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Lifestyle blogger Monika Hibbs gives her home a fresh look for Christmas. Credits: Tracey Ayton
For lifestyle blogger Monika Hibbs, Christmas is all about sentiment and style. Here are 12 ways she pulls off a fresh look filled with meaning to commemorate a family milestone.
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without family and tradition, sure, but in Monika Hibbs’s home, Christmas also wouldn’t be complete without her signature styling. Based just outside of Fort Langley, B.C., the blogger, who has quickly become a master of holiday decor, switches up her style almost every year. But regardless of the theme, these aspects always remain: A classic look and neutral scheme, metallic touches, a hint of whimsy and sheer covetability. Seasonal styling is a talent Monika has honed since she was a little girl. “Even when I was young, I loved adorning the tree and wrapping gifts,” she says. “Plus, my mom always let me be in charge of floral arrangements and tablescapes.”
Now that Monika has her own family (including hubby Troy, three-year-old Liam and 11- month-old Lillya), she shares the tasks with her children. “Liam’s really into it,” says Monika. “He decorates cookies, hangs ornaments and arranges the manger.” Though Lillya is too young to get involved, her arrival just two weeks before last Christmas inspired the entire feminine theme, executed with dusty rose-hued accents like tea light holders, wrapping paper and delicate raw silk ribbon.
Holiday decorating with the kids isn’t the only tradition the Hibbses have – they enjoy hot chocolate by their outdoor fireplace in the evenings and always make time for charity. But a highlight is taking the Bright Nights Christmas Train through Stanley Park with Troy’s family. “There’s around 60 of us – we fill the whole train,” says Monika, noting that the park is lit with millions of lights – perhaps the perfect place for this family-oriented champion of Christmas who also happens to have a penchant for sparkle.
1 Lifestyle blogger and unofficial queen of fresh and elegant holiday decor Monika Hibbs has three main tips for trimming a tree: Start with a colour scheme (“You don’t have to use every ornament in your box – save the ones that don’t suit your theme for another year,” she advises); instead of buying one-off ornaments, go for groups of three for visual impact; and organize them by category (like glass balls or felted figures) before hanging them to ensure balanced distribution.
2 “There’s something special about a fire this time of year,” says Monika. The one here in her family room is not the only staple flame of the season – tea lights are strewn on surfaces throughout the house, and the outdoor fireplace plays host to many a morning coffee or evening cocoa. “I love a fire’s warmth and random crackles, which add to the magic of the holidays.”
3 Style meets sentiment in chic pieces that commemorate family milestones, such as the decorative houses arranged on Monika’s fireplace mantel. “Each one represents a huge moment for us, from the purchase of our first home to the construction of this one,” she says. “And I write a note on the bottom of each so I never forget.”
4 Monika doesn’t switch out much of her everyday decor come Christmastime. In fact, furniture placement, artwork and accents mostly stay the same, save for a few toss cushions that get traded for more festive ones.
5 When it comes to garlands, Monika goes all out: She orders a massive length of fresh cedar (last year it was 75 feet!) to string along her banister, mantel, exterior trim and garage. She starts by measuring everything she wants to adorn and then adds an extra foot of cedar for every four feet to accommodate swag. Here, the garland is garnished with eucalyptus, cypress, pine cones and raw silk bows with cascading tails for a fresh, feminine look.
6 “You don’t need to cook an entire sit-down dinner for each of the season’s many parties,” says Monika, who prefers to prep for a holiday drop-in with comfort foods like homemade apple pie. “It’s elegant but cozy,” she explains.
7 Roses may be unconventional Christmas flowers, but they’re perfectly suited to Monika’s pretty-in-pink theme. “Originally, I wanted this piece to be a garland that wrapped around the whole range hood,” says Monika. “But it didn’t look right, so I downsized the idea. It’s perfect proof that sometimes less is more.”
8 A simple wreath hung with thick ribbon serves as another example of less is more and offers a wink of holiday spirit in an otherwise unadorned area.
9 Sparkling rosé served in pink champagne coupes underscores the holiday colour scheme, while whimsical details like frozen-rose ice cubes and sugared cranberries are easy and inexpensive ways to add serious wow factor.
10 No matter her holiday scheme, Monika tends to stick to neutrals when picking gift wrap. “I usually choose paper with subtle patterns, such as snowflakes or polka dots,” she says. “But I always wrap the kids’ presents in something more playful.”
