Skip to main content


Countertop Review

This time last year I was packing up our house to prepare for our down-to-the-studs renovation in our kitchen, family room, and master bath as well as the addition of a screened porch. The family room wasn't originally part of the plan, but that's a post for another time. The kitchen was where I really had to plan and scheme, and, yes even fret, to stay in our footprint and budget and to get the function and look I wanted. I love a challenge like this, though, so despite some occasional frustration with my client (aka me! ), I enjoyed the process. A key "want" of mine was honed marble countertops. There are dozens--maybe hundreds--of blog posts, articles, and showroom sites that compare various types of countertop materials and their pros and cons. I read most of them and took notes from a lot of them in the months leading up to our start date. One of the most helpful things was visiting a sweet friend's kitchen, where I was able to ask questions about cleaning, a

Comfort and Joy

Comfort and joy--that’s really all I’m looking for when it comes to holiday decorating.  For me, that means traditional, familiar, sentimental.  If anyone else sees it as classic or even elegant, well, that’s the fig in my pudding, so to speak.  I love the glamorous white and lime green schemes I see in magazines and shops, and I sigh over the simplicity of pine cones and red bows, but for me, comfort and joy fall somewhere in between the glitz and the granola.
So, step right up, and I’ll show you around.
We’ll start in the front hall, which isn’t a large room at all.   It is painted Ralph Lauren’s Dressage Red, which makes it festive.  We have a small centennial chest in this room, and that’s where I have this small nativity in front of a triptych my cousin brought me from the Czech Republic a few years ago.  
The chest also sports a bowl of greens and oranges studded with cloves to offer a fragrant welcome.       IMG_2831
Next, is the living room.  Again, a rather small room and not really too many decorations—just a few touches here and there. IMG_2839Some paperwhites on the coffee table.IMG_2836One of our favorite nativities on a chest.  This nativity is lighted, so the Mister put it on a dimmer, and the effect is really beautiful.  The bouquet of dried holly in the foreground is a bit of distraction in the photo, but it looks better in “real life.”

The English secretary holds a few old Christmas books as well as a plate, with what looks like a painting of our house.  The truth, however, is that I found the plate at a consignment store, where I paid a whopping two dollars! IMG_2835The cards on top of the tattered books (A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by Frank Baum) are Christmas cards that my father has sent over the years, beginning with when he joined the Navy and first left home.  He is quite the railroad buff, and so he always sends a card depicting a winter train scene.  The cards chronicle the years from his days as a lonesome farm boy sailing the world to a young married man to a father of two to an empty nester, and now to a grandfather.

One last look back to the living room and on to the family room, where most of the Christmas decorations are placed.  Here’s my beloved Ralph plaid chair with two needlepoint Santa pillows.  This is Little’s favorite spot to curl up and watch a Christmas movie or to just gaze at the tree.
IMG_2814IMG_2822More needlepoint pillows in the child’s chair on the hearth.  This was my grandfather’s chair, made for him specifically to sit in at his grandfather’s funeral.  He was three at the time and would be 105, if he were still living.

Our advent “wreath,” which I copied from the 2009 December issue of Southern Living.  We enjoy it much more on the family room coffee table than we did in the dining room.IMG_2853
An old butter churn filled with Christmas tree clippings adds a great scent to the room.IMG_2823Behind the sofa on an old Virginia dropleaf table is one of my favorite decorations—a feather tree decked out with vintage ornaments.  The tree itself came from Kmart’s Martha Stewart collection years ago.  I pried it out of its original pot and put it in an old wooden box.IMG_2818Rightfully taking pride of  place on the mantel is our beloved nativity scene, which the Mister’s mother bought at their church's rummage sale in the 1970s!  The church got a new set, so this one was sold.  She bought the Holy Family and the three kings. 
IMG_2820The Mister and I found the two shepherds—one on ebay and one in an antiques shop--more than 20 years later!  IMG_2819Best we can tell, the pieces were made in Italy out of some type of papier mache-like composite.  The tallest figures are about 12 inches tall.  We do not put baby Jesus in the manger until midnight Christmas Eve.IMG_2817Snugged in the corner is our Frasier fir.  We use one strand of old-fashioned colored lights, and hundreds of white twinkle lights.  The ornaments range from old family pieces to handmade by the Mister and our children to small travel souvenirs.  Glass icicles provide the tinsel.IMG_2789Made by the Mister, circa 1967.IMG_2792Two flying angels, Big and Middle.  I have to say these make me laugh.IMG_2793
Little’s candy cane nativity ornament.
Finally, some pine boughs amid some old wooden bowls and beadles.

