The Art of Framing

They say the only difference between a positive experience and a negative one is how you view it. The same is with artwork for your walls: The frame makes all of the difference.

The first framer I ever worked with was John Esty in the West Village of Manhattan. From the time I started my career at Diamond Barrata Design, to when I was working with Shawn Henderson, John was always there to guide me and educate me on how to properly showcase fine works of art.

He taught me that throughout the 17th and 18th century, frames were commissioned by the artists themselves, and considered equally important as the art. When such work goes to auction today, the appraiser always ask “Is it in its original frame?”. The original frame is integral to most antique pieces and will receive quite a lower value without it.

He taught me that in Scandinavia, they do not finish the sides of the frames. They prefer to leave the wood exposed on its “lesser side”. This is partly motivated by their desire to showcases the beautiful hardwood that they used. Additionally, some say it’s because of their frugality.

Years ago, when I was the creative producer for an HGTV television show, the channel was pressuring me to cast industry experts to film advice content with the star, Sabrina Soto. When asked, I immediately knew the person to recommend. John’s segment showcased his deep love for his trade, and his enthusiasm lit up the screen. In my mind, it was one of the finest casting suggestions I ever made for the series.

We lost John a few years back. Too soon. I miss him terribly.

Indeed, over the years, my experiences with framing and the amazing people that have dedicated themselves to the craft has been a journey into itself.

For the HOLIDAY HOUSE showcase in Manhattan a few years back, I was paired with Robyn Pocker of J.Pocker to create a memorable staircase. We wanted to show people that simple framing can make a room - and therefore recreated our own “Hall of Mirrors”. We created a paneled pattern all over the room (even above the doorways) to wrap it in the luxury of sparkle and gilt. It was a breathtaking sight and a very convincing argument for the power of framing, if you ask me.

So don’t underestimate the power of framing your art. Know that all items on your walls should be framed in your home. The final decision about scale and materials will be a collaboration between yourself and the framer, so find a good one and never let them go.

Below are two options that I use for my own projects, and have had a great deal of luck with.


Cheap and quick

I suggest the “Marin” frame with thick white mattes



Couture Framing

I have done some wonderful work with them over the years - including our room together at THE HOLIDAY HOUSE showcase in New York. They are truly artists in their own right.

The process is fairly straight forward. You take a photo of the piece you want framed and email to them. Next, schedule a consultation. Finally, you will receive a quote. If you are in agreement, just Fed Ex it to them and they will take care of the rest.

A true heritage business that is still going strong. Worth every penny.



An old screenshot of John Esty’s website, where I was a contributer

The “Hall of Mirrors” I created at the HOLIDAY HOUSE showcase in New York with the incredibly talented Robyn Pocker of J.Pocker framing.

The “Hall of Mirrors” I created at the HOLIDAY HOUSE showcase in New York with the incredibly talented Robyn Pocker of J.Pocker framing.

Click to go to Framebridge

Click to go to Framebridge

Click to go to the J.Pocker Website

Click to go to the J.Pocker Website

Jon Call