11 Born six weeks after the Hibbses moved into this house and two weeks before Christmas, baby Lillya was the main source of inspiration for the home’s festive decor last year, marked by the powder pink and dusty rose accents with feminine touches. Monika purchased the “Hello Lovely” ornament in honour of Lillya’s birth to serve as a beautiful reminder of when they welcomed her into the world.
12 From the Fort Langley, B.C., shopping bag to the plaid scarf and blanket to the warm winter boots and even the skull mount, there’s always a hint of Canadiana in Monika’s winter decor.
Find inspiration for your own space from this eclectic home.
An eclectic mix of colour, pattern and texture is perfectly fitting for this blended family's first home.
This is a story of a lovely lady, bringing up one very lovely girl, who met a man - no, not named Brady - who was busy with a boy and girl of his own. Fast-forward from falling in love to finding their dream house and (on much more than a hunch, as the song says) moving into their first blended-family home together, thus becoming a brand new bunch.
Three years ago, they found this spacious three-storey Edwardian house in midtown Toronto, and Shirley and her partner, Mitch Altman, were sold on the home's original moulding's and coffered ceiling as well as the fact that it had been modernized by its previous owners.
The fun part for this designer was delving into the decor. For an airy space with flourishes of sunny colours, Shirley had the dark oak mouldings and walls painted white. "I wanted it to feel bright and cheerful," she says.
Elegant and stately yet warm and eclectic, the entryway design sets the mood for the rest of the home.
A collection of 25 years in the making, the grouping of new and vintage vases atop the living room fireplace mantel was the jumping-off point for the space's palette. "I used to be a stylist, and I inherited a few vases from photo shoots," says homeowner and designer Shirley Meisels.
Circular shapes, in everything from the furnishings to the accessories, keep the eye moving around the living room. "The space is long and narrow, and the roundness creates a more cozy and intimate, cocoon-like seating area at the front of the house," says Shirley. Cheerful colour is introduced through accents, such as the striking chartreuse ombre drapery that lends a fun, sun-kissed look - even on dreary days.
Black, white, wood and metal - the glam neutral palette repeated throughout the house - is punched up with winks of colour, such as the vintage green painting here in the living room.
"I'm drawn to the sculptural quality of their various shapes, so ever since then I've bought whatever catches my eye." She removed all the white ones for a saturated dose of colour - you'll find them on the top shelf in the kitchen.
"It's not so much the style, but the flow that makes a home comfortable," says Shirley. With views from the kitchen to the eat-in area, through the dining room and into the living room, the family can all have their space, while still close by and visible.
Since her previous kitchen was all white, Shirley changed things up with dark walnut lower cabinetry here. "It suits the sophisticated old architecture of the house," she says. Besides refacing the lower cabinets, Shirley had the uppers removed in favour of airy open shelving and added the textured porcelain backsplash.
The layered whites - warm on the countertop, cool on the walls and mixed in her collection of vases on the top shelf - keep the space from looking too stark.
The multi-functional eat-in area off the kitchen sees a lot of action: It's where the kids have breakfast and do their homework, it's where Shirley sets out food when entertaining, and it's her favourite place to relax at day's end.
8 haute holiday cards to make this weekend
These cards look glamorous and professionally done, but won't take you more than a few minutes to create. Impress everyone with just a few simple stencils and shining details. For the details on how to make this card click here.
While this may require a little more focus and detail the final product is stunning. Decorate the tree however you want, or change it up for each card to make it personalized. For the details on how to make this card click here.
Easy enough to create and beautiful enough to display this card requires nothing more than a bit of creativity. For the details on how to make this card click here.
With the help of these stencils you can create a winder wonderland, perfect for anyone you want to wish a merry Christmas to. For the details on how to make this card click here.
With these simple, light stitches you can easily create a simple message to greet your friends and family for the holidays. For the details on how to make this card click here.
If you have a cozy night in binge-watching your favourite show coming up, then grab some cardstock and get working on these cards. It may be a little time-consuming but the final look is beautiful. For the details on how to make this card click here.
With a festive colour and three easy, beautiful stitches these cards aren't out of reach for this season. For the details on how to make this card click here.
All you need is some needle and thread to make some unique and festive greeting cards for the holidays. Surprise all your loved ones by sending these hand-sewn cards and brag you made them yourself (if only with a little help from stencils). For the details on how to make this card click here.
Host the most unforgettable holiday party with help from our savvy hostess guide Source: Tracey Ayton
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