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.
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.
Celeb home tour: Jensen Ackles's Malibu home
Inside Supernatural TV star Jensen Ackles' prestigious single-family Malibu home.
This might just be one of Malibu’s most wanted listings. Situated in a gated property on a one-acre site, is television actor Jensen Ackles and wife Danneel’s 5,940-square-feet home in Point Dume. The single-family house, which was remodeled by the couple this year, features a gourmet kitchen designed with custom cabinetry, hand painted tiles and Calcatta marble. To top it off, the family home includes a pool, spa, outdoor kitchen/BBQ, guest suite above the garage, and rights to the Riviera Beach.
An ocean view from the balcony, attached multi-purpose room, separate walk-in closets and a large master bath, are just some of the perks of the grand master suite. The listed price for this impressive real estate is $6.995 million. Check out the listing here.
- 5 bedrooms
- 6 bathrooms
- An entertainer's dream backyard
- 3 grassy yard areas
- Guest home suite
- Grand living room
- Gourmet kitchen
- Outdoor kitchen
Surrounded by luscious trees, pillars and a stone stairway, the outdoor hall to this Malibu home creates a grand welcome into the home.
The couple's idea of a contemporary classic style, starts from the foyer and flows through the entire home.
The living room is lined with large windows, allowing natural light to come through. A design scheme of light colours and textures were added to further brighten up the room.
From the bold colour palette to rich fabrics, this home has plenty of 2014 design trends.
The family-friendly living room has built-in shelves around the fireplace, making for a great focal point.
A view from the traditional and contemporary-styled living room into the kitchen. The room is designed with open seating and patterened rugs for a cozy feel.
The counter-height table set makes for additional seating in this open-concept kitchen.
With custom kitchen cabinetry, hand painted tiles, marble countertops, and walnut plank flooring, the couple has pulled out all stops for their gourmet kitchen.
This master suite, with a peaked ceiling and exposed beam, definitely gives a luxurious feel with a view to the ocean, balcony and an attached spare room.
A custom designed master bathroom is a serene retreat thanks to a neutral colour palette, extended vanity and oversized walk-in shower.
The couple installed a sleek white freestanding tub, giving the bathroom a more modern look, unique from the rest of the house.
Along with a pool and greenery as far as the eye can see, the house has rights to access Riviera 3 Beach.
Placing the outdoor kitchen and bar-height table in the corner, creates more room for guests and entertaining.
Adding to this massive backyard design, are three grassy areas and an option for a tennis court.
Give your space a budget-friendly update for fall.
Give your space a budget-friendly update for fall.
Give your home an update with these fabulous finds all under $100.
It can be fun to update your home with seasonal accents but it’s not something you want to blow your budget on. If your home is begging for an overhaul this fall, go for it … but do it on a budget! These fab fall finds all clock in under $100 but will give your home just the oomph you’re craving!
This gorgeous glass vessel is not only the perfect home for a bouquet of fresh or faux flowers, but even when not filled with beautiful blooms, it is a stunning decorative item to grace any room in your home with. Featuring a gold-finish metal collar and a striking teal colour, this piece will look great in your home this fall. Short Metal Collar Vase, Teal, Indigo, $35.
Surround yourself with the gentle, calming glow of candlelight this fall season. This beautiful candle is made from soy wax and will give you 60 hours of burn time. Featuring marine notes, as well as notes of stone fruit, rose and moss, it will also fill your home with a delightful and inviting fragrance. Candlefish Ceramic Candles, Anthropologie, $28.
It’s time to change up the art on your walls! Inject some new colours and at the same time, give your home a whole new look by swapping out existing art with new pieces that will make your walls feel fresh and revived! This beautiful piece is alive and vibrant with colour and will make you happy each time you pass it. Dream Peachy, Minted, starting at $21.
Throw blankets come in all shapes, sizes, colours and, yes, price points! We love the look and soft feel of this plush fleece throw but we are also digging the price point, too! Updating your home for the season doesn’t have to cost a fortune and this cozy throw will not only look good on display but will keep you warm on those long, cold fall nights. Textured Fleece Throw Blanket, Wayfair, $55.99.
When it’s dark and chilly outdoors, head to the sanctuary in your bedroom where thoughts of spring reign supreme! This printed duvet cover and sham set features a gorgeous meadowlark print on 100% organic cotton percale. Colourful and cheerful, this is a quick and easy way to update your bedroom. Meadowlark Print Organic Duvet Cover & Sham, Pottery Barn, $23 - $95.
Instantly turn your home into a gallery! These 3D faceted mirrors are stunning sculptural pieces that will add a healthy dose of modernism to your home. The unique trio of mirrors will catch and reflect light in interesting ways in your home and will certainly be a conversation starter when friends come to visit. 3D Faceted Mirrors, West Elm, $79.
Wood and tile floors can get cold underfoot during fall and winter so warm things up with a cozy area rug. This pretty rug features a fall-inspired motif and colour palette and is easy to add to any room in your home – and subtract when you no longer need the warmth underfoot. The perfect seasonal decorating accent! Anni Floral Round Printed Rug, Urban Outfitters, $79.
Curtains not only provide a perfect finishing touch to any room but they can also add some extra insulation to keep the cold air from drafty windows at bay. These 100% cotton curtain panels are yarn dyed and have an elegant drape you’re sure to love and we love this soft shade of grey, a pleasing neutral that will easily suit many different styles of rooms. Wallace Grey Curtains, Crate & Barrel, $79.95 - $99.95.