Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I'm dreaming of a White (and Silver and Blue) Christmas...


I have an early case of holiday fever. Perhaps it's because this will be our first holiday season in the new house, or perhaps it's just because I've been very busy at work and this has been one helluva roller coaster of a year, but I'm looking forward to the upcoming holiday season immensely. And while I enjoy Thanksgiving with all of its great food, classic college football rivalries, and a four- or five-day license to do little else other than eat said food and watch said football, I don't particularly enjoy Thanksgiving decorations. After all, autumnal colors don't exactly jive with my house's decor -- and, quite frankly, a lot of Thanksgiving decorations can veer towards the culturally insensitive (hello miniature Pilgrims and Indians!). Call me lazy but my preference is to leave out any leftover pumpkins from Halloween and call it a day. Besides, since our family traditionally puts up all our Christmas decorations the weekend following Thanksgiving, I tend to associate Thanksgiving with Christmas decor as well.

This year I thought I'd do a few posts on decorating for Christmas. I know the politically correct term is "Holidays", but since I don't celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, I thought it wise to leave decorating for those events up to those who do. And so the next few weeks leading up to Christmas I'll be showcasing a few of my favorite homes decorated for the holidays as well as a few tips and tricks for celebrating the season in a sophisticated, decidedly non-cheesy way. So if you're looking for giant inflatable reindeer or tips on how to light your house up like the Griswolds, I suggest you look elsewhere.

I thought I'd kick things off with a house that puts a decided twist on traditional holiday decorating. The November issue of Canadian House & Home featured this lovely beachfront home owned by Darci Ilich, the co-owner of the charming Vancouver boutique The Cross. Ilich preserves the serene and coastal tranquility of her cottage's decor by decorating in whites and silvers, punctuated by hits of robin's egg blue and turquoise. Of course you all know of my ongoing love affair with turquoise, and with blue and white, and I think these colors are such a wonderful, wintry alternative to the traditional red and green. The palette is particularly appealing if your home, like mine, veers towards cooler colors or neutrals.

I love how this simple wreath of silver balls is hung around the wooden deer head (punched up ever so subtly with the lovely pale blue ribbon). There are a ton of inexpensive ball wreaths available on the market today (check out West Elm and ZGallerie for some nice options). These are also great alternative if you have a serious aversion to fake foliage but are still looking for a wreath that you can reuse year after year. I lack the discipline to maintain an all-white color palette, but I can certainly appreciate the serenity and sophistication that it can bring to a space. Ilich manages to keep the room cozy though by playing with different shades of white, cream and ivory and by bringing in a variety of textures. I particularly love the textural interplay between the flokati pillow and the metallic pillow against the white canvas love seat.


The contrast between the dark wood table and pristine white Louis XV chairs is brilliant, especially against that gorgeous wall of french doors. I love the idea of decorating your chandelier as you would a Christmas tree -- and a great way to bring some of your decorations into the dining room. I also prefer this to a large, traditional centerpiece on the table, which inevitably has to be moved when company actually arrives if you actually want to see the person sitting across from you. Another great tip: swap out those pesky (and dangerous!) metal hooks on your ornaments for lovely ribbons. If you're short on time and/or patience, Crate&Barrel even sells pre-cut and pre-tied ribbons by the bunch (all you have to do is loop them through!).


A close up shot of the chandelier. I absolutely adore the mercury glass ornaments hung on pale blue ribbons. Perfection.



Ah the tree. The centerpiece of any holiday decorating. I love the idea of buying a smaller tree and putting it on a pedestal table. Not only is it less expensive than buying a large tree, but by getting it off the ground you can keep it out of reach of pets and small children. While I vacillate between loving and hating Christmas trees with very controlled color palettes (They're so striking! / They strike me as overly decorated/impersonal!), I think this one really works as the ornaments on display are varied and unique -- these aren't just glass balls picked up at your local Michael's or Target.

