Decorated in shades of silver and gold, this shimmering tree makes a statement. Image by: Donna Griffith
What’s better than chic, sophisticated holiday style? The ability to achieve it with ease. Here are 10 tips to simplify your next festive soiree.
Last year, when homeowners Pamela Schott and Sheldon Pollack moved into this 7,500-square-foot five-bedroom century home in Toronto’s Forest Hill neighbourhood, they merged more than just their families (he has three 30-somethings; she has two kids; and four of the five live at the house part-time). The couple, who will wed next year, also blended their approaches to the holidays. To that end, their seasonal decor is sophisticated and minimalist, glamorous and uncluttered, neither too gimmicky nor too theme-y. For Pamela and Sheldon, it’s all about simplicity. Though they enjoy entertaining – the couple loves to host a holiday drop-in – they always keep it effortless. “A party is about the friends, family, wine, appetizers and conversation,” says Pamela, who makes creating a relaxed atmosphere her priority. “It’s about the event, not the planning.” Here, we highlight 10 ways Pamela and Sheldon execute their elegant holiday style with ease.
1 Choose function: A petite potted rosemary tree gives the kitchen counter holiday flair with purpose. Well into the new year, it will serve as a source of fresh decoration for place settings and garnish for themed cocktails.
2 Make strategic splurges: Don’t stress about baking in the days leading up to your party. If you lack the time and the piping skills, splurge on artfully adorned cookies iced in your home’s colour scheme for a scrumptious statement.
3 Stay simple: A bouquet of white amaryllis is an understated accent that’s synonymous with winter but doesn’t scream “holidays.” Buy the blooms a few days before your event so they’re at their prime when guests arrive.
4 Lay it down: Getting festive garlands to swag just right can take a lot of fussing. So if you want to gussy up your windows in a flash, layer cuttings of greenery on your windowsills instead. Here, Douglas fir and magnolia leaves add a luxe touch.
5 Accent the architecture: Draw attention to eye-catching structural features like leaded glass windows with beautiful holiday wreaths that accentuate the details but don’t steal the show.
6 Make room for more: Use a bowl to hold gorgeous Christmas ornaments that didn’t make it onto the tree for a simple centrepiece or coffee table accent.
7 Wrap it up: No pot? No problem! Use a swath of grey linen fabric secured with decorative ribbon to dress up the base of a tabletop tree. This unconventional feature lends a festive touch to an otherwise unadorned space.
8 Come out from under the tree: Take your gift wrapping to the next level with finishing details like sculptural toppers and layered ribbons. Don’t just place presents under the tree: Artfully arrange them on various nearby surfaces for vignettes that suit the season.
9 Mix metallics: Sticking to a gold and silver palette makes decorating the tree almost effortless. Look for a mix of shimmering materials, from beading to mercury glass to metallic fabrics, so you don’t have to think too hard about even distribution.
10 Make it a team effort: Whether it’s decorating the tree, hanging wreaths or wrapping presents, holiday tasks are more easily executed as a team. Get your tools out ahead of time, gather the family and put on your favourite holiday tunes to set the mood – you’ll be done before you can say “cool yule!”
Good Things Come to Those Who Hustle Print, Purposeful Printables on Etsy.
Boost your productivity while working from home with these inspiring office essentials.If you work from home, carving out a quiet space to concentrate is important. But this space doesn’t need to simply be functional. It should also be inspiring and motivating. It should encourage you to do your best work. How? We’ve rounded up a selection of home office essentials that will help to spark your creativity!
Need a few words of encouragement to get you through the work day? When you’re running low on motivation, simply remind yourself that ‘Good Things Come to Those Who Hustle’. This charming print will not only look great hanging on the wall of your home office but it’ll give you that extra incentive to get stuff done. Best of all, this print is an instant download so why not download and print it right now? Good Things Come to Those Who Hustle Print, Purposeful Printables on Etsy, $2.59.
Add a burst of colour and whimsy to your home office by wallpapering a feature wall using Schumacher’s ‘Birds and Butterflies’ wallpaper. This popular pattern is a revival from a 1960s pattern in the company’s archives. Brought back to life for a modern era, this wallpaper will inspire your own flights of fancy as you work. Schumacher Birds and Butterflies Wallpaper, Schumacher, see website for details.
If wallpaper is too permanent a choice, opt for something temporary like a wall decal. This motivational wall decal is just the thing to inspire you in your creative pursuits. Easy to apply and easy to remove without leaving damage to your walls, this wall decal comes in 40 different colour options. Motivational Wall Decal, TweetHeart Wall Art on Etsy, $18.21.
Bring your Pinterest boards to life with this metal photo clip string set. Featuring 12 photo clips on a five-foot string, this set will help you keep all those tear sheets and inspired ideas front and centre in your home office, instead of buried under a pile on your desk! Metal Photo Clip String Set, Urban Outfitters, $14.
