Nothing makes a house (especially one that we’ve lived in for 6 months) feel like a home like a little holiday coziness. So along with decorating the front of the house, and setting up our tree, each year we love to document how we festive-ify the rest of the house (here’s that post from last year, two of them from 2011, one from 2010, one from 2009, and one from 2008). This year was an especially exciting year because it’s our first Christmas of living in this house… which means I have new spaces to play with – like a different fireplace mantel, and stairs for the first time in seven years of home-ownership!
For almost every other space I just used what we already had, but for the stairs I ran to JoAnn and bought some faux garland (and an evergreen sprig for my green HomeGoods jug). It was $14 for both of them thanks to 50% sales on the Christmas stuff. To hang the garland on the railing, I just used red ribbon from last year (I’m the girl who saves every ribbon when I open presents to reuse it) – one at the top, one at the bottom, and one in the middle. I also added a clear zip tie at the top (under that ribbon) to be sure things stay put.
The bench is a HomeGoods find that we’re planning to eventually use at the foot of our bed (once I recover it) so I tossed a furry blanket on it and plopped it in the foyer for now. I got the idea for the whole garland/bench thing when a few people showed me this photo from Country Living and said “I can’t believe that’s not your house – there’s even blue trim in the room next to the stairs!” – how funny is that? So it was definitely the inspiration for this little holiday moment. Although the first thing we did in the foyer has already turned into a new holiday favorite: The Christmas Moose!
We grabbed him at HomeGoods back in September for $9 (weirdly enough, it was John’s idea – I think I’m rubbing off on him) for the express purpose of hanging him up for the holidays. Basically John picked him up, declared that his name was Morris The Moose, and said “we should bring Morris home and hang him every Christmas, so he can live out his destiny as The Christmas Moose.”
He’s pretty much Clara’s favorite holiday decor item ever (if live seals can’t be brought in for the roof, at least there’s a silver moose in the foyer). The best part is that I didn’t have to make any holes in the wall to hang him. I just used the screw that was holding up the Ikea frame that usually lives on that wall, so it should be easy to swap out that picture for a moose every December. And then I just stuck some remnants of ribbon and pom-pom fringe around his neck along with a few pink ornaments and called it a day.
Next we have the living room mantel, which has a bunch of stuff that we’ve enjoyed for a few years in a row. The green feather trees (they’re hand-me-downs from John’s sister, but she originally got them from Target) are nice up on the ledge, along with some wrapped presents. Those are my favorite no-fuss accessories to break out every year because they’re fake and I wrapped them back in 2010 but they’re such an easy way to look like I’m this master gift wrapper (meanwhile I’ve shopped for about 6% of this year’s gifts and wrapped 3% of them). Oh and our stockings are currently labeled as “Mommy & Daddy”, “Clara”, and “Burger” but we’re thinking when the bun comes along next year we’ll get five of them (one for each person) so there’s no more random stocking sharing going on.
My favorite detail of all in here is the cardboard Burger (a reader hand-made him at a book tour signing last year) who’s sherpa-ing a present. Cracks me up every time.
A few folks asked where our outdoor star pendants ended up in this house (you can see where we got those here), and the answer is that we finally got around to hanging them in the corner of the sunroom-turned-veranda, so we can gaze at them from the sofa in the living room every night.
The console in the foyer also got some casual cuteness, mostly in the form of leftover ribbons, and a homemade reindeer.
I have these little letterpress “love” blocks out year-round, but a pink ribbon and two tiny ornaments make it a little more cheerful…
… and this reindeer was handmade by John’s grandpa, so he’s hugely sentimental and we love seeing him standing on his ribbon pile when we come down the stairs.
Our leaning chalkboard in the office got a little holiday message on it as well. Clara asked me to add the birds and snow. Now I just need her help decorating a snowman down at the bottom (she loves to chalk things up down there). She’s also a fan of drawing bunnies these days, so we might get some of those in the mix…
Clara and I also got to do a fun little Christmas craft together, which was basically making a giant mess with fake snow (it was THE BEST and SO HILARIOUSLY MESSY). Otherwise known as making these two snow-filled boxes, complete with tiny trees and mini dogs.
Don’t mind Captain Barnacle’s legs in this shot (he still goes everywhere with Clara). This is what we used for the project:
I grabbed two of these glass boxes from TJ Maxx (I think they were $7.99 each) along with a bag of fake snow, a two-pack of little trees, and one package of tiny ceramic dogs from Michaels (they’re meant for those little holiday villages that people make under the tree with various buildings and skating rinks, etc).
Then Clara just had fun
covering the kitchen with fake snow filling each of the two boxes with a mound of snow, and adding a few dogs and a tree. Now they sit on the media cabinet in the living room and Clara can usually be found standing about 2″ away just gazing at them. She even named a few of the dogs (Elmo is the one on the right, and the one in the top hat is Gru). The good news is that the hand-vac was able to suck up all the little glittering snow particles that exploded all over the table and floor during our little crafting session.
So that’s how we added a little more holiday fun to the house. It definitely feels homier with stockings and ribbons and a big ol’ silver moose. What have you guys done inside? Is anyone else having the best time ever decorating their stairs? I can’t be the only one walking in there every ten minutes just to smile at the railing.
