Our Home for the Holidays

By Kate Riley December 13, 2010

“Oh there’s no place like home for the holidays . . .”   Are you humming all of those tunes these days?   We are!  We’re also getting the house ready to welcome (gulp, 70 to 80) guests for our annual Christmas party next weekend. 

Thankfully, all the inside decorating is done! 

cg snowflakes stairs


Nester is hosting her annual holiday tour of homes today, so naturally it was the perfect time to snap some photos and join in the fun! 

The new staircase is decked out with a garland of mixed greens (faux + real), topped with lights, silver beads, some flocked branches clipped from my Christmas tree and plenty of snowflakes. 

 cg christmas entry


cg snowflake garland


I’m so into snowflakes this year, and I have dozens of them.  I always pick them up in after Christmas sales for about a quarter each and I never get tired of them year after year! 

cg snowflakes on stairs


green mixture with snowflakes


On the other side of the entry is a dresser all dolled up for the season. 

foyer greenery


My husband bought me this ceramic nativity scene years ago, so simple and sweet.

nativity ornaments


To the right of our stairs is our living room where I typically spend most of my energy decorating.  Everyone  gets stopped under the mistletoe!

mistletoe hanging on doorway


Last week, you saw the flocked Christmas tree ~ Grandpa’s piano is all tuned up for singing carols at the party.   Oh yes we do sing at our parties!  Everyone does, especially after we hand them a glass of bubbly to warm them up . . . 

cg piano and tree

You can see a more pictures of our flocked tree here

The blue, silver, and gold mantel still looks so pretty. 

living room holiday decor

  cg mantel stockings


cg blue bottle left side of mantel


If you’d like to see more pics of the mantel up close, take a peek right here


cg fresh wreath living room


Across from the fireplace is the sideboard I picked up at a thrift store earlier this year.  I’m keeping it cleared off to hold desserts.

buffet left side


But I couldn’t resist a fun colorful display with some manzanita branches, ornaments and colored glass balls. 

cg silver vase manzanita branches


green ornaments on branches


In the kitchen where we spend most hours, I finished the mantel above the range with some cedar garland mixed with fir and dusted with faux snow. 

Those candlesticks are all from thrift stores, spray painted a seasonal shade of silver.  You know me, I’ll probably paint them white again next year! 

cg kitchen mantel


kitchen mantel ornaments up close


cg kitchen holiday mantel


To the back of two barstools, I tied some rosemary and boxwood swags created from yard clippings. I’m loving the mix of silver and green this year in the kitchen!

boxwood swags on barstools


In the kitchen garden window is a simple fir wreath topped with some beaded garland I’ve had for so many years.  I love Trader Joes . . . you can get a 24” wreath for $10, so I always buy a few, then dress them up with berries and bows. 


Suspended from the top of our garden window are several silver ornaments, strung up with fishing line!

Little mercury glass candleholders sit on the windowsills . . .

Most of our holiday decorations are concentrated downstairs, but I couldn’t resist this next little seasonal splurge.  Upstairs, just for me and my guy, I hung this simple eucalyptus wreath in our master bathroom.  It’s so fragrant, and has that ‘spa’ smell, I’m secretly hoping it lasts for several months!

 wreath master bath


The first and last thing anyone ever sees when coming to our place is the winter willow wreath on the door I made last month. 

 cg front door wreath door open 2


The outdoor lights and porch are nearly done, I’ll save those for later!


Have you decked your halls this season?



Be sure to link up to Nester’s big party




  1. Leone at [email protected] says:

    Wow, your home look fabulous! Elegant, a little glitzy and VERY inviting. Beautiful!

  2. it all looks so beautiful.
    please, please tell me that you have the party catered…surely, you don’t cook for 70-80 people.

  3. Ab, fab!! My favorite is the bare branch with chartruese and turquoise ornaments. BTW what color is that on your stairway walls?? Merry, Merry!

  4. gorgeous, Kate! You have such a wonderful way of decorating!! I know your party will be a blast & worth your hard work. Thank you for sharing with us! hugs, Cathy

  5. I absolutely love your blog. I’m addicted and inspired! I will be tackling a DIY project this winter – a dressing room for my teenage daughters and I have accessed so much info on your project list! I’m a fan – your Christmas design is gorgeous. Time to enjoy your party!

  6. So gorgeous! You really know how to go all out without it ever looking cheap or overdone. I especially love the garland on the staircase.

