Modern Holiday Style

As a designer, I spend a lot of time looking at visual eye candy for my clients. Add holiday decorating to the mix, and it’s easy to get your brain tangled around all that tinsel. But fear not, I am a seasoned pro… and a holiday “seasoned” one at that!

While the traditional Christmas reds and plaids, or winter whites are always classic, I really enjoy seeing the modern aesthetic that continues to pop up in stores year after year. The trick is make sure that the modern touches have warmth, it is Christmas after all!
Here are some inspiring ways to liven up your living space this season…

1) A fresh color palette: A jewel toned inspired holiday. Think magentas, teals, emeralds, mixed with a touch of sparkle.

These gorgeous faceted glass vases, agate stone ornaments and darling bird paperweights from west elm  enhance the mood, and create a rich, yet decidedly festive living space. All still very modern and chic, yet can also be used year round… bonus!


West Elm colorful agate ornaments. Love the modern but natural quality

St. Jude® Glass Bird Paperweight

Pink holiday decorations #holidaypinparty


























I love this hot pink table accented with metallic paper chain featured on Living Etc. This wonderful combo adds color and warmth by mixing bold, clean lined furnishings and handcrafted seasonal sparkle. Paper chains are so easy to make, you can get the kids involved on the decorating fun too. Best part is, toss it at the end of the season- no storage required! 

Land of nod Tree_Skirt_Connect_Dots_233242

This tree skirt from LandofNod is cheery and fun for the kiddos, with a festive, yet simplistic pattern and an updated color palette… LOVE. Hits me right in my happy spot!

2) Add texture. Layer on the faux fur, rich knits, burlaps, feathers and fun. There are several ways to achieve this look:

Stockings hanging from antlers

The burlap stockings were hung with great care from Horchow. And who needs a traditional mantle when you have antlers!

Black, White & Gold Christmas | the Hunted Interior

The faux fur rug accent creates texture and warmth to a very clean holiday winter white palette. I also love the use of the mirror accent cleverly displaying pops of pink holiday cards. http://ext.homedepot.com/community/blog/christmas-decorating-ideas-black-white-living-room/#_a5y_p=1046949Holiday Chic - H.D. Buttercup  jingle bell & pom pom garland

http://www.hdbuttercup.com/focus/holiday-chic

West Elm feather wreath

Feather Tree, Large

Furry and feathered fabulousness from west elm… yes, I have a small (I mean teeny, tiny) love affair…. shh, don’t tell the hubs!
3) Add sparkle. 
This room featured on My Home Ideas touches on all three decorative musts that complete a modern christmas space. The turquoise ornaments, window treatments and pillows all add texture and sparkle  to compliment the clean lined space. And nothing says holiday party like a little disco ball on top of the tree. Just fab!

A disco ball hangs from the ceiling and floats just above the crown of the tree. A bow with long ribbon tendrils gives this tree-topper a real wow factor.

mld105269_1209_silvsnow_hd

Just when you thought tinsel was a thing of the past, Martha Stewart revives the past with this proud little pink tinsel tree.

A contemporary mantel gets dressed with a simple silver wreath flanked by two stark Christmas trees.

Pewter and peacock and turquoise, oh my!
http://www.home-designing.com/2012/12/christmas-mantel-decor-inspiration/formal-christmas-mantel-decor

Spike Napkin Ring, Gold, Napkin Rings, Tableware, Z Gallerie, Akin to a sculptural piece of art, the Spike Napkin Ring offers a modern detail to chicly embellish your table. Designed after our Spike Plaque, our Spike Napkin Ring brings dramatic impact to your tabletop.  Distinctively cast out of iron and finished in a lustrous gold hue, our Spike collection adds layers of luxe to any interior.Z Gallerie, Ventana Bowl, We’ve designed our Ventana Bowl to celebrate refinement and simplicity. The bowl is finished in lustrous white enamel, and trimmed with a ri...Pebble Dinnerware, Metallic Dinnerware, Tableware, Z Gallerie, Glistening glass in gold beautifully merges with an organically dented surface and ridged edges to capture the natural and surreal qualities of river rocks. With this shimmering collection you can bring a unique luster to your tabletop.

Firethorn Napkin Ring, Napkin Rings, Tableware, Z Gallerie, A silver-toned metal framework highlights a scattering of silver beads to create a shimmering constellation in which to embrace your napkins

Bling your table top from Z. Gallerie…. a must do on my list this year!  A little festive pizzaz goes a long way.

