For some homeowners, the holidays offer an opportunity to transform the look of their home, to bring in new colors and patterns for a fresh seasonal style. Other homeowners, though, view holiday decorating as a chance to amp up their current look, selecting décor and accessories that accentuate the style they’ve carefully crafted.
Donna Pochaski-Thomas, owner of the home furnishings and design shop Vintage Chic Furniture, follows the latter approach when dressing her vibrantly appointed Victorian brownstone in Upstate New York for holidays.
“I love a palette of aqua, light pink and hot pink,” she says. “My theme is primarily white with those pops of color.”
White dominates the home at Christmas. A white tree is framed in the front picture window. Cascading white garlands wrap around the banisters and frame doorways, brightly spotlighting the home’s gorgeous woodwork. Vintage white linens drape tables and are transformed into tree skirts.
Texture is an important element in the white theme, from the spiky garlands to the soft angel wings and plush pom-poms found throughout the home.
“I remember finding this pink and white pom-pom trim; I couldn’t use it [on a pillow], then I realized it makes an awesome vintage-looking pom-pom garland,” Donna says. “Now it’s one of the most exciting things that I have.”
When it comes to accents, Donna stays true to her favorite shades of pinks and aquas.
“I have found several boxes of ornaments over the years,” she says. “I would pull out all the pink, blue, white and silver, and give all the red and green ones to friends of mine.”
The look is topped off with some sparkle and shine.
“I love adding extra mercury glass ornaments, candleholders and tree-shaped pieces with scented candles,” Donna says. “The holidays are a perfect time to have more candles than normal, and mercury glass always adds that holiday sparkle.”
In a house decorated with a mix of vintage and modern pieces in whites and metallics, the traditional red-and-green holiday theme simply wouldn’t fit. Instead, homeowner Stephanie Vogler, co-owner of the Vancouver interior design firm and boutique The Cross, fully embraced her style to create a shimmering Christmas home trimmed in her favorite pieces.
The downtown apartment, which offers views of Vancouver and the North Shore Mountains, is a study in white-on-white decorating. By bringing in a range of textures and finishes, Stephanie makes the look pop. At the holidays, a flocked tree, plush throws and Scandinavian-inspired ornaments bring a classic wintery touch to the space.
“There is so little snow in Vancouver I thought they’d have fun if I brought a little bit of the white stuff inside,” Stephanie says. “The tree is my way of letting [my family] enjoy that classic Christmas feeling at home.”
“If I want a bit of glamour, which I love, I just drop in touches of silver and gold,” she says. “Against a neutral background, their shine makes a room feel special.”
Though sleek and elegant, this is a family home (Stephanie shares the apartment with her husband and two young children), so comfort is a must. All of the furnishings are cozy and inviting. Even aspects of her holiday décor, like giftwrap, has a casual quality to it.
“The kids and I often make our own giftwrap, using craft paper and metallic stamps,” she says. “I like the contrast of homemade craft wrap with sparkly ribbon.”
By accentuating her personal style at the holidays, Stephanie is able to create a warmly welcoming spot for her family and friends to enjoy throughout the season.
“I love my work and love playing with textures and colors, but I want home to be about spending time with my family,” she says. “Everything at home is casual and spontaneous. I don’t worry about the kids spilling drinks on the sofa or setting a fancy table for friends.”
Expressing your personal style doesn’t have to be at odds with respecting the historical details of your home. From selecting daring yet authentic paint colors to accessorizing with all manner of vintage finds, you can create a home that fits the aesthetics of both you and your home’s era, as Jennifer Laskey’s historic Los Angeles apartment proves.
Completed in 1928, the Andalusian-style courtyard complex was designed by famed architects Arthur and Nina Zwebell.
Jennifer, a long-time fan of 1920s and ’30s Spanish-style architecture, was drawn to the townhouse because of its original features, including a grand tiled staircase, 22-foot beamed ceilings in the living room and elaborately carved dark-wood doors.
“I hate when people will redo a bathroom or a kitchen or change windows or anything like that,” she says.
“This was pretty much untouched, which a lot of people don’t like because they want the modern amenities, but I don’t care about any of that and just really want originality.”
When she moved into the apartment, Jennifer undid a number of modern upgrades and added vintage pieces both reflective of the apartment’s late-’20s history and her own eclectic style.
