Category Archives: Holidays

8 Easy Design Tips for Fall

Bring that Fall feeling inside by adding cozy autumnal touches around your house with these festive and easy decor ideas.

Front porch greetings

Greet family and friends with a Fall themed wreath or porch vignette. Incorporate natural dried materials, gourds, and seasonal flowers into your display for a delightful seasonal welcome.

Fall wreath ideas
Creekside Farms

Faux Fur Pillows

Swapping out lightweight summer throw pillows to more textural ones like faux fur, velvet or chunky knits in darker jewel tones is an easy Fall upgrade.

Faux fur pillows
Grandin Road

Bring the Outside In

Add natural textures to your decor by mixing twigs, hay and gourds with pewter and mercury glass for an elegant Fall theme.

Natural fall decorating ideas
Pottery Barn

Pretty Paisley

A richly colored, set of paisley napkins is an easy way to transform your dinner table for Fall. Add a monogram for a personalized look.

Paisley monogrammed napkins
Donovan Design Linens

Chic Baskets

The warmth of natural woven baskets feels instantly Fall. Pile a basket with fruit in the kitchen or group a few on the coffee table to stash the remotes or hold magazines.

Natural woven baskets
West Elm

Copper Accents

Handcrafted copper items have a rich glow that fits seamlessly into Fall decorating. An occasional polish will keep it looking shiny or allow it to mellow into a verdigris patina.

Copper candles
Akkadian Candles

Tidy Up the Bath

Don’t get caught off guard by holiday guests. Stock the guest bath now with fresh towels, soap and scented candles.

Marrakech towels Matouk
Fine Linens

Cozy Up Outside

Enjoy Fall’s cooler evenings outside with seating arranged around a fire pit. Keep cozy pillows and throws on hand if the weather turns extra chilly.

Mr. H says: Autumn is a second Spring when every leaf is a flower-Enjoy!

Romantic Room Design

If you’re looking to inject some romance into your life this Valentine’s Day then a natural place to start is in your home.  Eschew the gauzy, frilly images the word “romantic” conjures up in favor of a luxurious, modern approach.  A romantic room should draw you in with comfortable furniture, rich tactile fabrics, and other interesting elements that welcome users and entice you to stay. 

Red walls and a delicate tablescape create the perfect setting for an elegant  Valentine’s meal.

The ethereal feel of this light and airy living room begs it’s occupants to slow down and relax with each other.

photo by Sidekix Media

The romantic flower tile and marble top counters create an ideal place to make sweets for your sweet.

photo by Sidekix Media

 

A romantic, backyard oasis complete with comfy furniture and twinkle lights.

photo by Randy Fath

A romantic getaway may be just a few steps down the hall.   A four poster bed piled high with pillows and a fluffy comforter is an inviting retreat in shades of pale blue and white.

Premier Estate Properties, Inc.

 

Caramel color walls were found to be the most conducive to amorous bedroom activities in a study conducted by Travelodge.  Red, while the color of love and attraction, was shown to suppress the mood.

Try your own experiment with these wall color ideas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regardless of where romance happens, remember that lighting sets the mood of any space.  No one wants to get intimate under the glow of a too-bright light.  Dim the overhead fixtures, light some candles and enjoy Valentine’s Day with the one you love.

Mr. H says: To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance-Enjoy!

Ten Holiday Entertaining Tips

Throwing a holiday get together doesn’t have to be stressful or feel improbable during this busy time of year.  Follow these ten no fail tips to host a memorable holiday gathering.

Traffic Flow

To avoid traffic jams, place the bar and the food in two different areas.  Spreading people throughout your home make for better mingling.   Create a plan for managing coats and wraps as well as gifts you may be receiving.

Easy on the Food

There is no need to go overboard on the types of foods you serve.  Having five or six items to choose from, mixing hot and cold, on a beautifully decorated table will make for an exceptional party.  Abundance is everything during the holidays, so be sure to have enough nibbles to satiate all your guests.

photo by Caroline Hernandez

Serve in Style

Eschew the paper plates and stock up on durable white melamine plates that go straight into the dishwasher.   Choose a neutral white color and cool shape so that they can be reused throughout the year.

Glassware too!

Riedel

There are economic sources for stocking up on multiples of bar ware, including Riedel stems, that can be reused time and again.  Save the boxes they come in for easier storage after the pieces are washed and dried.

