House Tours
Nov 3, 2015

Modern Scandi-chic Christmas home gets cozy Norwegian style

By: Sara Cation
Modern Scandi-chic Christmas home with Norwegian style

A modern, Scandi-chic Christmas home Author: Donna Griffith

House Tours
Nov 3, 2015

Modern Scandi-chic Christmas home gets cozy Norwegian style

By: Sara Cation

Food and prop stylist Tara Ballantyne translates her time spent in Norway into a cozy, modern Scandi-chic home.


It was love at first sight. “I had been working in the world of interiors for a while,” says stylist, on-air expert for The Marilyn Denis Show and homeowner Tara Ballantyne of finding her muse. “But when I arrived in Norway, I thought, ‘This is it! This is my style.’” Tara lived there on and off for three years while her husband, Paul, played professional hockey. And although the couple returned to Canada nearly five years ago, in terms of style, Tara never really left.

“One hundred percent of my decor is inspired by Scandinavia,” says Tara of the 1,700-square-foot open-concept house in Waterloo, Ont., that she shares with Paul and their two-year-old twins, Archer and Basil. From the light and airy muted palette to the modern furnishings to the layers of faux fur and handcrafted touches, Tara brought her favourite features of Norwegian style home with her, both figuratively and literally. “I didn’t want to ship a lot home, so I packed the smaller items in my luggage...and a surplus of stools,” says Tara with a laugh. “I could fit them in a hockey bag.”

Tara maintains the same scheme and design principles when decorating for the holidays. “Norwegians place a huge focus on artisans and crafts,” she says, explaining the inspiration for her festive felt decorations. A light palette, layers of blankets and furs, paper star lanterns and candles are also typical. “It’s so dark in Norway at this time of year – the sun goes down by 3 p.m. – but people still sit outside, covered in furs, to enjoy their coffee,” she says. “When you look inside their homes and everything is so warm and bright, it’s truly magical.” How wonderful that she recreated that magic here.
 

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House tour: Modern Scandi-chic home

Silver and gold

When the holidays hit, homeowner Tara Ballantyne elevates her simple white, grey, brown and black palette with metallics like silver and gold. “I’m always trying new looks and trends for my work as a stylist, and because I think in colour so much for my job, I like to come home to a muted environment,” says Tara.

By: Sara Cation Source: Donna Griffith Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Modern Scandi-chic home

Natural gifts

Tara transformed a fallen birch branch into an unexpected advent calendar. Attached are small gifts like blocks and tiny toys, as well as atypical items like a mini tin of maple syrup. “On the day the boys unwrap the syrup, I’ll make them pancakes for breakfast,” says Tara.   Holiday tip: Create your own DIY advent calendar. One is made with candles and the other with gifts hanging from a birch branch.

By: Sara Cation Source: Donna Griffith Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Modern Scandi-chic home

Naughty or nice

Tara and her husband, Paul, sit with the Ballantyne boys, Archer and Basil, who adore their teepee (a gift from Grandma) so much that they use it for both playing (nice!) and hiding (naughty!).   Holiday tip: Use white paper stars in the front windows and simple white twinkle lights along the eaves and around some windows.

By: Sara Cation Source: Donna Griffith Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Modern Scandi-chic home

Simply perfect

Handmade details define Tara’s style, from the felt pinecone gift toppers to the heart-shaped tree ornament. Nothing here is overly Christmasy – even the garland. “I wear it as a necklace, too,” she says, ever thinking outside the holiday box.   Holiday tip: Make your own ornaments or buy unique handmade ones from special places like a Christmas market or craft fair – that way, there’s a story for every ornament, and tree trimming is like opening a box of memories!

By: Sara Cation Source: Donna Griffith Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Modern Scandi-chic home

Make memories

Holiday tip: A hand-carved wooden ornament that was purchased at an open-air Christmas market in Norway. “Every year, when I unpack it, I’m immediately transported back to our time living there,” says Tara.

By: Sara Cation Source: Donna Griffith Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Modern Scandi-chic home

Strategic colour palette

Tara introduced pops of black to her home’s palette around the same time her twins arrived. “It allowed me to use more patterned black and white fabrics,” she says, “which are not only more rock ’n’ roll, but also better at hiding mess.”

By: Sara Cation Source: Donna Griffith Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Modern Scandi-chic home

Play dress up

The bust of a waterbuck ram (a nod to Tara’s South African heritage) gets gussied up with some handmade felt garlands.

By: Sara Cation Source: Donna Griffith Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Modern Scandi-chic home

DIY ornament

You’d never guess that this ornament was a simple project made with felt circles and a glue gun.

By: Sara Cation Source: Donna Griffith Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Modern Scandi-chic home

Multi-purpose wreath

Covered in two-toned yarn, this wreath is multi-seasonal – the felt flowers can be repositioned or swapped out to suit any occasion.

By: Sara Cation Source: Donna Griffith Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Modern Scandi-chic home

Pick the wrapping

When shopping for wrapping paper, Tara grabs a basket, picks all the prints she loves and then takes a step back and assesses which are too similar and which don’t match, whittling the choices down to three or four papers. “I also hit end-of-season sales and select patterns that work for other holidays, too,” she says.

By: Sara Cation Source: Donna Griffith Credits: Style at Home
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Modern Scandi-chic Christmas home gets cozy Norwegian style