Monthly Archives: December 2012

7 Holiday Instagram Snaps That Are Inspiring Us Right Now

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Whenever we need an instant source of decorating inspiration, we take a few minutes to browse Instagram. These holiday photos in particular caught our attention. Take a peek at the lovely decor and holiday decorating ideas we found that all incorporate Pottery Barn pieces.


“Our Christmas table, Pottery Barn martini glasses and all,” writes Instagram user faithallure.


We love how Instagram user jacqpeterson used some of our Florentine Angel Bath Towels to outfit her bathroom sink. The mini poinsettia is a great botanical touch as well.


Instagram user Nolan I. Miranda notes, “My room is ready for colder nights.” (Love the pillow on the left? You can find it here.)


Instagram user megpieinthesky used mercury glass decorations and glitter letters to decorate her tree this year.


“My in-laws gave me this Partridge in a Pear Tree Salt and Pepper Shaker from Pottery Barn. I just love it. So adorable!” writes Instagram user kelly_irons.


“Family Christmas tree!” explains Instagram user natcoronado.



Instagram user rhsmith419 decorated with these lovely Pottery Barn mercury candles. They create a lovely festive glow!


Do you have some beautiful decorating moments you want to share with us? Tag your Instagram photos with #potterybarn to help us find your snaps!


An Elegant Winter Tablescape Perfect For the Holidays and Beyond

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Today we’re featuring a lovely holiday tablescape from Dawn at Inspired Living. We think this tablescape would also look gorgeous for any elegant winter dinner party.

What’s your decorating philosophy for holiday dinners and dinner parties?

“I don’t believe you have to go overboard decorating every last space to have a dramatic and eye catching home for the holidays.   A few simple, well thought out choices will go a long way to create a festive environment and to make your guests feel welcome and warm.  For example, the hurricanes and Pottery Barn candlesticks I used on our table were all of different heights and sizes, which keeps the display visually interesting.  All of the items were made from the same material, which unites the display.

Also, you can never go wrong with candlelight and greenery to add a little holiday warmth to the home. From there, you can layer in an additional element or two to add interest; on my tablescape, I stuck with mercury glass and silver. After all, keeping your decor simple will allow more time to focus on preparing for your guests and welcoming them to your home.”

 We know that you love to mix in vintage pieces — what’s your advice for making these pieces look beautiful and part of an overall decorating scheme?

“I like mixing new and old.  For this tablescape, I paired thrifted vintage low ball glasses with china we received as a wedding gift to create an elegant place setting.  For serving dishes, I might use my Pottery Barn Claro Cake Stand along with my grandmothers silver platter — another wedding gift — both of which spend most days displayed in our china cabinet.”

What’s your favorite aspect of decorating for the holidays?

“I love creating a warm and festive atmosphere that encourages our family and friends to gather around the fireplace to relax and enjoy company. I want people to come into my home and feel like they want to linger for awhile and stay.”

What do you appreciate about Pottery Barn’s pieces (like the Clarissa chandelier in your dining room)?

“Pottery Barn’s merchandise is eyecatching and beautiful; I’ve used my Pottery Barn purchases over and over again for years now. Furthermore, I feel that many of the items have a timeless quality. If you don’t have time to search out that perfect vintage find, chances are Pottery Barn will have something at the ready.  Numerous guests have asked me if my Pottery Barn Clarissa chandelier is an antique!”


Check out Dawn’s tips for creating a beautiful tablescape similar to hers!

  • Layer your linens. “For this tablescape, I used two tablecloths to create yet another layer of interest. One served as a traditional tablecloth while the other was folded to be used as a runner.”
  • Group like objects for an impactful display.  “In addition to the glass hurricane and candlestick display, I grouped several milk glass serving dishes and pedestals to create an interesting display to plan Paperwhite bulbs this year.”
  • Think outside of the box for the items you already have in your home.  “Next year, I might serve you a salad out of the very same milk glass dishes being used as planters this year.  Hope you don’t mind! Additionally, I plan to use the low ball glasses to serve a small appetizer on Christmas Eve. These same glasses currently serve as votives in other areas of our home while on other occasions they are used to serve a festive beverage.”
  • Go outside for more inspiration.  “My son loves bringing home acorns and pinecones.  I’ve used these to fill hurricanes and bowls around the house in the past.  This year we brought branches and greenery inside from around our yard.”

