Friday, June 17, 2011

Victorian inspired vestibule

 The vestibule is as important as any other part of the home. It is the first glimpse a guest gets of your style and what to expect in the rest of the home. Our vestibule left much to be desired- to say the least! Walls were covered with yellow flowery tile, while the floor was (and unfortunately still is) tiled with red flowery tiles. Tony would jokingly say we could add a toilet and turn it into a bathroom.

Notice the two different styles of tile- one on the floor the other on the walls. Also, on the left is the old oil heater radiator and on the right the new convect air heaters.
The inspiration for the vestibule was the Victorian-style homes so common in Montreal with rich wood paneling. I love this look because of its heavy presence. I know the light and airy look is very hot right now but their is something about the rich wood I just love. Also, in Montreal we have cold slushy winters that would just make a mess on lighter colors in our narrow vestibule.

Here are some inspiration images:

My 1960s home does not have double wood doors nor stained glass, but maybe one day... This house is currently on the market. see it on MLS

Just beautiful! This house is also on the market in Montreal. See it on

I obviously don't have the space nor budget for the grand style of woodwork. Nevertheless I decided to get to work.
It looks as if I'm building a giant door but it's what will become the wall paneling

This is perhaps for a little more advanced DIYer- but if you are feeling adventurous I encourage you to give it a try.

Step 1: I purchased two pieced of veneered birch wood sheets 3/4 of an inch think (8 feet by 4 feet) and had them cut into my desired sizes at the hardware store (I don't have a table saw and the cost of getting it cut at the store is minimal).
Step 2: I had each sheet cut into 9 inch strips. Four of the 9 inch strips were then cut to 30 inches in length. These formed the vertical pieces on the wall.
Step 3: I also purchased two thin sheets of 1/8 birch wood (again 4 feet by 8 feet) and used it to fill the gaps between the  birch veneers.
Step 4: Using PL glue and a nail gun assembled the pieces.
Step 5: Trim was added to the top of the paneling and between the transition from the thicker veneer to the thin wood. (The trimming between the veneers is a little more difficult to cut so that the corners are tight. I will blog about this at a later date or email me if you want to know right away.)p 8
Step 6: Stain the wood using a walnut colored stain
Step 7: Glue to the wall using PL glue.
Step 8: Marvel at your hard work!

Tip: Don't forget to change the trim around the doors to match the wall paneling.

Cost: Approximately $400 including the crown molding 

The Result: 

I added a bamboo rug to help tone down the busy floor
On the wall is a print of Jack Vettriano The Singing Butler (image below) I bought at the Bombay Company.

Now all I need is a beautiful entrance door with a large windowpane, but more (financially) realistic is an umbrella stand. Any suggestion???

Let me know if you have any questions and tell us what you think!

See the follow-up post about some ideas I'm thinking of on how to jazz up the space.

I'm attending:


  1. what I think is incredible is that when it seems as if everyone else is painting their wood white, you went the opposite direction! I love your inspiration and your husband's quote about the tile is funny.

    Artful Rising

  2. that's true, i agree with the above commenter. i like the wood tones, truly victorian. the molding is a fantastic addition to this space.

  3. Allo Nancy and Tony! So glad to have found a DIYer from Quebec, naming stores I acutally can go to! I find your entry very chic and as you say really goes with the style of old Montreal homes. I just love it!!! it looks so rich. You are a really great DIYer doing the wall yourself. For your umbrella stand...maybe a big chinese vase with the colors of your home would really look great and show nicely against your wood ?? Michelle from Quebec City


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