Hi there, all of you who are reading this! It’s nice to have you! I wish I could have you over and show you some fun ideas in person, but since you’re there and I’m here, let me just try to do it over the blog and hopefully you’ll enjoy it and get a few ideas.
So if you’ve been following along, we’ve already talked about some easy ways to make vignettes with collections of like items and with seasonal decor. Another way I like to add character is with things that seem “architectural”, like they’re part of the house even if they aren’t. There are ways to add major architectural features and also ways to use small ones. If you want to get creative, these are some things we’ve done:
In the picture above, we replaced the front door with a $40 vintage one we got at ReStore. Before, we had a 1990’s aluminum door with a little half-circle window just to make it pretty. It wasn’t pretty, though. It screamed “out-of-date” and “yuck”. So we replaced it for very little money, and even left the sidelights alone. They are technically 1990’s and outdated too, but with the new door, I don’t mind them. Or, you could spring for a whole new front-door “package” and spend a few thousand dollars. That would look even better, but when we’re talking cost-versus-benefit, this way wins, hands down.
The light fixture you see in that picture was really sort of an architectural addition, too. We created it from the empty shell of a copper outdoor gas lantern from ReStore, added a pendant kit, and replaced the original light fixture with it. See the original fixture and the original door? That was the kind of stuff that was all over this house when we bought it. Here it is, with Dave holding it up (and before we’d added the pendant kit to make it actually have light):
If you find a lot of doors, you can make a custom-paneled wall as a focal point, which we were laying out here:
This is what it looked like when it was in progress in our master bedroom (read the blog post here):
This is actually done now, but since our master bedroom is currently a storage area for construction supplies for the master bath, I don’t have a finished picture.
And if you’re even more adventurous, you can figure out a plan for these vintage wooden columns:
Yes, those are my feet. I was staring at these super-cool columns trying to find the perfect place for them. They ended up going on the deck, with one in each corner.
Let’s look at some smaller-scale architectural things, too, since I know some of you were hoping you wouldn’t have to haul home columns and doors and find a place for them.
This is the back of our kitchen island. These were pieces of a cedar fence we found at ReStore for $1 each. They were pre-weathered for us, and they were the perfect touch to add a hint of “rustic” to the back of our island, which was just made out of cabinets before that.
I don’t know why the top piece looks like a different color in the picture…it’s actually the same. Other ways to add smaller-scale architectural features are with things leaning up or hung; in this case, a window and chalkboard (in progress, FYI):
This was after we’d taken the shelf down to use in the pantry remodel and were experimenting with ways to deal with this big, blank wall. There is already a focal point with the mantel on the left of the picture (actually just an architectural detail and not a working fireplace), and we didn’t want to have competing focal points or it would be a whole lot of crazy in there.
There is also a way to make vignettes without having tons of stuff everywhere. You make them out of things you actually use! This makes ordinary life a lot more fun (if you don’t believe me, you probably haven’t tried it yet). And, if you’re using it and it’s out on the counter/shelf/table, it’s already a vignette (though possibly an ugly one). Don’t do that to yourself. Find some containers you’d like to look at, or swap out the things you use for more interesting versions.
In our kitchen, for example, we used vintage copper canisters for utensils and even a vintage kitchen scale (which we actually use) with milk glass salt and pepper shakers. The copper canister by the sink is used for hauling things to the compost bin outside. Here it is:
(Please ignore our eyesore of a knife block. Someday it’ll be switched out in favor of a magnetic knife strip on the other side of the stove, but I have to wait until I receive an enormous Williams-Sonoma giftcard).
Also, our vent hood is clad in pallet wood, which helps add some texture and character in an all-white kitchen. It ties into the wood on the back of the island, and was cheap and easy to do (especially for me, since I just watched my hubby do it and checked to make sure it was straight).
Here’s another example of making a vignette out of something you actually use:
Arranging firewood in a crock next to the fireplace turns it into fall or winter decor, and you’re all ready for your next fire, minus the bits of bark and dirt all over your hearth.
Now I know you’re excited to go find some vintage items to add some architectural detail to your house and you’re wondering where to go and what to do with your kids. You’re in luck…one of our favorite places is Habitat’s ReStore, which is providing free childcare at the moment:
They also have free candy at the front and lots of helpful salespeople.
We’ll talk more about where we get interesting stuff in the next post. Happy Weekend!!