Source: Photos courtesy <Inspired Living

An Absolutely Unexpected Christmas Tree Alternative

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An absolutely unusual and gorgeous Christmas “tree.” — Folk Magazine

This dog-friendly home has character to spare. — Apartment Therapy

A look back at home resolutions for 2012. — Centsational Girl

What’s for dinner? Chicken, squash and shiitakes. — The Blender

Discover an artist who’s rethinking toile. — Sweet Paul

Clever design ideas to steal from a mansion-turned-hotel. — CasaSugar

Discover the top pins of 2012. — Country Living

Follow These Tips to Gift Wrap Like a Pro

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Want to make your gifts look gorgeous this year? We caught up with Pottery Barn’s resident gift wrapping expert, Sean, to get his tips and tricks for creating your best-looking holiday gifts ever.

Sean’s Top Tips 

• “Don’t use a gift bag! Even a simple gift looks better wrapped in paper and tied with ribbon or twine.”

• “Using the right materials makes giftwrapping easy. A metal ruler for measuring and cutting paper; a rotary cutter for clean, easy cuts with a straight edge and double-stick tape to ensure everything stays in it’s place and out of sight.”

• “Measuring the paper to fit the box ensures all folds stay crisp and neat. ”


• “Once the box is wrapped use your thumb and index finger to crease all edges for a crisp, clean look.

• “Ensure that the two triangular flaps on each side of the box meet in the middle and face in the same direction.”

• “When tying a four-way bow, ensure the ribbon on the bottom lays flat and isn’t twisted.” (Find a tutorial for tying a bow here.)

• “Don’t forget to embellish your gift! A simple topper like an evergreen branch or holiday ornament is an easy and festive way to finish off the perfect gift wrap.”

Ready to wrap? You can also check out the slideshow below to discover a unique way to wrap pesky round presents like candles. You can also download a variety of PDF tags similar to the one Sean used below.

[portfolio_slideshow size=large exclude=”1014,1071,1072,1073,1074, 1075, 1086″]

A Holiday House Tour With Our Big House on the Prairie

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Karen, who blogs at Our Big House on the Prairie, has a gift for creating a festive, cozy, holiday-decorated home. We’re so happy to share some photos from her lovely abode — you’re in for an absolutely festive tour. We also spoke with Karen about her decorating style and holiday traditions.

Can you give us a brief history of your home?

“Our home was built in 1907-08. We purchased the house in foreclosure in July 2010 and embarked on a two and a half year renovation. Every inch of the house was in need of tender loving care . . . and some parts needed a complete overhaul. We are thankful we survived the process.”

How do you use your office during the year? Does its use change at all over the holidays?

“I own a business where I help people care for their photos by getting them off their hard drives and into their lives. My office is where I preserve my own family’s memories and stories — and in the process help others do the same. I coach a team around the country, and all of that happens around my computer. It’s so important — both mentally and emotionally — to have a beautiful place to work. I use my Pottery Barn shelves to surround myself with my favorite things . . . photo albums, favorite needlework, a picture of my daddy, gifts from my children and my cherished collection of 17 Susan Branch journals. (For 17 years I have celebrated each day with written comments at bedtime in a journal.) This year I added my Top 40 movies to my shelves! My work is steady throughout the year, but my Pottery Barn project table probably sees a little more action around Christmas. My wish for the world: That every woman gets a Bradford Project Table.”

Can you tell us about all of the stockings and mittens you have hanging? There are a lot!

