Friday, December 19, 2014

Getting Ready for Christmas in our (Rental) House


Here are a few scenes from around our house as the holidays near. The initial move-in date at our new home (just down the river from us) was supposed to be Christmas. But in the end it was not meant to be, and we are alright with that as our rental house feels as close to home as one could ever wish for. 

Our little dumplings LOVE to decorate the Christmas tree. In fact, last year they decorated the tree half a dozen times. This year, they were happy with a festive night of tree trimming and have, for the most part, been content to just revel in their tree trimming accomplishment from that night (all ornaments are hanging by the last pine needle of each bough, and amazingly, are staying there). 

Grandma has already sent along some presents, which have been admired - pushed around the room like cars, made into a train, stacked like a tree - but unopened. 


My dear friend Lisa brought me this lovely chair last October. It provides the perfect fireside spot - if we were brave enough to light a fire in the fireplace (after meeting with many chimney inspectors over at our new house, we are even more leery of attempting a fire than we were last year). 

The twinkle from battery operated candles (these are so wonderful during power outages and also for a household with little ones) will have to do. 

The room hasn't changed much since last year, except for the fact that we are in here all the time now. Ever since the flu swept through our house after Thanksgiving, this has been the recovery room. Now that the tree stands aglow, it is our favorite room in the house. 


A month ago, this room was being used as storage and a renovation workspace. We had a newly purchased full sized cannon ball bed, a gilt pier mirror, a Federal mirror and some fireplace accessories all being stored here. Everything has since been relocated to the new house except for this Federal mirror. 

Even though it doesn't really 'go' with the rest of the room, it's fun to have it there, especially if you're a four year old. They like to sit on the sofa and see themselves and the rest of the room in the all-reflecting convex mirror. 


I get a lot of inquiries as to how the white sofa is holding up in a house with young children. I did have a sheet over it during the flu episode, but typically have it uncovered. So far, it shows no signs of dirt and wear. I'm sure that being a shoe-less household that eats meals and drinks (except water) at the dining room table contributes to that. 

I remind myself that I can remove the cushion cover and wash it easily. I also had a second cover made as backup. So despite it's vulnerability, we use it without hesitation. 


I started a Christmas basket in the room, and although these items spend most of their time on the floor or elsewhere throughout the house, it's nice to have a place to put them at the end of the day (or week). 


Among my favorite things about this house are the shutters. They are wonderful and I hope to replicate them in some of the rooms in our new house. They offer privacy without blocking the beauty of natural light. 

I bought all of our simple evergreen wreaths from a nearby family. I thought of decorating them but this is the only one I got to. I just hung some jingle bells on it that usually hang on a door knob. 


The mudroom is our primary entrance to the house. It is always filled with wonderful light. I bought these seagrass rugs when we moved in and I can't say enough about them. They are bullet proof. 


For those who have followed along for awhile, this Louis Phillipe mirror used to be in our old dining room (at the farmhouse). The table used to be in the guest house. 


Wicker and wool. This is where we keep our woolens (a variety of mittens, hats and scarves). 


Typically, mitten pairs take some effort to find as this basket sees lots of rummaging. 


My friend gave me some paper white bulbs, which are the only bulbs we have growing in the house at the moment. 


All of our brass candlesticks are somewhere in the storage unit. I almost asked Mike to try and find the box but decided we could go one more Christmas without them. I did happen across a  faux brass pair at an antique store for under $20, so I bought them to add more sparkle to the mantle. All the while, I was telling the salesperson that it's a little silly that I'm buying these because I have a whole BOX of them stored somewhere in our storage unit. 

Wishing everyone the coziest cheer for this holiday season! 



51 comments :

  1. Absolutely gorgeous, I love the simplicity of it all. Happy Holidays to you and your family!

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  2. I love the beautiful simplicity of your Christmas decorations.

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  3. The simplicity of your décor is so lovely. I love the garland with bells strung across it. And I am still coveting the Louis Philippe mirror.

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  4. Catherine the house looks like a dream. I can only imagine how exquisite all your lovely things will look at the new house. I love that you put the chair there it is perfect. So happy you love it. Love this post. Love you. Peace love & joy. Lisa

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  5. Your tour was a real holiday treat. Thank you for sharing yourself through your decor.

    I find myself wondering just how much your children have grown. I always loved seeing their little hands and happy selves.

    Wishing you a wonderful Christmas full of health and happiness...Donna

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  6. I like seeing the cosy, storybook decoration in the house at the end of Miracle on 34th Street (newer version), but your uncluttered arrangements are the kind that give me space to breath.

