Design:  Steven Gambrel
Photo:  Eric Piasecki

I love a good vignette and this room in a home designed by Steven Gambrel is a really good one.  I know Camille from The Vintique Object also loves a good vignette.  I first analyze the objects in a vignette to see if they fit a theme, tell a story or share the same "language."  Camille looks first at things like shape, balance, texture and how they're actually photographed.  Both are important, we just start in different places.

I thought I would deconstruct the elements of this vignette one by one to share my thought process for analyzing or even choosing items for a vignette.  And I've invited Camille to do a post with her own take on the same room.  A room with two views.  For some people this might be intuitive, but if you have a vignette or particular element that doesn't work, the sum of our two posts might offer a way of better analyzing your own work.

The reflection in the mirror shows a staircase, so I would bet this room is the foyer and this vignette sets the tone for the entire house.  My first reaction is this vignette feels like an underwater landscape.  It would be perfect for a home on the water.

Cape Light painting by Anne Packard
It has the moodiness of a gray and misty day by the ocean.

I believe there's even a seascape painting on the table.

The color palette that evokes things we associate with the beach and the sea.

Each of the elements seem to have an aged, weathered quality.  The table looks like an antique.  The mirror might be new but it has an aged surface.  The lamp--not sure if it's ceramic or metal--also has a patina.  The large bowl seems slightly off kilter and has a finish that looks dull.

Looking at the individual elements, let's start with the mirror that's like a porthole.

The large bowl of whatever--it almost doesn't matter what it is--feels like a sea anemone or seaweed swaying in the current.

In the cloche there appears to be weathered rope that has strong nautical associations.

In the lamp I see a Viking's helmet.  But I also see wind-filled
sails reaching up to a mast out of view.

And how perfect is the wicker steamer truck that lists to one side like a ship in the swells of a stormy sea?  We know this piece has a history.  A new wicker chest just would have the same feel, the same language.

I'm not sure what's in the black case or tray sitting on the table but I think an antique telescope would be the perfect choice.

Careful thought went in to each of these elements and I think they're all perfect.  But I don't think it's necessary to construct a vignette using elements that fit the same theme or share a similar language.  Some of the connections may be purely personal but that's when things like shape, color, balance and texture become even more important.

To get Camille's view on these things, head over and read her post.

To see more of this amazing house, go here.