If you're looking for a White Christmas (as I am), there are a ton of wonderfully sophisticated (and relatively inexpensive) options on the market this year as silver, mercury glass, turquoise and white ceramics are all big trends in home decor right now. Below are a few on my Christmas wish list:


Source list (clockwise, from top left): 1. David Stark holiday collection from West Elm ($12-47). Love the super-modern, sculptural vibe of this collection. 2. Antiqued glass collection from Wisteria ($19-$34). These would add a touch of sparkle year round -- no need to limit yourself to the holidays. 3. Peppermint Vanilla bundle from Method ($24). My favorite holiday home scent of all-time! 4. Mosaic tree from Target ($9.99 - $19.99). Love the art deco vibe of these trees; I'd put these on the mantle for some serious sparkle. 5. Snow Globes from West Elm ($29 each). Of course the peacock is my favorite! 6. Marimekko Lumimarja tea cup & saucer and dinner plate from Velocity Art & Design ($24 and $15). One of my favorite Marimekko patterns, now available on porcelain dishware. 7. Bengal Bazaar Christmas stocking from PlumCushion ($40). Simply the most sophisticated stocking ever; perfect for the design addict. 8. Winter tree candleholder from Inglenook Decor ($30.75). Maureen always has such unique finds and this snowflake tree is truly magical. 9. Belvedere Bowl from ZGallerie ($32). Perfect as a centerpiece; I'd pile it high with silver balls. 10. Turquoise mercury glass ornaments from ZGallerie ($6-$10 each). I love the weight mercury glass gives to ornaments and this turquoise is truly spectacular. 11. Dove ornament from Jonathan Adler ($24). I covet all of his ornaments, but this dove most of all; also a great gift.

Photographs of Darci Illich's home are courtesy of Canadian House & Home, November 2009 issue.

24 comments:

Shannon said...

I absolutely love, love, love the Christmas decorations! The colors are such a lovely change from the traditional. I can't wait to see how you decorate your home!

Kitty said...

averill, you really do entertain and delight me every time! these are all great ideas!
re: thanksgiving decorations: there are enough gross turkey necks seated around my inlaw table. i don't want to add any others, decoupaged, sparkling or otherwise! xo kitty

Linda/"Mom" said...

******* Ohhhh, now THIS is a "WINTER WONDERLAND", ESPECIALLY for people like us, who live in the desert!!! Soooo breathtakingly "simple", in all the most elegant ways!!! THANK YOU!

Linda in AZ *

Isabella & Max Rooms said...

I just wrote my post for tomorrow and now catching up on some reading...hey, we are thinking along the same lines!! You'll see.

I love white and silver and turquoise with a dash of muted gold and getting ready to start decorating for the holidays.

Janell

Kara said...

oooh! I'm so excited to start decorating. and my colors are white and silver with a touch of blue. :)

Liz @ It's Great To Be Home said...

You're right, that dining room is so lovely!! The ornaments are so delicate, just perfect!

Fabulously french said...

What a gorgeous post. I absolutely love the louis chairs with the dark table. The whole house is gorgeous.

Leeann x

Christy said...

I am so happy that you're going to focusing on Christmas decorations in the coming weeks. It's my all-time favorite time of year. I LOVE it. And can't wait to decorate the weekend after Thanksgiving either. But I've been toying with the idea of getting our outdoor lights out even earlier. If it's nice one day before then I might just surprise Matt when he gets home with a house full of lights! Shhh don't tell him!

And I just LOOOVVE the blue and white theme. We sometimes had all blue lights on our tree when we were little - so pretty. Now we do all different colors, but one year we might do all blue again. That living room shot is sensational - I love that horse picture on the mantel. I would love to have that in my own home!

And I have to end with - I hope you show us YOUR holiday decorations! In fact, you should host a party and we can all link up to it with our posts of our own holiday decorations. You know, with all of your spare time you have right now! ha!

karen@fitnessjourney said...

