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Credit: Courtesy of Britt Franklin

I Made a 6-Foot-Tall Glitter Heart—And Now it Lives in the Middle of My Living Room

published Aug 4, 2020
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Twenty stories of objects and areas in people’s homes that nourish their souls more than their social feeds. Read them all here throughout August.

As the saying goes, “Home is where the heart is.” So I built one. Six feet tall and covered in glitter.

When you’re getting ready to live solo for the first time, people like to throw the same common advice your way: how to keep the lights on, how to not starve, and how to open a pry-off top when you forget to buy a bottle opener (again). As necessary as those survival skills can be, one major key that often gets left out is how to make home feel like home.

It took almost a year for me to not behave like a stranger in my own apartment. I couldn’t even call it home, instead referring to it as “the apartment” (not even my apartment) at all times. In my tightest circles, I’m known for my gravitation to bold, whimsy color. I can appreciate an earthy neutral, but can’t imagine my closet or home being void of its sunny yellows, feisty reds, or varying shades of my ultimate favorite: blue. Yet, there I was; walking inside to the sight of beige carpet and beige walls that reflected nothing recognizable. Turns out all those furniture hand-me-downs from my brother’s move from Louisiana to the west coast didn’t do the trick when it came to making the space feel familiar or like mine.  

Even a small room can seem large and hollow with nearly-bare walls, I realized; and a couple of prints featuring Marilyn Monroe wasn’t enough. I hoped to have my own original art hanging throughout my apartment, going as far as dreaming up visions of colorful acrylic paintings modeled after pop art. Unfortunately, I’d been too busy trying to balance a day job and a side gig to create anything new. The only items I could think to display were postcards I’d collected from my travels over the years, from Tennessee to British Columbia to Hawaii; which might have worked if I spent less time mentally navigating the arrangement and just doing it. In the midst of a frenzy pinning feature walls on Pinterest, I had an epiphany. Or rather, I stopped ignoring the behemoth in the room. 

Abandoned behind my dining table was a giant blue heart sprinkled with gold glitter. It’s 6 feet high, and 7 feet across—a DIY project in its purest form. I’d built it with a friend inside her townhome one winter afternoon when we needed a backdrop for a YouTube dance video (it never saw the light of day). I forced myself to do math, drawing each half of the heart on a slab of wood in the middle of the floor before cutting them out with a jigsaw and bolting the halves together. After a few coats with the paint sprayer in my mom’s backyard, and going wild with a glitter shaker to give it some shine, the heart was complete.

Credit: Courtesy of Britt Franklin

Six months after its creation, it seemed that its moment had finally come. The heavy heart that had been transported from my mom’s garage to my childhood bedroom to my adult apartment was now being moved to the sad, empty space in my living room; where it fit perfectly between an old bookshelf and a connecting wall. It was as if it’d been waiting for me to figure out the final piece of an apartment decor puzzle. I’d discovered the most glaringly obvious secret: When that big ridiculous heart was fastened to the wall, my apartment brightened and became whole. I found the missing link to a connection with the space. The heart was a statement piece, a symbol of joy, and an imperfectly perfect reflection of my personality. 

The solution to squashing my fish-out-of-water feelings had always been there. 

All I had to do to see it was stop overthinking and literally look over my shoulder.

Sometimes, the only difference between a place you can call home and just a spot where you sleep is a little touch of sparkle.