  7. So beautiful! I love your staircase with the pictures and sconces. I have been trying to think of what to do with ours and I am so in love with yours. Happy Holidays!


  8. Beautiful. Thanks for giving me the inspiration to get off my **** and do some decorating. It’s all going a bit slowly over here. xx

  9. I love what you’ve done. Love the silver and green and all the sparkles. Not too much and not too little. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  10. Lurve the silver and green…….makes me want to take my stuff down and start all over again! Thank you for sharing your beautiful home, wishing you an blessed Christmastime :)

  11. You inspire as always Kate! So lovely. Can we trade houses for the holidays??? I’ll give it back, I promise. Maybe.

  12. BEEEEEEEAAAUUTTIFUL! I wish you and your family a th Merriest of Christmas’ – filled with laughter and memories! Have fun at your party and remember to find 2 mins and a corner to take it all in!! ENJOY!

  13. It’s all so very beautiful, Kate! Charming and welcoming–who wouldn’t want to come in and enjoy a cup o’ kindness in your lovely home? I especially love that darling ceramic Nativity with the angel keeping watch–what a great thing to have right inside the front door!

    Merriest of Christmases to you!

  14. I have to say your home’s decor is more beautiful than anything in the most recent issue of Martha Stewart Living! I love it!

  15. thanks for reminding me how much I love décor.
    I’ve been crafting gifts and only took the time to make the tree. I don’t have the time to do much more, but I loved touring your house. It’s so fresh! I’ll try making a wreath, I’ll find the time!

  16. Everything looks lovely!!! I especially like the bay windows!! I was wondering, where did you get the mistletoe?? I have been wanting to put some up the last 2 years and I can’t find it!! Thanks!

  17. Everything is absolutely stunning! And I’m still in love with that dresser in your entryway.

    Also, you’re VERY brave for hosting so many people at once! I freak out when we have 10 over…

  18. Holy Moly girl! I love all your pictures! I wish there were more, I could look all day! Everything looks to perfection, and I can’t believe you found such fun candle holders from the thrift store, and more than one of the same shape! I love all the cool colours, but I also love how you have great greenery! The outdoors always looks great indoors! Can you tell I am in love with your place!!

  19. Thanks so much kind commenters! And yes Tara, I do cook for 80, but I have it down to a science by now and friends help too!


  20. ring! ring! ring! thats the sound of the magzines calling wanting to publish your home!! can you say “hello Matthew Mead!” seriously girl! you should submit these!!! Pure LOVELY and I see Rhoda agress!!

  21. I absolutely LOVE it! Inside is finished, but I haven’t even STARTED on the outside of my house. Probably will wait until next year… :(

  22. i am in love with your house. i just love all the decorations, yet it still looks so darn fresh and bright and not over-done like it can easily become during the holidays. you have done a great job. all of your guests will definitely have their jaws dropped upon entering.

  23. incredible! didn’t know that about TJ wreaths; could make a great christmas gift for the hostess (mom) of christmas dinner. Where did you find your eucalyptus wreath? from williams-sonoma? it’s the most relaxing smell i know (and i spray it liberally in a steam room!)

  24. Very beautifully done, as I would expect from you!! Thanks for the inspiration. I recently redid my stairway in a very similar way to yours (less the wood stairs…..I’m still cursed with beige carpet) but have yet to decorate the handrail. I love what you did with yours!

  25. Stunning!!!! I need to get busy finishing my decor. Did we find out who the winner of the PILLOW was????

  26. It all looks amazing but my favorite thing is your stair garland…just gorgeous. I love all of the calming but elegant colors!

  27. Gorgeous!!! Your party guests are in for a real treat. I am not sure which room I like best. The living room is stunning, but the wreaths in your kitchen, bath & front door are beautiful touches too.

    Just blogged about Christmas card displays and included both of yours!


  28. Wow, love, love, love everything you did!! What a beautiful home. I have yet to take pictures of mine. Thank you so much for the heads up on Trader Joe’s wreaths! We have them here in the Northwest as well and I hadn’t been there for awhile, so now I know! Now I can justify having a couple of fresh wreaths for a party I’m giving this week! Thanks for all the great ideas!!

  29. stunning, charming, amazing, inspiring…you rock!

    how do you make all your pics look like they are out of a magazing!? awesome!