Use Unscented Candles

Since scented candles mingle with other aromas, including food and your revelers perfume, use unscented candles in your holiday decor.   Keep candles in the center of the table or placed up high.  We don’t want guests catching on fire by reaching over an open flame or backing into a low placed pillar.

photo by Element5 Digital

Stock the bar

Anticipate that guests will consume two drinks apiece in the first hour, then an additional drink per hour for the party duration.   For a self serve bar, set out openers, glasses and plenty of napkins.  Check back frequently to ensure that the bar remains well supplied.

Craft a signature cocktail

Instead of a full bar, serve beer, wine and soft drinks along with one signature cocktail.  This tree beverage dispenser makes it extra special.

Try Santa Punch

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 qt. pomegranate juice
  • 3 cups blanco tequila
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup cranberry juice
  • 1 (750-ml.) bottle dry sparkling wine, chilled

Bring sugar and 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Cool syrup completely (about 45 minutes)

Stir together pomegranate juice, next 3 ingredients, and simple syrup; chill 4 hours. Pour mixture into a punch bowl or dispenser, and gently stir in sparkling wine just before serving.

Tunes set the Mood

Every holiday party needs a good soundtrack.  Consider your music and the volume based on your guest list.  Conversation is what counts at any celebration, so be sensitive with your play list.

Keep it Cool

Even on the coldest of winter nights, a room full of guests can heat up quickly.  Keep your house cool prior the party turning up the heat only when guests refuse to shed their coats.   Instead of lighting the fireplace fill the hearth with a mix of  unscented candles.

Powder Room Prep

Have the powder room guest ready with pretty disposal hand towels, lovely soap and lotion, tissues and plenty of extra toilet paper within easy reach.

Frontgate

Mr. H says: Life is the best party you’ll ever be invited to-Enjoy!

Holiday Decor Eye Candy

If you are like me and haven’t decked your hall yet, here are some enchanting holiday decorating ideas.

Trees with a theme

Michelle Edgemont-HGTV

CELIVESGG

Balsam Hill

Front door festive greetings

Jamie Lee

Balsam Hill

Holiday table top ideas

Todd Trapani

Pixabay

Over the top decor can be found in public spaces.

The Biltmore House in Asheville, NC

biltmore-christmas-asheville-nc
Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA

pennsylvanias-historic-longwood-gardens-photo-harold-a-davis

The Roosevelt-A Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New Orleans, LA

the-roosevelt-new-orleans-waldorf-astoria-hotel

Dominika Roseclay

Mr. H says: Christmas is a tonic for the soul-Enjoy!

Five Festive Christmas Tabletops

The countdown is on before the big Christmas meal.  Find inspiration for your holiday table decor with these elegant and unexpected design ideas.

North Carolina interior designer Kathryn Greeley, is no stranger to creating a luscious table top having authored the eye candy packed book The Collected Tabletop.   Layering china patterns with hand blown martini glasses and beaded holly place mats hit all the notes for a lavish Christmas party.

Kathryn Greeley The Collected Tabletop Christmas

Better Homes and Gardens TV host, Tara Dennis is well known for her decorating, style and craft ideas.  Keeping things fresh and simple she crafted this beach inspired Christmas tablescape with just a few basics.  Natural linens, solid plates and plain glassware, along with a scattering of shells, is sure to transport diners to a tranquil beach.

Tara Dennis Beach Christmas tabletop

Tara Dennis Beach Christmas centerpiece

Red, green and white elements set a simple yet classic holiday table.

Pottery Barn

Sweet Peach featured this playful, kid friendly Christmas table by Beth Lord.  Utilizing vintage ornaments under glass, wrapped “gifts” and mismatched table ware, she sets the stage for laid back holiday supper.

Sweet Peach holiday table top

A mix of Waterford and Lenox “Holiday” china sets a gorgeous holiday table.

Betweennapsontheporch.net

Mr H. says: The best memories are those made gathered around the table-Enjoy!

Red, white and blue fabrics

With the upcoming 4th of July celebrations upon us, many of us think of red, white, and blue as the unofficial colors of summer.   These patriotic colored fabrics however prove that the colors of the United States are seasonal and timeless.

