Before and After: Entry (Kind Of)

Good news--did I tell you I was able to recover some old photos of my house? I have a set of about 14 that were taken when I first moved in, and I found the hardcopies in a box of photos in my office. They weren't the best quality, but they were better than nothing after the accident, so I was happy. My mom, however, came thru for me because she kept the ones I originally emailed her years ago (shout out to my boo!!). She said her holding on to things finally came in handy, and I agree! I didn't send her all of the originals, but she had the basics, so I'm farther than I was 2 weeks ago. So this post was really supposed to be about a project I finally completed last night, but as I was reviewing the photos I figured it just made sense to go ahead and show (a little bit of) the whole thing.

This is my entry when I moved in. I really didn't mind the parquet because it reminded me of an old NYC apartment (which this is definitely not), but the footprint of my house is relatively small downstairs, and I figured it made better spacial sense to go with a continuous flooring so everything would look as unified as possible. The day I closed I went to the house and pulled out all of the carpeting in the living room, dining room, and on the stairs. I already knew I wanted bare stairs after looking through so many magazines. I had my awful "contractor"--that's what he called himself, but I later realized that while he could be called MANY things, "contractor" was not one of them--stain the treads and paint the risers and newel posts white. As a note, if you ever decide to tackle this project make sure you (or your contractor) stain 2-3 times and then polyurethane. DO NOT use the stain/poly mix for a project like this, because the stain will lighten with the high traffic. Outside of the "contractor's" lack of expertise, I still love most of my choices today. Here's the after:
The hanger is there as a styling prop (just kidding). My special project is the gallery (humor me and call it that) on the wall. This wall has been blank since 2006, so I'm extremely excited to finally have something up on the wall. I bought a bunch of frames from various thrift stores and spray painted them white. Of course I had photos of the whole process (because I love action shots), but they've died and gone to heaven, so you'll have to imagine the old ugly frames. Some of them already came with mats, so I sprayed those and bought new mats for the others. They orgiginally looked something like this. It's a work in progress, so bare with me.
Some were metal and some were "gilded", but you get the picture. The frames have been done for awhile, but several of them didn't have any way to affix the frame to the wall, so I found these sawtooth hangers at Michael's. They're just what I was looking for, but they're not easy to hammer, since the nails are so small. I used a larger nail to start the hole deep enough so that the smaller nail would stand upright by itself, and then hammered it on home. A tad bit difficult, but when they're only $.75 for a 3-pack, you find a way to get it figured out.

Most of the photos are copies of old family shots, made on the Kodac machine at Target (or Walmart, CVS, etc.), and they turned out well. I have a few others I'd like to use, so I originally thought about trying to layer them on the wall, but I don't think that will work because of this.
That's a bad photo, but if you don't understand, it's a looonnng way up. I should've taken one that showed the distance from the stairs to the top. I don't want to die trying to hang some photos, but I've been trying to figure out what people do in this instance. Would you (foolishly) attempt to use some sort of ladder, or just layer as far as you can safely reach? I love the way it looks because it's a step up (and project completed) for me, but with you, my blog friends (and real friends) looking at it with fresh eyes, I realize it might look a little unbalanced. I was in a fabric store on Monday and saw this, which got me to thinking that maybe I should just go this route instead.
This will obviously require additional funds and professional installation, so I'll have to see what it looks like after I add another layer of photos. Do you think this is a better choice (I already know you don't like this, Mom.)??? Holla back!
**I wish I was better at keeping up with all of these blog parties, 'cause I'd link to stuff so much more. For you "partiers", how do you keep up with what's going on each day???