You have found some of the most beautiful images for the holidays! I think you have plenty of company when it comes to excitement about decorating your own home. I've been giving it a lot of thought and I've seen posts on several blogs about the same topic. Won't it be fun checking out what everyone is doing for the holidays?

Couture Carrie said...

Gorgeous post, darling! Especially loving your collage at the end... I am so excited for xmas!

xoxox,
CC

Sarah said...

Yay!!! Great pics, I've been thinking of hanging some ornaments from our chandelier for our annual party this year. Looove this one with the mercury glass! Lol at the fact that you are going to refer to them as Christmas decorations...I definitely don't celebrate anything other than Christmas, but I'm too much of a wimp, so I always refer to it as "holiday" decorating:)

Jane said...

I'm not so sure. I have to say, what I like about the holidays is that everything feels homey. The stark white looks like you are celebrating the birth of Christ in a museum. A modern icy museum. It looks like all you could drink at that Christmas house party is vodka unless you spill your glogg on the pristine unfeeling decore.

Jane said...

PS what is with that antler head with the blue ribbon? Was it shrunk by some head hunter? It looks creepy.

Kitty said...

Averill, I posted a little follow up on your disdain for Thksgvg. decorations on Shindigs. xo kitty

Averill said...

Jane - I agree that the all white interior is a bit stark (and obviously not exactly my taste -- hello purple walls!). That said, I do rather like the strict color palette for the Xmas decorations. It's a nice change of pace from ALL that red & green.

pk said...

This is so far from what my color palette is, but I really admire and appreciate it. It's beautiful and I could celebrate Christmas there for sure! :-)

pk @ Room Remix

Sanity Fair said...

SO pretty - you make me miss my old set of Christmas decorations, which was all white and silver. Maybe I need to break that look out again (I just don't like red. I don't know why). CH&H is becoming my favorite decor mag!
-Sanity Fair

nid said...

Love your ideas. My husband doesn't like for the tree to be too loud or crazy looking, which works well with my decor sensibilities, so I've always done our tree with blue and green ornaments only (and shades in between, i also love me some turquoise/teal!). I now really hate red and green together.

Kellie Collis said...

So stylish, chic and classic. Who needs red and green when you can style a home with this! x

Things That Inspire said...

I love this post - I wish you could see the Christmas showhouse going on in Atlanta right now. The holiday decor is very sophisticated, and at times whimsical - shotgun casing Christmas tree lights in one of the spaces! My favorite decor was the branches tied with beautiful ornaments.

This post gives me a lot of food for thought. We are heading out of town for Christmas, and I am wondering how much to decorate this year. The kids love it - but it is a lot of work, especially since Thanksgiving is late this year, and it will only be up for a few weeks. I love the idea of a small tree on a pedestal - I might need to float that idea by the kids and see what they think.

Laura@JourneyChic said...

Lovely, lovely choices! I also have a hard time choosing between a "put together"/coordinated Christmas and an eclectic assortment that's been done over time. Ideally I'd have enough room for two trees - one that can be "fancy" and the other fun. Ultimately, I think I prefer looking at very styled Christmas decorations in other people's homes, but prefer the eclectic look in mine.

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Such a gorgeous post Averill. I love all of these photos. That living room is one that you just have to say "ahhh". I love color, but I would so love to do an all white Christmas. I only wish I had the flocked tree. My father would always purchase a real tree & flock each year on our patio. He'd have flocking everywhere, but boy could he decorate a tree. This year his is a show stopper. He's been working on it for days. Thanks for the great inspiration today. Such fun. x

MyLittleHappyPlace said...

Perfectly divine - and sooo up your alley (I can just SEE similar festiveness in your home!)

Also, need to get my hands on a CH&H subscription in a most serious kind of way!

Pinecone Camp said...

Ahh, I'm familiar with this home - I shot it for House and Home. It is a pretty beautiful home, isn't it? I loved the flocked tree!

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