Monday, December 14, 2009

December to Remember Day 14: Tour de Jour - Dorothy

We're back and ready for another tour de jour, this time at my friend Dorothy's home. Now, you all probably remember the feature that I did on Dorothy and Dan's garden HERE, but if you don't remember I'll have some beautiful pictures at the end of the fabulous Christmas display.
Dorothy starts decorating after Halloween, and as we get further through the tour, you'll understand why. Her home is a winter wonderland, with beautiful Christmas displays in almost every corner of every room, and many of those were crafted by Dorothy herself. A gifted floral designer, bow maker, and glue-gun diva, Dorothy has a traditional Victorian aesthetic which is perfect for her gorgeous Victorian home.
1. How many trees in total do you have, and where are they in your home?
I have 6 (with the live tree - which we wait to buy until the second week before Christmas), 1 in the foyer decorated with poinsettias and beautiful golden sprays of leaves and berries, 1 mercury glass and polish ornament tabletop tree in the formal parlor, 1 Victorian flower tabletop tree in the dining room, 1 tabletop tree with handmade ornaments I've crafted over the years also in the dining room, 1 white tree in the kitchen decorated with gingerbread themed ornaments and ribbons, and the live tree is a collection of ornaments my children have made, and I have collected for them. With 12' ceilings it's always a challenge finding a 10' tree, but they fit beautifully.
The beautiful red poinsettia tree in Dorothy's foyer. A special tree with a significant meaning.
2. Do you prefer/use live trees or fake trees? Why?
I prefer live trees. They bring back childhood memories of my father and you can't beat the smell of a live tree. It's the perfect scent of Christmas.

A close up of the variety of gorgeous picks and florals that Dorothy has used in her foyer tree.

3. Where do you pull inspiration for your Christmas Decor?

I love all things Victorian and the beauty of the grand and elegant era that it was. I grew up in this large Victorian era home, built in 1896 and so I suppose that I get a lot of inspiration simply from the beauty and craftsmanship that went into it. The tree in the foyer was inspired by my mother who loved red poinsettias, the Santa's bring back special memories of my father, and my children inspired my newest addition - the gingerbread tree. It's hard to not smile when you look at that tree, and though I don't have any now, I will have lots of fun baking gingerbread cookies to adorn that tree with my grandchildren.

The staircase, a beautiful statement in Dorothy's entry, looking up at the gorgeous crystal chandelier and Victorian era tapestry.

4. Describe your childhood Christmas decor.

My mother used to pack away everything that was not Christmas every November, and then fill our home with Christmas decor. This house in fact. Though it wasn't as flamboyant as the decorations I use today, it was certainly beautiful, and winter wonderland. I believe that I definitely got my decorating "bug" from my mother. The exterior was all Dad. Every year without fail, the house was lit with large antique (now) light bulbs, and a 4 foot Santa stood proudly lit on the second floor balcony. He also tried to top the live trees year after year. The largest tree we ever had was 13' tall and over 10' wide. We had to trim it to get it into the house. My mother almost killed him, but it was probably my most memorable childhood Christmas.

The double living room fireplace mantle, draped with greens, handmade bows (by Dorothy) and angels.

The beautiful lace angel on Dorothy's mantle display.
5. What proves to be the most difficult about the Christmas decorating process?
Carrying all of the boxes down from the third floor. Thank God I have six kids.
The beautiful Victorian Floral Tree in Dorothy's dining room.
6. If you could add another tree to your Christmas decor, would you? If so, how would you adorn it?
Of course I would. I would love to do a 7' tree in my dining room massed with Victorian flowers and ornaments.

Another tabletop tree in Dorothy's dining room, festooned with beautiful handmade ornaments.

7. Do you have a favorite ornament or decoration? Why?

I love all of the ornaments in my home. They all have special meaning to me. But I think that of my favorites would be the handmade ornaments I made 5 years ago with my friend Sandy. They're simply Styrofoam balls and hearts, that were painted with gold paint, then adorned with ribbon and jewels. Massed together on a tree - they serve as a wonderful complement to the Victorian grace of this house.

8. Do you switch themes or ornaments year to year, or do your trees stay closely decorated year after year?

The trees are pretty much the same year after year, except for new additions like our gingerbread tree. I think that too much money is invested in the ornaments I already have to not use them, and I really love the decor. It's simply not Christmas until they're up and adorned year after year.

An angel and candle holding centerpiece on Dorothy's dining room table, which she put together herself.

9. When do the decorations come down, and how long does it take to put it all away?

Not along as it takes to decorate them, that's for sure! I would guess about a day, and that includes cleaning and putting all of my non-Christmas decor back in place.

A beautiful Santa atop a Victorian marble topped table in Dorothy's dining room.

A wreath in Dorothy's kitchen she made to coordinate with the beautiful greens, purples, and blues she used in her new gingerbread decor.

10. Do you have any decorating tips that could help someone else achieve your look?

The more the merrier! Seriously, don't skimp on the decor, and you'll have a beautiful tree every time. Decorate everything! I decorate the tabletops, the arches to my entryways of every first floor room, the staircase ... if my children would sit still long enough I'm sure I'd tie a bow around them too! Try to think of your themes for the next year, and buy everything during the 75 - 90% sales at the end of this season. That's a great way to purchase everything you need for a theme at rock bottom prices. Also, don't under estimate the Dollar store. There are often times great ornaments there, or things that can be re-worked to be fantastic! I find many things at garage sales in the summer, too! When other people are looking for swimming pools and furniture, I'm left to get the best of their holiday decor for pennies! And if you have the room, take any ornaments your friends offer you for free. Even if they don't fit a theme this year - they'll be a great base for new themes, or with a coat of paint - could easily fit in to what you've already got in place.

Thank you to Dorothy and her family for sharing their beautiful Christmas decor with us here on the blog. I'm sure that they'll all be checking in to see what you think, so please leave your comments!

Now, as I said before, Dorothy and Dan have a beautiful Victorian home which I featured in my Share a Garden Sunday features of the summer. The exterior:

Beautiful isn't it? Dorothy and Dan put a lot of effort into bringing this beautiful gem back to its glory, including all of the gardens, new paint, and loads of updating and decorating on the interior.

This is the newest addition to the garden, a collection of gorgeous Western New York tolerant plants. I'm sure that Dorothy and Dan will add many more things to this garden next year, along with their reclaimed brick patio. I'll be back over with my trusty camera to take pictures for you all to enjoy, but for now - sit back, and scroll through the pictures one more time. Merry Christmas.