It’s not uncommon to hit a wall during a long work day. When you need a break to get your creative juices flowing, try colouring! Adult colouring books are all the rage these days and when you sit down with one, you’ll understand why. More than just a throwback to your childhood, this beautifully illustrated book is bound to unleash your own creativity. Animal Kingdom Colouring Book and Coloured Pencils, Indigo, $25.34.
Hang sturdy shelves on your home office walls to display favourite items. Not only will they add visual interest to your space but they’ll provide room for photographs, books and other odds and ends that you draw inspiration from. These shelves, made from reclaimed pine, will look right at home in almost any space! Reclaimed Wood Shelving + Brackets, West Elm, starting at $69.99.
Research indicates that fresh plants and flowers aren’t just pretty additions to your home. They are said to boost your mood, spark creativity, reduce stress and promote concentration. And on top of all that, they’ll add a beautiful touch to your workspace. Seems like there are plenty of reasons to add a vase of fresh blooms to your desk!
An oversized chalkboard is perfect for jotting down notes, to-do lists and ideas that come to you throughout the day. Even use it as a jumbo doodle pad! Just don’t ever let your best ideas slip away because you didn’t record them. Framed Chalkboard, Pottery Barn, $99.
12 winter cleaning ideas
Things can somehow seem messier, dirtier and less organized during the winter months. Here’s how to tackle it in time to leave you feeling fresh for spring.
Get a head start on spring-cleaning
Whitewashed living room features a charming mix of furniture styles.
A DIY-inclined couple turns an 800-square-foot two-bedroom bungalow into the perfect home for their young family.
Homeowner Amanda Robinson transformed the secondhand piano by covering it in grey paint, casually accessorizing it like the rest of the living room and softening its bench with a faux-sheepskin throw.
The whitewashed living room features a charming mix of furniture styles. “I brought softness into the space with the upholstered pieces, while keeping a farmhouse vibe with the antique rocking chairs,” says Amanda.
Homeowners Jason and Amanda Robinson hang out in the bright living room with their sons, Ethan (left) and Aidan.
While blue hues rock this farmhouse, Amanda also popped in some pink tones as contrast.
A fun DIY project or easily picked up at a gardening centre, terrariums are a great way to keep your home green in small ways.
Durable slate tiles define the entryway in this open-concept space. Practical items in natural tones like the bench, mirror and coat rack are artfully arranged so everything looks pulled together.
The kitchen epitomizes Amanda’s love of pale backdrops punctuated with colour and natural tones. “I made the shelves out of wooden boards from our barn and left them unpainted to contrast all the white and to complement the butcher block counters,” she says. Mismatched hardware picks up on the hits of blue throughout the home.
With their young sons and pets (Weimaraner Tessie and cat Nimble) in mind, Amanda chose tongue-and-groove pine planks for the floors, ceilings and walls. “I didn’t want new drywall with two little boys and pets running around,” she says. “It was the best design decision I ever made.”
Amanda knew she wanted a light and bright space and conceived the decor with colour in mind. “This is still a really small house, so I stuck to a neutral palette for the base: white and cream with natural wood tones throughout,” she says.
Amanda and Jason knocked down walls to create an eat-in area that features a free-standing stove surrounded by stone-veneered walls and a thrift-store dining table and chairs proudly bearing a mismatched paint job. “I painted everything grey and then decided to paint all the chairs blue but got sidetracked after one,” says Amanda. “It’s fun and quirky as is, and the boys take turns sitting in the blue chair at dinnertime.”
“The walls in Aidan’s bedroom were in good shape, so we painted them and added pine planks to the ceiling,” says Amanda. “I like the masculine look of the unpainted wood.” The new blue dressers share the space with a thrift-store wicker chair, a yellow-painted hand-me-down stool and rope-hung shelves Amanda crafted from barnboard.
“Ethan wanted everything in his room swimming pool turquoise.” They settled on a seafoam blue that’s more soothing for a bedroom and then incorporated coordinating accents in every room – even on the front door. “If you keep the big things neutral and then add accents in a single shade, it makes everything seem effortlessly connected,” says Amanda.
A bright screen door frame hints at the pops of blue to be found inside the house. Amanda refinished a hand-me-down pine table in grey paint and repurposed it as an easy-to-access storage unit for firewood. Antique Canadian Pacific Railway lanterns found in the barn and on Kijiji layer in more colour and reference the surrounding rustic landscape.
After a fresh coat of paint and some carefully placed furniture, the Robinsons are set to make this newly decorated farmhouse their home.
Homeowner Amanda Robinson used blue paint throughout her home to liven up the soothing neutral palette and provide a link from room to room. Here are her three favourite shades.