The Best Christmas Decorations Ever!

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

Occasionally, in the summer months, the thought of the Christmas Season will cross my mind and it will actually feel repulsive. Foreign. Weird.

Like the duck in the movie, Babe who keeps yelling – CHRISTMAS MEANS CARNAGE!!! for me, Christmas means the beginning of three months of freezing my arse and getting my faced slapped by what feels like thousands of stinging needles… Car stuck. Stuck inside. There’s usually at least one really nasty cold in there too. The only thing good about winter is how euphoric I feel when I see that first sign of spring yellow-green!

However, something happens come December 1st. I fall prey to the magic of the season. It’s a quick affair of the heart for it ends quickly in January. Don’t want to see another Christmas decoration, except for the little white lights. Those can stay up until the time changes in March.

 

Therefore, as my gift to you please enjoy the magic of the season with some of the best Christmas Decorations never seen before on laurel home.

 

julstamning5Skona Hem

This reminds me of the many homes when I used to live in Northern Westchester and in the neighboring New England communities of Connecticut.

Beautiful and enchanting, isn’t it?

Alright. Sorry, but I need to take a little detour.

I’ve driven past thousands of homes like this. Obviously, the people inside don’t have a care in the world. Their children are perfect and their spouses are always loving and faithful. Right?

Oh, stop rolling your eyes! You’re going to hurt yourself and I don’t want to be responsible!

For those of you who live in cold-winter areas, just join along in song.

You know the tune.

Fa La, La, La Laaaaaaahhhh…

For those of you and I know you’re out there, who’ve never actually SEEN snow, and bitter cold, much less lived with it, I bet you think this is how it is—The cozy home where everyone is living a blissful, perfect life while the earth is covered in a blanket of soft, fluffy yumminess.

Sure.

For about 10 minutes.

Cause peeps still have to get around and it’s quite slippery. duhhh… So… they send out plows who spread this stuff all over it to melt it (a little) and make it less slippery. That doesn’t stop people from driving like maniacs, however. Nope.

snow-plow

The Evil Snowplow Man

 

They used to just use salt on the roads and sidewalks.

 

But not any longer.

Now we are treated to something that is a combination of salt, sand, black dirt, tiny pebbles and when it gets dumped on the pretty white snow becomes…

snirt

SNIRT

City, country, no matter. They throw that shit everywhere. It covers everything and gets tracked into our homes. There’s a reason why they are called MUD ROOMS! Right?

Snow is only beautiful if you own a ski resort or if you’re a kid and they close school.

Otherwise, it sucks.

Still don’t believe me? (Northerners, please go ahead and keep singing)

Here ya go. Here’s where my car was parked last March 6th.

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It’s one of these.

Sure, go ahead and laugh.

(BTW, I’m #2 for a spot in the garage!)

Spring refused to arrive.

At the end of March it was still here.

The “snow.”

I took some shots one day around my neighborhood in the tony town of Bronxville, NY.

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Yes, my friends, that big black thing that looks like a giant chunk of coal or petrified dinosaur dung is SNOW!

 

See the Audi SUV? There’s bucks in this town, but not enough bucks to cart that crap away, apparently! And yes, ironically piled in front of the soccer shop!

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Pretty, ain’t it?

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Nuclear Winter?

NO, IT’S WHAT THE SNOW AND NEKED TREES LOOK LIKE AT THE END OF A VERY LONG COOOOOOOOLD, SNOT-FREEZING WINTER!

That’s my building down yonder–

Butttt, it’s supposed to be 60+ degrees on Christmas Day! (like 16 degrees celsius)

Laurel???

 

Yes?

Is this our Christmas present getting to hear you bitch and moan about the snow/snirt/snot?

 

No, silly! But I felt it important to keep the magic grounded in a little reality.

Hey, some folks are crying that it’s going to be in the low 60’s on Christmas Day!

Alright. ’nuff said about that! (for now). :] I’m sure I grumble about the same thing every year.

Bah Snowbug!

 

We now return to our regularly scheduled program, The Best Christmas Decorations – 2015

 

best christmas decorations

Beginning gently with a shot of a job in progress here in Bronxville. Lovely clients! And a beautiful old home. You may recall a mood board I did a few weeks ago which will give an idea of what we’re doing here. The wonderful  Thomas O’Brien unlacquered brass sconce is from Circa Lighting

Wall color is the number one white paint color!