On to the dining room, where a clay nativity that Big made as a youngster is on the stepback cupboard.IMG_2840 IMG_2841
More pine boughs finish the cupboard, along with tiny cranberry wreaths. sideboard Pardon the lamp not being turned on; the Mister has it on a timer, and I really just didn’t want to take the time to fiddle with that.IMG_2844 Vintage ornaments in an old hunting trophy sit atop pine and holly on a small silver tray.  The glass beads belonged to the Mister’s grandmother, who brought them from Austria.  This fragment is all that remains, and it is a treasure to us.
The little pink angel belonged to my grandmother, and I remember loving it as a child whenever I would help her decorate her Christmas tree.

IMG_2846Antlers and a stag cup cozy up to each other on this one-drawer stand.  IMG_2848
And lastly, the kitchen, where Santa holds forth.
Juniper wreaths hang in the windows, and, for a bit of whimsy, Santa’s caps, decorate the counter stools.
sitting area Now, let’s have a seat and a cup of hot cider!


  1. Beautiful decorations! It compliments your decor perfectly without "taking over". And I'm copying that advent wreath idea! Mine is one I cobbled together 20 years ago featuring a wreath, the four candles stuck in with no holders and a white pillar candle sitting on top of an old glass turned upside down. Time for an upgrade!

  2. Beautiful! It looks like home. The childrens ornaments and Nativities are wonderful. I, too, have those throughout the house.
    Thank you for sharing your home with us.

  3. Your home looks beautiful! Every little nook has the perfect holiday touch ~ you've done a great job.


  4. Your home is gorgeous - love how you have decorated for the holidays! I place my husband's grandmother's vintage ornaments in a glass bowl on our dining table. Hers are very similar looking to the ones you have. :)

  5. Its JUST beautiful - what a lovely collection of heirlooms you are building.

  6. Hi! I just found your blog through Hooked on Houses and I LOVE it! Your home is absolutely gorgeous and your Christmas decor is perfect. I so agree about seeing so many fun variations on Holiday decorating and yet just wanting what gives me the greatest pleasure...tradition...a little bit of glitz here and there...and a lot of the sentimental!
    I would love to have you pop over and say 'hi' sometime and I host a linky party every Friday and it would be great to have you join!
    P.S. I'm your newest follower! :-)

  7. What a great tour...I am in love with your RL plaid chair! xx

  8. I LOVED this holiday tour! Thank you s much for sharing; everything is lovely; your home is so beautiful and festive. I would love to stop by for a cup of warm cider & a chat (thanks for the invitation). I also love all kinds of Nativity scenes and yours are special. So glad you don't put the baby Jesus in until midnight (how could you, really?).
    Merry Christmas!

  9. I love how your decoration is a defection of you and your family - not the pages of the hottest design magazine. Especially love you husband's family ornaments. I have my grandmother's...

  10. Your home looks lovely - so glad you included a shot of the exterior in the daylight! Love the little feather tree and all your touches around the house.

  11. Oh my goodness, your house looks absolutely gorgeous! You have some really beautiful Nativity sets. I love Big's clay interpretation. How you must treasure it! And that RL tartan chair looks like the perfect place to cozy up and listen to Christmas music. You've done an excellent job! Oh, and I love the swag you put on the front door. Lovely!


