December 13, 2010

Tour "OUR" Christmas House

The charming town of Geneva in Illinois had their annual Christmas fest two weeks ago. (yes, with good intentions, wanted to post earlier.....but Christmas retail and outdoor containers take over.)
One of the highlights is the house tour where five shops each decorate a home. 2,000+ joined the tour!

Join me as I introduce this years enchanting  home, a collective labor of love.

Built in 1896, this workers cottage (on the right) displays it's simple beginnings.........notice the children at the picket fence (wonder if they have sticks). Once a dirt road, this photo shows Italian minstrel's;  three violinist's and a full sized harp serenade(?)! I would love to know about the origins of that

The cottage today...........ooops, forgot to remove the "bootie" bin!

The two front corners, at the walkway entrance are enhanced with curly willow set in the soil and planted urns. Personally I love to bring "the landscape" to the front of the property to provide interesting viewing from indoors
Up close, greens, faux chartreuse berries, yellow/orange candle holders with battery votives, copper tinted eucalyptus and feathers...I love feathers in outdoor containers

Minimal evergreens in the front gardens prompted me to insert spruce tree toppers along the walkway and landing  Something to consider if your garden if mostly flowers and decidous  shrubs.
All of our color choices inside and out were guided by the homeowners selections. Love that she made the windows boxes extra large and with a repetition of color pulled from the front door for a harmonious exterior.
Christmas decor need not include red and green to be festive

Ornamental grasses and hydrangea heads remain for additional winter texture
Please, come in!
The enclosed porch. Neutral tones allowed us to add touches of red

The large pillow was wrapped in seasonal fabric and we added a plaid blanket at the foot.
." Visions of Hot Toddy's danced in our heads" add a good book and a glistening snow fall..........heaven!

Let's head into the Living Room................

Two tree toppers were wired together, set in water inside a black cast iron urn which raised the trees profile.
This is a good option for small or limited space interiors. These toppers are tall and slender with a wispy, natural feel because of space between branches and trunk

"Donner and Vixen" took refuge under the tree which carried through the theme with a colorful plaid blanket, copper mesh cones, faux vibirnums to enlighten the spot (this is a dark home) and a variety of faux greens

GOOD, really GOOD (often expensive) faux's are hard to beat, as in the blue berried Juniper garland. They provide added interest in unexpected spots, eliminate mess and can be used for years to come.Their exceptional quality, will fool the casual observer

Carefully chosen ornaments integrate the settings existing colors
glass hummingbirds, dark bronze glitter leaves,  double sided satin ribbon, wire mesh copper cones and my favorite copper wired lighting strands with miniature seed lights easily wrap in any direction you choose

Everywhere you look take notice of her color scheme
The owner added the built-in cabinet/window seat, filled with her collection of globes. The bungalow/arts and crafts motif is highlighted through-out

Her home reflects her personal loves and life. A magical trip to Cahors France is remembered.
(like a FULL bodied red wine? you will love Cahors, a very little known red)

Note the greeting into the dining room

The lighting chain becomes festive wrapped in double sided satin ribbon

Take note of the desk/bookcase nook in the background
Faux Paperwhites and greens mix with the owners collection of vintage ornaments

The Nook, I dreamt of blogging in this quaint niche.
drapery colors led the direction of all color choices

Owners collection displayed on mini holders and elsewhere in small green flower frogs

The Kitchen

Kitchen, completely refurbished. Note the 'William Morris' styled wallpaper wrapping the walls and the ceiling
I am crazy for the extra wide moulding
Up close.........mercury glass cones sparkle with battery votive candles

                  all concrete items by Richard Taylor, see credits at the end

Thee Mudroom exits towards the drive. Our retro turquoise snow suit

Let's take this exit....... to the garden courtyard
Lattice was installed to minimize the closeness of the rental next door (yes, you know what "rental" usually means.
Hanging "ball" light spheres for illumination in a dark corner. A vignette was hung to create an additional visual barrier to the waste bins next door.
Not visible during the day, but gorgeous at night is net lighting "sheets" tacked to the back side of the trellising.
I truly believe that a "problem" presents interesting design solutions. And oftentimes those solutions produce great results that might not have been  thought of otherwise....embrace those dilemma's!

I did say miniature!
Some of the touches are not easily discernible;
*on the upper tier of the stone wall we created a "forest" by adding upright long needle pine toppers and yellow twig dogwood
     Do what you can for WINTER viewing, not just the Holidays. Here in Illinois, winter is nearly  6      months and i do not stop looking out my windows, still wanting visual interest
*the garden table is draped in "net" lighting, which extends and drapes like a real table covering would.
At dusk a golden glowing focal point
*topped with fresh greens that the light escapes from, plus our copper lantern from London is lit inside with battery votives that cast a stunning glow on the cherub plaque within

An exterior tablescape.............. my favorite to create
Faux bois planter and mushrooms are the focal point of this vignette, nestled in fresh greens
Every proper console needs an accent above. Our concrete frame awaiting a mirror
Mossy lichen encrusted sticks form the base for fresh evergreens, resin bells (withstand freezing temps), and plastic berries
For the front of the garage, a massive composition in a mossed wire sconce, a huge variety of fresh greens and foliage, faux orange and chartreuse berries
Tin planter embellished with fresh greens, lichen sticks, mini terra cotta pots holding battery votives, and a concrete bird nestled in 'angel vine'

Thank you for coming, I hope you enjoyed!

'May the Christmas season fill your home with Joy, 
your heart with love,
and your life with laughter'
by Eshan
* Primary Interior staff; Vicky Whitt, Susan Olson with santa's helpers; Diane Malloy "sister" and myself
* Exterior staff; myself, and big helper; sister. plus lighting and heavy lifting by husband Steve
* All of the concrete elements; my friend Richard Taylor the genius of Flat Earth Designs, represented at Scentimental Gardens
* A HUGE thank you to Kathy B., our willing homeowner that allowed us utter freedom, a designers dream!


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