Interior: Scandinavian-style holiday home
So up went a teetering evergreen, on went some store-bought ornaments and out came the cookie dough, even though the floors were unfinished and the walls were still being worked on. Such was the beginning of the traditions that remain a part of the Hanlon household to this day: ornaments in quiet hues with touches of blue, grey and snowy white; a less-is-more approach that conjures a sense of peace and wonder; and a Scandinavian-style simplicity that reflects the home’s year-round decor – all done by mother and daughter as a team.
This banister was the bane of my existence,” says Jennifer with a laugh. But after months of stripping, sanding, wood-filling and painting, it’s a showpiece. So, what a great place to display the stockings! The boxwood garlands were fastened with woolwrapped wire for a more natural look, and the paper cones were filled with sprigs of leftover boxwood. Opening the stockings is a favourite tradition for Jennifer and Emily, so it’s only appropriate that they’re placed centre stage.
Casual dining room
Most of the year, the dining room table is bare and the rest of the room is spare. But at Christmastime, warm grey table linens and a centrepiece of mini cypress trees create a tone of celebration. The casual placement of white ornaments and pinecones makes for a tablescape that’s natural, inviting and informal.
Twig-handled flatware and other natural accents like pinecones and pots of mini cypress trees give the dining table its woodland appeal. The table linens in warm grey with touches of silver lend the setting its wintry look. The table decorations feature handmade details like paper stars.
DIY tabletop decor
Paper star name tags tied to fabric-wrapped clear glass bottles make for homey place cards. Using taper candles rather than tealights is a nod to Jennifer’s affinity for Swedish country design and, when clustered, they’re reminiscent of Advent candles.
Rustic breakfast nook
This marble-topped table doubles as an eating zone and a creative space. Dusty miller, with its silvery grey foliage, is an unexpected form of holiday greenery. The white-painted metal lanterns look pretty in the day and festive when glowing at night. During the holidays, breakfasts, baking cookies and gift wrapping all take place here.
Stylish open shelves
Nestled among the kitchen’s white dishware and canisters is a white reindeer. “The kitchen needs to be functional at this time of year, but small festive touches make it feel different,” says Jennifer.
Aluminum planter pots add a little sparkle to the natural green plants displayed on the kitchen counter, which are a mix of evergreens and succulents garnished with green Spanish moss.
Whimsical living room
“Christmas is frenetic enough without adding bright red and green,” says Jennifer, who opts instead for a gentler palette. Holiday ornaments, some made from felt, appear in the same stormy greys, icy blues and warm whites you’ll find in this living room year-round. The muted colours and the simplicity of the decor are a nod to Scandinavian design, which Jennifer loves.
“I love these bird ornaments,” says homeowner Jennifer Hanlon. These hand-carved beauties are often nestled in the Christmas tree alongside vintage looking blue glass baubles. Jennifer has also gathered faux bird nests and other ornaments over the years at post-Christmas sales. “It’s a great time to stock up,” she says.
Decorating the fireplace
A lush green boxwood wreath hovers above the white fireplace mantel that Jennifer stripped and painted herself. The icy sparkle of mercury glass votive holders and glitter-laden Santas gives the room a snowy glamour. Pinecones and a handmade bunting keep the presentation lighthearted and homey.
Holiday gifts need to be wrapped and ornaments need storage solutions, but why hide them away? Set out on surfaces, they serve as festive reminders of the holiday season.