Our Welcoming Home!
by Jolene Hanig-Jones
Vintage Books, Seeded Eucalyptus, and a Bit of Sparkle...
Vintage engineering books, seeded eucalyptus, mercury glass, and some printer's type set letters all came together to don our winter fireplace. It all started with a box of vintage engineering books that belonged to our good friend, Joe Bonk, who passed away last March. His wife, Janet, was "excavating" Joe's room, and feeling a lot overwhelmed. She turned to me and said, "and what am I going to do with these old engineering books?" I immediately replied, "Vintage books are really hot in home decor. I'll take them." We packed the books and I'm sure Janet thought I was crazy. They were old, weathered, and some were missing parts of covers. They were PERFECT!
The inspiration for our warm, winter fireplace makeover all began with a box of vintage books,...seeded eucalyptus, some sparkle, and printer's type set letters. Check it out.
Welcome back to our home. I wanted to achieve a warm, cozy look for winter. I began with my general principles: use what we love, use what we have, and upcycle/reuse favorite things in new ways. With that in mind, I decided to use black and white buffalo check, silver mercury glass, silver in general, twinkly lights, crystal, and natural elements. As I stated in an earlier post, I like to keep some of those sparkly, glittery, and natural elements that were used during the holidays. Originally, I had planned to use red and black buffalo check for color and coziness, but thought the white helped brighten the gray, winter days that we have here. Above are some of the favorite finds and elements I used to add winter charm to our home.
One of the first things I tackled were the bookshelves in the family room that flank the fireplace. I was all exited that I was going to use symmetry and leave the shelves uncluttered to show off the pieces on the shelves. I chose to highlight the hypertufa stone village pieces, teapots and art. For the most part, I had one piece centered on each shelf. I used books to add some height. The first little bit of "twinkle" were the lights in the lower right hand shelf. I did use the same red and black buffalo check paper as shelf liner that I had used for the holidays. I thought it added interest and grounded the vignettes. (The buffalo check paper was actually wrapping paper cut to size.)
This look was just too, boring and stark for my taste. I admire symmetry, It adds calm. The pieces are definitely highlighted. In the end, I am more of an asymmetrical kind of gal and I like quirky! I decided this was a good starting point. Now for the fun!
December was a bustling month of decorating, baking, and merry making. I became very busy creating "Read to Me" pillows for Christmas holiday orders. There wasn't any time to blog about Christmas house decor. I had thoughts of sharing our Christmas home in January, but that thought got to be too overwhelming and I was feeling the pressure of packing the decorations away. Instead, I've decided to begin by sharing some transitions from holiday decor to our winter decor.
Holiday decor can be all shiny and glittery and over-the-top! Ours also involved birch logs, evergreens, twinkle lights, and pinecones. I personally, don't understand why all of those things have to be put away with the Christmas tree and ornaments. In my opinion, pinecones, birch logs, evergreens, and even some shiny pieces and a few twinkling lights should remain.
That said, I do like the clean look of the remaining winter months, which can be equally cozy and inviting. I thought I would use red and black buffalo check as a "cabin type theme" for our little house in the woods. Then I discovered the lighter feel of black and white buffalo check and I was smitten. I like the brighter feel of the white and black buffalo check. I decided to stay with the black and white theme, add pops of red, and keep the natural elements of pinecones, birch logs, and evergreens. All I did with some holiday decorations was pare them down for a winter look. Take a look at the transition from Christmas holiday island holiday to winter island.
The Christmas kitchen island was anchored by this beautiful orchid in a handmade bowl of lime green, shiny small ornaments. My husband gave me the orchid in November and it was still beautiful throughout the entire month of December. The photo doesn't show off the artistry of the bowl. It is a handmade piece we purchased from an artist in Bar Harbor, Maine, while on vacation. I call these pieces "memory pieces" and I like to include them whenever I can in our home decor. The Santa Claus is also handmade. I bought it at the Shaker Woods Festival: Christmas in the Woods in Columbiana, Ohio. The last piece is the holly bread plate. It is too pretty to use just for bread. I have it out all season long and use it for Christmas cards and an overall mail drop.
Here is the transition to the winter island decor. I used some of the same elements and added a few twists. I'm showing your the first image of the kitchen island and then a second image. Sometimes, I need to live with something for a few days and change things out. I still stick with my original design philosophy of the items in our home have to bring me a sense of happiness or serenity and they have to reflect our interests.
The orchid is still blooming! I replaced the container with a white bowl. Pinecones and some green pieces from Christmas potpourri were added for texture and decorative filler. I decided to use wool, plaid scarves as table runners in my winter decor. I love the cozy look. I purchased this scarf on sale at TJ Maxx. It was originally an infinity scarf. I just cut it and trimmed the ends and it was good to go.
Originally, I was going to keep my holly plate out. After all, the sentiment is "May Peace be more than a SEASON." Then, I found the white platter and fluted, square bowls at Marshalls and TJ Maxx. Each was very inexpensive and I loved the lines and shape of them. So, I packed the holly plate away with the Christmas decorations.
The wooden toolbox was returned to its rightful place in the family room. (One of our Christmas trees had occupied this space.) I decided to keep the decor simple and clean. While there isn't a pop of red, I very much like to add a lush, green plant to winter decor. This one has low light requirements and is loving its place in the window.
There you have it! The beginnings of our winter decor, featuring white, black, pops of red, mercury glass, and natural elements. I had hoped to feature my Willow Tree angel collection with mercury glass votives and special winter candle rings in this post. Unfortunately, they are not photographing well in today's winter light. I'll try again another day. I will be posting more on the use of white and black buffalo plaid outdoors and in the living room. I also experimented with symmetry with the bookshelf decor. More to come on all of this and I plan to include a tutorial on making the ribbon cozies for jars.
Until then, I hope you are all nice and snug in your cozy, winter home.
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