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!


  1. Debra,
    Not only did I love, and get inspired by, all of the decorations that were added for the tour, but I love the house. I seriously think I'll try to copy some of the natural arrangements you share here. I really love the snow balls (pom poms) hanging from the ceiling. Since we don't get snow where I live it could make a welcome substitute.
    Thank you for sharing this, I wasn't sure you had time this year. I loved last year's house too!
    Merry Christmas, may your holiday sparkle.

  2. Dear Debra,
    There is so much beauty in your neighborhood. I love seeing all of these delightful holiday decorations! I have been doing some of my decor, will finish this weekend and then will get the last post before Christmas up on my site Monday!

    The Arts by Karena

  3. Oh and yes, your entire team is so very talented!!

  4. Wow Debra...fabulous! I love how you thought of every single magical touch, so pretty and the planters and windowboxes are cozy and pretty!!

  5. INSANELY gorgeous!!!!! Debra, this is so beautiful, every room is lovelier than the next. I'm not sure if I like the outside or the inside better! Too beautiful for words. What talent, and what a lovely home. Merry Christmas!!

  6. What a beautiful home! I took a mental picture of that metal orb with the fresh greens (I might have to get one) and that master bedroom was gorgeous. What a great job your team did. I also found the idea of two courtyards intriguing....Thanks for sharing Debra. Merry Christmas

  7. This is absolutely incredible Debra!! I absolutely adore the dining absolute favorite! Love the horse head with the wreath, the window boxes, love that sphere on the coffee table...who makes that!? Way too many wonderful details to highlight...amazing!!!

  8. This home is perfect, inviting and comfortable. I love the use of real greens and nature with a bit of whimsy! Well done!

  9. P.S Where did those flexible sticks come from?? I need those!!!

  10. Oh I am in LOVE!! It IS perfect. You all did a fabulous job with a fabulous house. I had to laugh at the laundry sink. So funny! And I cannot believe someone would eat the cookies. Goodness. That family room...whoa. I want the desk in there...badly!

  11. A DOR able! I've never seen anything more lovely! As one who is slated to share her own house for a Christmas walk in 2015, this post was incredibly inspirational! Good job + TY! Merry Christmas!

  12. Just beautiful. I enjoyed this tour so much. I love how festive the house looks with all the natural touches.

  13. Whishing you a magical Christmas time love and kisses. Monse from Spain

  14. You guys know how to do it up right. So perfect!

    Merry Christmas!

  15. Simply beautiful! I celebrated the season this year with natural embellishments and greenery. Truly stunning. I bet it smelled good too!

  16. Debra, you are a genius!
    How can we live so close and yet we have never met?
    Your holiday displays here have taken my breath away -- truly.
    The best I have seen in years. You are so gifted,

    Happy blessed new year to you and yours.


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