We have developed a prototype instrument with a novel interferometrically controlled differential scanning stage system. The system consists of 9 DC-motor-driven stages, 4 picomotor-driven stages, and 2 PZT-driven stages. A custom-built laser Doppler displacement meter system provides two-dimensional (2D) differential displacement measurement with subnanometer resolution between the zone-plate x-ray optics and the sample holder. The entire scanning system was designed with high stiffness, high repeatability, low drift, flexible scanning schemes, and possibility of fast feedback for differential motion. Designs of the scanning stage system, as well as preliminary mechanical test results, are presented in this paper.