the from the cabinets, buffet or fireplace ans see which works.
    Or try what you did to the dining table here if you want to give wood tones a second chance.If you ever move it to another room, it instantly works.

  33. What a beautiful photo…console maybe a little darker than stripe on wall. You seriously amaze me with the ideas you come up with.

  34. That is a lovely rendition of your special day! I love watercolors too, they are easier on the eye. Your Mom is such a talented, creative lady – no wonder you have the ability to do what you do! I’m at a loss on the color for the console.

  35. Oh Kristi, this is really special! Congratulations. Your mom did a superb job!

    I have not ideas for the table. Although I think I would go along with the others about the grey.

  36. That is a gorgeous picture of a beautiful couple on a very special day! And your mom did an outstanding job with making it the watercolor picture of your dreams! Now we know where you get your talent from! The husband of a dear friend of mine restored some old family pictures from the late 1800s for me, the result was amazing. Turns out my great grandfather was very handsome, but it was hard to see that in the “before” pic. Isn’t technology amazing?

    I think a silver leafed frame would be beautiful for the watercolor. I’d be interested to see the table with the top and bottom shelf area stained with an additional coat. Otherwise, I have no idea what color to suggest for painting it!

  37. Have you considered adding tangerine to your color palette? I love tangerine with greys, teals and navy.

  38. This picture is lovely. That little hallway may end up being your favorite space just because of the picture. Regarding the table color, while I am not crazy about the current stain, I do like the brown tone (I am not sure I am saying this right). The darker shade of the gray stipes feels matchy matchy and won’t show off the beautiful piece. Too much saturated color will distract from the painting (although something along the lavendar line (not purple) might work); black seems just too jarring for this space. It is a tough call and I am the first to admit I am not the best with color. I have painted a table for my daughter-in-law three shades of navy and still am not happy. I want to use Hale Navy but she thinks it reads almost black. I might just paint it anyway and not tell her the color HA. That is the beauty of paint, if you don’t like it you just try a new color. Anyway, good luck with your color choice. I will look forward to seeing your decision.

  39. Have you considered doing the liming/acid wash/pickling [what ever they call it now] on your table. making it a gray, but still showing the wood grain, and you could frame the picture in the same type of color/wood. Not to silver, but not to tan either.

    The greys in the picture are all good choices. some are cool and some are warm. It would not overpower, but it may not stand out enough, not sure.

    I know it will be excellent, which ever you choose! And Merry Christmas to you both.

  40. Kristi,

    Love the photo!!! I can totally understand why that’s your favorite thing. Would be mine too!!

    We have hand done pencil drawings of our kitchen from the architect that I intend to frame & use as artwork. They are amazing!!

    Your table…I think black or a very dark brown would be a nice pop or contrast against your wall but wouldn’t compete with the door color or stripes.

  41. Kristi the watercolor is absolutely beautiful and even more special being that your Mom did it for you & Matt. I like the idea of painting your console a darker shade of the grey? Or what about a white wash over the wood? You have great taste, so it will look beautiful whatever you decide.

  42. Hi Kristi…I have been a huge waterlogue fan and have had many photo’s “altered” to the water color look! I love the magic.
    I have since discovered canvasdiscount.com with ridiculously low prices and have my pictures printed on large canvasses. I do understand that I have a faux water color on canvas but I love them. Example of the prices: 8×12 for $4.00!
    You may enjoy playing with the upload feature to create the size you’re interested in…..

  43. I love everything about this…except..i am completely distracted by the added pots of flowers. For whatever reason they are the first things that stand out to me. I saw your final before the original, and my first thought was to wonder what those pots looked like in the original. Lo and behold they weren’t even there originally. They just don’t look natural to my eye.

    Nonetheless, I really love this project, and I can think of several ways I could do similar things with old photos of my own. Thank you, I’ll post if I do try it!

  44. I stumbled across your blog and can’t.stop.reading.
    I am going through every project! I’m your newest #1 fan! Lol! I love what you’ve done and the way you document it-all if it. The good, the bad and uh-ohs! Thank you for sharing your process, knowledge and missteps along the way. We just moved into a new home and I have all these DIY ideas tucked away. Now after reading your informative and very handy posts, I feel I have the courage to give these ideas a try!! Thank you!