And for good reason! We painted both the dining room and living room this color, walls and trim. I’ve been there on sunny days, cloudy days, morning, noon and late afternoon. And it always looks wonderful!

one-kings-lane-christmas-vignetteOne King’s Lane on Instagram

french-country-cottage-flocked-christmas-treeFrench Country Cottage

Who doesn’t love a flocked Christmas tree and I love that this one is blessedly unadorned except for the lights. This is by the lovely and talented Courtney Allison one of the delightful designer/bloggers on the High Point Market Design Bloggers Tour.

pepperment-bliss-fireplace-christmas-stockings-mantelPeppermint Bliss

Charming, charming blog and shop. I adore the colors here. Bailey McCarthy, owner of the charming shop, Biscuit Home said that she thinks the wall color is Benjamin Moore JAMESTOWN BLUE HC-148

And Jamestown Blue is one of the 144 colors in the Laurel Home Essential Paint Color Collection which is sold with the coordinating Paint Palette and Home Furnishings Collection.

To find out more about that, click here.

 

mecox-gardensAbove and below from Mecox Gardens Instagram

Love all of their vignettes and shops!

mecox-gardens-palm-beach

blueandwhite-christmas-carolyne-roehmCarolyne Roehm

Carolyne always does the most elegant vignettes.

brockschmidtandcoleman.com-william-waldron-photoBrockschmidt and Coleman

Who says you have to decorate with red and green? I give you my blessing to decorate in whatever color(s) make you happiest.

Life is too short.

tumblr_nbpbrzFnyX1qd8ajzo1_1280David Fuller

I am positive this amazing animal is the reincarnation of Winston Churchill. One of my favorite photos—ever. David is one of the most talented people I know. A true renaissance man!

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 8.04.36 PMAerin Lauder

Everything she touches turns to gold. Some people just have “it.” And it has little to do with her pedigree. Sure, it opened some doors, but for them to stay open means something.

5-portavideki-christmasPortavideki

6-poravideki-dining-christmasPortavideki

12Portavideki

2Portavideki

13Portavideki

Pretty amazing stuff.

julstamning3-skona-hemSkona Hem

Sometimes, the snow does look like this. Magical. But like most magic, well… it doesn’t last very long.

 

Here’s wishing everyone the most joyous, warm holiday season!

 

xo,

LaurelPS: Thank you to the many who unexpectedly came to my defense last week. Your kindness and love is so greatly appreciated. I have always loved Christmas and something I realized just today. It has always been a part of my heritage. It’s the season of light and love.

 

  • Tara - December 21, 2015 - 2:20 PM

    Love your posts Laurel, love your blog and you should know, and be reminded that there are so many people who gain so much happiness and inspiration from the light that you shine. I always love seeing each and every post you do! BTW I grew up in Ohio and then South Bend, Indiana before going to college and then moving to NYC 10 years ago 🙂

    Hope you are well and thank you again for your advice a few months back on my wall color! I’ll have to send you a few pics of how I decorated for the holidays you might get a kick out of it.

    Just wanted you to know, especially in times that might be tough for you (gathering by the comments you made on the last post) that YOU are really making a difference and providing guidance and giving back and being heard out there, in your own way, and so many many people including myself are grateful to you and wish you nothing but peace love and joy.

    Best, TaraReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 21, 2015 - 8:48 PM

      Hi Tara, How wonderful to hear from you! I would love to see your decorations! You have such fabulous taste and of course, take great photos!

      And thank you too for the support! It really means a lot to be reminded that it’s them that has the issue. I don’t need to apologize for who I am! Please have a blessed holiday season! xoxoReplyCancel

  • Lora - December 20, 2015 - 9:51 PM

    Love the ephemeral “art” of the great outdoors. I so relate to everything you described. I live in upstate NY but made many trips to NYC when my Son attended Manhattanville College. College kids are always in need of fine food and we’ve had the pleasure of dining in Bronxville now and then. It is very charming in the winter.
    I’m a New Yorker but lived in Indianapolis area past 18 years and now back home; I just love NY! (In Indiana if you’ve seen one cornfield you’ve seen them all.)
    I so love the warm golden glow of the vignettes, makes me feel all aglow and content. Looking at all the snirt, LOL, reminds me of why I don’t like gray (sorry). Thanks for sharing the festive, inspiring photos, definitely my taste.
    SNIRT should be added to the Oxford Dictionary. Happy Holidays!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 20, 2015 - 11:33 PM

      Hi Lora,
      You know, I was raised in Indiana! Evansville! We used to watch the corn grow for entertainment! lol It sure was delicious though!

