Home Tours

Inspiring Holiday Decorating And A Festive Dinner!

I went on the Historic Oakwood Candlelight Tour yesterday. It highlights SUCH inspiring holiday decorating, done by homeowners of charming homes in one of Raleigh’s oldest neighborhoods.

Today we’re stuck in snow and ice (always exciting in North Carolina), so it’s extra nice to look at yesterday’s pictures.

Fortune smiled on us, not only with the weather, but also that the Governor’s Mansion was open to the public on the same day. I’ve never been, so it was an extra treat.

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Above is an amazing console and mirror, all dolled up for the holidays in the Governor’s Mansion. The portrait you see reflected in the mirror is of Governor Jim Hunt. He was a wonderful governor during some exciting times in our state (1977-1985 and 1993-2001) and is still one of our best advocates.

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The Dining Room is sparkalicioius. I wish the docent’s picture came out a little better and that I had gotten her name. She was sparkaliscious, too!

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Another view of the Dining Room, so you can see the mantel, piled with simple glass balls. A little whimsey in a seriously decadent room!

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This must be a parlor in the mansion. Classic southern elegance!

Let’s head to the “regular” homes in the hood:

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Every home belongs to a person or family who is into detail in a big way and they’re beyond generous to welcome so many people on the Tour.

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This master bedroom reminded me of New England. The vibe is slightly colonial—or Shaker, don’t you think? Those shutters!

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This house was decorated in a very modern style. I love a clean, modern style and this mantel inspires me to give white walls a try soon!

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The child of New England that I am will never cease to be amazed at the presence of flowers blooming in December! These camellias are the same color as the ones in my garden. And isn’t that fountain just fabulous? With all the snow we had last night, I bet he looks very different today!

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This is Lisa—I wrote about her Kitchen update right here. We went to this same house tour last year. It’s different homes every year. Lisa is the kind of person who can put a smile on the face of a grinch (or THE Grinch)!

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Lisa takes spectacular photos, like this one. This garden was a sweet surprise. Looks at all the birdhouses! And you’re not seeing the half of it. Imagine having this kind of space in the midst of a city!

Oh, look at the photo again—this time at my scarf. Can you see the little lights I wove into it? Here’s a better photo to see them:

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It’s not a better picture of me, but it really shows up those lights! I used one of those strings of fairy lights that use a battery pack. I love fairy lights. So I wove a string through my scarf to add a festive touch. The battery pack is tucked inside my bra. TMI? Sorry!

I might try lighting up my boots next time. Then I could tuck the battery pack into the boot (my legs are thin, there’s always a little room in my boots).

The design trick I noticed at every house in Oakwood was to make every display, every mantel garland, every wreath VERY full. Lots of layers. It’s a luxurious look. We saw some spectacular tree toppers that were more like floral arrangements. Very dramatic.

In my own house though, I like simple and spare. Here’s the top of my china cabinet:

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After I got home from the tour, it was time to head out for dinner with my boys (Hub and Grandboy).

We went to Gonza Tacos & Tequila, which has the MOST festive decor that is just as inspiring as the decorations on the Christmas tour. I always think those star lanterns hanging from the ceiling belong on the ceiling of my screen porch! And the Dia De Los Muertos spirits preside over all the happy families in the restaurant.

It was a day full of sparkle and texture!

Ciao,

Anne

Are You Ready For Christmas?

Me neither.  Although I think all the really necessary shopping is done.  Also, there are enough decorations up, inside and out, to look festive.  Cookies have already been packaged for the mailman as well as the lawn, trash and recycling guys, along with tips in cards.   More cookies will be made tomorrow.  Wrapping tomorrow, too.  So I'm getting there.  Wouldn't it be great to finish early?  That's not going to happen.

 Saw this in front of Driftwood Southern Kitchen in Raleigh. Made me laugh right out loud!

Saw this in front of Driftwood Southern Kitchen in Raleigh. Made me laugh right out loud!

