Tag Archives: inspiration

Laura’s Inspired Advent Calendar and Mantel

Entertaining, Holiday and tagged , , | | | 2 Replies

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

Endless Ways to Give: A Chat With St. Jude Outreach Director Marlo Thomas

Behind the Design, Behind the Scenes and tagged , , | | | Leave a comment

When actress-author-activist Marlo Thomas was growing up, her father, nightclub performer Danny Thomas, had a favorite saying: “There are two kinds of people in the world: the givers and the takers. The takers sometimes eat better, but the givers always sleep better.” Guided by this philosophy, the elder Thomas went on to found St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and for the past eight years, Pottery Barn has been honored to work with the hospital as a fundraising partner. To date, Pottery Barn has raised $18.6 million toward St. Jude’s groundbreaking efforts to find cures for catastrophic childhood diseases through its landmark research and treatment. In keeping with its founding vision, no child is ever denied treatment at St. Jude for a family’s inability to pay. That’s because St. Jude pays for everything, including the cost of treatment, travel, lodging and food for patients and a family member.

In honor of the holiday season, we sat down with Marlo Thomas to talk about St. Jude. For the past 21 years, she has been the hospital’s tireless spokesperson, raising awareness and funds in her role as National Outreach Director. Here’s our conversation:

For those who aren’t familiar with St. Jude, can you tell us a bit about the hospital?

“In addition to making sick children well, we are dedicated to two things: One is to raise awareness, so that mothers and fathers and grandparents and caregivers know that St. Jude is there when their child is sick and they have nowhere else to turn. A lot of hospitals don’t know exactly what to do — not because they’re bad hospitals, but they’re working only with what they know. At St. Jude, we work on what we don’t know. That’s because, in addition to treating very sick kids, we are also a research center — and that’s a very important distinction. And second, we also must raise the funds to do this life saving work. So the whole idea of our annual Thanks and Giving campaign is to raise both money and awareness so that we can continue this work.”

How does St. Jude help to make its patients feel happy and comfortable?

“Whether you’re an adult or a child, it’s important to be surrounded by joy and positive people. That helps the healing process.  At St. Jude, all of the walls are painted with fairy tales and murals. It doesn’t look like a hospital at all — it looks more like Disneyland! We also make sure that children enjoy a lot of play time. We have crafts and artwork for them, and every Tuesday we bring in dogs for a special petting time with the kids. And then there’s our Child Life department, where specialists work with patients and families to minimize stress and anxiety through age-appropriate activities. We also host programs for the children during the holidays, whether it’s Halloween or Valentine’s Day or even prom time — we give little dances! We want to help them not miss out on the experiences of normal childhoods. Our most exciting tradition is our off-chemo party, which we have to celebrate when a child ends chemotherapy treatments. We have balloons, cake, streamers, ice cream and party hats, and everyone gets involved in it — the doctors and nurses, the parents and children. In the end, our overall goal is to do everything we can to celebrate the children, make every day special and fun for them and to keep their spirits up.”

As a company, we’ve been so pleased to help in some small part. How can our customers and associates continue to help?

“For one thing, Pottery Barn is no ‘small part’ of our efforts. So far, you’ve raised $18.6 million — that’s amazing! It costs $1.8 million to run the entire hospital every day, so you’ve basically paid for ten straight days. That’s a lot of love. What’s also really important about Pottery Barn’s contribution to St. Jude is the commitment of your associates at the individual stores, who every year not only ask guests to make a donation to St. Jude at checkout, but know all about the hospital and answer questions of your guests. We feel blessed and inspired that the entire Williams-Sonoma Inc. family has joined us this way, and with such great enthusiasm and creativity. And, by the way, I just love your Gifts That Give Back — the beautiful home décor, the fragrance items and the mercury glass. I’ve actually bought a lot of the mercury glass as gifts this year. I love the collection!”

What can readers do if they want to do a little something extra to help St. Jude?

