Memory tree

Memory tree

Memory tree 640 426 Pascale Store

Memory tree

displaying your family’s clutter

I once read that the architect John Pawson likes his houses so minimal and clutter free, he doesn’t even allow family photos, his wife has to keep them in a drawer. This is very much not my style. We seem to never stop accumulating ‘stuff’, most of it is tat but some things look cool and have meaning and those are the things I want to keep, at least for a little while. I think this is even more the case with children. The problem is how to display all the pictures, postcards, trinkets and photos. I’m a huge fan of pin boards (the bigger the better) but wanted to do something less workaday for my youngest daughter Dorothy’s bedroom. I originally got the idea of painting a big tree on a wall from a coffee shop in Spitalfields in London. Theirs was dark brown, much more stylized than ours and didn’t have the hooks and clips but it was a big tree painted on a wall nonetheless. 

My two eldest daughters helped, Edith (not in the photos) and Mary. It was great fun to do and only took about 5 hours.

Memory Tree - marking out the main trunk. Pascale Smets

Here’s how we did it. First Edith sketched out the main trunk and branches of the tree directly onto the wall using a really soft pencil (5B) which made it easy to rub out any mistakes. Next Mary and I took over, we drew in all the smaller branches and twigs.

Once that was done I placed post it notes where I thought we’d probably want to hang all the family clutter. The post it notes helped to get the spacing of the cup hooks right.

We painted the tree in using artists’ brushes and emulsion paint (Farrow and Ball Old White). To minimise smudging we started with the twigs and worked inwards.

Memory tree - almost finished painting
Nearly finished.

Because my walls are soft and nothing we were hanging from the hooks was going to be heavy we just screwed the cup hooks directly into the wall and added small bulldog clips where necessary.

Memory tree - a close up of the finished tree with added memories and souvenirs!
Memory tree - a full length picture of the finished tree with added memories and souvenirs.
Job done!