This year marks the fifty-first anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death but, look around, it’s as if she never left.
Since the platinum blonde’s death, the Marilyn persona has morphed into a branding bombshell, fronting booze and perfume to cosmetics and even Marilyn Monroe spas and nail boutiques. And via her estate, Marilyn now has her own Twitter account boasting more than 164,000 followers. She’s also on Pinterest. (Please follow me, Marilyn. I have a board devoted to you.)
So, how can you capture some Marilyn of your very own at home? Well, you could keep an eye out for auctions and spend a small fortune for rare pieces of her personal furnishings.
There isn’t a lot to go around because Marilyn was only in her little Spanish hacienda for a few months before she was found dead in her bedroom.
Much of the furnishings that she bought from Mexico hadn’t even been unpacked at the time of her death. But what’s out there has been selling at various auctions – for big bucks.
Marilyn’s four folding benches sold for more than $8,000 at auction in 2009.
The coffee table with scalloped edges (you can see it as it was in Marilyn’s home in the black-and-white photo) went for just over $9,500.
That mirror, above, hanging in the dining room of her Brentwood home, sold at auction for more than $10,000.
Oh, and that Mexican tapestry on the wall? It netted over $30,000.
The ornate Italian chair, used for her final photo shoot in her home, sold for $28,000 last year.
Click here for more photos of Marilyn Monroe’s home, inside and out, then and now.
But, really, even if you did plunk down thousands of dollars for Marilyn’s table or chair, nothing about your decor would scream Marilyn, would it?
Of course, you could go the way of the decorators from Geometrix Designs in Moscow, who used a massive stylized Marilyn portrait on a black background for a dramatic juxtaposition of past and present.
But, what if I give you a quick and simple way to make a bold Marilyn statement that fits into just about any decor and budget?
In the past three homes I’ve lived in, I’ve had a wall (or two) of black-and-white photographs of Marilyn Monroe. The collection started out small and has grown to more than 50 images. (And, now, I’m done. You really can have too much of a good thing if you’re not careful.) My collection evolved over a few years, but you can put yours together right away. How?
Calendars. Each year, I’d buy wall calendars with black-and-white photos of Marilyn Monroe. After several years, they stacked up and, one Christmas, a friend surprised me with a dozen framed photos from one of the calendars. The next year, I received another dozen for my birthday, and so on — all with similar black wood frames.
At first, the collection was small, but it eventually crept up the stairs.
Gradually, it got larger and took up a whole wall in this attic-turned-master bedroom suite.
Now many of the photos line one whole wall of this hallway, and some are on the facing wall. The Marilyn hallway makes a terrific conversation piece.
Tips on grouping your calendar photos.
1. The size of your wall space will determine how many photos to use. If you have plenty of space and photos, go bold and take them up to the ceiling.
2. Unify your wall grouping by using similar frames. They don’t all have to be the same size or shape, but make them the same color. And don’t use ornate frames with plain ones. Look for inexpensive frames. Mine cost well under $10 each.
3. Don’t mix color photos with black-and-white.
4. Carefully cut the photos to fit the frame, and you won’t need matting. A blade works well for this.
5. Don’t be afraid to hang some of the photos horizontally and others vertically.
6. To keep the photos in place, stick a dab of poster putty on the backside of the bottom corners of each frame.
7. Save the project for after the first of the year when you often can find calendars on sale.
Do you have an interesting or unusual photo grouping you’d like to share? How about any tips on hanging photos straight? Isn’t that the hardest part? Send your photographs to email@example.com or post them on Instagram with the hashtag #AJCdiy.