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First Annual Holiday Home Tour

Well hello! Welcome to my First Annual Holiday Home Tour. Before we get started I'd like to tell you a little bit about our humble abode. We built this house over twenty years ago. We were at the beginning of our careers and had been married only a few years. This house was a stretch for us. We knew we could swing it but it would be tight for awhile. It was in a great neighborhood and we had instant equity. Our plan was to live here 5-7 years then sell and invest our equity in a bigger or more unique house. But here's where life took us by surprise. Our neighbors soon became some of our dearest friends. We have raised our kids together, laughed together and faced life's sorrows together. It didn't take us long to figure out we had something very special here.

It seems like we blinked and it's twenty years later and we're still here. Our house has changed a ton over the years but the basic footprint is still the same. We haven't knocked down any walls or built any additions. We have about 2400 square feet between the first two floors and then another 1100 square feet in the basement, which we have started the process of finishing. I wish I knew how many colors of paint we've rolled onto these walls over the years. I could guess but I think I might embarrass myself. A few years ago we ripped out most of the carpet on the first floor and put down hardwood. That made a huge difference. It's a significant expense but if you can swing it, do it. It really changes the look of the house. I still have regrets that we didn't do the stairs but it was insanely expensive to have that done. We are pondering tackling them ourselves but I am not holding my breath. I still have plans in my head for all the things I'd like to do to this house but I'll save that for another post.

Ok, without further ado, let's get going...

I kept everything pretty simple and earthy this year starting with the front door, which I adorned with a simple cluster of berries tied to the door knocker with gingham ribbon. Plaid was my theme for the season. I did a blog post about my fall tablescape before Thanksgiving where I was going for a camping vibe and used lots of plaid. I decided to carry some of those elements into the holiday season. Admittedly I have an epic love affair with plaid and the fact that it is everywhere in the stores made it almost impossible for me to ignore.

If you are like me, you have collected ornaments over the years. These little treasures go on our tree every year and I love how they tell a story. Another thing I've been doing for a while now is to purchase an ornament on every trip we go on that reflects the location. I love the Christopher Radko ornaments, so if available those are the ones I gravitate toward. It's fun because when we decorate the tree as a family every year it's like a little walk down memory lane.

While I love all of our sentimental ornaments I usually want my tree to have a certain look each year. Here's a few tips on how to easily and inexpensively change things up while still using your same ornaments:

  • Ribbon: This is a great way to totally change the look of your tree and if you buy it after Christmas during the sales you can get it dirt cheap.

  • Florals and picks: Same as the ribbon, you can get these on sale and the combinations are endless. I saw a really pretty tree this year that was decorated to look like a meadow by using ribbon and florals.

  • Balls: You can really change things up with balls. I have a few bins of different colors and sizes that I can use depending on how I want my tree to look. Again, grab these when they are on sale.

  • Lights: Even though your tree might be pre-lit you can still add to it (just make sure you don't pull a Clark Griswald and overload your circuit). This year I added multi-colored strands to the center of the tree to add some color. Next year I am thinking about adding twinkle lights. Lights really set the mood of the tree.

You can't really see the colored lights very well in these photos but at night it's really pretty. My goal for next year is to get a better camera. ;-)

I love neutrals and I love color; I know from experience that if I choose one, it won't be long before I miss the other. I found the formula that works best for me is to use neutrals for the major elements and then inject color where I want it through art and accents. My home is my canvas and I like to experiment so this is a relatively inexpensive way to do it.

The living and dining rooms are decked out in colorful jewel tones however, as we move to the back of the house (kitchen and family room) we transition to a soothing palette of cream, white, gray and browns with a couple small hits of color. I have carried the plaid into these spaces for continuity and by layering pattern and textures, neutral is anything but boring.

I wanted earthy elements to do most of the talking. I used fresh and faux greenery then peppered it with things like pine cones, walnuts, pomegranates and cinnamon sticks. Some years I want everything dripping in holiday. This year simplicity was what I craved.

This hot chocolate station was a quick and easy hit. I found the white "hot chocolate" and "peppermint sticks" jars at Hobby Lobby but you could easily use Ball canning jars and fill them with hot cocoa and candy canes.

The white chairs in the next few photos are actually chairs from our dining room. I pulled them into the family room for a cozy fireside chat vibe. I have a couple extra side chairs that stand in for my captain's, which get abducted by the fireplace from time to time. ;-)

I also have two leather cube ottomans that I like to use in front of the fireplace. They are nice for sitting in front of fire but they also make good foot stools or extra seating when you entertain.

Sometimes I decorate our bedroom for the holidays and sometimes I don't. However, I do typically swap out my bedding for the spring/summer and fall/winter seasons. This year I added a few simple touches including plaid and a hits of berry red for a warm, cozy feel.

And finally we head out the back door onto our deck for this little moment. A light dusting of snow would have taken this photo up a notch but I have no complaints about this sixty degree day on the 1st of December.

Well guys, that does it for my First Annual Holiday Home Tour. I had so much fun getting our home ready for your visit. Thanks so much for stopping by. May love, peace and laughter be yours this holiday and throughout the upcoming new year!

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