“We are a blended family of ten kids — and now six grandchildren! With spouses, our stocking count is up to sixteen! With every wedding I get to pick a new stocking. Our stockings are handknit in Bosnia by underprivileged women. Since we are adding grandchildren at an alarming (and wonderful!) rate -— 5 in this past year. I made an executive decision that the grandchildren would have mittens instead.”

Do you have a favorite room in your home?

“My favorite room would be the kitchen . . . and our bedroom . . . and the master bathroom . . . and my office. Ha.”

Are there any Pottery Barn products you used to decorate with this year that you particularly love?

“I loved bringing wrapped Christmas gifts home from Pottery Barn and incorporating them right into my decorating! Isn’t that why we love Pottery Barn, because everything coordinates? Right down to their wrapping paper, ribbon and tags! My friends are not going to get their gifts until the last minute. I loved seeing the way Pottery Barn filled glass decanters with ornaments in the store. I went home and did the same. My favorite new thing is the real wax flameless candles that you set on a timer with the touch of a button. Every night at 5:30 pm my candles all come on like magic and flicker for 5 hours. It has added a real magical feel to the house this holiday. And I know it is time to go to bed when all my candles are out — ha.”

“I also loved putting the Pottery Barn Kids chair Santa hats – on my PB kitchen stools, and I love the Pottery Barn mercury glass collection because I think it reflects the beauty of our leaded windows — no pun intended. This holiday I wrapped it in white toile netting and added vintage snow.”

Your tree is lovely! What kind is it? Is this how you usually decorate it every year?

“Our tree this year is a Douglas Fir. I like Frasier Firs, too. The important thing for me is fresh. “Life is too short for plastic greenery” is what I like to say. This year I did everything fresh, even the evergreen boughs on the mantels and at the front door . . . it made me happier. The tree is decorated with ornaments that have been lovingly collected over the years. If we tried, we could probably tell our family history with that Christmas tree.”

How are you celebrating the holidays this year? Are you hosting family?

“This year I am celebrating by creating a family recipe book with photos and family stories. It is actually Volume 2 of Mother Rabbit Cooks. Our family will gather to celebrate after the holidays because we alternate with the ‘outlaws’ and this isn’t our year.”

What advice do you have for others who want to enjoy their holiday decorating more?

“Force yourself to get it done early by being on a Christmas Home Tour or scheduling a big holiday Party. And make a great playlist of classic Christmas music.”

Why do you shop at Pottery Barn?

“I like one-stop shopping. I am not a mall shopper. I like having everything I love all in one place. I love beautiful, classic design. I love how everything in the store fits together and works together because I like my whole house to feel coordinated. I also like the way that my vintage Pottery Barn pieces work with the new stuff — and last year’s pillows mix and match with this season. I love the prints that make me want to stand and stare at them. I love the color palettes. I love getting my PB catalogs and being inspired . . . Not only are they a decorating guide, but they transport you to places that you can dream about creating for your own home. Somehow we learn about warmth and creating intimate spaces, color and good design just by flipping through the pages. They ‘teach us’ with pictures. I love feeling inspired by walking into the Pottery Barn store — and I love the kind people who work there. I loved renovating a home knowing that Pottery Barn had everything I needed — and wanted! From the light fixtures to the mirrors and house numbers.”

Take the full tour of Karen’s beautiful home!

 [portfolio_slideshow size=large click=openurl]

Source: Photos courtesy Our Big House on the Prairie/a>

Laura’s Inspired Advent Calendar and Mantel

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If you’re looking for creative advent calendar decorating ideas — or simply gorgeous holiday decorating ideas in general — you’ll be pleased to read this interview with Laura, who’s the creative forced behind the blog Finding Home.

What was your original inspiration for the look of your holiday mantel?

“The original inspiration for my mantel was my desire to create an advent calendar this year.  I had been trying to figure one out that was my style for some time and finally settled on the idea of a window.  Once I decided on that, I felt it would be perfect center point for my mantel.  I knew I wanted to keep the color scheme simple this year, greens, creams and whites and natural elements.”

