December 28, 2014

Fireplace mantle post Christmas

How does one go from this

To this? Ok, this is an exaggeration, however once the Christmas decor comes down all feels naked. Maybe it is time for a change. Instead of putting everything back, take a fresh look at this important focal point with new eyes
 Trolling around my Pinterest boards I found many examples, let's take a look.....

Personally I favor an asymmetrical style, it looks natural in appearance. Leave the symmetry for a formal room

The possibilities are truly endless but as in all manner of design within your home, a personal touch is favored. This prime real estate can house your collections, favored art, in essence YOU

Mirrors are a standard tradition, the frames can be interesting, and they expand your space. If utilizing mirrors keep in mind what they reflect. Have you ever seen a mirror that reflects the ceiling, maybe a ceiling fan?

Here we go, a ceilings reflection

This is the idea
And this.
How to avoid? Hang the mirror slightly cocked; flush with the wall at the bottom of the frame, leaning forward at the top
 Naturally when your room possesses both an interestingly detailed ceiling and a stunning light fixture they can be doubly enhanced with a mirrors reflection.

 An obvious spot for a favored piece of art
 Or a collection
 The simplicity, in an otherwise 'busy' room adds prominence to the artwork; all alone and with a dark background lends a 'look at me' environ
 A stunning piece of art can carry the entire mantle
 Or not......

 A symmetrical display with foliage.
 Your florals need not be complex, the simplicity of just greens does not distract from the other elements while interjecting movement and texture
Florals need not be a tremendous amount of work as great faux's these days can provide the effect without a constant change of fresh

 Look around your room and pull styles, objects and existing colors to the mantle

 Simple, and reflective of it's artistic environment with a great sense of movement
 A favored clients fireplace is being remodeled tomorrow. This image is the inspiration. Cannot wait to share the before and after
How about over scaled art?!
I would kill for this!! From the home and book of Atlanta designer, Nancy Braithwaite
Have this book available in my shop, a new favorite!
 Find any inspiration? I hope so. This image and those below are from my pinterest board called VIGNETTE. This is another spot for ideas, these and many other vignette's can provide inspiration for your mantle

Wishing you warmth, happiness and good health in 2015!

December 19, 2014

Geneva Christmas House Tour 2014

This is my favorite annual post, "our" Christmas house. Geneva, Illinois is a Currier and Ives postcard kind of town particularly during the holidays. Every season five local businesses are chosen to dress five homes in the season's glory for the annual Christmas Walk and House Tour. Along with a vibrant downtown decorated en masse, roasting chestnuts, carolers, the lighting of the BIG tree in the courthouse lawn, Santa, carriage rides.....this is a truly special event!

This year was the perfect combination of a charming historic home, that everyone remarked on how they wanted to live here, and an ideal family who allowed us free reign, and creativity with a very warm welcome
Combine the above with a talented staff and a professional photographer to create the magic we hoped to provide to the visitors, all 3,200 of them!

This seasons theme was Woodland with natural elements; cones, birch, feathers, acorns, nests....

Come on may want to settle in with a coffee or maybe it is happy hour, where you are, there are many photo's to share.
The original wide planked floors are protected for the crowds.

When one enters; bedrooms up, master left, family room to the right. The staircase was intentionally sedate, not all elements need to take center stage
The master bed and bath

This gorgeous settee with undulating lines belonged to the home owners grandmother

Immediately to the right is the family room with it's three trees
Open birch bark "tubes" filled with greens, lights, acorns and feathers

The trees were heavily dressed in Twinkle Lights, teeny lights on strands with 5 speeds from fading lights to rapid pulses
In the homeowners wooden dough bowl lies a variety of greens (faux), cones, leaves, sprays and our metal sphere with frosted votive holder

Ornaments consisted of numerous silver bells, tiny feather trees, glittering sprays of boston ivy and a glittered, open weave ribbon. Some of the ribbons had all of their rounded bow portions cut down the middle thereby creating a big star effect 

The family Bible originated in Austria, 1896
The dining room is where I went a tad crazy......more than a tad?
The look in here is an English still life, just arriving after a hunt for an abundance of food and drink. 
I brought some treasured items from home and vintage merchandise newly arrived to the shop from England
The candles beside the pheasant are the new battery operated tapers. With dancing "flames" they truly look real. As you can see here they are nestled close to the greens without fear
Real trees, flexible faux wooden sticks that can be wound in any fashion. In person everyone was astonished that they were not real. With all the activity in the room, these sticks were the only adornment
Yes, this is a LOVELY kitchen!
 Feast your eyes on the homeowners Spode dinnerware lusciously embellished with confectionaries from the renown Chef Alain Roby of All Chocolate Kitchen. The large spun sugar art at the rear of his display is utilized as a lighting fixture
Chef Roby's Aroma Line of truffles, each hand painted with exotic flavors such as Aged Balsamic Caramel, Bananas Flambe', Marguerita, Red Velvet, Japan Green Tea......all made with Grand Cru chocolate, the highest grade of chocolate in the world

 On the other end of the kitchen is the wine cooler, mini fridge, et al, overlooking the eastern courtyard. Perfect for morning coffee, croissant, newspaper....privately. One of the aspects of this unique home is two courtyards, no lawn. Even this gardener found this attractive!
A continuation of our woodland theme with 'snow', greens and upright birch bark tubes filled with greens and sparkly elements. Look closely here and the previous photo to see the curtain of mini"snowballs" hanging from above. Our floral designer, Leslie, hand crafted these of varying sized snowballs threaded onto fishing line and hung from above. This was one of the most commented on design element in the house
The eastern courtyard
Subdued in greens, grays and whites

Coming back in we head towards the exit but not before seeing our Charley Brown tree at the back stairs with tumbling elements of folly.

We exit towards the western courtyard via the laundry room. Us being us, the laundry room had to be festive.
Eventually I decided to have a bit of fun in the sink with a series of Martha Stewart crepe paper snowflake balls, (colorful language was used during assembly) white frosted ornaments and ribbons of glittered snow mats over strands of twinkle lights.
See the plate of cookies for Santa? We took a bite out of each for display purposes and with the thought that no one would partake. You guessed it, several went missing!

The western courtyard, ideal for dinner and cocktails. Didn't I tell you this house was ideal?! The fire pit was wrapped in greens and berries, an armillary topped it off

 For a lit tree in a corner we used a french bottle drying rack as the tree stand, have to say I loved how that turned out

Goodbye lovely home, we enjoyed you and your family!

Now, I had best begin to think about Christmas at my home!
With love,
Our Team........

Leslie Juby, floral designer
Monica Kratovil, manager
Agnes Smith, assistant designer
Steve Phillips, lighting and helping hands
Nancy Villwock, photographer
Chef Roby, Chocolate!

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