The weather outside may be frightful, but the home inside’s delightful!

Happy Holidays,

Emily

Designing Holiday Traditions – Part 2

As promised, here is Part 2 of my best designed holiday traditions….

Since becoming a mother, it finally occurred to me that there has been a subliminal passing of the holiday tradition torch. By that, I mean that I never really claimed it. All I did was give birth and now I’m in charge of creating family traditions! Who me? Yikes, that’s a tall order! But it made me realize that much like designing a home, designing a lifestyle for your family that is rooted in tradition both old and new is just as central to who you are as your living space.
Now that the holidays are here, I’ve been giving some thought to creating or passing down long lasting traditions for my own family and what I’d like to do to create meaning, togetherness and fun. With that in mind, I came up with a handful of ideas that don’t involve creepy holiday elves, a glue gun or an abnormal amount of tinsel…. enough of the reindeer games, ain’t nobody got time for dat!

1. AN INSPIRED ADVENT 

Sorry, but there is so much more to the season than those advent calendars filled with cheap chocolate. I don’t even want to know the shelf life on all that nuclear candy inside. The advent is such a terrific way to ramp up holiday spirit, especially for the little ones. Here are several examples to engage the whole family.

Starting on December 1st, remove an ornament from the bag corresponding to the day and hang one up each day on the tree. You could hang them on the mantle as shown or place them in a decorative basket.

House and Home

You don’t have to be limited to ornaments. You could instead have advent cards and hang them on a tree like this from the red thread. I love that this is chic, easy to do and doesn’t take up room space or require storage post-Christmas. Get the free printable download here.


As you hang each daily card the back could feature a craft or recipe the whole family can get in on. If you simply don’t have the time (and I completely do not!)  you can arrange for a family outing to look at neighborhood Christmas lights or enjoy a favorite holiday movie night in. If you’re attached to treats, you can leave a clue to where one is hiding around the house and make it a mini scavenger hunt! The ideas are endless. In the most simplistic sense, you could hang numbered tags and post an inspirational quote, a little love note or scripture. Whatever touches your heart, brings your family together and is realistic for your lifestyle! Can I get an ‘amen’ to that?

2. NORTH POLE BREAKFAST
Another way you can officially kick off the season is to have a North Pole breakfast. This year it falls on Sunday which makes me happy because we can all lounge and relax! If you have children, set the table for fun and make snow covered pancakes (powdered sugar) and hot cocoa with snowballs (marshmallows). If it involves food, I promise everyone will join in the fun! 
If you do the whole Elf on the Shelf tradition, you can have your elf make his grand entrance at breakfast. I have to admit, I think the idea is adorable, but I have not committed to the Elf hook line and sinker just yet. When I do though, I think this is a fabulous representation of a picturesque North Pole Breakfast with the kids from Hello Love Designs.

3. “HOARDAMENTS”
Normally just hearing the word “hoard” gives me anxiety, but Christmas ornaments are the exception to the rule. One tradition I keep every year is to give my son an ornament for our tree. He’s really into trains as of late, and vehicles in general, so each year I try and give him something he currently loves. Each year it’s fun to take out the past ornaments and see how his tastes have evolved… or haven’t! Here are a few that I’ve had my eye on…

So much wooden whimsy going on here from Graphicspacewood

New Christmas OrnamentsI can’t resist the lighthearted chic that these animals add to the tree from Jonathan Adler

These are one part glitz and one part vroom, a match made in heaven from Pottery Barn Kids
Alternate View

You could also have your children paint their own ornaments. The little one’s handprints make fabulous reindeer and special memories as they grow.

Fingerprint reindeer

A fingerprint Rudolph for a Christmas ornament. #easy #simple #ornament #reindeer #fingerprint #handprint #keepsake #holidays #memories #Christmas #ChristmasTree #kids #children #preschool #prek #kindergarten #toddler #home #weekend #December #DIY #craft | best stuff Footprint Christmas tree craft
4. A SIGNATURE DISH
What’s your go to holiday dish? Growing up, no matter the menu on Christmas, we always ALWAYS had my Grandmother’s lasagna. This dish took center stage at many family dinners and holiday occasions, and it has left a long lasting reminder of being together in good health and good cheer.  Now that I am the one handling the bulk of the cooking (and baking!), here is one of my go-to faves. This recipe for Triple Chocolate Chip cookies from Williams Sonoma’s Essentials of Baking are hands down my favorite chocolate chip cookies.