      Yes, Bronxville is very lovely in the winter because it has a European village feel. A lot of stores bit the dust after the recession, but most of them have become occupied in the three years that I’ve been here. Thanks for stopping by and happy holidays to you as well!ReplyCancel

  • Betsy OShea - December 20, 2015 - 7:43 PM

    oops. I see now that the white/ cream LR I like is Scandinavian not French or shabby chic. Lol. Well there are a few similarities between Louie V and Gustavian furnishings…I do like the clean bright minimalist look of Swedish decor. Ever see the adorable Sarah Richardsons home in northern Canada? The lucky thing. She has a home in Toronto, a summer lake house and a winter “cabin”. Sigh. Oh to have married a rich man orrrrr to have the obvious talent of Sarah.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 20, 2015 - 10:54 PM

      Hi Betsy,

      Well actually, Swedish and French are very similar or sometimes indistinguishable. And shabby chic evolved from French and Swedish styles, so you’re actually right!

      I do love Sarah’s work. I’ve posted a few of her lovely rooms on this blog. If you do a search in the little search box on the blog sidebar of Sarah Richardson, the posts where she appears should show up.

      Yes, a rich husband would’ve been nice. :]ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - December 20, 2015 - 4:37 PM

    I grew up in Chicago, but have lived in the south for the past 20+ years. What I am always AMAZED at whenever I *have* to make a trip back in the winter is how FILTHY the cars are!!! I understand– you wash them, they get dirty immediately from the roads & slush. And sometimes it’s too cold to wash them. I get it, but I am still amazed! It’s pretty if it keeps snowing on top of the snow before it gets dirty. Is that a Ponzi snow scheme? BEAUTIFUL pictures. I’ve always loved the lights and the greenery. All the best!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 20, 2015 - 10:34 PM

      Ponzi snow scheme!!! hahahahahaha! That’s brilliant, Elizabeth!

      Two years ago, we were treated to a hefty ice storm between snow storms and there were cars that were stuck for at least three weeks! Some idiot had actually plowed them in and you would’ve needed a stick of dynamite to get them out! haha!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa D. - December 20, 2015 - 3:58 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    Beautiful pictures of your project in Bronxville and of the following Scandinavian images. Alas, I live in the San Francisco bay area, so I have not experienced living in a very snowy, cold climate. Wonderful holiday wishes to you!

    Lisa D.

    {P.S. You have a wonderful sense of humor. Are you this much fun in person?)ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 20, 2015 - 10:30 PM

      Hi Lisa,

      Thank you so much!

      I just wrote that I lived in the midwest, but I also lived in Palo Alto for 2.5 years between the ages of 17-19. So, I’m very familiar with the climate.

      I loved it. I did not miss winter.

      In answer to your question. I guess it depends who you ask. lolReplyCancel

  • Lisa Wennerstrum - December 20, 2015 - 2:50 PM

    Hi Laurel ~
    My Santa-belly is shaking here in Chicago with the dinosaur dung! Very relatable in the Windy City!! Thank you for always making me laugh and taking life not too seriously!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 20, 2015 - 10:22 PM

      Hi Lisa,

      Glad that you’re laughing!

      I was born in Chicago and have such fond memories of visiting my grandparents after we moved to Evansville when I was baby. I’ve also lived in Milwaukee and Madison. Disgusting winters in the 70’s Really harsh in those years.ReplyCancel

  • Marilynn - December 20, 2015 - 1:57 PM

    Gorgeous photos. Here in Az colors look different on our walls than what you see in your photos. I tried cotton balls on my walls and it was Harsh….Sometimes you need a little dirt in colors here otherwise you’ll go insane from the bright,relentless sun.ReplyCancel

  • Marilynn - December 20, 2015 - 1:57 PM

    Gorgeous photos. Here in Az colors look different on our walls than what you see in your photos. I tried cotton balls on my walls and it was Harsh….Sometimes you need a little dirt in colors here otherwise you’ll go insane from the bright,relentless sun.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 20, 2015 - 10:20 PM

      Hi Marilynn,

      That’s very interesting! But it makes sense too. And, it also depends on other factors like floor color, size of windows and other things going on in the room. ReplyCancel

  • Ellen - December 20, 2015 - 11:31 AM

    One of your best posts ever — you always make me laugh while giving me some gorgeous to look at.