Chairloom updates this classic chair with Duralee’s ikat print Sulu American Beauty

Chairloom Duralee Sulu AmericanBeauty

Robert Allen’s bold Artful Floral in poppy

Robert Allen Artful Floral Poppy

Robert Allen fabrics were used to create this picnic scene at DIFFA’s Picnic by Design event

DIFFA picnic with Robert Allen Fabrics

A modern outdoor fabric by Duralee

15708-206 Duralee fabric

Birds of a feather flock together in Thibaut’s Imperial Garden collection

Thibaut Imperial Garden Giselle

Achieve a vintage look with Stout’s Telford in Sangria

Stout TELFORD 2 SANGRIA

Studio 773 Americana pillow collection

Studio 773 American Pillows

Saffron Marigold’s Kashmiri shawl inspired vintage paisley print bedding in blue, red and cream.

Saffron Marigold  Bedding red white and blue paisley

Thibaut sets the scene poolside in their Batik print from the Courtyard collection.

Thibaut Courtyard Batik

What the colors of the United States flag represent: The colors of the pales (the vertical stripes) White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness and valor, and Blue, the color of the Chief (the broad band above the stripes) signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice.

Mr. H says: My patriotic heart beats red, white, and blue-Enjoy!

4th of July dogs

Holiday Decor Don’ts

It’s time to deck the halls and you can keep your decor merry and bright by following some simple rules.

Don’t start your holiday decorating without clearing out the clutter.  Adding holiday decor to an already overstuffed space makes for an unhappy home.  Remove art, accessories and even furniture that don’t fit your decorating theme.

Don’t forget to measure your ceiling height before shopping for a Christmas tree.  Bring along a tape measure to scale your tree choice too.

Too tall christmas tree

Don’t try to decorate every room of your home.  Make an impression by focusing on the areas of the house your family uses most.

Don’t adhere to red and green color schemes.  Purple, blue, gold, silver and white all make for a festive atmosphere.

Don’t forget the natural decor in your yard.  Wreaths, garlands and festive tablescapes can all be created from outside your door.  Seal naturals in an airtight container and place in the freezer for 24 hours to kill pests.

Williams Sonoma

Don’t leave candles unattended.  Use non-flammable holders and keep away from children, pets and items that can catch fire such as trees, other evergreens, decorations, curtains and furniture.

Pottery Barn

Take Mies van der Rohe’s “Less is More” advice. In a season where we visually assaulted at every turn practice some restraint with your own holiday decor.

Ballard Designs

Don’t keep the lights on all night.  Regardless of how tasteful they may appear, your neighbors and the electric company would appreciate them being extinguished at some point. Lights can be controlled on a timer to prevent your neighborhood from glowing for weeks on end.

Exterior house Christmas lights

Don’t decorate the pets.  Choking, strangulation and suffocation are enough reason to keep your fur kids free of humiliating costumes.

Dog holiday costume

Mr. H says: Christmas is a box of tree ornaments that have become part of the family-Enjoy!

Red. White. Blue. Rooms

In honor of the upcoming 4th of July holiday, let’s celebrate with rooms that feature the red, white and blue colors of the American flag.

American flag

Visually exciting, red rooms stimulate conversation and appetites

Ethereal, pure and innocent, white rooms allow for reflection, creation, and order.

Blue rooms lower blood pressure and slow respiration and heart rate creating a calming and relaxing state.

photo by Huseyn Kamaladdin

Red, white and blue often evokes a nautical image however this sophisticated bedroom proves that balance can be achieved with this color scheme. 

Thibaut

Mr. H says: Where liberty dwells, there is my country-Enjoy!

Remembering Our Heroes

While many of us our looking forward to the upcoming Memorial Day weekend and the official kick off to summer, we often forget just what this coming Monday is really about: To remember the men and women of our armed services who have died in a United States War. Find some of the United States most moving and iconic tributes to our nation’s fallen heroes.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Honoring the men and women who served in the controversial Vietnam War, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial chronologically lists the names of more than 58,000 Americans who gave their lives in service to their country. 

While there are several parts to this memorial site, including “The Three Servicemen” statue and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, the most famous part is simply known as the wall.  The Memorial (wall) was designed by an undergraduate at Yale University, Maya Ying Lin, born in Athens, Ohio in 1959. Her parents fled from China in 1949 when Mao-Tse-tung took control of China,  She acted as a consultant with the architectural firm of Cooper- Lecky Partnership on the construction of the Memorial.

Completed in 1983, The Wall consists of two 246 feet and 9 inches gabbro stone which were sunk into the ground, with earth behind them.   It looms 10 feet high at the apex point and tapers to 8 inches on either end.  This India quarried stone was deliberately chosen because of its reflective quality, so that when a visitor looks upon the wall, his or her reflection can be seen simultaneously with the engraved names, symbolically bringing the past and present together. 

