Friday, December 9, 2016

Holiday Home Tour 2016

Christmas is traditional in our home and garden. I may add a few things to my mix each year and create new vignettes (with old things, staying true to my vintage and antique dealer self), but the basic underpinnings are the tried and true, year to year, in mostly red and green. Welcome to Panoply's home and garden in its Christmas decor!
Front of gate, our holiday home
Once the landscape garden is pruned and mulched for its winter nap - no later than late November - the exterior holiday decor is kept at an understated level. Magnolia & pine swags and wreaths on the brick fence pillars and doors, respectively, are the basics I use every year, along with a few pops of red via the landscape garden flag and statuary. The landscape uplighting pretty much takes care of the rest in making the outdoors festive.
Landscape in holiday attire 
A wooden sled, carolers, and lighted tree are placed on the front porch, and flickering welcome candles (on timers) are positioned on all the windowsills to greet visitors. Lights, especially battery-operated lights, are one of the best and easiest ways to make a home holiday ready!
Holiday front porch
As pretty as the night lighting is, it'll be easier to show you around in the daylight so, come on, let's go inside for a look at some of my holiday decor!
Holiday entry
Holiday area rugs
Besides lights, the next best (and easiest) thing to make your home holiday ready is by use of textiles! If you noticed upon entry into our home, the rug there is a festive French horn with holly and ribbon trim. One of the first things I do for a little holiday cheer is switch out my area rugs at all the entries, baths, and even under my desk.
I spend a good bit of time rotating my textiles through the seasons, and Christmastime is an especially fun time, layering with throws, pillows, runners, and even a few stuffed animals whimsically tucked in a room or two.
Holiday textiles
Our tree is placed at one end of an open-concept living space (the family room). It can be seen from the dining room, kitchen, breakfast area, sunroom and, of course, the TV / family room. This year, I added twisted ribbon trim to my tree, so some of the ornaments did not make an appearance - at least not on the tree. ;)
Christmas tree, beribboned
After the ribbon was on the tree, I began the sentimental journey of decorating. Unwrapping each ornament sparks memories of past events and loved ones, and that's why I love keeping the tradition of re-using ornaments year after year. As just one example, I have one sister and brother-in-law who have been gifting us with a Wallace commemorative candy cane ornament for each year we've hosted our family's Christmas Eve celebration. I love unboxing those candy canes and counting the years. Being the youngest of nine siblings, it gets harder and harder for everyone to come together. Our home is the designated "I'll be home for Christmas" celebration station where everyone comes, if they are able. I love hosting them, typically between 25-30 each year.
Wallace candy canes
Ornaments from travels, hobbies, family and friends - all of which I love - are hung on the tree.
Christmas tree, decorated, highlighting various ornaments
I create vignettes around some Christmas items, and fill the family room's wall unit shelves with different themes for each.
TV/family room with Christmas tree
Vignettes are also set on tabletops in the family room.
TV room tabletop vignettes
Little lights (most real, but a few by virtual enhancement) are used in the bookshelf spaces, helping to lighten the otherwise natural wood cubbies.
Santa bookshelf
The bookcase beside the tree (left of fireplace in room photo above), has one shelf holding several Santas: a trio of porcelains, hand-made by a sister; a tiny, reverse-painted ornament (how do they do that?!); and one made from each of coal and clay. The trees are vintage bottle brush, hand-beaded, hand-blown glass, and there's even one of spooled yarn. My Hummel Nutcracker duo are also displayed on this shelf.
On the opposite end of the room, I created a sort of "walking in a winter wonderland" on another shelf.
"Walkin' in a winter wonderland" bookshelf
I turned an ironstone sugar bowl upside down and placed it inside a tureen, and used the small base as a platform for a pinecone tree. The lights and pine/berry wreath veil the construction details. In the left corner is another tureen, holding a couple of oversized, shatterproof ornaments, while a third one is perched on the right. The trio of graduated birch logs is from a fallen tree from my landscape. A feathered owl ornament, a trio of felted snowladies and some jingle bells finish the scene.
Nativity, Primitive Scenes Bookshelves
The bookcase unit in the middle of this long family room has the two shelves pictured above. The top shelf is reserved for my nativity, while the lower shelf vignette is something I assembled this year. Within the wicker tray (another great trick to garner vignettes!), I placed a snow globe Santa, standing next to a red transferware bowl with a winter cabin scene. A wooden spool as tree, topped with a red jingle bell, sits in the bowl filled with a collection of all green buttons. Another string of lights and some cypress cuttings finish it off. A vintage postcard of two little girls sledding is propped beside the tray with use of a fork-turned-easel. An antique sleigh bell on leather strap rests in the lamp's base.

