Short days and chilly tem­per­a­tures don’t seem harsh in this decked out abode

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How much does de­signer Denise Ash­more love the hol­i­days? “Let’s just say that, when this house was be­ing built, I had ex­tra square footage added to the liv­ing room to make sure I had enough room for a big tree!” says the prin­ci­pal of Pro­jec­tTwen­tyT­woDe­sign. “Hey, when you’re a de­signer, you think about th­ese things.”

It’s no won­der, then, that when win­ter rolls around, her 2,820-square-foot four-bed­room Van­cou­ver home takes on a spec­tac­u­lar hol­i­day glow the whole fam­ily – which in­cludes hus­band Paul Rapp and their two teenaged kids, Owen, 16, and Aida, 14 – helps de­liver. “We don’t use Christ­mas colours; we just put twin­kling lights ev­ery­where, in­doors and out,” says Denise. “The house be­comes a big box of light.” In­deed, the Ash­more-Rapp clan adorns ev­ery sin­gle room, bed­rooms and bath­rooms in­cluded, with sym­bols of the sea­son.

Though the fam­ily goes all out come the hol­i­days, the look isn’t over-the-top glitzy. It’s warm, nat­u­ral and re­laxed, with sub­tle Scandi-chic nods that per­fectly ac­cent the home’s mod­ern ar­chi­tec­ture. In fact, the flour­ishes are so well suited to this space that the home re­mains dec­o­rated this way right through to the end of Jan­uary. “For our fam­ily, this is a cel­e­bra­tion of win­ter, not just Christ­mas Day,” says Denise. And with stylish de­tails like th­ese, it’s no sur­prise she’s happy to live with this look all sea­son long.


An over­sized wreath made of cedar and eu­ca­lyp­tus im­parts a warm hol­i­day wel­come along­side a stack of kraft pa­per-wrapped presents, a cozy faux sheep­skin throw and snow­shoes. “Not that we ever use them,” says Denise with a laugh. “But they’re a quin­tes­sen­tial sym­bol of win­ter and make for great sea­sonal decor.” DE­SIGN, Pro­jec­tTwen­tyT­woDe­sign, projec­t22de­; AR­CHI­TEC­TURE, Mea­sured Ar­chi­tec­ture; Iron Moun­tain 2134-30 AC­CENT WALL PAINT, Ben­jamin Moore; WREATH, GAR­LAND, The Flower Fac­tory.


Denise fash­ioned a fes­tive for­est in the liv­ing room with three tall slim trees of var­ied heights adorned with three to five sets of string lights. “Light­ing is like mu­sic. It sets a mood,” she says. Calm OC-22 WALL PAINT (through­out), Ben­jamin Moore; SEC­TIONAL, FLOOR LAMP, wooden CHAIR, In­form In­te­ri­ors; grey TOSS CUSH­ION, Pro­vide; RUG, Salari Fine Car­pet Col­lec­tions; TREES, Hunters Gar­den Cen­tre; STRING LIGHTS, BURLAP (used as tree skirt), Ker­ris­dale Lum­ber; grey star TREE BASE, Van­cou­ver Spe­cial.


With a kit in­clud­ing brown pa­per bags, twine, washi tape, date stick­ers and a dowel, Denise made a sim­ple and stylish Ad­vent cal­en­dar for ev­ery fam­ily mem­ber. AD­VENT CAL­EN­DAR KIT, Forbs and Clover.


“Hot co­coa with Bai­leys Ir­ish Cream and a tiny gift mark a quiet Christ­mas Eve be­fore rau­cous gift open­ing the fol­low­ing morn­ing,” says Denise.


A sea­sonal chan­de­lier was cre­ated from a wil­low branch wrapped with mag­no­lia and eu­ca­lyp­tus sprays. Bat­tery-op­er­ated LED lights are hid­den among the sprigs. “It gives off such a pretty glow,” says Denise.


The linen table­cloth, sim­ple dish­ware and monochro­matic pal­ette echo the ca­sual Scandi-chic warmth through­out the house and let the fo­cus fall on the food. Brass flat­ware of­fers a hint of glam.


Clas­sic Wish­bone chairs win­ter­ized with faux sheep­skins am­plify the din­ing room’s cozy feel. TABLE­CLOTH, NAP­KINS, PLATES, BOWLS, MUGS, PITCHER, CAN­DLE­STICKS, TA­PERS, WINEGLASSES, wooden BOWL, Pro­vide; TA­BLE LAMP (on side­board), Bocci; DRINK TRAY & GLASSES, Van­cou­ver Spe­cial; GREEN­ERY AR­RANGE­MENT, The Flower Fac­tory.


Fresh herbs, such as sage, rose­mary and thyme, are strung into fes­tive gar­lands with butcher twine. Their leaves can be eas­ily snipped for culi­nary use through­out win­ter.


A ginger­bread cookie “town” nes­tled in a glass can­is­ter filled with ic­ing sugar makes for a snowy cookie dis­play that also keeps the good­ies fresh. Else­where, cook­ies are nes­tled in brass-toned bowls for easy grab­bing and a deca­dent gin­ger cake cel­e­brates this sea­son of in­dul­gence.


Win­ter bak­ing is in swing all sea­son long in the open kitchen. Wal­nut stools are per­fect for com­pany to draw up to the is­land and help the hosts make treats. “When peo­ple drop by, they just join in on the fun,” says Denise. PERIME­TER COUN­TER­TOP & BACK­SPLASH, Cae­sar­stone Canada; IS­LAND COUN­TER­TOP, Bordignon Mar­ble & Gran­ite; COOK­TOP, WALL OVEN, RANGE HOOD, Mid­land Ap­pli­ance; STOOLS, Full­house Mod­ern; Al­lies ART­WORK by Ray Marasi­gan, Marasi­gan De­sign; CAKE STAND, SERV­ING BOWLS, Ker­ris­dale Lum­ber.

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