Image: Robin Stubbert
Lavish Christmas decorations stand ready to welcome guests to this grand 19th-century home.
This venerable 19th-century house in Walkerton, Ont., complements homeowner and designer Carol Postar’s hospitable approach to celebrating the holidays. “I invite people who usually spend Christmas alone to my home for a lovely evening of sharing food, wine and friendship,” says Carol. “I bring out all of my silverware, Burleigh china, Wedgwood cabbage-leaf plates, 1920s gold-rimmed wine goblets and blue port glasses. I’m setting the stage for a memorable Christmas tradition.”
Visitors can indeed revel in the enchanting surroundings, the result of Carol’s keen vision combined with her respect for the past. When she moved into the 2,840-square-foot house with her beloved cat, Miss Mew, almost three years ago, Carol updated the space with the intent of retaining its authentic charm. While some major changes were made, important architectural elements were added or preserved. “I stayed sympathetic to the original details of the home, and kept elements like the new trim and crown moulding similar,” she says.
As her house and its furnishings indicate, Carol has a talent for seeking out and preserving items that tell a story. “I’m a hunter. I find things, and then I work with them to make them into something,” she says. Created in the style of a Regency cottage, the home boasts many classical features reflective of this period. Soaring ceilings, tall French windows and substantial mouldings were freshened with white paint and enhance the grandness of the space.
Within this breathtaking backdrop, Carol presents an eclectic mix of antique and vintage finds with a few contemporary hits. “My decorating style is joyful, understated and completely custom to my house,” Carol notes. The same can be said for the holiday decorations created by Karen Drimmie of Drimmie Florist in Elora, Ont. Complementing the home’s fresh colour scheme of white, black, brown and blue, and using its historic vibe as inspiration, Karen produced a natural vintage look that’s at once elegant and relaxed.
The Christmas tree, which showcases an awe-inspiring layering of embellishments, suits the living room’s grand scale and conveys coziness. Arrangements and decorations throughout the house feature aromatic greenery like cedar and eucalyptus; more luxurious elements like ribbons and Vendela roses; and unexpected additions, such as artificial frosted blueberry sprays and ornamental green cabbage. When it comes to making the home merry, Karen says, “there are no rules.” And Carol agrees: “Holiday decorating is all about seizing the moment, and that’s what makes it such great fun!”
A newel post arrangement of evergreens, ivy, roses, blue thistle and artificial blueberry sprays drapes beautifully to the ground and complements the dramatic 1920s staircase.
The blue velvet-covered chairs surrounding the Duncan Phyfe table in the dining room are Hudson’s Bay models made in 1920. The vintage French chandelier and sconces, a gilded cast metal, give the space a hit of glamour. Juxtaposing these items with contemporary elements like the white drapes, sisal rug and modern art creates an overall understated look.
Vintage lantern-style pendant lights add heft to the pale blue kitchen, which is open to the dining area and visually connected through coordinating tones.
Cedar, apple branches and fresh holly dusted with gold are laid on the fireplace mantel with frosted gold grapes and a pair of bronze peacocks, which lend a hit of glamour. The towering nine-foot faux Christmas tree is adorned with a mix of natural materials and traditional ornaments for a rustic yet pretty effect.
Christmas greenery on the veranda sets a festive tone for homeowner and designer Carol Postar’s holiday get-together. Planters overflow with evergreens, ivy, holly, blue thistle and faux blueberry branches, as well as moss green and blue ribbons. The wreath hanging on the beautiful wood door showcases the same materials.