Holiday Home Tour 2012

By Kate Riley December 18, 2012

My friend Nester is having her annual Christmas Tour of Homes party today so I thought I’d share a few images you haven’t seen (and a bunch you have, ha!).  I used a lot of blue around the house this season since it really is my favorite to decorate with, but there is some red in the courtyard and a dash of pink in my office and the kids’ room. 

Here’s the grand finale so to speak – with some scenes I’ve snapped over the last few weeks from different spaces in our home all dressed up for the season and ready for our weekend party which we throw every year.

kate holiday entry

presents on wall

wishbone chair and garland



blue glass bowl with ornaments

winter entry vignette

 blue and white christmas porch



white with blue tree cg

merry and bright mantel centsational girl


table vignette

dining room table scene



wreath in window


kate kitchen mantel


kitchen counter


french door with bow and cards



cg candy tree

scalloped skirt detail

colorful bokeh


branch in office

abstract art and brass scales


candy for gingerbread houses



fireplace outdoors

red sweater stocking


More details in these previous holiday posts from this year:

Blue and White Porch

Candy Colored Tree

Scalloped Felt Tree Skirt

Silver + White Mantel (Style Challenge)

Merry + Bright Mantel

Vessel Vignettes

White + Blue Christmas Tree


Linking up to Nester’s party and wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday season! 




  1. The house is gorgeous!! So colorful. Great job. Can you share where you got those two jars sitting on the kitchen counter next to the stove? Thanks and Merry Christmas!

  2. How on earth did you capture that photo in your office with so much light coming in from that huge window? Very impressed. Your house is beautifully decorated!

    xo Cindy @ Made2Style

  3. Beautiful…..what a treat to tour your home……talented!
    Merry Christmas!
    I’ve got to go back for another look……..

  4. Lovely! I really like the blue/white and blue/green combinations.

    Wishing you a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and thank you so much for blogging.

  5. I just want to say that I am a HUGE fan of you and your blog! I’m a daily reader, and get so many wonderful ideas from your site. Your Christmas decor is so lovely! I do have one question for you: is your staircase draped in live garland or is it just very convincing faux? Thank you and have a very Merry Christmas!

    • Hi Carla, it’s a faux lit fir in the background and fresh cedar swagged on top. I always mix real and faux!

  6. I love your dining table! Where did you get those houses? I’ve looked everywhere for a small tasteful Christmas village and can’t find anything!!

    • Hi Dawn, thank you! Those little houses I found at one of my favorite vintage stores here in Petaluma, it’s Vintage Style on Kentucky Street and my friend Dean carries a bunch of bottle brush trees and lovely glittered houses!

  7. I am from New Hampshire, and it is so great to see how Californians decorate for the holidays!! Everyone has their own style, and you have married a contemporary Christmas, to a traditional one flawlessly. You have corners of color and pop, and then areas of more classical Christmas schemes. Great job!

  8. I hope you make top decorator dollar doing all this-you are fabulous and should get a show on tv!!! Every project and idea is so great! Like just the simple presents on the wall in your entryway-genius!

  9. Really gorgeous decorations! I’ve never thought of adding blue to my Christmas decor, but I will have to incorporate it next year. And I really love the idea of adding a wreath over the kitchen sink window!… you’ve created such a perfectly festive atmosphere!

  10. What a beautiful decorated home for Christmas. I went withdraw of the blue this year too! I love the whole theme.

  11. It’s all stunning!! Every picture I saw came with an “Oooh!” or “Ahhh!” I definitely want to do blue accents in our home sometime in the next few years!

  12. I LOVE your style! All these pictures are so beautiful! How did you start getting into decorating/home design and how did you learn? We just bought our first house and I’m learning as I go, but I’d love to have my own gorgeous sense of style like you someday! :) (Maybe you’ve already discussed this on your blog, in which case I may have to dig more through your archives :) )

  13. Incredible! Definitely the best I’ve seen all around. Gorgeous. I love the blue and white. It all looks like it’s straight out of a magazine! Great job.

  14. love, love, love the image of the little goat with the “bokeh” tree behind… so cool! Your house is incredible!

  15. Just gorgeous Kate.

    I have not commented on your blog in a while Kate, but I am a faithful reader. I have to tell you what an awesome example you are to young woman that anything can be achieved if you just use your imagination and some elbow grease. So many young people today have not been taught to be creative, to be resourceful and to use their imaginations. They have only been taught to shop and to mindlessly consume, consume, consume. Homemaking skills went out of fashion and many people today outsource EVERYTHING, housecleaning, cooking, yard work and do nothing for themselves. I work with young women who can’t even hem a simple pair of pants; they send them out to a tailor! I was lucky that my mother taught me to sew at a young age but YOU picked up a sewing machine and pretty much taught yourself to sew curtains and pillows. You are also not afraid to use power tools, and to “rip it out and get it done”. You are FEARLESS and that why you are so successful….YOU TAKE RISKS!

    You have created a beautiful home and many of your rooms contain items that you have refinished or repurposed. Your mind positively bubbles with ideas and I can’t wait to click on Censational Girl every morning to see what the Energizer Bunny named Kate has come up with next

    THANK YOU Kate for the years of inspiration and unlimited creativity you have so kindly shared with your readers. If you ever stop blogging I will simply cry!

    • Oh Denise, you are really too kind. *blushing, really* I agree, it helps and saves so much money when you know how to do a few things yourself and use your own elbow grease as you said instead of hiring out everything. Matt asked me the other day if we were going to hire someone to help with the glass tile backsplash in our bathroom and I was like, what? I know how to install my own tile! But I only know because I wanted to learn and that’s really the key, some people have a willingness and others are perfectly fine hiring help – we hire help too for advanced home improvement projects, everyone has different abilities. And we need skilled tradesmen and women too! But I really appreciate your very uplifting comment and good for you for having sewing skills!