The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

Located in a natural crater, The Punchbowl, consists of military cemetery along with 60 memorial boulders for those that fought in various United States conflicts around the Pacific Ocean.  Although there are various translations of the Punchbowl’s Hawaiian name, “Puowaina,” the most common is “Hill of Sacrifice.”   Continuously expanding since 1949, this vast breath taking site houses the remains of over 13,000 soldiers and sailors who died during World War II alone.

"Punchbowl" National Memorial Cemetery Photo: Danny Lehman

The famously striking grand stone staircase is flanked by the ten marble slabs of the Courts of the Missing which list the names of the 28,788 military personnel who are missing in action or were lost or buried at sea in the Pacific during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.  Designed by the architecture firm, Weihe, Frick, & Kruse, and completed in 1964 this solemn space is watched over by Lady Liberty.

Photo by Jiang

Names on the  Honolulu Memorial Walls

World War II Memorial

Honoring the 16 million who served in the armed forces of the U.S., the more than 400,000 who died, and all who supported the war effort from home it is the only 20th Century event commemorated on the National Mall’s central axis in Washington, DC. Designed by Rhode Island architect, Friedrich St.Florian, this memorial site was created by a team of artisans assembled by Leo A Daly, an international architecture firm.  With St.Florian as the design architect, the eam also included George E. Hartman of Hartman-Cox Architects, landscape architect Oehme van Sweden & Associates, sculptor Ray Kaskey, and stone carver and letterer Nick Benson.

World War II Memorial Washington DC

United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division

The final design consists of fifty-six, 17 foot tall granite pillars arranged in a semicircle around a plaza with two 43 foot triumphal arches on opposite sides. Two-thirds of the 7.4 acre site is landscaping and water. Each pillar is inscribed with the name of one of the 48 US States of 1945, as well as the District of Columbia, the Alaska and Hawaii Terrritories, the Commonwealth of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, American Somoa, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands.  The northern arch is inscribed with “Atlantic” and the southern one,”Pacific”.

Worl War 2 Memorial

USS Arizona Memorial

This unique memorial site is a structure built over the remains of USS Arizona that sunk upon the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

National Park Service

Designed by Honolulu architect, Alfred Preis, who had been detained at Sand Island enemy at the start of the war due to his Austrian birth. The US Navy specified that the memorial be in the shape of a bridge and the architect complied by creating a 184 foot long structure withe two peaks at each in connected by a sag in the center of the structure.  Representing the height of American pride before the war, the sudden depression of a nation after the attack and the rise of American power to new heights after the war.

On the inside, the shrine lists the names of the 1102 men that died in the attack

USS Bowfin Submarine Waterfront Memorial

As the daughter of a 28 year veteran submariner, this site was especially poignant to me. The Waterfront Memorial stands in tribute to the 52 U.S. submarines and more than 3,500 submariners who made the ultimate sacrifice for their nation during World War II. The fifty-two monuments chronicle the wartime career of each of the lost submarines and list the names of the officers and enlisted men who are “on eternal patrol” with their vessels. 

USS Bowfin Waterfront Memorial

The USS Bowfin Waterfront Memorial is the end result of of four years of hard work by a talented team of historians, architects, graphic designers, landscapers and skilled craftspeople.

USS S-28 Submarine Memorial Plaque

It is no surprise that their are countless memorials scattered across the United States including battlefields, monuments, cemeteries and parks and for good reason since a staggering 1,321,612 Million of men and women lost their lives in US conflicts since the founding of our country in 1775.

Mr. H says: Never forget that those that died for their country was someones child, spouse, sibling, relative, friend and coworker.  Let us give thanks to those they left behind.

Everyday Romance

Romance doesn’t need to be confined to just one day.  Why not make your home feel like Valentine’s Day through out the year?

Passionate hot pink walls of this bedroom would arouse amorous feelings in the most unenthusiastic of suitors.

A beautiful table, set with an abundance of flowers and sparkling table ware, would create a pre meal aphrodisiac

This plush living room, replete with sumptuous fabrics and comfy furniture, sets the stage for an ardent tête-à-tête

Use these sweet heart note cards year round to send out heart felt messages

Minted heart note card

Dreamy pastel tulips, arranged in a striped vase, convey tender romance (and a hint of spring!)

course, our fur friends can enjoy a little romantic interlude as well this charming heart bowl

Red Hearts Pet Bowl

Mr. H says:  Passion is universal humanity, without it romance would be useless-Enjoy!