5. GIVE BACK

Santa Bag Fabric Only by sweetwaterscrapbook on Etsy, $18.95‘Tis the season of giving after all. While the opportunities to give your time or money are endless, the most important part is that you do something together as a family and teach your children about the importance of helping others. One clever and easy way to get children involved is to have them place a large bag for Santa under the tree on Christmas Eve. Have them fill it with toys that are still in good condition that they no longer play with but that other children may like to have. Santa will pick up these toys and replace them with new toys. It’s a great way to declutter (hallelujah!) before Christmas while teaching children about giving.

The best designed traditions are the ones that create a sense of belonging, establish roots and most importantly, are downright fun! What holiday traditions have you created in your home? Share your ideas!

Designing Holiday Traditions – Part 1

Since becoming a mother, it finally occurred to me that there has been a subliminal passing of the holiday tradition torch. By that, I mean that I never really claimed it. All I did was give birth and now I’m in charge of creating family traditions! Who me? Yikes, that’s a tall order! But it made me realize that much like designing a home, designing a lifestyle for your family that is rooted in tradition both old and new is just as central to who you are as your living space.

Now that the holidays are here, I’ve been giving some thought to creating or passing down long lasting traditions for my own family and what I’d like to do to create meaning, togetherness and fun. In the spirit of giving thanks, my amazing client actually inspired me for her holiday table. She has gathered beautiful autumn leaves from her property for her centerpiece, and from them she hung little chalkboard discs. All of her guests can pay tribute and write down what they are thankful for.  Lovely idea!

She used these wonderful chalkboard discs from Etsy store, thesittingtree

  • Chalkboard Tags - Tree Branch Wood Slice - Set of 5 - Rustic Wedding - Eco Friendly - Storage,Organization, Mason Jar Label, , Gift Tag

And don’t forget to place a few Bistro Chalk Markers on the table for guests to write on the tag!

More holiday traditions and ideas coming up next week, post turkey coma. Stay tuned!

Holiday Decorating Made Easy and Cheap

Fact: I might be a designer, but labor intensive DIY projects, especially around the holidays make me crazy! It’s not that I don’t have the inspiration or creative ideas, it’s simply because I live in the real world and lack the time, especially now that the holiday season is in full swing. You with me? It’s ok, I’m at peace with it, because I have some simple solutions to decorate using things you probably already have, in your home or yard. Best part is, you don’t have to hoard one more freakish looking elf or bushy strand of garland in your attic. The neat freak in me approves of this big time!

Most of us have extra ornaments and ribbon laying around. Just tie them together, hang from your favorite chandelier, add a strand of beads and voila! Even if you just have the ornaments, you can achieve a similar look by dangling them directly from a lighting fixture. Easy, simple, magical!

silver and green ornaments

Still have mas bling? You can easily fill a hurricane vase or lantern with extra ornaments as well.

Alternative Christmas tree ideas, tree from decorative lights

Put those extra christmas lights to use and fill an empty wall space with an alternative christmas tree

Houzzers Deck the Mantels

I love how the christmas lights elegantly illuminate these gorgeous glass candlesticks and trees.  Candlesticks should have a reason to come out and play when you’re not entertaining, and here they take center stage on the mantle while the lights add that special sparkle and glow that captures their unique facets and texture. Simple and elegant!

And speaking of glass, here are some great natural displays for your home. All you need is a glass container and some outdoor inspiration. If you’re already indulging in holiday treats (guilty as charged) a neighborhood walk does wonders for both the mind and body! So let’s bring a little nature home….

trees in vases/bottles

christmas tree

If you prefer a little pop of holiday cheer, here are some colorful natural accents from

frenchlarkspur.blogspot.com.au. If you have some empty bottles (vintage a plus!) a few winter berry sprigs go a long way. I love the clever idea of blending red and golden apples with a handful of pine cones too. Seasonal and simple, yet refined!

French Larkspur: Virtual Holiday House Walk...

Whether you prefer a more glam look to your holiday season, or au naturel, the inspiration is endless.
The less time and money spent on these types of projects equals less clutter in your attic, but best of all, it means more quality time with family….which is what the season is all about! I’ll cheers to that!