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DIY Design: Front Hall “Vignette”

For the record, I’m not calling these posts “DIY Design” because I actually believe I have any interior design flair. It’s because we moved into a new home this past summer and I am now madly in love with house decor shows, magazines, and yes, that addictive fiend pinterest. It’s “DIY Design” in my case because, like most DYIers, it’s not on par with a professional’s work!

So far, we haven’t managed to do much in the way of actual design or decorating. I haven’t even unpacked all the boxes yet! But I had promised Stella that she we would do up her room as soon as we moved in and true to the promise, we’ve done that and she absolutely loves it and the extra space it affords her away from that annoying little creature who likes to follow her around (aka her brother Max).

One thing I keep seeing in “design-y” spots are these collections called “vignettes.” It’s when someone creative puts together a whole bunch of stuff that you wouldn’t think of putting together and it looks so gorgeous that you think it’s been staged for a photography shoot or something. But apparently not. This is how these people really live. And I think: I want to live like that! With a beautiful little collection to inject some creativity and joy into my step as I walk by it. If you’re not familiar with vignettes, here is an example from Design Sponge:

The woman who created this vignetted is an interior stylist named Paige Morse. And here is how she describes her vignette:

I like to think of decorating as curating. I am attracted to certain kinds of objects, and I like to arrange them in a way that tells a story visually or creates a mood or feeling. This is a vignette I created in my back room. A honeycomb in glass, antlers, a ball of twine, chipped pottery I bought at a junk store on a road trip, seashells collected from around the world, postcards of dinosaurs. None of these things would seem to go together, but when arranged together, they all tell a story. It is about history, creation and beauty in natural objects.

Okay … so we’re all on board and up-to-speed on this vignette thing?

Alright, so here is my attempt at a vignette. It’s not the most fabulous thing in the world, but I really enjoyed putting it together. It’s in our front entrance and I plan on changing and doing new vignettes for different seasons and occasions throughout the year. It took no time, really, but it made me feel happy to do it. (So don’t leave a comment telling me it looks crappy, okay!? I already told you I’m no designer!)

I put it together in October for “Month of Me” (a month-long ode to my 40th birthday, click here for the full story) and just before we hosted the whole family over on Canadian Thanksgiving on my actual birthday (October 9th). Above the dresser, you can see there is a landscape painting of a fall scene, with all of my favourite colours of the season. This was painted by my father ages ago (in the 70s, I think) and I rescued it from the floor of his workroom a while back.

On the dresser, you can see the items better in this picture:

Yes, it’s mostly books. What did you expect from me? hee hee!

But also, from left to right: A pear, because Hubby and I met on a pear farm; a lovely old Kodak camera that I inherited after my great-grandfather passed away; an owl carved by a First Nations artist that my mother-in-law gave to me for my office; and an itty-bitty porcelain flower holder that we inherited when Hubby’s grandmother Peg passed away with two sweet flowers picked for me by my kids.

As for the books, there are: A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf for my love of the written word; Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery for my childhood adoration of Anne (with an “e”!); Pilgrim by Timothy Findley because I wrote an essay on it and it reminds me of both my love for school as well as for travel; and finally, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin because it reminds me to dedicate energy on what’s important in life.

Have you made a vignette at your home before? If yes, please include a link in the comments below so I can see it!


  1. giulia_caflisch says:

    I always love cameras in vignettes and I think your owl is adorable. It’s nice when a vignette has meaning.
    I do a lot of them and have another planned for X-mas.  – scroll down to shelf.
    The one thing I don’t like about vignettes is the dusting 😉

  2. Heather Millar says:

    i love it!  you are doing great things in your new home….but how on earth do you manage to keep Max out of Stella’s room???  Do share!!  😉

    • Coffee with Julie says:

      Ha ha! Good question about Max and Stella’s room! It is constant herding event, where S is constantly herding M out. He desperately wants to get in there and get his hands on all her interesting stuff. Funny enough, when the door is closed (which she does vigilantly now), he will generally keep out. But every now and then, we’ll find him quietly creeping around with a toy or two that he’s clearly snuck out of her room.

  3. I think your vignette is lovely. It’s wonderful that you have all those meaningful items to include. Each time you pass by, you are reminded of the people you love and who love you. That’s what a home is all about.

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