“Gentle, at home,/ amid my friends I’ll be/ Like the high leaves/ Upon the holly tree.”
– Godey’s Lady’s Book, 1890
While it’s admittedly tempting to visit warmer reaches at this time of year, and hardly uncommon for families to dispense with gift-giving in exchange for a holiday Christmas in Hawaii or Cancun, there really is no place like home for Christmas.
Last month The Pear Tree took a tour of three out of six Homes for the Holidays houses in search of inspired decorating ideas. The annual tour, a fundraiser for Kelowna’s Rotary Centre for the Arts, featured a variety of recently built show homes, from grand, traditionally influenced houses to modern lofts.
On this third and final tour, we take a peek into The Abbott, a Kentland Homes show home, on Mountainside Drive in Kettle Valley.
Decorated by Barbara Katnich of Fresh Approach Home Staging and Paulette Facca of Creative Touch Interiors, the European Cottage style home was decked in florals, sticks and stones, all taken from the subdued-but-elegant white, pewter and grey palette.
“The colour scheme of the place is grey walls and cream trim, so we used that palette throughout,” Barbara said. “Everything fell into place.”
While none of the materials she used were traditional – there’s no green, and no fresh foliage in the house – the overall look is still lush and warm and reminiscent of Christmases past.
“It’s warm, but with a lot of bling,” Barbara said. “We wanted to create a ‘wow!’ effect when people walk in.”
In keeping with the European Cottage design of the place, Barbara said she and Paulette tried to build on that quaint theme but with a modern twist.
“Nothing outrageous, but still traditional, showcasing the spacing and lifestyle, plus throwing some whimsy in there. It’s always fun decorating with a bit of whimsical.”
When it’s cold and drizzly, like it’s been this month, with snow days quickly washed away by the rain and only a feint hope of a white Christmas, a home that’s festooned with garlands and lights – as well as a fire and a room full of friends – can make all the difference.
The dining room is set and ready for fine company. Tablescape and artwork from Modern Accents.
A white, feather wreath hangs on the glass door leading to the dining room.
In the entranceway, just outside the dining room, stands a table adorned with these sophisticated balls (left). Beside it sits a welcoming chair (right). Little details, such as the ribbon and fern sprigs ornamenting the pillow, are easy to do and complete the look.
Battery powered candles are nestled into white faux pine branches and tucked into cut-out window spaces in the hall, looking into the living room.
A Yuletide fire warms a living room with a sky-high ceiling. Barbara and Paulette opted to put the white frosted Christmas tree outside, to glimpse through the window, to mix things up a little bit.
Just a few steps from the living room, tucked in beside the kitchen, is a music nook, embellished with garlands, mini trees and lights to inspire Christmas carol sing-alongs around the piano.
Even this powder room is dressed up in its Christmas best, with pretty balls filling the sink and a ribbon wrapped round the hand towel.
The master bed. We’re especially partial to the wreath on the headboard and the trees in the window.
“Glad Christmas comes, and every hearth
Makes room to give him welcome now.”
– John Clare, “The Shepherd’s Calendar
The master bedroom fireplace.
An inset shelf by the bed in the master bedroom is given some winter flair.
In the master bedroom en suite the battery-powered lights for the tub, along with the floating bubble balls, hail from Rafters.
Towels are dressed up with some winter inspired bling.
Barbara and Paulette turned the upstairs into a winter wonderland with a series of white Christmas trees. Here, on the landing, is the first.
Santa’s helper needs a quiet place for making those lists and checking them twice. This one looks just about right.
A little grove of Christmas trees on the upstairs landing might be just the spot for emptying stockings and unwrapping gifts.
The silver and white theme carries through even to the Christmas wrap, unifying the presents. If only Santa could be so colour coordinated!
A room designed with a teenage girl in mind would also make a great guest bedroom. It looks welcoming with mounds of pillows and a spray of frosted garland over the mirror.
A sitting area by the bedside table.
A little girl’s room, enchanting in white. Barbara said she wanted the room to be childlike but sophisticated. “A little bit of a twist.”
“Not a creature was stirring,” goes the well-known Christmas poem by Clement C. Moore. Not even these two owls, nestled all snug on the bed.
Small brass rocking horses sit below the tree in the little girl’s room, adding a touch of childish whimsy. Just because there are no presents under a tree doesn’t mean it has to be bare.
“Our little household angels, White
and golden in the sun,
Greet us with the sweet old welcome –
‘Merry Christmas every one!’”
– Louisa May Alcott
An angel stands in billows of feathers, next to a feather tree on a little girl’s dresser.
Heading down from the main floor into the basement, the railing along the stairs is outfitted with rustic stars on one side and battery operated lights in white faux foliage on the other.
A bar for entertaining downstairs in the finished basement sports festive embellishments as well. Decorations from Rafters.
A wine cellar nook is a good place for some surprise decorations. “I like to see touches where you don’t expect them,” Barbara said.
“The winters of my childhood were long, long seasons. We lived in three places – the school, the church and the skating rink – but our real life was on the skating rink.”
– Roch Carrier, “The Hockey Sweater”
A boy’s room takes a hockey theme – the favourite activity of Canadian boys for decades. A new pair of skates will be just the thing to get him through the next two plus months of winter.
– Story and photos by Lori-Anne Poirier