December 14, 2015

Christmas House Tour 2016

The Geneva Illinois, Christmas weekend, is pure magic. 
Held the first weekend in December, the event kicks off with the lighting of the huge tree, while the streets are closed for Santa, roasting chestnuts, and live music. My fav, the Housewalk.
 Five homes in town are decorated by five businesses and this was ours this year.
A pre-civil war cozy gem of a home with a welcoming family, important as we come in and take over!

For the exterior peak, we created a triple boxwood wreath with satin ribbon, and boxwood balls hanging from ribbon tails. One of my favorite exterior elements is to mass upright red twig dogwood into the soil to create winter long interest, and in this case, to pull the eye from top to bottom.
The annual display of the family's Santa signboard additionally acts as an address sign. On the door, we collected fresh greenery, velvet ribbon, and an authentic leather strapped sleigh bell, a family piece of mine, once used on the horses in rural Pennsylvania.
Come in!
Fresh boxwood wreath with wrapped garlands of silver beads and cranberry strands
Besides being a jewel of a home, their family pieces tell a story and spark interest at every turn. In the entry resides a vintage wooden fortune teller

Upon entering the living room, it's charm envelopes you immediately. A faux garland with magnolia leaves weaves around the drapery rod with suspended silver bead garland, hung at varying heights. The beads in this particular garland are a pleasure to work with as they are attached via wire hooks making sizing a breeze

Twin trees rest on deep window sills

Glowing with lights and silver and gold ornaments en-masse, resemble decorative jewelry

Before entering the kitchen, one's attention is drawn to this scene, set into the wall, of a vintage antique shop......mesmerizing 
The kitchen

The details..........
My dishware too, Emma Bridgewater's 'Black Toast'! Very complimentary to their McKenzie Childs checked serving pieces

Chef Roby's gingerbread house with ice cream coned fireplace automatically generated smiles.

My friends, Chef Roby, and his wife Esther are the proprietors of the All Chocolate Kitchen, in town. Their creations took our breath away.
The renown Chef  (The Food Network, Martha Stewart.....) spun a sugar snowman at an easel, painting the home owners shop in town, The Paper Merchant. 
Esther painted the shop herself
Quite the artist, isn't she?

Upon a closer inspection, the fanciful sugar easel is topped with a heart and sugar/glass like red cardinals peeking at the art. While resting on a sugar log the snowman, draped in a scarf to match the clients checked dishware, paint brush in hand, is a keepsake for the family.

Fresh greens, and the really good faux envelope a room with life!

Now let's head into the dining area which looks upon the family room

 Again weaving a faux garland around the drapery rod sets the tone for another vignette. Notice the pillars dressed in greenery with flameless pillar candles.
 The chandelier is decorated with a boxwood wreath, hanging crystal garland at varying heights, more pillar candles, and greenery

 Stepping down into the family room to our espaliered tree. Love it or shall we say, question it!
Considering myself, not so humbly, a self-proclaimed master pruner, this was a blast. Yes, I am oddly amused........
The family's zinc finial, ornaments, and flags were added along with red twig dogwood and red berry stems lying horizontal, enhanced the effect

The tree skirt was a combination of a herringbone tweed blanket and beehive-like packaging material
 Oh yeah.........I covet this space; raised hearth, flag flooring, a cozy nook
Hanging from a beam via fishing line are these fab candle holders. With the flameless tapers, they glow and enhance many a space. Sold in the shop, they come with wall mounted arm hooks. LOVE!
 Now let's head outside
 My favorite domain to decorate is the outdoors. Think about those all important views, particularly for those of us in Northern zones. I love creating vignettes to look out on, and those that say Winter vs Christmas
Beyond the seating area is a gentle brick path leading to a greenhouse and potting shed
 A close up of the exceptionally tall red twig dogwood inserted in a vertical fashion for interest with evergreen boughs at it's feet
 As a gardener, I would be beside myself to have these two elements at home, a greenhouse and a potting shed.

