“Who would have known it all would have started with a shoebox? ” my mom asked me on a phone conversation the other day. That shoe box being the one pictured below, that she gave me eons ago from one of her discarded boxes that had held her Christmas cards. She was way ahead of her time, as a woman who recycled and NEVER threw anything out, for the object to be discarded always had another life purpose. Knowing full well her mentality, at the age of nine, I found it easy to acquire two of her empty boxes to hold some of the Christmas treasures “chotchkies” that I had been given from both her and the trio of very proper English sisters that lived together and were respectively, two of my great aunts and my great grandmother, AU-ntie, AU-nt Pearl and Nana. Not to be pronounced Antie or Ant Pearl as they would always tell me, for Ants were the things that crawled on the ground. Auntie in particular loved the art of gift giving and wrapping and most likely passed it down to her niece and my grandmother, Nan. All of that being said, the women in my family loved to hang onto things and so the inherited tendency continues…with me.
A blessing… or a curse ??? Depends on what I am trying to accomplish.
Short and succinct… I am not. I love a story and the meaning behind one’s actions.
Passionate about design and decor and uplifting one’s environment through them… I am.
This trio of ideas works together… sometimes and sometimes not, basically translating into the fact that I have a hard time throwing something out that has meaning attached to it or an associated story behind it. Thus, those shoe boxes have traveled with me to college, my various houses and still reside with me today. The field of decor and design, often fights this flaw given that every year there are new trends, new looks, new color combinations, etc so that nothing is stale. Recreating the wheel and fixing what is not broken is a sign of progress, correct?
I must be stuck in the stone age when the wheel was first invented for I love the way it works, at least when it comes to Christmas! My assemblage of Christmas decor fits all the colors of the rainbow and has evolved over the years from treasures accumulated from apartment to town house to house to the home we are in now. I follow design and decor blogs where they do beautiful lay outs of their color palette and design style that they are using this year, to change it again year after year. I admire their creativity and their energy to keep coming up with something new. There is something about taking down the Christmas boxes from the attic year after year to bring out the decor that you have lovingly and hurriedly packed away…in February. Unwrapping each piece as the smells of the season and the memories escape from the tissue paper that they are wrapped in. The boxes that I wrapped at least fifteen years ago to adorn a hallway tree in our old house still exist today, outdated and a little worse for wear. They incite memories of a time when I decorated at midnight when the kids, being much younger than they are now, were tucked into bed and I was making use of the quiet moments to do what I loved. I have many color combinations in my home today so the decor of my past has fit into rooms that make it work and I like to think of it as… all the colors of Christmas.
Each room reflecting a bit about it’s storied past and time period, telling a story in this eclectic old house that too evolved over time forming a varied, character filled abode. I would like to give you a little tour of how this works for us. To show you that you do not need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to decorating, you can grind it down over time, changing its form, always keeping the circle but adding to it bit by bit as it evolves.
Hope you enjoy!
Dining Room Circa 1922
There is this Mercer tile fountain/fish pond in this room that when we did the walk through of the house was filled with water. Upon moving in, I immediately drained it for fear that our four boys would use it as a swimming pool. Now I fill it with cream colored poinsettias from Produce Junction…
adding pops of white and silver decor with a sprinkle of mica snow.
My collection of Liberty Blue china that I have purchased piece by piece over the years adds the color pop.
Fresh greens, more silver and blue glass ornaments add a festive air.
The Dining table will change, for this is where the thirty something family members gather on Christmas Eve…
but again, I intersperse pops of blue into the neutral color palette.
Quite a transition into the orange hued family room ~ circa 1889
Christmas tree is up but will not be adorned until all little birdies are back in their nest on Friday!
creams, and browns…
interspersed with the blues from the painting above the fireplace…
and reflected together with pieces from a thirty year old history of acquisitions.
Keeping room ~ what are we keeping here? Original room of the house dating back to the early 1700’s whose decor incorporates the time period in which it was built.
Library ~ Circa 1789
Golden hues with burgundy and greens whose furniture is from our first “real” living room set purchased around 18 years ago. All of the decor in here was moved over from our old home. This large Santa always get a laugh or two upon coming down from the attic for he has “fallen” dow the stairs numerous times as the kids take him down year after year.
The Library flows into the front hall.
Front Hall ~ circa 1789
Greens with pops of burgundy.
Butlers Pantry ~ not sure when the butler lived here but now desserts are served from this spot on Christmas Eve.
Bar area tucked into a little niche in between the Butlers Pantry and Family Room
Our bedroom decor is of a soft blue and cream color palette.
A few items of those hues are sprinkled around with tucks of fresh greens. I decorate all of the kids bedrooms but showing you photos from those rooms would mean they would have to clean and declutter them…so we will have to pass at this time!
Black beard should be part of the decor for he is a frequent guest of the room and makes himself totally at home when here!
Pop little bits of Holiday finery into your everyday spaces and they will make you smile a little upon viewing them as you pass them by in this season that can be filled with too much to do and not enough time to do it.
The outside is always adorned with fresh greens and wreaths. So simple and yet so beautiful.
From all of us at Willowbrook Farm…we wish you fun, merriment and memories in your Christmas decor…and a friend or two to share it with!