    That “snirt” is hysterical! We spent Christmas a few years ago in Santa Fe, and they spread a ground up red cedar mix all over the roads. You have the joy of sneezing your head off along with the rest of it! And it makes your car look divine, too.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 20, 2015 - 12:14 PM

      Hi Ellen,

      Thank you so much! That’s so weird about the ground up red cedar. I wonder what that’s for? I gather that they are dirt roads? We have a lot of those in Northern Westchester. Not really a fan because they get horrible ruts and if it hasn’t rained, your car gets covered in dust and if it has just rained, your car gets covered in mud. They’re only okay if it rained a couple days ago and have been recently leveled. They’re actually far more expensive to maintain than asphalt roads!ReplyCancel

  • Libby - December 20, 2015 - 10:25 AM

    Can’t wait to see the finished living room! Thanks for coining the term”snirt” – it’s genius! And your illustrations were very apt. The reality of cars + snow: not everyone has a garage let alone an attached garage. Cleaning off and digging out the car at home and work is the bare minimum investment in a New York State winter. The images from the Hungarian and Danish(?) blogs are amazing. The Carolyne Roehm vignette is wonderful. Are those Le Lac curtains behind the sweet doggie? Thanks for including that photo.
    All the best to you this holiday season, Laurel, and peace, health and happiness in the new year.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 20, 2015 - 12:05 PM

      Hi Libby,

      I wish I could take credit for the term snirt, but alas… it was someone else.

      I used to have a cozy attached garage. 21 years. There is a garage here too but there’s a wait-list. In three years I’ve gone from #9 to #2. I’m hoping for next year! That will definitely change my life!

      Oh my! Yes! That IS Le Lac. It looks like the chintz version which is only $400/yd as opposed to the linen version which is $500/yd full retail. The last time I used it, it was for 3 yards for pillows and I sold it at cost. But yowza! It has an 81″ REPEAT. although, I think it’s a half drop, but even so, that’s over 40″ And it’s only 51″ wide. The jabots are self lined too! Those are some mega expensive drapes. Hope that cute doggie doesn’t pee on them! haha! I dunno, he looks like he just had a really good cigar and a glass of fine cognac and like he knows that he’s a rich dude. lolReplyCancel

  • Betsy OShea - December 20, 2015 - 10:24 AM

    Cheers Laurel! So funny re NE winters and sooooo TRUE. You really have become my fave interior decor blog. How do you find such beautiful houses, rooms and vignettes?? I especially love the cream and white shabby chic/ French country LR, I usually go for color in my home but whenever I see shades of white, tone on tone w/ light woods I wish I had either the architecture or fine furnishings to do my home that way. It’s just so charming! One thing: while the wall color in the stockings vignette might be BM Jamestown Blue it reads as BM COVINGTON BLUE exactly actually which has way more green in it. Agreed?ReplyCancel

  • Betsy OShea - December 20, 2015 - 10:24 AM

    Cheers Laurel! So funny re NE winters and sooooo TRUE. You really have become my fave interior decor blog. How do you find such beautiful houses, rooms and vignettes?? I especially love the cream and white shabby chic/ French country LR, I usually go for color in my home but whenever I see shades of white, tone on tone w/ light woods I wish I had either the architecture or fine furnishings to do my home that way. It’s just so charming! One thing: while the wall color in the stockings vignette might be BM Jamestown Blue it reads as BM COVINGTON BLUE exactly actually which has way more green in it. Agreed?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 20, 2015 - 11:52 AM

      Hi Betsy,

      Oh wow! I’m so honored because there are many wonderful decorating blogs!
      How do I find my images?

      Lots and lots of research! Before I start my post, I’ll have an idea for the subject matter. Then, I’ll begin collecting the photos and I put them in a folder. I had another dozen or so photos which did not make it into the post! It’s not that they were bad, but I either couldn’t fit them in anywhere or they just didn’t work for some other reason.

