The Magic of the Sea­son

With a lit­tle plan­ning and plenty of en­vi­sion­ing through­out the year, a Penn­syl­va­nia home­owner trans­forms her dwelling into a dreamy hol­i­day set­ting.

Country Sampler Holiday Homes December 2018 - - Inside - Pho­tographed by GRIDLEY + GRAVES. Writ­ten by CARUTH STU­DIO.

With a lit­tle plan­ning and plenty of en­vi­sion­ing through­out the year, a Penn­syl­va­nia home­owner trans­forms her dwelling into a dreamy hol­i­day set­ting.

Tammy Damore’s love of Christ­mas is pretty clear—boxes and bins stor­ing hol­i­day dec­o­ra­tions fill the base­ment in the 1904 Vic­to­rian farm­house in Pottsville, Penn­syl­va­nia, that she shares with Michael, her hus­band of 32 years. Ev­ery win­ter, this blog­ger and In­sta­gram star (fol­low her at Tam­my­ and @thecul­ti­vat­ed­home) be­gins plan­ning the next year’s look, start­ing with a base of fa­mil­iar or­na­ments, gar­land and trees. “I come from a re­tail back­ground and worked as a buyer for many years in the home decor in­dus­try,” she says. “So, back then, I was buy­ing Christ­mas in Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary. I se­ri­ously do start plan­ning next year dur­ing the cur­rent Christ­mas sea­son. There is so much in the stores at the hol­i­days that I usu­ally get in­spired by some­thing I see and start tak­ing notes.”

Mer­cury-glass and vin­tage glass or­na­ments and can­dle­sticks are her go-to fa­vorites that she builds on each sea­son. Sil­ver, gold and glass shim­mer on man­tels, ar­moires, hutches and table­tops. “I change my decor from year to year in one sense, but us­ing the same items. I may use dif­fer­ent col­ors as an ac­cent, ei­ther on a tree or in a bowl, or what­ever,” Tammy says. “I try to add a lit­tle new so my col­lec­tion LEFT In Tammy Damore’s liv­ing room, a flocked tree near the fire­place is dressed in the same dec­o­ra­tions as a larger tree on the op­po­site side of the room. The gilded mir­ror and sconces mimic the gold or­na­ments, while the warm tones of the wooden horse pop against the black fire­box. The deer pil­low is re­versible, with fur on the back, so it’s flipped around for the rest of the year. “The fur stool is all about the de­tails—the tex­ture, the shine, the lit­tle things,” Tammy says.

is al­ways fresh.” One to three trees fea­ture in her an­nual plans, but they may ap­pear in var­i­ous parts of the house. This year, two trees stand in the liv­ing room—one by the front door and an­other near the fire­place—and one stands in the fam­ily room.

Tammy also puts her fa­vorite col­lec­tions to good use. Vin­tage mir­rors, some­times in group­ings, re­flect the hol­i­day scene and bounce light around ev­ery room. Stately ar­moires, a painted sec­re­tary and a kitchen hutch pro­vide back­drops for gar­lands and vi­gnettes of hol­i­day or­na­ments and fig­urines. “I have al­ways dec­o­rated ex­ten­sively for Christ­mas,” she says. “I like to see the house trans­formed.”

When plan­ning her hol­i­day decor, Tammy al­ways ad­heres to her per­sonal style. Her over­all pal­ette is awash in neu­tral hues, and she stays within that range for her sea­sonal em­bel­lish­ments. This light ap­proach en­hances, rather than over­whelms, the de­sign of her home. “My dec­o­rat­ing style is a mix of old Euro­pean in­flu­ences and mod­ern touches—some­where in the mid­dle is what makes my heart sing.”

“I CHANGE MY DECOR from year to year in one sense. I try to add a lit­tle new so my col­lec­tion is al­ways fresh.”

“My dec­o­rat­ing style is a mix of old Euro­pean in­flu­ences and mod­ern touches— SOME­WHERE IN THE MID­DLE IS WHAT MAKES MY HEART SING.”

BE­LOW An em­pire dresser sup­ports an ele­gant group­ing of tree-filled sil­ver-plate tro­phies and mer­cury-glass trees. An African feather hat pro­vides fluffy di­men­sion above.

LEFT In the liv­ing room, the main tree by the front door is wreathed in wired gold rib­bon. Mer­cury- glass and vin­tage sil­ver and gold or­na­ments found over many years dance among ball gar­lands. Tammy varies the color pal­ette of ad­di­tional el­e­ments from year to year. Glass cloches on the ta­ble en­case a sparkling se­lec­tion from her Christ­mas tree col­lec­tion.

ABOVE A large and or­nate mir­ror sup­ports a gar­land that matches the room’s decor. A bur­gundy pil­low an­chors a fa­vorite throw on the black vel­vet chair.

LEFT A tall tin­sel tree graces the fam­ily room. “I had my eye on this tree, but it was too ex­pen­sive be­fore the hol­i­days. So, I bought it af­ter Christ­mas at 50 per­cent off!” