History and tradition are a big part of how this homeowner decorates for the season. Image by: Robin Stubbert; Styling by Tara Ballantyne
History and tradition are a big part of how this homeowner decorates – and they’re key to how her family celebrates the holidays, too.
It goes without saying that the most memorable family holidays are steeped in nostalgia – blending traditions from past generations with new ones – but they become all the more meaningful when the home itself already has stories to tell. That’s the case in the southern Ontario home Jennifer Jarmuszewski shares with her husband, Colin Todd, and two children, Julia, 9, and Benjamin, 7. The entryway and formal living and dining rooms of their 3,500-square-foot new-build house are decorated in a classic holiday style that perfectly complements the home’s elegant interior, accentuating the art and antiques Jennifer has been collecting most of her life.
To pull together the everyday design of the home and marry her traditional taste with the needs of a young family, Jennifer sought the help of designer Alison Habermehl of Habermehl Design Group. “Luckily I came on board early in the building stage, so we were able to customize the design,” says Alison. “We raised the main-floor doorways and added transoms over them, as well as selected finishes that better suited Jennifer’s style.” The addition of applied mouldings to the entryway and dining room, for example, gives the home architectural distinction, while glass door knobs used throughout are small details that create luxe sparkle.
When it came time to select furnishings, a lot of inspiration was pulled from Jennifer’s belongings. “She has many fine collections,” says Alison, referring to the antique chairs, bird and Staffordshire dog figurines, as well as antique boxes.“To make them all work within the traditional and sophisticated design scheme, I kept like pieces together to avoid a look that’s too precious or cluttered.”
One collection even inspired the dining room’s colour scheme, which matches Jennifer’s treasury of Flow Blue dinnerware (blurred blue and white transferware popular in the 19th century). “I can perfectly remember buying one of the dishes while visiting my grandmother,” says Jennifer. “So many of my pieces are tied to specific memories.”
The blue theme that started with the dinnerware carries through to holiday time. Vibrant blue dishes get layered onto the dinner table alongside beloved Waterford crystal and Wedgwood china. “It’s so lovely to see beautiful crystal and china getting used in a young family home,” says Alison. The tablescape is amplified with green and metallic accents to keep the look modern. Fresh greenery set in one of Jennifer’s antique bowls serves as a striking non-traditional centrepiece, matching the simple evergreen accents elsewhere – an effective way to bring Christmas cheer (and glorious aromas) into the home.
Of course, the same could be said for the Christmas tree, which glitters with blue and silver ornaments that share space with treasured kid-crafted trinkets. “The ones created by my children are my favourites,” says Jennifer. “They’re so fun to pull out every year as the kids get older. They love looking back at what they’ve made.” It’s just another example of how Jennifer’s stunning collections are rooted in time-honoured traditions the whole family will cherish for many Christmases to come.
Homeowner Jennifer Jarmuszewski’s prized collection of rare antique blue transferware – the inspiration for the dining room’s moody blue colour scheme – is prominently displayed in a custom-built hutch with a fresh green-painted interior that makes the plates pop. Simple evergreen wreaths and sprigs on the table add a refined holiday touch to the ultra-elegant space.
Helping decorate the tree is a holiday ritual that Jennifer’s kids, Julia and Benjamin Jarmuszewski, cherish. Glittery blue and silver ornaments mingle with avian-themed ones (inspired by the settee’s bird-print fabric) and, of course, kid-made treasures. But a family favourite is a hinged box ornament with the words “Christmas Wishes” on it. “Before we hang it, we each add a written wish for the coming year,” says Jennifer.
This spot in the dining room was too small for a sideboard, so an antique dresser was used instead. It serves as an ersatz bar, which is convenient for topping up drinks at dinner.
Though they’re newer pieces, the ornate concrete console and architectural reclaimed wood mirror lend the entryway an old-world look that suits the home’s elegance. The voluminous magnolia-leaf garland offers a luxe touch for the holidays.
Jennifer’s Flow Blue dishware – coveted antique transferware with blurred blue and white motifs – makes an eclectic tablescape when mixed with more contemporary gold-detailed plates and green scalloped ones. Adorned with name tags secured to pretty mercury-glass ornaments, each place setting offers a memento guests can take home.
The living room’s slender, curvaceous settee is offset by the geometric gallery wall of small engraved wood artwork grouped above – another example of Jennifer’s passion for collecting. Every time she makes the trip to Stratford, Ont., she can’t resist popping into artist Gerard Brender à Brandis’s studio to purchase another piece to add to the display.
We look to a Toronto abode for eight Swedish seasonal decor ideas worth stealing.
Come winter, the coziness and understated beauty that define Scandinavian design are all the more welcome – and this Toronto abode lets it be known. Read on for eight Swedish decor ideas worth stealing this season.
1 Get adventive: Forgo the chocolate Advent calendar this year in favour of a fabulous DIY creation. Count down the days until Christmas with 24 mini paper gift bags. Embellish each with natural finds like twigs and sprigs of greenery before securing them onto a fabric-covered corkboard.
2 Embrace nature: Bring the serenity of Scandi style into your home by drawing inspiration from the wintry outdoors. Here, a fresh evergreen wreath and garland, bird ornaments and a stack of logs subtly spruce up the fireplace wall.
3 Style strategically: Nordic design is all about capturing the magic of minimalism – even at Christmas. Scope out simple yet striking seasonal adornments like the ornate paper snowflakes festooning this banister, which nod to the holidays but are still in keeping with the entryway’s calming neutral palette.
4 Pare back parcels: Let’s face it: Wrapping holiday presents in layers of red and green is a tad overdone. Go against the grain this year and opt for soft-hued paper, such as this white ribbed style. Then adorn your gifts with burlap ribbon and sleek DIY gift tags.
5 Add whimsy: While there’s nothing wrong with decking out your home in an array of colourful baubles, the Swedes favour subtler star-shaped decorations. Think of the bunting seen here as an alternative to string lights that’s quieter but still offers the same dreamy quality.
6 Create seasonal swag: Make your living space sparkle and shine by fashioning your own festive garland. Cut holiday shapes out of shimmery paper or wallpaper swatches and stitch them together delicately with white thread.
7 Welcome neutrals: How do you take a muted space from sterile to sophisticated? Home in on the details. Elements like mismatched chairs and a non-operational fireplace filled with logs lend enough interest to this bright dining room so that, come December, a few festive accents feel like plenty.
8 Layer textures: When temperatures dip into the negative double-digits, we crave all types of comfort. Emulate the Swedish way of combatting the cold with heaps of texture, whether through small details (stylish place settings and votive candle holders wrapped in yarn) or larger additions (a faux sheepskin throw).
Surprise your favourite caffeine-loving friend or family member with one of these great gift ideas.
Whether they enjoy a morning coffee or an afternoon tea, the caffeine lover on your holiday list is sure to appreciate any of these great gifts. With a wide range of items to help them brew the perfect cuppa, they’ll be happily sipping all holiday season.
This beautiful matte black French press will not only brew delicious coffee, but will also look great displayed on a kitchen counter. Ceramic French Press, CB2, $36.95.
Celebrate the holiday season with a collection of festive tea flavours. This limited edition collection includes tasty teas like Chocolate Covered Almond, Apple Cider and Coffee Cake. Warm & Cozy Gift Box, DavidsTea, $28.
This beautiful stoneware canister will ensure your favourite coffee stay fresh to the last scoop. Also available in styles for storing tea, they'll look great in any kitchen. Utility Kitchen Canister, West Elm, $19 - $39.
Designed exclusively for CB2 by SAIC student Hyunsong Melody Lee, this stackable porcelain teapot and cup will make every stylish sip feel special. SAIC tea for one, CB2, $29.95.
With the ability to brew 18 drink varieties directly from your smart device, the GranBaristo Avanti will ensure everyone in your home is sipping happy this holiday season. SAECO GRANBaristo Avanti, Hudson's Bay, $2,999.
Brew your tea to perfection with the Breville One-Touch tea maker. Not only can it brew tea at five different temperature settings, it also allows you to adjust brew strength between mild, medium and strong. Breville One-Touch tea maker, Williams-Sonoma, $369.
Coffee isn't jusst for drinking. Enjoy a spa-like experience with this luxurious scrub. The scrub's fair trade coffee will improve elasticity while polishing and exfoliating dry, tired skin. Palermo Body Scrub, Anthropologie, $44 USD.
Looking for something festive to add to a tea-themed gift? You can't go wrong with this adorable tea infuser. Gingerbread Man Tea Infuser, Crate & Barrel, $7.95.
You can never have too many mugs, especially when they're as fun as Indigo's Canadian-themed collection. Available for each province, they'll make a great gift for anyone on your list. Canada mug, Indigo, $12.
With flavours like White Chocolate Peppermint and Gingerbread this set of deliciously decadent loose-leaf teas is the perfect treat. Season's Treatings Dessert Tea Sampler, TEAVANA, $40.
Turn your budding barista into a latte artist with the Creatista Plus. Combining Nespresso coffee quality with Breville's stunning design and steam wand technology this machine allows users to create their own latte art at home. NESPRESSO Breville Creatista Plus Coffee Machine, Hudson's Bay, $799.
Enjoy some rest and relaxation over the holidays with Tub Tea. Simply steep this soothing blend of chamomile, mint and Epsom salts in hot water and then add it into a warm bath. Unwind Tub Tea, BRIKA, $16.
