Learn how to transition your home from fall to winer with these simple tips.
Toronto designer Montana Burnett’s light decorating hand spells an easy transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
When it’s Montana Burnett’s turn to host her entire extended family over the holidays, the designer keeps her focus on the menu. Her midtown Toronto heritage home is stylish year-round – decorated in a timeless neutral scheme with inherited and collected classic pieces – so a few tweaks are all it takes to transition it from fall to winter (and company) ready. In the living room, for instance, she warms things up at summer’s end by swapping the lightweight Moroccan throw on the sofa for a cozy wool one and replacing the crisp white toss cushions with persimmon-hued options. Then, come December, a tree and a few understated evergreen accents are added. “Ninety percent of my house stays the same all year,” explains Montana. Read on for eight truly simple steps to achieving this hostess’s less-is-more holiday look.
1 Stay True: In this chic home, permanent fixtures – including jaw-dropping original Georgian-era architectural features, antique furniture and evocative large-scale artwork – maintain their prominence with the arrival of holiday decor. The Balsam fir trimmed with neutral-hued ornaments, along with the hushed white poinsettia, make for modest complements.
2 Package Plainly: While Montana wraps most of her gifts in polished white and black – “They would look equally elegant for any other occasion,” she says – a few are packaged in leftover Hermès bags and boxes. The bold orange parcels pair perfectly with her unconventional carried-over-from-fall colour scheme.
3 Let in the Light: Cooler temperatures spell shorter days, so Montana keeps the main-floor window shutters open to maximize light. Views of the snow-covered cityscape beyond effortlessly lend a wintry feeling to the indoors.
4 Turn Up the Heat: The wood-burning fireplace is well used at this time of year, creating a pleasing atmosphere for guests and resident cairn terriers Suki (pictured) and Bean alike.
5 Scent the Air: One subtle way to usher in the holidays is by using the nostalgia of fragrance. In addition to employing the olfactory effect of greenery, this homeowner likes to pepper her place with candles that emit season-signalling scents, such as fig and redcurrant.
6 Stock Spirits: Thanks to the ersatz bar that lives on her living room’s built-in bookcase year-round, Montana is always ready to mix a drink for guests – be it a Dark and Stormy in fall or a Moscow Mule in winter. Personal items, including well-loved books, family photos and exotic heirlooms, enhance the welcoming vibe.
7 Thwart Themes: This designer has an aversion to in-your-face festive, so nary a candy cane nor sprig of mistletoe graces her home. The chic office (visible from the dining room through a dramatic archway) is a perfect example of a room that doesn’t get touched by Christmas. “I want my guests to feel warm and cozy,” she says, “but I don’t think that means having Rudolph figurines on display.”
8 Blend Influences: “Ours is truly a modern family,” says Montana, noting that holiday dinners with her relatives include a traditional turkey alongside potato latkes. “It’s a mishmash, much like my decor.” The tablescape is case in point: Quintessential Christmas greenery in the form of evergreen sprigs and magnolia leaves jibes with fall-feel notes, such as bright pops of orange and gourd-shaped bud vases, as well as summery elements like ticking-striped napkins and linen placemats.