Builders-grade medicine cabinets, mirrored doors, screens, light fixtures and more were taken out. Fans, though practical, were removed from the sweeping ceilings in the living room and equally beautiful ceiling in the bedroom, replaced with more-authentic-feeling fixtures.
A favorite upgrade, and a standout in the living room, is the newly gold-leafed fireplace.
“[I]t has a really cool fireplace that’s got original Spanish detail and the top of it was just white, and I don’t know if it was originally gold-leafed or no, but it was something that I could imagine there being that the architects/designers were very ornate,” Jennifer says. “I sourced a painter to do it, it’s just a little detail, it was a really expensive little detail, but I just felt it would be the most amazing detail, so I did that.”
Jennifer used paint to complement the townhome’s striking original details. The dining room was painted in a deep red with an uneven, aged plaster effect.
Newer doors were treated to gold, white, navy and olive green finishes to give them an older European-influenced appearance.
The work continued onto the patio, accessible via French doors from both the kitchen and dining room.
Electrical was added and Moroccan-style bronze light fixtures were installed.
The area was completed with a large daybed with matching ottoman and an ornate vintage mirror.
The weather is warmer, the days are longer—it’s the perfect time to hit the flea market! We talked to a few flea market experts to discover how they prepare for a day of shopping to help you get ready for your next trip.
Lindsey Donaldson of the Cottage Dreaming & Flea Market Wishes blog brings a wire shopping cart, water bottle, sweater and cross-body bag with her on flea market trips. “I have an old almost worn out floral Vera Bradley cross body bag that I have just for flea marketing,” she says. “Inside are hankies, wet wipes, business cards for my blog, breath mints, measuring tape, small pad of paper and pen, chap stick/gloss, phone, ID, keys, cash of fives and ones, and a few cough drops.”
Shannon Gallegos of the Vintage Sparkle Chic blog also recommends taking a small cross-body purse. “I also leave my large purse at home and opt for a cross body small purse, I have to keep my hands free for carrying all of those vintage goodies,” she says. “SPF is a must along with lip SPF. Water bottle for hydration is most helpful on hot and dry Colorado summer days.”
Linda Albers of The Funky Junk Sisters and The Great Junk Hunt has this recommendation: “Make sure your phone is fully charged,” she says. “Take a picture of where you parked so you can find your way back easily. Take photos of purchases so you can go back later for pickup.”
Lori Cowherd of Thieves Market Vintage Flea has this advice for shoppers looking for a specific item: “If you are looking for something in particular, talk to the vendors,” she says. “Sometimes they have just what you’re looking for in their storage and can arrange to get together after the market.”
Vendor Gaye Penney of Vintage Rhodes offers this advice to all flea market shoppers: “First and foremost, buy what you love,” she says. “There is no right or wrong piece. If something evokes a memory of brings you pleasure to look at, procure those things.”
Rainy weather brings more than puddles and mud; these gray days also provide myriad adorable accessories you can use to decorate your home. Follow the lead of these homeowners and use rain boots and chicly patterned stick umbrellas to create a stylish and functional vignette in your entryway. Add a little color by hanging brightly hued slickers and hats on coat hooks or lining a hallway with pretty printed boots. Visitors will be ooh and ahh at these fun touches, and be grateful for the loan of one of these accent pieces if they need to make a quick dash out in an unexpected storm.
Your bedroom is meant to be a place to relax and unwind. A warm, cozy bed is just one element of your ideal oasis. Certain scents, like lavender, can help make your room soothing and serene.
“Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is considered the most calming herb,” says Alexandra Haley, a family herbalist and detox specialist who owns the Claremont Healing House in Claremont, California. “It’s commonly used for conditions of nervousness, insomnia, anxiety, and quieting the mind and body.”
You can create a spray using lavender essential oil to add a calming scent to your pillows and linens.
What you’ll need:
Spray bottle (I used a 2-ounce blue glass bottle)
Lavender essential oil
What you’ll do:
Use the funnel to fill the spray bottle ⅔ full with distilled water.
Use the funnel to add witch hazel to fill the bottle to just below the neck.
Add 10 drops of lavender essential oil.
Screw on the top; then shake to mix the ingredients.
Lightly spray on your linens.
Note: This made a lavender linen spray with a light, lingering scent. For a stronger scent, add the witch hazel to the bottle first, followed by the essential oil and the distilled water.