Try at your own risk! Said to be the world's strongest coffee, it'll give your caffeine crazed friend or family member a buzz like no other and revolutionize their coffee-drinking experience. Death Wish Coffee, Death Wish Coffee Co., $19.99.
With a wide variety of sayings, these hand-stamped vintage spoons will be the perfect addition to afternoon tea. Hand stamped tea spoon, Milk & Honey Luxuries on Etsy, $24.98.
Anyone who loves iced coffee (even in the winter) will love Hario’s Fretta V60 ice coffee maker. Remove the ice holder and it can also be used to make hot brew at home. Hario Ice Coffee Maker, Indigo, $35.
When brewing loose leaf tea it's important to have the proper tools. Williams-Sonoma makes brewing tea at home easy with the Ultimate Tea Maker's Set. No matter the mug size, you'll enjoy a properly infused tea each time. Ultimate Tea Maker's Set, Williams-Sonoma, $66.43.
What better way to display your love of coffee than with a gorgeous print! Simple and chic, it's perfect for hanging anywhere in the home. But First, Coffee Print, Swell Made Co., $28.
Any tea fanatic knows a good cup of tea starts with a great kettle. Not only is this Le Creuset kettle eye-catching, it also has an innovative heating base compatible with all cooking surfaces, even induction. Classic Whistling Kettle, Le Creuset, $80.
These delectable milk and dark chocolate treats are filled with a coffee-flavoured centre, making them the perfect treat for any coffee lover. Mocha Melties, Purdys Chocolatier, $14.50.
We can't forget about matcha! This kit has everything you need to make perfect matcha every time. The Matcha Essentials, DavidsTea, $35.
Any owner of the Chemex Coffee Maker will adore its matching cream and sugar set. Making it the perfect present for someone who's already got his or her go-to brewer. Chemex Cream and Sugar Set, Crate & Barrel, $54.95.
Enjoying your beverage on-the-go just got a stylish update with the Nespresso limited edition Festive Les Collection Touch Travel Mug by Lorenzo Petrantoni. Festive Les Collection Touch Travel Mug, Nespresso, $32.
Hosting a holiday high tea? Then you'll want to serve these tea-infused treats. They're great for enjoying with friends, or wrapping up as a holiday gift. Find the recipe here.
Not only is this elephant-shaped mug adorable, it also features a tiny compartment to place your tea bag after you're done brewing. Plum & Bow Elephant Tea Mug, Urban Outfitters, $16.
Winter weather means stocking up on hand cream. Why not gift your tea lover with this all-vegan hand cream infused with one of DavidsTea's most popular tea. Forever Nuts Tea-Infused Hand Cream, DavidsTea, $6.
lead image: Crate & Barrel
Warm and rustic kitchen
The hottest looks you’ll be coveting for your kitchen this year.
The kitchen isn’t just about cooking anymore – it’s the hub of the home, the place where you gather with family and to share coffee with a friend. This year’s design trends reflect the evolution of the kitchen into a living space, with trends that add interest and create a more inviting space to entertain.
From geometric patterned backsplashes to bold hits of colour and loads of raw texture, the kitchens of 2016 are a far cry from the classic all-white standard. Read on for this year’s hottest kitchen design trends and grab some inspiration for your next home makeover.
White and neutral kitchens will always be on trend, but in 2016, we’re seeing them juxtaposed against a bold pop of colour. Bring some flavour to a neutral palette with vibrant pendant lamps, saturated backsplashes or even retro pastel-hued appliances.
The kitchen trends for 2016 are all about having fun, and geometric patterns are popping up in kitchens everywhere this year. Add a punch of interest to your kitchen with an accent wall in a geometric paper or hexagonal backsplash like the kitchen shown here. Alternatively, have fun with your kitchen flooring and lay down geometric shaped tiles or patterned hardwood.
Butcher block slabs and thick marble are taking a backseat to this year’s hottest countertop trend. Modern kitchens are taking on a new look for 2016 with thin countertops that blend into the cabinetry for a sleek, seamless look. Tour this home here.
If there’s one room in the house that lacks texture, it’s the kitchen. Where other living spaces incorporate luxe fabrics and cosy accessories, the kitchen is usually a streamlined, functional space – but not anymore. In 2016, texture is big in the kitchen, from raw wood cabinets to rough stone surfaces and unpolished backsplashes. Tour this kitchen here.
Though white cabinets still remain a crowd favourite for the kitchen, we’re seeing more grey cabinetry for 2016, building on the blossoming trend from last year. This year, however, the greys we’re seeing are lighter, softer and mixed in with other neutrals, like the putty grey island here that’s paired with surrounding white cabinets. Tour this home here.