Sunday, November 20, 2011

Christmas Decoration House Tour.. A look back

Well yesterday.. for the first time this year we actually woke up to snow.
I've lived in BC now for almost 10 years and this is by far the earliest that we have ever had snow.. in fact last year we got a dump of the fluffy stuff on Nov 30th and that was the earliest ever, so we beat that by almost 2 weeks.
Does make for a Christmassy mood though which is just as well since the Christmas House Tour is just next weekend.

Everyone loves Christmas decorations don't they ?? add that to our natural desire to have a look round other peoples houses and you have a recipe for a great fund raising opportunity.
Each year, in my home town, local charity Anderton Therapeutic Gardens organises just such an event.
In short 5 local home owners offer to have their homes Christmas decorated by 5 designers and then tickets are sold for a tour of those homes... and they sell like hot cakes.. let me tell you.
The people who follow my blog already know that this year I am taking part by offering up both my home and my services as decorator... and over the course of this week I'll try to do a post or two to show you how it's going.

One thing that did get done today is that my lovely hubby had a chance to put the outside lights up..

Blurry but you get the idea.
Inside I've had to wait for the painter to finish but he did today so over the weekend I shall pull all my bits and pieces out and have a sort through to see if I need to supplement my own decorations with a few new bits and pieces.  
Now.. having attended every one of these tours since they began 5 years ago, I was delighted last year for the first time to take part as a volunteer, helping to marshall happy visitors round one the the homes involved...
I was also lucky enough to be allowed to take some photographs of 3 of the homes... and one of them I have already posted about and you can see that house here.

So with only a week now to go before the 2011 event.. I thought I'd take this opportunity to look back at another of the homes that featured on the 2010 Charity Christmas House Tour.

I have to say that this was my personal favourite of the 5 homes on last years tour..  the house had a warmth and charm that many much grander homes sometimes lack.

This is the home of Karen and Andy and it's located in the heritage soaked village of Cumberland... about 3 miles inland from where we are on the coast. The village features some of the oldest homes in the area, since it was built in part to hosue the immigrant workers who came to Vancouver Island in the Victorian era to help build the railway.

Sorry 'bout the reproduction quality, but you get the idea.
Despite its rustic appearence the home is virtually brand new.
Karen told me the story of how she and her partner bought the home as a half built shell when the bank repossessed it from it's original owner in 2006.

There was no roof and the inside had no rooms, yet undaunted Karen and Andy [mostly Karen] finished the home off themselves despite having little building expertise or experience.

The kitchen opens into a large open plane living space.
So inspite of having a full time job at a local hotel Karen installed drywall and insulation, painted walls, worked on the plumbing and laid hardwood floors. She even helped install the roof.
Aside from the kitchen which they decided to have professionally finished, virtually everything else has had Karen or Andy's hands on it at some point.

Not that you would ever guess that the builders of this lovely home were anything other than seasoned pros. The finishes are beautiful and the details are extraordinary.... and Karen was largely responsible for the Christmas decor too..

Coming in through the front door I was greeted by an adorable model village meandering up the stairs like cottages creeping up an alpine slope.

The handrail was decked out with an impressive lit garland.
Rich blonde floors give an immediate warmth to the space.... with the entrance leading past the stairs into an impressive open living room.

The overall colour theme of the holiday decorations was red, white and green.. which are of course the traditional Christmas colours, but there was a freshness and lightness of touch... and it didn't feel in anyway, old fashioned.

The living room is dominated by a huge floor to ceiling stone and rock clad fireplace, with a wood burning insert in the grate... and the fabulous 7 ft tree at it's side.

More green white and red, but not stuffy.
The lounge leads through into the dining room, which was the one area of the home where Karen got some help with the decor.. a local floral artist helping with table arrangements and the greens for the chandelier, and the chair backs.

But the table was all hers and I thought it was gorgeous..
Just perfect for a huge family feast, it featured a sunny burst of bright yellow crockery, gold and red linens and cranberry glass dessert bowls..
It looked good enough to eat, and I am definitely going to take some inspiration from this for my own tables this year.

Beyond the dining room the rich mahogany [professionally installed ;o) ] kitchen is very much in keeping with the Arts and Crafts feel of the home's interior... but with all mod cons... including a huge mudroom off to the left complete with washer and dryer.

Do a 180* and you'll see the master suite..

Keren really had thought of everything, decorating their large comfortable bedroom with simple votives on the window cill, and red and white linens which gave a nod to the season without being cliched.
No Rudolf the Rednosed Reindeer bedpsread in here. ;o)

She'd even put some festive red towels in the lovely Victorian inspired en suite.. perhaps my favourite room in the house... but then I'm a sucker for a claw foot tub and a bit of tongue and groove in a bathroom ;o).

Even the summer house got the Christmas treatment..

So there you have it.. a warm, rich, comfortable home with no pretentions to be anything other than what it is.
I hope mine turns out half as well next weekend.

Jo xx


  1. It's such a beautiful home. They have made it warm and homey and it looks lovely all decorated for Xmas.

  2. Oh my! That's just fabulous! I love it. I'm a sucker for red at Christmas, but like you say, it doesn't go over the top. The house itself is beautiful too :)

  3. One will surely feel the spirit of Christmas at your home. It looks so wonderful! The stairs idea might not be that safe for kids though.

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  4. Bill: Homey is a good word.. there was nothing
    'precious' about it.

    Carin: Yes it was a gorgeous house.. and Karen was lovely. I can't believe some of the things she worked on.. THE ROOF !!! for instance. Brave girl.

    BuyW: They don't have kids so that's not an issue for them. But this display was only for a 2 day period anyway, and was actually done to discourage people from going upstairs.. because it wasn't part of the tour. ;o)

  5. hi....
    Nice designing and heart favorite color is really inspiring.its really very beautiful and helping me in the decoration at christmas.....thanks

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Thanks for letting me know I'm not talking to myself..