As you can see, it's pretty easy to create your own vignettes, and you can use things you already have. Side tables where guests will place their drinks are great places to position books, cloches, ironstone pieces - or any favorite vessel(s). Adding ornaments as flourishes, and grouping one to three items makes an easy vignette, depending on the table's size. Or, simply adding an ornament to an already pretty wreath and hanging it on an inside door, window or even a side chair is also a nice touch.
Various holiday vignettes
I generally focus my decor in the public spaces on the main level of my home, and typically only use textiles in the upstairs bedrooms and baths (and candle lights in the windows). The stairway is right as you enter the house, and it is draped in garland with bows and lanterns. The living room is often overlooked as guests enter and the door swings open, but there is a Nutcracker vignette behind the door that's visible at least as guests exit. There's also a vintage ceramic tree in the living room (that I most always forget to turn off. It's about the only thing not on a timer!).
Holiday entry, stairway, LR
Nutcracker vignette
After coats are dropped at the hall closet by the entry, the dining room is just beyond.
Holiday dining room
It's really the first space where company gathers. This year I've pulled much of my sterling and silverplate collections out to create vignettes in the dining room.
DR side table with silver service
I opened the game table (pictured above) to frame up the vignette I created there. I'm showcasing part of my napkin ring collection in a tabletop curio.The large silver tray is centered on the table's open end-turned-frame, and on the right is an old estate find - a domed food server.
Detail, curio with part of napkin ring collection 
Two glass and mirrored tabletop curios were stored for years, but I decided seeing my napkin rings not only makes me smile, but makes for nice decor. On the wall opposite the game table is the second curio, resting beside a Madonna and Child Capodimonte porcelain.
DR sideboard with Madonna, second napkin ring curio
I love collecting old napkin rings, especially monogrammed and figural types.
Detail, second curio of napkin ring collection
In the far corner of the dining room is my antique French vitrine where I normally store all my silver pieces. The vitrine only stands about 5' tall, so I made a vignette on its top ledge (pictured below). It's also visible in the mirror reflection of one the photos above.
DR vitrine vignette
I placed one of the two lighted boxwood topiaries used (here) from my holiday tables, and beside it is a framed and lighted reproduction print of a famous Bouguereau painting ("Virgin of the Angels"). The tole lamp makes three company for the vignette.

After creating my holiday tablesI really liked the polished look in the dining room (and so did many of you, thank you for the feedback), so I started with the pedestal mirror, crystal candlesticks, and silver ball ornaments. I added a crystal bowl in the middle, and filled it with another collection of buttons, this time white and ivory (pictured below).
Overview of  tabletop centerpiece, DR
A crystal pick and some cypress, along with a couple of silver mint juleps as vases for carnations, is where the centerpiece currently stands. The mood for the table is set to be quiet.
Holiday tabletop centerpiece, DR
However, things in the corner of the dining room are set to get a bit rowdier. I've completely dismantled my bar cart of its usual transferware and coffee service, and am decking it out with some real barware. Although we are not drinkers (but I'll share a toast), we certainly don't mind our guests imbibing. We just tell them to be sure to bring their designated driver with them. ;)
Holiday bar cart, DR
The "Coal Fairy" is ready to dole out little lumps to whoever decides to be bad. The champagne is chillaxin', ready for someone to mix up a batch of holiday mimosas or pop a toast. A perfect segue into the week following is the vintage photo of me with my family, circa 1960. It's a favorite, since there are so few of all of us together, even back in the day (being #9, I think they got tired of photos). Last year, one of my nieces gifted that photo as an ornament - did you notice it earlier?
Detail, bar cart elements
The sunroom is my favorite room to decorate, and I am fearless in there when it comes to mixing patterns and layering textiles. Right off the kitchen and breakfast area (two entries), it's a perfect space for traffic flow when using the kitchen island as buffet service. With all the light that floods the room, it's also where I love reading, addressing cards, and wrapping gifts. It has year-round climate control.
Holiday sunroom
Holiday sunroom, opposite angle view
My cozy space in sunroom
The owls, which were part of one my holiday tablescape looks, are now perched on the dining table in the sunroom.
Holiday tabletop centerpiece, sunroom
Also in this room, I brought back a couple vignettes I created new last year (with more vintage and antique items, of course). Again, use of battery-operated string lights and trays to contain the vignettes makes moving them around easy.
Recreated holiday vignettes in sunroom: cloche with baby cups; lamb cake mold
The stepback cupboard in the sunroom (visible in one of the long shot photos above) is welcomed new storage since summer, when it was moved in. It's also my new canvas for creating seasonal vignettes. Right now it's set for dessert service, but I'm sure it will change as the dessert menu is actually fleshed out. The wall opposite this cabinet has a wet bar with cabinets and counter space, so I'll toggle between the two in how I ultimately set them both.
Stepback, holiday style, sunroom
For now, it was fun decking the shelves with a few woodland scenes. My orphaned lambs and deer have found their adoptive protector in the woodland elf on the top shelf.
I bought the felted wool lamb in Moab, UT during our great American road trip this past summer.
Old scales and another of my topiary trees on the second shelf....
Bottom shelf "Ornament Fairy" is hanging out with utensils, straws.
It's the little things that spark creativity and inspire me when decorating for the holidays. I hope your visit here today leaves you with a similar feeling. I've shared various other vignettes of our home's prior holiday decor here (2015), here (2014) and here (2013). And if you're wondering how I stay organized for hosting a large family gathering, you'll be sure and want to read My Ten Tips For a Highly Organized Holiday Event

As if all that's not enough, I am participating with all the other bloggers listed below for their current holiday home tours. Be sure to check out any or all of them. If you're like me, there are plenty of talented bloggers who will inspire you. If you can't get it done this year, then certainly pin it for future reference in years to come. A special thanks to Chloe from the blog, Celebrate and Decorate, for being our host who organized us all for this holiday tour of homes. It's always a pleasure having your visit, your readership and your comments.

HOLIDAY HOME TOUR BLOG HOP SCHEDULE
MONDAY

 Everyday Living | Bluesky Kitchen | Rustic-Refined

TUESDAY

Rattlebridge Farm | Starfish Cottage | My Kentucky Living | B. Lovely Events |

FRIDAY
Panoply (you are here!) | Farm House 40 | Celebrate & Decorate |  Major Hoff Takes A Wife Twelve on Main


I hope you'll be as lucky as I was to see this guy coming through your neighborhood! It may have been a dry run, seeing as he was cycling, but I definitely saw him as I was drafting this post!
Santa, cycling through the neighborhood, early December!
Thank you, and Happy Holidays!
Rita C. at Panoply