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Today, the prompters over at WordPress want to know:

What do you display on the walls of your home — photos, posters, artwork, nothing? How do you choose what to display? What mood are you trying to create?

Maybe it’s the fact that I went on a two-hour cleaning rampage yesterday … I was about to leave with the kids when my husband announced – in passing – he’d be having a guest over that afternoon. The thought of anyone seeing our house in the state it was circa noon yesterday made me go a little cleaning crazy … The house is better for it …  And maybe I also feel a stronger need than usual to show it off.

Either way, I love what we have on our walls. My husband and I chose some with deliberate care, while other pieces just spontaneously arrived but still speak to our life and shared memories.

So with that, I give you …

… Our living room:


In case it doesn’t jump off the walls at you, we went for a Canadian theme.

Our main piece is a large painting of the Parliament Buildings. My husband and I met while both working on Parliament Hill, and the painting was a wedding gift from the father of our best man – Jacques Dompierre – who painted it himself. I remember the day he gave it to us. He invited us over for brunch at his home, which looks very much like an art gallery of his work, and told us to choose something off the wall. This one was a no brainer. It speaks so clearly to us as a couple.

It currently holds the place of honour over our couch. Our five-year-old refers to it as “the castle where Daddy works” and she sits on our couch creating vivid plots and adventures about what goes on inside.

Next, down the right-hand-side of the collage are three numbered prints of Group of Seven paintings. For those uninitiated, they were a group of landscape painters from 1920-1933 who believed that a distinct Canadian art could be developed through direct contact with nature and they initiated the first major Canadian national art movement. These three pieces are displayed over our piano.

Finally, we have two owl photographs done by Carol Norris. I’ve previously mentioned my love of craft fairs, and Carol Norris comes annually to at least one of Ottawa’s big Christmas ones – Originals or Signatures. I fell in love with the one of the owl swooping in years before buying it. Then once we had the Parliament Buildings and the Group of Seven prints, I just knew her work would help finish off the room.

Next, we leave the living room for a tour of the rest of the common areas on our main floor:


A big more hodgepodge and less planned than our living room, top left-hand corner is our kitschy $20 barn star mirror bought in Pennsylvania the summer before my husband and I got married. We needed a mirror in our walkway and liked all the barn stars we saw all over the area – their aim possibly being to ward off evil – so I figure having a mirror-version of one by the entry to our home, on top of functional purpose, couldn’t hurt.

Next up is the African hyena hanging over my eldest daughter’s bedroom door. He too, according to the sticker on the back, is to ward off evil spirits and demons. What you see below is the start of the plastic butterfly fringes that hang over her entrance. A gift from my Aunt June, that she adores. I like the juxtaposition of the two … pieces.

I obtained said hyena in 1995 when I was 18 on a trip to South Africa to visit my mother’s family. She was raised in Fish Hoek, outside of Cape Town, and we still have family there.

Next up is a small calendar-sized laminate of a print of a Moulin Rouge poster that I got at 14 on a trip to Paris. I loved the idea of the Moulin Rouge as soon as I heard about it. I later went back to Paris and went to the Moulin Rouge. We needed something to fill a space – and this worked.

The three laminates along the bottom are on the wall behind our dining room table. They are taken from a calendar a girlfriend bought me for the purposes of finding cheap wall art. We’d just bought our house and needed to decorate blank walls affordably. She knew I liked old fashion ads and thought this might work. It did – and survived our kitchen renovation three years later.

For anyone interested, the Chocolate Menier girl is an 1893 poster, the Vermouth lady advertisement, known as “La Dama Bianca” (The White Lady) was done in 1918 by Italian artist Marcello Dudovich and the Dulcine poster is a 1900’s French advertisement.

Finally, the small piece in the corner above the laminates is a piece of San rock art that I also got in South Africa in 1995. I have no idea if it’s real, but I like it. It hangs over the door to our basement.

So that’s most of what hangs on the walls of our main floor.

What do you display in your home and what does it mean to you?