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  7. Your home is so lovely. It will be more fun to move into your new home in the New Year I think. Now you can truly enjoy Christmas. Joyeux Noel.

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  8. I loved this tour. Hard to believe the dumplings are 4!!!!!! I wish you all a blessed Christmas. How exciting the new year will be for your family. I too look forward to it. xo

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  9. Always beautiful over here. Happy Holidays !

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  10. It is all simply beautiful...thank you for sharing!

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  11. what a nice surprise today to see this post! everything looks perfect and warm and festive. i'm really looking forward to seeing your federal turned into a home, but i think i'm going to miss this little rental when you leave. wishing you and your sweet family a wonderful Christmas. linda r (phila burbs)

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  12. p.s. - I'm shocked that the dumplings are 4 years old! I remember the picture of them in their Christmas stockings? I would have guessed 3; not 4; going so fast. linda r (phila burbs)

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  13. everything is so tranquil and simple...my favorite style. i'm so glad you find white furniture kid friendly. we always have had white sofa's and chairs and my boys were pretty rowdy. and all these years later we still have them and they are still in really good condition. happy holidays to you and your lovely family. xo

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  14. Beautiful! I appreciate your style and your willingness to share it with us~ Merry Christmas.

    Holly L.

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  15. I love it, as usual. You are my #1 inspiration for home decor!

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  16. their decoration is beautiful !!!!!! I wish them nice and relaxing holidays, all love of angie from Germany

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  17. I am going to miss your sweet rental. Something about it just glows. It's super cozy and looks so comfortable. Cannot wait to see you transform your new home. Happy Holidays!

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  18. It's all so pretty!! Have a Merry CHRISTmas and fun filled holiday season!

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  19. I apologize if this comment is a duplication. I left one last evening but I don't think it went through. I just wanted to say how nice your rental home looks all decorated for the holidays. The tree, the greenery on the chandelier, the wreaths, all of it is natural and lovely. Thanks for sharing it with us. I miss seeing your little dumplings, though. I can't believe they are four! I still think of them as two-year-olds. It's been a while since you've shown their sweet faces. I hope you, Mike, your little ones and the rest of your family have a wonderful, blessed Christmas.
    Claudia

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  20. Your blog was the first I ever read, and it introduced me to others. I began following your posts almost three years ago, but I don't think I have ever commented. I just wanted to say that I admire your lovely home and lifestyle, as well as your writing and photography. Thanks for sharing with us all! This post was one of my favorites. I have two children, a 3-year-old and a 4-year-old. We just trimmed our tree two nights ago, and I had to laugh at your comment about each ornament hanging on the very last needle. So funny, and so true. There are also clusters of ornaments, all on the very bottom branches, which are drooping from the weight of it all. It's just precious. My 3-year-old is still trying to rearrange everything daily. Thanks for this great post. It really warmed my heart. Merry Christmas to you.

    Raquel

    P.S. Thank you for the banana muffin recipe you posted a while back! I make them all the time, and we love them!

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  21. I simply love your rental...sorry you are not in new house yet. I actually thought you were being a bit optimistic with your move in date. Have a very Happy Christmas.

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  22. Catherine, your Christmas decoration looks just gorgeous!!!! And your living room is to die for!
    Merry Christmas to you and yours!
    xx
    Greet

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  23. So beautiful!!! Merry Christmas. :)

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  24. Very pretty decor! I would take this rental anyday! Hope things move along with your home, down the river, soon :)

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  25. That's quite a rental. Can I rent it after you are done? It's just beautiful and so tastefully decorated for the season. Merry Christmas!

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  26. Lovely Photos ..... Thank You for sharing.
    Merry Christmas EnJoy your Precious Little Ones.
    Blessings ~~ Connie xox

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  27. Absolutely beautiful, Catherine! Thank you for sharing your home and stories with us. How has the white linen on your sofa help up so far? I have two boys (3 and 6) and a husband (who naps on our sofa a lot), and our vintage sofa that has a yellow and cream fabric is getting a little dingy. Um, I should probably get gray linen to get our sofa reupholstered lol! Merry Christmas to you and your family! xx

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  28. ...simply beautiful...(about those candlesticks...next year you can give them to someone who needs a little sparkle in their home...or life...that's what Christmas is all about)...blessings laney

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  29. I'd love the source of your seagrass rugs. We also have an old house and would love the look of them: they unify spaces so nicely. Have a very happy Christmas! Babette

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    1. Hi Babette, The first one we purchased (which is now in the living room), came from Pottery Barn. The three I purchased for our mudroom in our rental home came from Amazon - via Natural Rugs, etc. They are exactly the same. You just have to be careful with which weave you select, I made that mistake once. Best, Catherine

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  30. I just saw your post about the source for the rugs. Do you have a rec. for which "weave" to select? I just ordered a rug online and it looks nothing like the picture:-( I haven't had the courage to go back to the post office to return a giant rug during the holidays:-)
    Best wishes!