  16. Wow, your holiday decor is stunning!! Seriously, looks right out of a magazine. Maybe one day, my home will look half as good as yours. :)

  17. Absolutely beautiful and well placed decor, love the colors! Really good photography too!
    Beautiful home!

  18. Your home is gorgeous! Wonderful colors and design. Love it all!! Would you mind sharing where you got those two jars sitting on your kitchen counter next to the stove? Thank you so very much and have a lovely Holiday Season!

    • Hi Jenny, I’ve had those jars for years…. I think maybe I picked them up at Bed Bath & Beyond… in a set of four? I think that’s where I found them! Maybe Target too….

  19. stunning!!! i love it all- love the dining table, and LOVE those branches with the happy pink ornaments! such a cheerful and chic home!

    • Thanks Kristiann! Those “presents” are just cheapo artist canvases that I wrapped and then stapled the ribbon on the frame. I had to hide the house alarm control and this was the easiest way since it’s such an eyesore in the entry, seriously who though of the main focal point as the location for the control? Totally bugs me! But it was an easy and festive cover up job!

  20. Your images are so spectacular. Not just the REALLY PRETTY vignettes, but the quality and composition of them. I love to look at well done, brightly colored decorations, especially in blue, because it’s nothing like mine. That’s the fun in all this blog sharing at the holidays. I feel like I just visited your beautiful home and your Christmas personality, and it’s just great because I get to enjoy and appreciate the things that I don’t do. Thank you for your effort, and Merry Christmas!!

  21. Dawn says:
    December 19, 2012 at
    Thanks Kate on the info for the houses. im about an hour from Petaluma so I will have to check out the store next time I’m down there. I have to admit I feel like a stalker, I’ve printed out all the photos and will carry them with me as I look for Christmas decorations. I love everything, especially that baby deer on the book shelf!!! Any links you may have with names or brands for some of your decor would be wonderful. My husband just said he’s driving thru there on Friday, I’m making him stop!

  22. too fabuluous to miss. i am happy i saw ur home (at least hrough this post) very clean and well managed. Surprised how you always maintain this way!! Merry Christmas to all of you.

  23. HI Kate,
    I am curious if your wishbone chair in the entry is new? Did you paint it or did you find it in that color? I saw two today at TJMaxx and was so tempted to get them but the wood and the color of the seat twine won’t work I in my home I fear.
    Gorgeous Decor for the Holidays and always!

  24. Kate, your home looks stunning (as always)! What a treat to see all of your lovely holiday decorating! I have some justice scales, too — what a great idea to put ornaments on them!

  25. Absolutely beautiful! Where are your small glass jars from in your kitchen photo? Merry Christmas!

  26. Love your home! I have been trying to transition to turquoise and silver and some more vintage colors (pinks, light green, taupe, etc.)…so I really enjoy your vignettes for inspiration! I tried making Shiny Brite ornament wreath(s) this year and made one for a friend that would look perfect in your house…it was mostly pastels with lots of blues…I scored a huge box of blue ornies at a yard sale!
    But I’m lucky…our house is huge and I still use a lot of the red & green plaids and can use that downstairs for the kids…they don’t want to give up the “old” style. Especially since they are all teen-agers and have seen it for a decade or more! How did that happen? Weren’t they just toddlers? Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  27. Hi Kate, As always the photos and the subject material is outstanding. I was wondering where you got the artwork shown in the photo of the weigh scales (or did you make it) – I bet you did. If you did, would you share how and if you didn’t would you share where you got it?

    • Hi Jessie, those are my paintings, I always hesitated to show them because I used to think they’re not “good enough” in my eyes but then I just decided I love them anyway so I display them in my office – big swashes of abstract color just make me happy. I can’t explain really how I made them, I just did what they taught me in a painting class I took years ago. I just picked a bunch of colors I liked and started swirling them around – just whatever felt right to me!

  28. Oh Kate, I just love so many of the things you have done! A few of my favorite things are the packages on the wall in the entry way,, the blue and white tree skirt, the Christmas cards on the french door, and the poinsetta pillow! I’ve promised myself that I would make some of those since your original post on them. They are so classic and I love them! I hope you have a fun filled holiday party and a very Merry Christmas! Amy

  29. Kate, your home is absolutely stunning!! I love it so much – I could move right in and not change a thing. I also used blue for my Christmas decorating, with silver and a deep purple. Love it!

  30. I noticed the scales immediately and thought “how fitting for Kate! ” Your use of simple yet elegant pieces cre8tively placed are really stunning, love the whole feel of what you did. My favorite is the outdoor fireplace, with the wagon holding the wood, just so inviting! Thanks for the tour and Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  31. I always love seeing your beautiful home Kate..Plus you make it even more special at Christmas time..Thanks as always for sharing you home, your life and your talent with us..Christmas Hugs, Nancy

  32. Just discovered your blog. How beautiful!!! Looking forward to reading your blog.
    All the best,

  33. I love your Christmas decor…plain and simple!!! :) May your home be filled with lots of love, laughter and prezzies….LOL….Merry Christmas!!! :)

  34. Gorgeous! I am also decorating with light blue this year. I HAVE to know where you got the rug in the living room. I am on the hunt for something similar. thanks!

  35. Hi Kate! Absolutely stunning Holiday decor! Where did you find your beautiful garland & flocked Christmas tree? Thank you for sharing your beautiful home!

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