Can you tell us more about your advent calendar? 

“Once I had decided on the window idea, the task was to find a window with 24 panes.  It took quite a few months of looking through my regular vintage haunts, and finally found one in August.  It waited patiently for me in my garage until I was ready to start pulling it together.  I simply glued vintage sheet music with cut out numbers (I used an electronic cutter for the numbers) to each of the panes.  There is a felt snowflake taped to the window that we move to each number to count down the days.  I also put a small basket hanging on the side of the mantel with corresponding numbered envelopes.  Each one contains an idea for us to do together as a family each day.”

The cut glass doorknobs in the pack basket are such a brilliant addition! How did you happen upon this idea?

“On the left side of the mantel I placed a vintage scout basket filled with greenery. It is one of my favorite things because of the signature and name on it.  One of the main reasons I love to use vintage items in my home is when there is a story behind them — and this basket is a perfect execution of that.  Inside the basket are two small evergreen plants mixed with fake evergreens.   It was a little flat and I wanted to dress it up a bit.  I have always loved using vintage door knobs in my décor, so I decided to place them in.  They were too heavy for them really to be placed right, so I decided to place them on a wooden skewer and place them in the dirt of the plant as my own version of a ‘floral pick.'”

(A close look at the name and signature on the back of the pack basket.)

What greenery did you use for this look?

“The greenery I used was a mixture of real and fake.  I was careful in selecting my fake greenery in that it was realistic but not overly expensive.  On the stool in front, I used a small lemon cypress plant.”

We also love the Epsom salt in the mason jars, which you use to hold up the candles. How did you decide to try this? Any advice for re-creating it?

“I was inspired by some projects I had seen on Pinterest to use the Epsom salts.  I often use mason jars with candles in them in my décor, but I felt for this mantel it needed a little something more — and the ‘snow look’ was just what it needed.  This project couldn’t be simpler and is very inexpensive as well.  I used a mixture of tea lights, tapers and small votives in the the different jars.”


What are your favorite elements of your mantel?

“My favorite element of this mantel is how all of the elements pull together, it is in the Christmas spirit, without being overdone.  The colors are comfortable, but bring an element of elegance.  I do however absolutely love the drawing on the right side.  It is actually a vintage sap bucket lid, from back in the days when they were wood.  When I found it at a yard sale in Vermont there was  a very light sketch of the Victoria-dressed man and woman skating.  I used a chalk pen to go over the lines that were there so the drawing would be more visible.  This is especially meaningful for me because my husband grew up on a farm that made maple syrup and we now make our own in our neighborhood here in New York.  It is one of favorite times of year, after Christmas of course.”

Why do you shop at Pottery Barn? 

“My style is based in traditional but always mixed with vintage elements and a little modern edge thrown in. Pottery Barn’s products provide me just that element — and the unique vintage pieces that are offered from time to time are amazing.  Almost anything I can find at Pottery Barn fits within my style and allows me to still be unique and not too ‘cookie cutter.’ And all of the holiday products are always so inspiring. ”


All photos courtesy Erin Witkowski

Creating a Beautiful Holiday Mantel: A Tutorial From Designer Stephen Saint-Onge

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Today, we’re excited to present a post from designer and dad Stephen Saint-Onge. Using a variety of Pottery Barn products as well as personal family heirlooms, he creates an effortless and beutiful holiday mantel you can accomplish quickly.

Happy Holidays everyone.  I am very excited to share this simple makeover idea with you…

As a designer and as a family man, I love this time of year.  I love how the feeling of home truly comes to life during this holiday season.  We realize, in the midst of our busy lives and the crazy world out there, that our homes are a place that can lift us up, can remind us of the good things in life again — or they can simply provide us with a foundation that allows us to do what we do everyday.  At this time of year, it’s a chance to make those home spaces better, more beautiful and more inviting for our family and friends — but also for ourselves.  We all deserve that.  My motto:  Good home design has the power to change lives.  I have seen it happen and now — more than ever — we all need that power in our lives.

