Erica Cook is a Calgary-based interior designer of Moth Design and a mom to five boys, and she happens to love the color white! It seems counterintuitive to decorate in white when raising five boys, but Erica has found a way to infuse warmth and style into her home with a healthy dose of texture, shimmer, and sheen, all the while making it kid-friendly and adult-inviting. Erica invited us into her house as she transformed it into the perfect modern winter white oasis. Below, Erica explains the steps she took to complete the transformation and why the process of decorating brings her family together for the holidays.
Traditions: We all have them, but what does the word “tradition” even mean? A “tradition” is a custom or belief passed down from generation to generation, however it’s so much more than that! It’s something that we look forward to and anticipate with excitement. Sometimes our traditions are what keep us tied to the spirit of the holidays and remind us of the importance of family and what the season is really all about. Our tree trimming party is a treasured tradition for all in my family.
In the past, it’s seemed that every year, as the holidays rapidly approached, I’d run out of time organizing for Christmas Day. I’d end up pulling together holiday decorations last minute, and it usually involved a late night or two. I figured there had to be a better way, so when my boys were little I started involving them in the holiday decorating process.
I felt it was important to show them that setting up could be a process of celebration and love, and that it isn’t something that just happens in a snap overnight while they’re asleep. It’s good for them to learn to help out and they of course loved the involvement, as it gave them a sense of pride and purpose to help prepare our home. To make it fun, I’d turn it into a full celebration, complete with treats, hot chocolate, and the perfect mood-setting music. It quickly became a tradition that we all looked forward to.
Setting up needn’t be complicated! I like to keep things simple and elegant; I’ve found over the years that this is the best way to approach décor. When we complicate things, we get overwhelmed and don’t always follow through. My goal was to create a décor set-up that was easy enough to replicate year after year with slight tweaks. I felt it was important to invest once in good quality décor elements, that way they’d last and become treasures that we can pull out of storage every year. For this reason I’ve loved Pottery Barn’s holiday collection. The stockings and tree skirt are so well-made, and as a new little family member arrived years later, I was able to purchase him a new stocking that was exactly the same as the ones we already had. I appreciated that.
Having a creamy white backdrop for our staple décor elements, like the tree skirt and stockings, has meant that every year we could layer in green, red, gold… or whatever theme felt right that year.
For the dining table, I love setting up tiered cake plates with different treats and goodies. Having varied heights and diameters across the tabletop creates visual interest, yet it’s still low enough to see over and encourage lively conversation. In order to get around using a fussy tablecloth, I like to use a set of silver leaf chargers, like these Caterer’s Box Gilt Chargers. They look great and keep cleanup easy.
I put out an array of treats from my favorite local bakery. We decorate and graze as we go.
I’m a glitter girl at heart, and these ornaments are the perfect champagne glitter to work with both the gold and silver tones in my living room. Plus, the globes cast a beautiful warm light with their tiny flameless candles inside.
Mixing ornaments with some fresh flowers adds a festive touch amid the accessories that normally reside on the coffee table. This simple addition adds another layer of décor to compliment the Christmas tree. Oftentimes floral arrangements can also be made of just greenery and will last for several weeks.
I can never get enough pillar candles, like these Premium Flickering Flameless Wax Pillar Candles. They’re amazing to come home to on a cold winter’s night, and the boys enjoyed decorating the candle holders with fake snow and German glitter snowflakes.
There’s nothing quite like curling up under a warm cozy Faux Fur Throw and reading the same holiday stories that we read every year.
I approached the fireplace hearth a little differently than I have in the past. I decided it might look pretty to stack logs and stagger a collection of simple PB Filled Glass Votive Candles over the logs. I like that the flame is enclosed in the glass cup and therefore I needn’t worry about them setting fire to the wood.
Setting up this way gets our holiday season off to the best start. After the decorating is complete, we all find ourselves feeling the festive spirit and enjoy spending time together in rooms that are decked in holiday trim. Wishing you and yours a wonderful and warm holiday.
Photography: Jamie Hyatt Photography
Florals: Amborella Floral Studio
Food Styling: Crave Cupcakes