  12. i wish so much that i could walk through
    your house! every detail cries out to me.
    such gracious beauty to behold.

    thank you for the virtual tour.

    merry Christmas,

  13. Your home is lovely as usual. The Santa hat chair covers - so cute! I love the old ornaments from the 40's, the German glass. The boxes I have have a picture of Uncle Sam and Santa shaking hands and say made in the USA. They must have been made either pre-WWII or right after. Brings back such good memories. I have to get them out as I do all my decorations!! I am so behind. I wish I could fly you in to get me going. Again, you've made a lovely, cozy home in which to celebrate. :) xoxo

  14. BEAUTIFUL!!! I just LOVE the front of your house - looks like something out of a magazine or something that SHOULD have been the inspiration for the plate (such a cool story)! :-) Your tree is beautiful as well - we also do lots of white twinkle lights as well as three strands of solid-red old fashioned bubble lights. Love them! :-) Merry Christmas!

  15. OMG, I love it!! You just gave me lots of inspiration!

  16. Thanks for sharing your beautiful home and decor with us. I'm your newest follower.

  17. Oh, thank you so much for coming over and joining Inspiration Friday and becoming a new friend here in blogland! I'm so glad you linked up because it gave me a chance to come back over and drool some more at your gorgeous home!

  18. How BEAUTIFUL!! Your home looks like the pages of a magazine! Love all the sentiment too! I must go back and try to imitate some of these ideas! thanks for the tour.

    I have almost an IDENTICAL secretary piece....were we separated at birth?

    Hope your son did well his 1st semester. B hops a train at 11:00 pm tonight in clemson after last final and will arrive at a station close to us TOMORROW at 1pm! He and we can't wait. Since the last time we saw him he was "down and out" with the surgery!

  19. Love all the Christmas touches you have added throughout your home. It all looks so festive and beautiful!

    Happy Holidays!

  20. Your "traditional" home really says "the south" to me. We lived in Marietta, Georgia for a few years and I just loved the style of houses and traditional decor that is so dominant there. I have to say your Ralph plaid chair is just my favorite, So glad you linked up with VIF for the party!

  21. So elegant. I love your vintage ornaments ... your beautiful Frasier Fur and that nativity! Wow ... incredible. Thanks for sharing! Becca

  22. You have a beautiful home and have decorated it wonderfully for the Christmas season!

  23. What a tasteful and stylish Southern home you have,so warm and cozy! Thank you for sharing your haven. Merry Christmas!

  24. You have a gorgeous home, and I love how you have decorated for the holidays. I will be copying that advent wreath! Such a great idea. I'm a big fan of the sentimental holiday decor so the kids ornaments and that clay nativity make me just melt. I'm following!

  25. I love your Santa's caps, and I'm all for comfort and joy, too. Everything is lovely!

  26. So glad I clicked on your link and took the beautiful Christmas tour of your home. I enjoyed reading your explanations about the different family pieces and decorations. I came away inspired.
    Thanks for sharing.


  27. Your home is GORGEOUS! You have some fabulous antiques and your whole home exudes comfort. Great decorations for the holiday. Thanks so much for joining my party!

  28. Your home looks SOUTHERN! It's very warm and inviting. Thanks for sharing your lovely Christmas decorations...
    Jane (artfully graced)

  29. Goodness- I love your house! The outside is just adorable and the inside is delightful as well!! Thanks for stopping by and sharing this at Feathered Nest Friday! Merry Christmas!

  30. Hi. When I saw the exterior of your home, I just had to become a follower.
    We also have a saltbox home. For years, I've wanted to hang wreaths on our front windows, but hubs doesn't want to put a nail in the front siding (we have water issues here and replaced all of our siding and more a few years ago). How do you hang your's? You have a lovely home, and I enjoyed the tour. Merry Christmas!
    ~ Julie

  31. Why haven't I read your blog till now??!! Why am I reading an Xmas post at the end of Jan??!! No matter, I'm thoroughly enjoying my visit here and will be back! Great blog! Beautiful home!! Tessa


Post a Comment

Thanks for taking time to leave a comment! I love hearing your thoughts.

Popular Posts