  30. All I can say is stunning! The silver, white and blue create such a lovely snowy feel. Thank you for inviting us into your home!

  31. Oh my gosh. Those are beautiful. I love the garland on the stairs, and I’m practically drooling over the lime green & aqua glass balls — those are my favorite colors, and they look fantastic next to anything else. I never would have thought to use them as winter colors!

  32. Unbelievable. You get to live here? It looks like a page out of a magazine, seriously. Your decorations are so elegant and tasteful, and I love that you went with wintry whites, silvers, blues and greens in lieu of the obvious red. Simply beautiful taste you have!!

  33. It look just lovely! I cannot believe that children live within these walls. ;)

    Did you change the wall color of your entryway? It seems different than the close match of BM Oat Straw you mentioned on your FAQ page.

  34. so simple and gorgeous! I especially love the kitchen window with the balls suspended. Wish I was coming to the party — nothing like live caroling! :) Merry Christmas Party!!

  35. Oh my! Everything is absolutely stunning!!! I love the color combination – it all looks like it belongs in a Pottery Barn catalog!

  36. I’m not sure I can say anything that hasn’t already been said in all the comments. Simply stunning Kate! I’d like to be one of those lucky guests attending your beautiful party.

  37. Kate…. all is just beautiful…. personal faves are the manzanita tree decked out with the unexpected green balls ( Love!)….the wreaths. especially the ornament ball over the fireplace-your kitchen mantel …. and my favorite spot in the whole house…. Ta DUm.!. the kitchen window! Love those ornaments hanging in front of your lovely garden view…… hmmm…. oh to be the clean-up girl washing out the wine glasses the day after the party… It will be wonderful!
    Thanks again for all the joy and great projects you have shared this year- not to mention all the Beauty! You have truly been an inspiration! Now- go have a celebration!

    Joyeux Noel, et Bonne Annee’ !

  38. Everything looks amazing!! This might be a stupid question but can you shed some insight on how you actually hang some of the items? what did you use on the garland/stairway or some of the wreaths? Thanks

  39. Wow – your home looks stunning! I am impressed by the size of your annual Christmas party – you should share with us some of your hostess secrets for hosting a soiree that large! Happy holidays, love! xoxo

  40. Hi Malissa, so sorry I neglected to add those details, great question! The garland on the stairs is swaged with floral wire. I always say, floral wire is the Spanx of holiday decorating. It holds everything in place and creates the illusion of perfection! The wreaths in the foyer and living room are hung from large nails hidden behind the mirror frames. I keep them there even after the wreaths come down, you can’t see them because they are pounded in at a downward angle.

    The wreath in the kitchen is suspended from a small hook, and the ornaments strung from fishing wire stay put with lightweight staples from a staple gun. Miniscule holes remain at the end of the season, but they are near invisible. I could patch them with spackle but I never bother.



  41. Your home always looks so nice, but decorated for Christmas it is fantastic. Love all the white and silver accents and of course the snowflakes! Love them

  42. Oh my… your house is SO beautiful! And you managed to make even more beautiful with this tasteful holiday decor that made me wish I was as crafty and creative as you!

    Hope your gorgeous home will host a happy and magical Christmas!

  43. As I was scrolling through, I kept thinking “i want to say I love this, and this, and this…” but I just happen to love it all! It’s so gorgeous! Merry Christmas!

  44. I really love the glass balls on the sideboard! and the wreath in the bathroom, I always look for ways to bring the spa feeling home :)

  45. One of my faves is the silver ornaments hanging in front of your kitchen window! I’m sure your party is something you enjoy in your “off” time, but I’d love to hear how you plan for and execute it! I’d read before on an earlier party that you prepared all the food. I hope you’re not doing that for 70-80 people- you must have help. I’d love to start a hosting an annual party at our house- we thinking of starting small with a new year’s get together.

  46. You did an absolutely fabulous job in decorating your home. It’s so elegant. (BTW, where did you purchase the wreath for the bathroom (eucalyptus)? It’s a brilliant idea!)

  47. Question: where in the world do you keep all your adorable decorations when they’re not in use? My problem is I have no place to store decorations off-season.

  48. Wow, what a beautiful home. I adore that little manzanita tree with the miniature ornaments. Too cute!

  49. This is absolutely beautiful! I love the blue, gold and silver put together. Found you this morning, and I am your newest follower. Merry Christmas!

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