A CHARMING MIDWEST HOME WELCOMES THE HOLIDAYS IN A RICH AND RUSTIC FASHION.
A charming Midwest home welcomes the holidays in a rich and rustic fashion.
In a historical neighborhood in northern Michigan, Maria Marcusse and her husband Karl have spent the last three years living in a darling 4,000-square-foot Victorian.
It was built for a lumber baron over a century ago, back when the logging industry drove the local economy. “There are several other houses like ours here that have a similar history; our town has done a great job in preserving them,” Maria says. “When we saw our home go up for sale, we were compelled to buy it due to its rich history and beautiful vintage features!”
Once they acquired their Victorian treasure, Maria set to work finding worthy pieces to fill the inside. “I want our home to have a welcoming, cozy feel for all who visit here,” she says. “Nothing [inside] really matches, per se, but it all seems to fit.”
MAKING A LIST
While she obviously has a knack for filling spaces, Maria is the first to point out that her ideas don’t come from thin air. “I find inspiration for decorating everywhere,” she says. “My mom and aunts have great decorating style, and I love peeking into their gorgeous homes for inspiration.”
Maria also thrills for decorating magazines, which have long been the best part of her grocery store trips. Her enthusiasm for the decorating world has only expanded with the rise of décor blogs—of which Maria herself has become an inspiring part. “I have become acquainted with new friends across the country and world—these women are extremely talented and I have been truly inspired by their blogs,” she says.
Once she has ideas swirling, she goes to a variety of places to find the look she needs—and to further indulge in the vintage spirit. “I love antiques shops and flea markets,” she says. “Strolling amongst the many found treasures for sale there really gets my heart pumping. You never know what you might find just around the next corner.” As an online shop curator herself, she also frequents Etsy and other online shops for even more options and bits of inspiration.
PIECE ON EARTH
The holidays feature prominently in both Maria’s blog, Rusty Hinge, and in her heart—because, in her words, “It is never too early to start planning your merry Christmas!” She offers a variety of cheery vintage pieces in her online shop in addition to the many jewels that adorn her own home during the holidays. “I actually prefer the mismatched look—and this concept carries over to my Christmas decorating,” she says. “For instance, I enjoy incorporating my vintage Christmas collections, such as vintage bottlebrush trees and Shiny Brite mercury glass ornaments.”
Since Maria’s love for Christmas persists throughout the year, it’s not surprising that she’s managed to blend her year-round décor effortlessly with her holiday adornments. “I do love incorporating existing home décor in my decorating scheme just by giving it a Christmas twist,” she says. “I add a festive holiday touch to these loved and well-worn pieces by introducing pine greens, garland, red winter berries or a small tabletop Christmas tree.”
While she makes a point to add at least a touch of Christmas magic to every space in the house, a few are particularly close to her heart. “My favorite room to decorate is our entry room with the massive, carved wood, open staircase,” she says. “Our front door opens up to our large entry space with an antique chandelier hanging from the 10-foot ceiling and the impressive staircase just beyond. I love dressing up that staircase with lights or garland each year and giving the chandelier extra sparkle with vintage sleigh bells or Shiny Brite ornaments.”
JOY TO THE WORLD
As a natural hostess, few things give Maria greater joy than sharing that special Christmastime hospitality with others. One unique way she does this is through fellow blogger Jennifer Rizzo’s annual Holiday Housewalk. This virtual Christmas home tour runs the first week of December and has gotten bigger each year, with over 30 beautifully decorated homes participating in 2016.
“I believe that sprinkling time-worn pieces throughout your home invokes a desired cozy environment.”
Maria pulls no punches when it comes to her involvement in the tour. “As summer winds down and fall approaches, I begin to think and plan my next tour and decorating strategy,” she says. “I always try to change it up and keep it fresh from year to year!”
“Keeping it fresh” is another important principle in Maria’s approach to decorating, which, combined with her willingness to mismatch her way to greatness, gives some credence to the old adage that practice makes perfect. “Looking back, I would say that my style has changed through the years, although I can’t really pinpoint or define how exactly,” she reflects. “I never really latched onto a specific style, but rather just decorate with what I love best!”
To those who would desire to follow in her decorating footsteps, Maria highly encourages a combination of intuition and openness in your approach to a space.
“If a piece speaks to me, I don’t tuck it away in the closet, but work it into a room or vignette,” she says. “I believe that sprinkling time-worn pieces throughout your home invokes a desired cozy environment. They declare that your home is used, lived in and loved!”
The large windows in the dining room invite an abundance of natural light, as well as a chance to view snowy weather from indoors. Maria adds to the indooroutdoor feel with swags of greenery adorning the room.
Left, top. While many families stick to just one central Christmas tree, Maria loves letting them pop up—in different styles and sizes—all over the house. Left, bottom. Maria mixes materials, such as glittery beads with rustic wood and vintage glass ornaments, to acheive her eclectic Victorian look.
At the base of the stairs, another cheery red quilt gives a country Christmas feel to the rustic bench that remains all year round.
Right, top. No room is left behind in Maria's Christmas decorating, and a few vintage bottlebrush trees turn her kitchen from every-day to holiday. Right, bottom. Cheery red stripes on burlap and other rough fabrics add a festive touch that feels just as country as it is Christmas.