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    1. This is what I ordered. It's called Maritime.
      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004T5OK12/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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  31. I love every detail of your holiday decor! Merry Christmas!

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  32. Dear Catherine, your home is impeccable and beautifully edited, as always. I admire your style so much, the rigour yet warmth of the environments you create. I wish you and Mike and your two little darlings a very Merry Christmas. I am following your blog even if I don't comment and wish you all the best on your new renovation. I cannot wait to see the results as your taste is impeccable. xo Terri

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  33. Hi Catherine. Gorgeous post. Would you be able to share some of the titles of the Christmas books? Merry Christmas to you x

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    1. The "Nutcracker" pop up book is wonderful. It's by Geraldine McCaughrean. We love the book, "Bear Stays Up For Christmas," and, "Accidental Christmas" is great (has flaps to lift) and Nancy Tillman's wonderful Christmas book, "Spirit of Christmas." And, "Snowmen at Christmas" is really cute! Merry Christmas to you and yours. Best, Catherine

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  34. So serene! I too love your little rental, but cannot wait to see your new home come to life! Merry Christmas! Through the eyes of four year olds, its bound to be exciting! :) donna

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  35. Do you use rug pads to prevent slipping? If so, do you worry about VOC's and the rubber used in the pads? I am looking for some smaller rugs to use in front of interior doors and need to consider this. Thank you so much for your blog.

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    1. I found a 'greener' rug pad, although can't remember it's name. For the big living room/play room, I used a wool rug pad for the best indoor air quality. As for the rubber that comes underneath, I don't know if there's a way around that. It's frustrating for sure but I try and practice 'do as much as you can' philosophy. Best, Catherine

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    2. Thank you, Catherine, for the response. I will research green pads and look for wool. As always, thank you for your blog. It's like waiting for chapter installments from a 19th century book about a lovely home: can hardly wait for the next one.
      I hope you enjoyed Christmas morning with your little ones.

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  36. The house looks beautiful. There are so many wonderful olde New England details to appreciate but they look especially charming with all the Christmas adornments. If you're thinking about shutters at the new house, look up Shutterworks in Lewiston, Maine. I had them make me six pairs that I hope to be installing after the holidays. I was a little nervous doing custom long distance but I just made the trip up to pick them up last week and they're beautiful. They'll also paint in whatever paint you want so you can do no VOC which I know is important to you.

    Merry Christmas to your whole gang!

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    1. Thank you for the shutter recommendation! I love the shutters here at the rental house and do want to use them in several of the rooms in the new house. It's such a great look and they are so practical. My favorite part is that they give you privacy but don't block out all of the natural light. Merry Christmas to you Steve!

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  37. Feliz Navidad, espero que el próximo año venga cargado de proyectos mágicos, y mucha ilusión. Un abrazo y muchos besos des de elracodeldetall.blogspot.com, Os espero .( • ~ • )


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  38. Your restraint makes my heart glow. Either your "stuff" is in the new house or you have a sure hand. Ann

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  39. I haven't checked out the blog in a while. It's still terrific. Congrats on the move.
    Just curious -- do you do anything special with lighting for your interior shots? What kind of camera/lens are you using?

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    1. I never use a flash and try to shoot photos on a day with good light. I also use Photoshop, which works wonders. I am still using my Canon Rebel with a 17-85mm lens. Best, Catherine

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  40. I've been following your blog for awhile but have never commented. Started reading back to front and then front to back once I realized the journey you were sharing. Since then your posts have become a bit of a respite for me. I so appreciate the beauty, simplicity and intentionality that permeates your home and life. Thank you for sharing.

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  41. Love your design style, it's calm peacefulness inspires grace and beauty uniquely.

    Happy New Year!

    Happy new journey.

    Xx
    Dore

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  42. The house looks beautiful. There are so many wonderful olde New England details to appreciate but they look especially charming with all the Christmas adornments. If you're thinking about shutters at the new house, look up Shutterworks in Lewiston, Maine. I had them make me six pairs that I hope to be installing after the holidays..........

    Sheffield student accommodation | Best place for a student to live close to Sheffield University

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  43. Catherine, could you provide the green paint color/source?

    Thank you!

    Elisa

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Thank you for leaving your thoughts. Kind regards, Catherine

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