I went to a Christmas Home Tour 2 weekends ago.  Here are a couple of pics from that fun afternoon:

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What a welcoming back porch this is!  It's not very wide, but they did a great job with the scale of the furniture, so it seats plenty and still looks restful.  That fireplace is spectacular.

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I love an interior door with style and this one has it!  The siding/shiplap craze is driving me a little crazy, but this looks SO great.  Notice the shelves over there on the left side.  They're holding all kinds of artwork.  This house on the tour was loaded with great details.

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How about these drop dead gorgeous bookshelves?  I had to laugh when I saw them because I'm currently doing something similar in a design project and my client is a little worried about having blue bookshelves.  I took this picture to prove to her that I'm not crazy and they're going to look great.  We're going to use stained wood on the shelves themselves though.  Can't wait to show you when they're done!

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Now we're over at my house.  A precious friend made this wreath and I hung it on my black shelves in the Music Room.

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Here's a close-up of the wreath.  I wanted you to see how sparkly it is.  I just love it!

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These are my new velvet party flats with big bows.  They're as pretty as any decoration!  

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No Christmas decorating would be complete without putting the choir boys on the mantel, flanking the white feather wreath that I made many years ago out of a styrofoam wreath form and a white boa.  Took about 5 minutes.  It's a dreamy combination, isn't it?

For those who celebrate Christmas, I wish you a merry one.  For absolutely everyone, I hope you find peaceful moments in the coming days.  May we all resolve to be kinder to each other and gentle on our planet.

Ciao,

Anne

New Construction Design Details That Make A Big Difference!

Investing in a design consultation during new construction provides ideas that can make a big difference to the end result.  I want to show you a couple of pics I took last week of a new construction project I consulted on.  The homeowners, John and Diane, were wonderful to work with and the builder, John Dunning of Dunning Custom Homes, did a spectacular job.  When Diane invited me to come see the finished results, I was happy to accept!

 Totally worth the wait.

Totally worth the wait.

I've been crushing on stainless cable wire for a long time now, but it still gives me a thrill.  When I mentioned this idea to John and Diane, they jumped right on it.  Diane said waiting for it to be installed was like waiting for Christmas morning!  

 What a wonderful hallway.

What a wonderful hallway.

Another idea they ran with was to paint the barn door leading to the pantry a true red.  This is Sherwin's Heritage Red, which is gorgeous, gorgeous. Most of the other doors in the house are hickory with a protective coat of polyurethane.  The door to the garage, as you ca see, is white.  I LOVE it when doors DON'T match!  And look at that hickory floor.  Again, just a clear coat of poly.  Amazing.

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Here's a better view of a hickory door in the house.

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We talked a lot about using beams in the house.  Final decisions can't be made until sheet rock goes up and everyone can really see the room taking shape.  These are in the Kitchen and look great!

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John and Diane are big fans of wood.  They put this yummy walnut on the island counter.  Love it, love it, love it.

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The light was really mucking around with my trusty iPhone camera, the art isn't up over the mantel yet and decorating isn't complete, but I wanted to show you that built in shelving doesn't have to symmetrically flank the fireplace.  My suggestion was to have the cabinetry and shelving on one side to display and store what they wanted, but to leave the other side open to create a cozy nook to curl up with a book.  It's going to be a sweet spot in a beautiful room.  I also convinced them to skip putting a soffit at the top of each niche.  Bring the eye up!

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I take no credit for this brilliant bit of great design in the Kitchen.  It's built under the stairs and is out of the way from everything else in the room.  Microwave, wine fridge, glassware, etc. - you can be pouring wine, heating things up, pulling out tableware, napkins, small plates, etc. and still be completely out of the way of the master chef.  Like I said, brilliant!

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That's soapstone on the counters.  Lovely handcrafted shelving with puck lights make everything sparkle.  A Wolf cooktop looks right at home in the center of it all!

The house, upstairs and down, is filled with great ideas, successfully executed.  It's a wonderful example of attention to detail, creative thinking and pride in workmanship. 

Ciao,

Anne