I also know as a husband and father  that this time of year can be stressful and filled with many things on our to-do list, so getting our homes ready for the holidays may be one of the last things we tackle.

So with that in mind, I want to show you that you can do it all. You can make your home look beautiful and festive without taking away too much time from everything else you need to get done.

For me, it’s all about creating focal points this holiday season. You do not have to go over the top as you prep your home for guests and entertaining. Focus on areas : on the front door/entrance area, a buffet table or, in the case of what I’m sharing with you today, a mantel.  You can create simple touches in your home that can bring the holidays in by creating a mood, a visual, a warm glow in place you see everyday.

As the last week before Christmas starts playing out — don’t panic —   your home will be ready and it will be beautiful.  I’m here with Pottery Barn to help you turn an everyday space into something special : easily, creatively and right now.

I recently visited a friend’s house where I was going to tackle a mantel makeover for the holidays…

*Simple mantel.   Here is what it looked like at the start.  A great location to create a focal point.


*Remove the props and accessories to simplify your working stage.


Sometimes removing artwork or other things on the walls can help you see something in a fresh way. I wanted to create two instant looks for them, the first one being very simple.  The ther one is a bit more detailed, but still very doable.

The first look was simply done by laying out two fresh garlands across the mantel.  Anyone can do this and it looks beautiful thanks to Pottery Barn’s amazing options for the holidays….So easy – go online – find what you like and order it. Comes right to your home ready to place!  That is just what we did here.

Next, I decided to repurpose an angel they had instead of the painting.  Shopping your house for props is a great way to get a new look in your home now.  Plus, you can introduce new pieces as well, which truly drives home a stylish new look any time of year,  in any room of your home!

Then I added a simple string of white lights into the garland for a nice warm glow.

I could have easily have added some pillar candles and tapered candles along the mantel for more light… But I liked the simple look of the green garland with the white angel.

For a second look,  I removed everything and put the painting back into place. This time I used two other garlands (ones that smell amazing!) and placed them on the mantel.  These have silver ball accents that add a great sparkle to the area but also serve as an accent that I will bring in again with other props too.

*Then I added a string of white lights again for the glow. I’m all about lighting the holiday time. I always tell clients that if you cannot makeover your whole house, use lighting to your advantage.  Candles and lights on dimmers can make a home setting look beautiful easily. It can take your eye away from areas or things about a room that you do not want to accent as much. Lighting allows you to set the stage and is a great creative tool in every project I do — even in my own home!

I loved these stocking holders in silver that can be engraved for every member of the family.  I like the idea of placing photos of each family member in them.  Fun thing to bring out every year!

I found these great faux fur velvet stockings from Pottery Barn too.  I liked that I could look online and see the options easily – great way to check off the list and know that those creative tools will be coming your way quickly.  I liked the color of these stockings because they worked well with the room’s overall color scheme.  Classic style.

To complete the focal point , gather some furniture pieces for seating near the area to draw your eye in as you enter the room. Light the fire, dim the room lights, turn up the music and set the scene. Easy and doable — even in these last few days before Christmas!

I invite you to visit my Designer Dad Studio blog to see a video of me on location doing this makeover for you.

I’m all about simple ideas and things that can easily make family-focused homes better.  I’m also one that believes that change is good at any time of year — not just at holiday time. I look forward to inspiring, motivating and getting you excited about your homes again…

Happy Holidays from my family to your family!

Designer Dad Stephen Saint-Onge is a designer, photographer, artist, author of the book No Place Like Home: Tips and Techniques for Real Family-Friendly Home Design and a Contributing Home Editor for Family Circle.   Stephen is also a husband and father of two boys. 

Source: Photos courtesy Stephen Saint-Onge