“They can go straight from this interview and click onto the St. Jude website and make a donation. They can also learn more about volunteering for St. Jude, and read all about our children. They can watch the videos and commercials we’ve made this season, with our great family of celebrities — Jennifer Aniston, Robin Williams, Sofia Vergara, Michael Strahan and all of the big stars who are involved with the campaign. Every one of them is invaluable to us.”

We love the new “Hey St. Jude” video! How did this video come together?

“We all took part in it. My brother Tony always had the dream of getting the rights to the ‘Hey Jude’ song. It ‘s such a natural for us. So he started by making calls to people he knew to get them involved. The staff at St Jude had worked with some of the stars, I knew some people — a lot of calls were made. It was such fun to do. We were able to use it for online only, and it still is up there and doing really well. About a million people have seen it so far, and it’s helped us raise a lot of money and awareness. And those two things are the lifeblood of St. Jude!”

 

Source: Photos courtesy St. Jude

Kelly’s Irresistible and Vintage Holiday Mantel

Entertaining, Holiday and tagged , , | | | 8 Replies

Today we’re happy to share photos from Kelly Elko of Eclectically Vintage. Take a look at her lovely holiday mantel decor, and read about her tips and ideas for holiday decorating.

How did you decorate on the mantel? 

“I tried keeping things light and simple this year.  Lots of white and silver mixed with a few rustic touches like the burlap on the twig wreath and wrapped around my snowy mason jar candles (which I scatter throughout my whole house).”

The typewriter and song lyrics are a great touch. What inspired this idea?

“I have two vintage typewriters and this one has has been sitting on the bottom shelf of my coffee table and when I started moving things around, the idea just came to me.  Don’t you love when that happens?!  It’s my favorite detail this year.”


Are these knitting molds for the stockings? They’re so unusual. What’s their history?

“They are antique stocking stretchers that I found at Brimfield this summer.  I may have done a little dance of joy when I found them!”

 

What are your special tips or tricks for decorating the mantel for the holiday?

“I’ve done it all over the years, from real garland to sugared fruits to an old crib bedspring on the mantel!  One common denominator has been symmetry.  It creates a timeless look (no matter how many Frostys or Santas you have gathered on the mantel)!”

How did you hit upon the color scheme for this area?

“I love a bit of bling! The mercury glass trees add that while giving a vintage feel.  The branches in the vases were in my Halloween mantel (strung with cobwebs) and my fall mantel but for Christmas, I simply gave them a spritz of white spray paint.  They remind me of birch trees.”

 

Take Kelly’s entire holiday house tour (and find out the history of this charming antique car) here!

Source: Photos courtesy Eclectically Vintage

This House Tour is Filled With Holiday Cheer

Decorating, Decorating Inspiration, Holiday, Inspiration and tagged , , , , , | | | 21 Replies

Today, we’re happy to take you on a tour of blogger Jennifer Rizzo‘s holiday-decorated home. Jennifer is hosting a virtual holiday house tour of 20 homes on her blog this week. Keep reading to learn more about the holiday house tour and to discover Jennifer’s favorite aspects of decorating for the holidays!

How did you come up with the idea for the virtual holiday house tour?

“Every year, the local garden club in our area hosts a holiday house walk. They decorate these beautiful homes and then open it to the public. I look forward to the event every year. Seeing all of the amazing ideas and inspiration that they come up with — it really gets me in the holiday spirit. I thought there must be some way to do a house walk that everyone can enjoy and that’s how the idea came to fruition. I first lined up three homes a day for five days to make it a week-long event. This year I’ve added more amazing homes so there is even more inspiration.”

 

 

What is the response to the virtual holiday tour like this year as compared to the first year?

“There was a much bigger response than I expected for the first walk. I just thought it was going to be a fun little walk that my readers could enjoy. I had about three homes  a day and they are set up so tour goers can visit each house in order, like a real house walk. I couldn’t believe how many people ‘walked’ through the tour. This year it’s even bigger with four to five homes a day and the traffic has grown to amazing proportions. The bloggers who are participating have really outdone themselves and I am so impressed by how clever they are. Their homes are beautiful and their ability to make their homes shine is amazing. The following Monday I always have  a party on my blog where other bloggers can show of their holiday homes. Last year there were over 150 extra homes full of decorating inspiration.”