Psst - Still in the holiday spirit? Here are nearly 40 other holiday posts from the past:
To everyone who has asked where our House Crashing posts have been lately, we’re sorry for the hold up and we’re excited to share this one! It’s a well overdue tour full of inspiration, affordable finds, and a really unique style perspective. Plus it’s full of transformation photos because Lindsay and her husband started with such a rough “before” of a house (they totally saw a diamond in the rough). So let’s poke around and see what they’ve done, shall we? Here’s Lindsay now. She lives in Greenville, South Carolina with her husband and her Great Dane, Gracie – and was so gracious to virtually invite us all over.
This is what the living room looked like before Lindsay and her husband got their mitts on it…
… and here’s that same wall after they worked their magic. They removed the old laundry closet from the living room (you can see that above in the before picture) and built bookshelves in its place.
The lights over the bookshelves are outdoor lights from The Home Depot that sell for $20, and the colorful patterned rug was a $19 thrift store find that was all pastel (Lindsay painted it with fabric paint to brighten up the colors). The mid-century coffee table was a $10 thrift find and the tufted leather couch came from Craigslist. Lindsay also covered a leather ottoman with $2 rag rugs to bring in some color and texture.
Here’s the old kitchen, which was in a really small and awkward corner of the house… so they MOVED IT (into an old garage!) and turned the old kitchen into…
… an awesome dining area.
Are you as in love with the buffalo art and that awesome dark woven chandelier as I am? Speaking of that chandelier, it was actually a Home Goods lamp that Lindsay found on clearance. So she flipped it upside down and paint dipped it. The entire mix of this house gets me like you wouldn’t believe. It looks so casual, layered, and charming. Check out all the different chairs at the table, and yet they all seem to work together seamlessly. And that rug was a clearance find at Garden Ridge for $25.
That picture above also shows off their amazing secondhand find of a hutch (it was just $60 at a thrift store!), and the dining table was made by Lindsay’s husband for their very first Christmas using plans from Ana White. Lindsay also had an image of buffaloes that she wanted blown up, so she took it into Staples on a flash drive and left with this 3 x 5′ black and white beauty for $6.99. She wanted it back-mounted onto lucite, so she bought a 3 x 5′ sheet of plexi-glass from Home Depot for $50 and used double-sided tape to attach the art to the wall. Then she screwed the plexi-glass into the wall on all four corners to finish things off.
Here’s a before shot of the room that became the kitchen (it was an old garage back in the day, and had been poorly converted into a bedroom – carpet straight over the cement floors and all).
Now it looks like this, complete with casual (and budget-friendly) open shelving and a fun colorful island. I love that Lindsay uses white liberally, but also adds color, texture, and pattern to liven things up (in things like rugs, collected accents around the room, and that bold island color). The open shelving and hood are from Ikea and nearly all the dishes and accessories are thrift store or yard sale finds (for example, the set of vintage brass and copper canisters came from a yard sale for $20) and the kilim rug is a 100 year old Turkish rug from eBay.
Detail shot. Eating it up. All of it. I love the subtle texture of the beadboard walls paired with the farmhouse sink and the warm touches of copper and wood throughout the room.
This is a before shot of the casual sitting room that they call the lounge.
And here’s that same room, with a charming mix of textures and homey touches. I love that sweet disco-ball-topped tree – and the mantel is still so great even without an actual firebox.
Aren’t those colorful candles and garlands along with the stacked suitcases in front of the mantel so charming? But the rug is Lindsay’s favorite score of all. She and her husband were exploring The Longest Yard Sale and she spotted it in the bottom of someone’s trailer. It was 6 x 8′ and she loved the navajo print, so she asked if it was for sale and they said they weren’t sure. They talked about it for a minute and then asked if she would pay $5 because it was dirty. She paid them and ran away with it as quick as she could with a big old smile on her face.
I also was so smitten with this little mudroom area full of rustic old wood, a shiny silver clock, and a pretty mix of textiles for that layered and lived in feeling. So cozy.
Lindsay and her husband didn’t just confine their makeover to the inside of their house, they also created a really sweet patio area in the backyard. When they moved in, the whole backyard was just basically dirt, so they added a crushed granite patio (because it was one of the most budget friendly solutions) – and they ended up loving the casual feel of it.
There’s a gathering area with a free secondhand wicker sofa, a chiminea, and and low pallet-esque coffee table on over-sized casters (it’s actually any old factory cart coffee table they found at an Antique Yard).
But my favorite part is the eclectic outdoor dining area, complete with a ton of different chairs that all charm me to no end. Lindsay’s husband made the picnic table and each chair was a thrift store find for $5 (except for the modern white ones). Once again, she really is a mix-master. Lindsay is like that girl who layers ten items of clothing and it all looks amazing and effortless, as if she didn’t even try. And I’m the creepy girl next to her wearing a red bodysuit and high-waisted jeans (true story, that was my favorite sixth grade combination) who’s taking notes.
So a big thanks goes out to Lindsay and her sweet husband (and Gracie the dog, holla!) for so thoughtfully allowing us to peek in on their lovely little world. You can also see more and follow Lindsay over on her blog. But first let’s play the favorite part game. I’m going to call that lamp-turned-chandelier in the dining room and those boss built-ins in the living room. And John’s calling dibs on the chunky and colorful kitchen island along with the dining room hutch. Your turn.