 And as you depart, my 1934 Ford pick-up truck dressed for the holidays
Hope you enjoyed this years tour!
 All of this fun is solid teamwork, and we have the best!
     Lead Designer Leslie Juby, with Monica Kratovil, Jayme Manley, and Kim Fuller from the shop
     Chef Roby and Esther of The All Chocolate Kitchen
     Steve Phillips, my husband, happy/lifter/hanger/gopher
     Nancy Villwock, professional photographer    A must visit!
     Plandscape for exterior lighting
For those less than professional images....blame me!



  1. Debra, I have been waiting for this post since you mentioned it a few weeks ago! I LOVE IT ALL!!!!! Everything looks fabulous! Your work is so beautiful and gives me inspiration to try a few things on my own! If I lived closer I would have you decorate for me!

    Happy Holidays!

  2. Oh dear Debra, your home looks wonderful !!!! Inside as outside!! Love it! Thank you for sharing!
    Wishing you happy holidays! Enjoy your home!

  3. Debra, you are the best! Just eye candy for me this in the country and a gardener, it was so right up my alley! Put me right in the spirit! Love, love love it! Happy Christmas to you! Xo

  4. Your home is perfection inside and out, Debra! I am completely obsessed with the triple wreath and the boxwood balls hanging from the bottom...genius! So wish you could help us. You know how we love your work!!

  5. Debra,
    What a great house you were assigned. I love the art, specifically the portraits through out the house! You did an amazing job inside and out. What a fun home tour this was. I'm sure it's a ton of work but you guys really brought the house to life for the season.
    Great job.

  6. Debra I love this tour and adore everything you design for the holidays ending with your truck!! You have brightened my day!

    The Arts by Karena
    The India Hicks Collection

  7. what a treasure, debra! you did a beautiful job with this charming home. bravo!

  8. Oh I love downtown Geneva! It would be fantastic to spend Christmas there. You guys did a beautiful job.

  9. Lovely decorations (and pictures!). I've seen other decorated houses that look too stagey, but this is just perfect for livability as well as festive prettying. I'd go on a house tour there and want to stay forever. Well done!

  10. Debra, thank you for the beautiful Christmas house tour! Everything looks beautiful, you have highlighted this home's style and created a magical place for the family to celebrate the season. Gorgeous!

  11. I have been looking forward to this Debra you amaze me. I know how much work goes into one of these things! I love how you draped the ribbon on the boxwood wreath. But your exterior decor is what I always look forward to seeing. The truck was the piece de resistance. I am in total awe of what you do!!

  12. What a gorgeous magical home! How beautiful from start to finish! I would have to move right on into that living room, and the sugar snowman is AMAZING! My potting bench is coveting the Fresh Christmas Greens sign, and I am dearly in love with the truck. :)
    Merry Christmas!

  13. thank you for your kind words kelly.
    our in-house artist makes those signs if interested

  14. WOW!! So happy I did not miss this and will now get busy pinning away:) This is just magical and picture perfect. What an amazing dose of holiday beauty. I can feel the love that went into making it holiday perfect. Merry Christmas!!

  15. Hi Debra...your home looks every detail! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

  16. Debra, all of your special touches were just perfect. The greenery was beautifully placed. You always do such a fantastic job.

  17. Oh what a wonderful offering!
    Here are my challenges: Living in Central Montana (oh, so cold), "town" deer (see it, eat it), small corner lot (small) , 103 year old craftsman (wonderful), needing a garden face lift (your vision and talent). Happy, Merry, Wonderful Christmas Debra!

  18. So beautiful and festive, Debra!! I sure would like to have that greenhouse and potting shed :) Jingle, Jingle!!

  19. Debra, all the attention to details, all the beautiful colors used, the materials combination... they all simply reach perfection!:)
    We must mention that we also like the rugs used! Since we see that you breath decorating, we would like to invite to a tour into our rug world. Sukhi, our name in Nepali, means happiness and this is what we want to deliver by creating customized rugs. They are all hand-made by our lady artisans and uniquely created to fit into a particular home.
    We would love to hear your opinion about us!


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