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How your heartfelt decor can never go out of style- with Shavonne from Once Upon a Bungalow!

One of the things that I am asked most often when redesigning or home staging someones space is advice on how to successfully incorporate their family photos and personal treasures into their new decor. Someone who feels me on this is my beyond talented design friend Shavonne Flegel! We met (but never in person!) through University and she just brings all the inspiration to us from her sweet bungalow in Moosejaw, Saskatchewan. (Ps- you need to follow her for maximum design "wants", "can-do's" and all the laughs! She's just such an awesome person)

Shavonne talks with me about incorporating your heartfelt keep sakes into your current decor style and how that is always on trend!

From being a full time design student to tackling all the projects in her Saskatchewan bungalow with her husband Stuart, this gal is not afraid to experiment with wood, paint, lighting-you name it! All while blogging, running her amazon shop and raising 2 sweet little guys. (Shavonne has alllll the energy!) Follow this design-risk taker and creative soul on Instagram @onceuponabungalow and

I am so glad you and I are finally talking design on the blog! And this topic is so great because you effortlessly add you and your family's "essence" in your home. We have similar design views and we both value having that personal touch and not just designing and decorating out of a box.

Our "Charlie Warhol" hangs in on the gallery wall as a whimsical remembrance of our family pooch

I am so excited to have been asked to join you on this particular blog post! I love how we "met" in Interior Design school and even though we live across the country, I feel like you live next door! Our conversation about how to design your space with pieces that mean the most to you-that inspired this blog, is very personal to me. I have some very special keepsakes that have to be around me and my family. So it is important to decorate and design with things that bring you joy and that aren't necessarily on the pages of the latest magazines. You can definitely have decor in your home that's meaningful to you but also looks purposeful and thought out!

I 100% agree! Decor trends come and go. But the draw of exchanging all your old home decor for new updated items is strong! Even the least sentimental home owner wonders what to do with items that hold meaning once their new treasures take centre stage. What are some of your treasures and your tips for adding meaningful keepsakes into your everyday decor?

Besides the world's most quirky collection of Salt and Pepper shakers and assorted musical instruments hanging in our bedroom?! I am going to take a guess and assume most recent design magazines don't have a spread about salt and pepper collections lol!

Pro Tip!

Don't worry if it makes sense or not. Something that seems odd to someone else, might mean everything to you. Guess what? It's YOUR home, so it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.

We love our giant chalkboard. I have fun writing poetry, song lyrics and artwork each month that displays how my family and I might be feeling. I love being able to change it up

And I know that you free-hand your lettering on your chalk board! Serious skills girl! Most people comment about my lettering or hand writing but they don't know that we have to learn how to letter like a computer for drafting in ID school. (It's true people! Just like kindergarten!)

To me books are invaluable when it comes to home decor. They add colour and texture to any display that just tells a story of the people that live there. I have them in every room, sometimes stacked in a pile acting as a table! You always use books to your decor too.

For sure! I stack books and photo albums on the coffee table tray or on a side table. You can even choose albums that are interesting and beautiful, plop your photos in them and display them as part of your decor. You'll be surprised the joy people will have looking at the memories with you! My coffee table vignette features my Grandma Sharon's coffee coasters and my Dad's old architectural textbooks from College. I am sure glad to have them at my reach!

Shavonne's coffee table vignette

I love that you have your Grandmother's coasters out to use everyday! Often when people receive a family heirloom or keepsake they hide it away for safe keeping. I have inherited 2

sets of china, one from my Nan and one from my Great Nan and I use them every chance I get! They are just too pretty not to bring joy to my table scape. I often use them for brunch. And while they are very traditional in shape and pattern, I pair them with modern flatware and centrepieces.

We both use shadow boxes for those items that just need a gathering place and are not really part of the regular decor. I have shadowboxed items from our Disney wedding and it hangs in the dressing room. The items are from a more intimate time in our life so I felt it appropriate to add to a room that is just for us.

Shadow boxes are super helpful for displaying meaningful items. I've been able to heirloom my babies hospital cards, handprints, first hair clippings into boxes to display in our bedroom. The key is to cluster all these items artfully so that it looks like an organized on the wall but a beautiful reminder of your most treasured memories.

Special baby keepsakes

Shavonne's shadowbox gallery wall

I think probably the item and it's display that sparked the idea for this blog was a hand written note you have displayed from someone very special.

Probably the most special handwritten note we have is from our dear sister Leah. She wrote this note on the outside of an envelope for our anniversary. We miss her so much. It's a happy reminder of her love and presence in our lives everyday.

Frame handwritten cards, recipes or note cards from people you love. If you're like me, you keep the really special handwritten cards and notes that is so meaningful to you, FRAME it! Grandma's special recipe card? FRAME it! Concert tickets? FRAME it! Frames are not reserved for only pictures and artwork, you can frame just about anything that brings you joy.

Handwritten note from Leah

I love the simpleness of, but emotional weight that a framed hand written note bares. I was given a very special house warming gift from a cousin when we moved into our own bungalow 10 years ago. It's a hand written recipe for mustard pickles, from my Great Nan, whom we share. It's framed and displayed in my kitchen as a reminder of her. However, I am not an especially great mustard pickle maker lol!

The key to a well-loved and self expressive home is to really not worry about what others are doing. Have items that YOU love and make you feel at home the minute you walk through your front door. A little planning and some design rules on shape, size and colour will go a long way to successfully incorporating these items.

Exactly! Remember you should never feel pressured to make your home look a certain way. Let your space bring you joy and tell the story of who you are. Be yourself on purpose. -Shavonne

What holds sentimental meaning to you in your home? Do you have any clever ideas for displaying them purposefully in your home?

Pop Hodge & I at 3 years

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xo Shelley

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