      As for the wall color in the photo. Don’t get me started. Okay, you got me started. lol Butttttt… photos and wall colors are perhaps a suggestion at best! First of all certain colors, and blue is one of them is difficult to photograph. And then there’s the lighting. Yesterday, I took a photo of my client’s dining room old built-in cabinet and put it on instagram. I had a difficult time. The photo was lovely, but the walls painted in Cotton Balls looked positively aqua in the photo! So, I had to do a lot of finagling to get it closer to what it is— that is… On MY computer screen.

      And then there’s your computer screen. How does it read colors? The difference between my Mac and my PC is insane! When I first got my mac a year ago, I was totally shocked. Everything looked like it had a yellow film on it and over-saturated.

      Can you tell that I’m a color nut? haha.

      But yes, you are right. The color does read closer to Covington on my screen too. But it could be any one of a 100 BM colors. That’s why it’s so important to test first and not just go and get whatever someone said it is. It’s a recipe for disappointment. ReplyCancel

  • Kathy - December 20, 2015 - 9:45 AM

    Thanks for my morning cup of laughter. You have captured the most beautiful moments, the last one is truely magical. Have a wonderful holiday!ReplyCancel

  • joanne Dimeff - December 20, 2015 - 9:03 AM

    You are right about the Snirt! Having lived in Cleveland, Ohio for 20 years before we woke up and moved to Dallas, TX, we suffered tons of snirt because we lived in the snow belt (snirtbelt?) I remember always thinking that from November to April it was like living in a black and white world. Everything was gray from the sky, to the bare trees, to the snirt mounds. The only way to counteract it was pretty, bright colors– lots of yellow, especially!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 20, 2015 - 11:36 AM

      Hi Joanne,

      Snirtbelt!!! LOL!!! It has always confounded me why so many people settled in an area where it was so gosh durned cold in the winter! And many froze and starved to death! And it can be a bloody steam-bath in the summer too! But when the weather is good here, it’s really good!

      For the uninitiated, the coldest most bitter days have the BRIGHTEST sunshine. Right? Mom nature is just messing with our heads with that one! haha.ReplyCancel

  • Tracy S - December 20, 2015 - 8:33 AM

    Hey, I’m just writing to defend slush piles and freezing temperatures. LOVE IT. Polar vortex? Bring it ON!

    I moved to Texas five years ago, and I miss cold weather and seasons something awful. Especially at x-mas.

    (I think you would too if you had balmy Christmases and tamales. It’s okay once in awhile, but if you grew up with cold Christmas, it feels foreign.)

    Love the New England-y snow pictures. Swoon!!! You always assemble such gorgeous visual treats.

    Happy holidays!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 20, 2015 - 11:31 AM

      Hi Tracy,

      Fine. I’ll give you two weeks in December to slush and freeze but then it’s back to balmy! Speaking of which… Get this. Just checked the weather forecast (is this making me sound like an old hag?) and it’s going to be 68 on Christmas Eve! Huh??? That’s the temp on a rare Easter! Happy Holidays to you too!ReplyCancel

  • Jeanne - December 20, 2015 - 7:22 AM

    You mirror my sentiments concerning Christmas and winter exactly! Love your posts and they always brighten my day. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Mitzi - December 20, 2015 - 3:43 AM

    You had me giggling with “snirt”! My brother is a plowman for the state and he loathes winter as much as you. I haven’t been home in many years (upstate NY) and when we visited on the spur of the moment in late March, my tenn daughters were fascinated/ repelled by those big gory piles of brown, dirty snow. But once we were up in the Adirondacks, and the sleet turned to snow as the sky turned that deep blue in the gloaming, my daughters, raised in California, were thrilled beyond belief. They spent all afternoon romping in the snow, inadequately dressed, frozen to the bone and delighted to watch the dirty brown world transform into something magical. Thank goodness for Polaroids, my mother took a ton of photos that they still look at and laugh about that magical snow day.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 20, 2015 - 11:25 AM

      Hi Mitzi,

      I have such fond memories of my childhood in southern IN. The climate is milder than here in the NE but a couple times a year, we’d get walloped with 10″ or so. I remember going sledding with my friends and coming home soaked and frozen, but happy!

      I wish I felt like that now. I’m always losing my gloves. I need that string thing that kids have so that they don’t lose them. lolReplyCancel