Monday, December 13, 2010

decking my halls...and a reader giveaway too!

our first christmas on west ferry street...

in between lake effect snow bands last week, we were lucky enough to get our holiday decorations up on the exterior of the house.  i don't mean to brag, but it took hubby all of 30 minutes to put them up!  since we've moved into our bungalow in 2003, we've done pretty much the same thing from year to year with our exterior holiday decor.  we keep it fairly simple with lit artificial garlands draped above the windows and front door with some red bows at the peaks.  it wasn't too difficult or expensive to do, and at the end of the season, they come down and get hung as-is in the basement amongst the rafters.  installation/storage is easy and quick, and hubby has the cord scheme down to a science by now.

we were pretty smitten with ourselves and our gaily decorated little bungalow in the city that first christmas, and each year when the lights go up and i see the house all aglow for that first time of the season, i still get a little swell of pride and gratitude that this small yet quaint piece of Buffalo architectural history is where i call home...

however, after seven years, i think our holiday decorating is getting a little stale, at least on the outside.  i'm thinking my tired little gem needs a bit of a holiday makeover.  so i've been combing the interwebs, searching for some holiday decorating inspiration...

Pottery Barn's entryways are famously festive...

for me, the obvious starting point is the Pottery Barn catalog, because when i think 'entryway', i immediately picture the warm, welcoming doorsteps leading up to those Pottery Barn doors...sigh.  i love red doors like the one in the picture above, not just because they are a symbol of a warm and friendly welcome, but because they are so sharp and eye-catching.  red doors can be seen from afar, and beckon the caller forward along the 'approach' to the home's precipice.  i learned about the concept of 'approach' while in my masters program for architecture.  essentially, it is the consideration that one gives to the way in which your visitors will approach a structure.  is it a winding pathway with spectacular views on the way to your point of destination, or is your approach straightforward and perfunctory?  architects and landscape designers pay great attention to approach, and thus i have learned to do so as well...

 A charming Christmas welcome from

Sweet Annie, skates, and a red sled over at the HGTV blog (

now, i still happen to quite like my window garlands, and i don't plan to lose them...i just think i need to add a little something extra to my holiday trimmings on the outside of the house, something that will kick my curb appeal up a notch.  i have always preferred to keep my christmas decor natural and organic -- nothing too fussy, nothing plastic and tacky -- i think that the best holiday homes are those that follow the 'use what you've got' theory of design.  i love using lots of pinecones, berries, and natural greenery...vintage sleds and skates like the ones pictured above...and simple clear lights to add some glow.  needless to say, there are no nylon inflatables in my front yard -- i don't think they would survive the neighborhood for very long anyway!

 A window box brimming with natural greens, berries, fruits and pincones (

Lush urns that sparkle from Martha Stewart.
i'm thinking of flanking my front door with some urns brimming full of greenery and ornaments like the one i found above at perhaps even some small pine trees decked out in red glass ball ornaments and lit with some clear lights.  on the other side of my porch, i would love to try setting a little scene...something charming and cute, but not so cute that it all up and walks away mysteriously in the night (grimace and  i haven't decided what this little scene will be just yet, but i'll keep you all posted.

Ice luminaries from

finally, this is one idea i am determined to try this holiday season: ice luminaries.  you need nothing more than a few metal or plastic bowls, water, and some cold weather to create these!  look at how beautiful they are with a candle glowing from inside!  i can just picture a bunch of these lining the walkway and scattered amongst snowpiles on the front porch...what a lovely approach that would be, wouldn't it?  i've even seen these done using snow and a bundt cake pan as a form, with stacked layers forming the luminary.  i don't know about you, but where i live, there is plenty of cold weather and snow to spare for this charming fresh take on the traditional luminary.

what about you, readers?  what are your favorite ways to deck out your home for the holidays?  well, from now until December 17th (that's this friday!), if you send me a picture of your home donning its gay apparel, i will enter your name into a drawing for a chance to win a Christmas confection from The Crepe Confectionary valued at $25.oo!

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