Are there any easy ways you recommend for adding holiday cheer and décor to your home, especially if you’re pressed for time?

“I think greenery goes a really long way. Even faux greenery. A touch of green, a touch of sparkle,a scented candle and it all seems festive once you put Bing Crosby on.”

 

What holiday decorating tradition does your family have?

“We always try to decorate the house together as a family with some holiday music playing while we enjoy hot cocoa. Then the kids put the candy canes on the tree(their favorite part). In the end and I always give in and let them have one to kick off the season.”

 

What holiday décor from your home are you particularly happy about or inspired by this year?

“I really love the area in my breakfast nook. It’s where my family and I spend the most time and it’s decorated with my most favorite things: silver, glass and natural elements. I love the draped greenery on the vintage mirror and the added fun touches such as the pom-pom runner and mini bottle brush trees. I really love the way the vintage, silver chafing dish lid collage looks on my wall. I think it looks interesting and holiday-ish with out looking too glitzy.”

Visit Jennifer’s blog and take the entire tour here!

Source: Photos by Jennifer Rizzo

Dreamy Winter Getaway: Ferme de Moudon

Decorating, Decorating Inspiration, Inspiration and tagged , , , | | | Leave a comment

Thinking of getting it away from it all this holiday season? If the thought of a secluded ski chalet in France sounds like a great destination, then we recommend you explore Ferme de Moudon, located outside of top ski town Les Gets. Named by Tatler magazine as “The finest ski chalet in the French Alps,” the chalet, designed by Nicky Dobree, holds up to 10 guests and features gorgeous views of snowy fields, trees, and valleys.

Ferme de Moudon features two generously apportioned living rooms, a state-of-the-art entertainment center, and an open plan chef’s kitchen. We’re in love with Dobree’s thoughtful design details in the bedrooms, such as the luxurious fur throw seen below.

Learn more about this divine destination at Ferme de Moudon. For a full tour, just click below.

 [portfolio_slideshow size=large click=openurl]

Source: Photos courtesy Ferme de Moudon

A Potentially Awkward Corner is Transformed Into a Cozy Staircase Nook

Decorating, Decorating Inspiration, Inspiration and tagged , , | | | 5 Replies

Pottery Barn customer and avid home designer Jonathan Stiers recently shared images of this staircase nook from his home. We loved how he decorated it, and reached out to him to talk about how he made this potentially awkward space work.  The area around a stairway is often difficult to decorate, given space limitations and traffic flow. How did you hit upon using this chair here? “I decided to not be afraid of filling the space. It would be easy to put a small table lamp here but I felt something with presence would give the space life. The size of the chair was important: it’s not oversized and it’s not too small so it doesn’t interfere with traffic flow. Yet the chair is accessible enough that it may be pulled out when hosting guests, if needed.” We love the pendant lamp in this area. Was it installed especially for this space, or was it there already? “I installed the pendant especially for this place. I felt with the column and the open space between it and the wall, it needed something to fill the space in a subtle way. The clear glass pendant light does just that. Combined with the filament bulb, it adds just the right amount of character.” Your chair is styled so beautifully. What are your tips for using throws and pillows when accessorizing? “I specifically chose warmer throw and pillow colors because of the lighter chair. Mixing textures is important, which is why I felt the leather pillow cover provided a nice contrast against the chair and throw. The warmer colors also tied back to the hanging print, completing the overall look.” What are you inspired by when decorating challenging spaces like this one? Creating a space with warmth and character. Something that feels cozy. I want to create something that if in a picture, I’d want to jump right in.” Why do you shop at Pottery Barn? “Pottery Barn has the traditional style that I love but with just the right amount of contemporary touches. The pieces are timeless, not dated. Everything has character and comes with a unique feeling of home, versus items that feel more generic and sterile, from a traditional department store. I’ve come to love doing easy pillow updates, for example. With the beautiful assortment of covers, it’s easy to give your room a refresh, simply by changing out a cover.”