how we decorate our tree for maximum sparkle, step-by-step

yes, I'm posting this on Boxing Day :) Pretty much sums up the pace of the holidays around there! Hope you all have had a wonderful Christmas, and that you have been fortunate enough to be with you family and friends.

I took photos of the tree as it progressed this year - and the kids announced that they were going to decorate it - so I just sat back with a cup of tea and watched!

We decided to use "sparkly nature" decorations - kind of embarrassed to admit that we have so many tree ornaments in storage that we can choose different themes on different years, and we don't have to buy anything!!!

The crocheted snowflakes are some of my favourite ornaments - my Mum made them one year when I was small, and they were on our childhood tree for most of me childhood. She gifted them to me a few years ago :)

We use wired ribbon woven throughout the middle of the tree (Miss N is allergic, so we have a fake tree) to fill it in a little, and we added in some glittery and mercury glass onion-shaped ornaments at the last moment.

Here are the pics:

being fluffed by Miss N

the darling boy taking a break for a puppy snuggle

light reflectors going on - these are the bane of my existence! 
They don't quite fit the lights, but the kids love adding them, 
so we end up steeping on them for the entire holidays!!

ribbon throughout the middle, and large pinecones place toward the centre of the tree for sparkle :)

small pinecones and snowflakes on...

onion ornaments and a small wreath for a topper...notice all those reflectors on the floor?!! 

and somehow I've lost the pic with the tree skirt :)

 finally, presents!

Happy Holidays, lovelies!

Am working on a post about the lovely colour of the year from pantone - it's gorgeous, isn't it?


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decking the halls...

Wanted to show you the tree, and was messing around with some online gif makers, and this happened :)

make a gif

Will post less grainy photos tomorrow... hope you all had a lovely weekend!

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Retro Mix First Home

A few months back E. emailed me asking for a design consultation for her first home. Being a military family, this couple has moved and travelled extensively, but after receiving a long-term posting had just bought their first home. I LOVE working on a first home with a client - they are always so enthusiastic and appreciative of their space. E described her loves as mid-century style, and the colour red.

Sounded intriguing!

When E. sent me the photos of her home, they brought back a flood of memories - their home is a raised bungalow, and the layout actually almost identical to the first home my husband and I bought, almost fifteen years ago. The open living space is lovely, and E. already had some great mid-century furniture and unique accessories from living abroad that she wanted to incorperate. The challenge was to make it all work together.

E. decided to replace the vintage orange chairs with Ikea Poang chairs, and the existing sofa and console were to remain. She wanted to work on tables, lighting and accessories for the living room. In the dining room, the table and chairs were staying, so we needed to find a way to make the dark finish work with the rest of the space. E. wanted to update here kitchen by painting the cabinetry and adding a new countertop and backsplash.

We started with the living room space. Here is an inspiration room that best summed up the feel we wanted to achieve.

The caramel tones in E's sofa and console really set the palette. She and her husband plan to replace the beige carpeting in the living room with hardwood down the road, and so we decided to lay an area rug down over the carpeting now that will work over the hardwood once it is in place. Since E and her husband both like bold, saturated colour, we incorporated red and small amounts of green as accent colours, against a clean backdrop of walls painted in Benjamin Moore's Moonlight White.

E has a handy husband, lucky girl, and he reconfigured the small cabinets that go with the console into side tables by mounting them horizontally onto some vintage legs he found. The console will serve as an entertainment stand, with the television placed on top. The only things we were really missing were lighting, a carpet and a coffee table. I found the vintage inspired surfboard table on Etsy - E had it custom made in a glossy red. A moroccan inspired carpet adds some softness to the design, and the diagonal pattern will lead the eye across the entire space, corner to corner, visually expanding the living room.

As always, there is a plant tucked in here. This is a fiddle leaf fig, the tree to end all trees :)
It's large size will fill in the space beside the console, and if it were real it would bask in the light from the large window. The couples frequent travels don't allow for plants, so this very good quality imitation will work for them.

If you know me at all, you know I'm an art junkie! 
The sofa needed tone grounded into that large blank wall, and defined as the focal point here.
Since we are on a tight budget, I suggested E purchase a canvas and try an art DIY...

In the end, however, she decided to add some bold red wall cubes above the sofa and place some of her treasures collected through the couples travels - 
perfect for remembering all the previous homes they have lived in.

Let's look at the changes the kitchen are currently undergoing.
The cabinets are in good condition and so will be painted out white to freshen up the space.
I suggested adding a butcher block countertop in beech from Ikea to bring some of the wood tones from the living room into this space, and keep it warm -
don't you love the way they have stepped the end of the breakfast bar, below?
Hardware with a retro feel in brushed stainless will work perfectly.

E wanted to add a backsplash. 
A subway tile is a classic look, but we wanted something a little edgier. 
How about a square tile, with dark grey grout.
This echoes the retro vibe we've got going on, 
and adds some graphic lines here without overwhelming the space.

Since the back wall of the kitchen is the first thing you see when entering from the living room, 
we needed to add some interest to this spot. 
I suggested E remove the wall cabinet between her sliding door and kitchen window, 
and add open shelving.
After considering various options for the shelving,
 she decided to use the leftover Ikea countertop and install wood shelving here, 
creating a beautiful place to display a collection of colourful ceramics, etc.

Although E will be keeping her dining set for now, a change is not far down the road.
A table in the same wood tones as the countertop and some interesting red chairs will keep this space light-hearted and consistent with the rest of the home.

and, of course - art again!
LOVE these Enzo Mari prints for the dining room wall.

E has been wonderful about keeping me up-to-date on her progress, and the work here is nearly complete. She is loving the way the changes to here home have brightened the space up, and unified her furnishings and all the treasures from the couple's travels.

Hopefully I'll have some pictures of the completed space to share with you all soon!

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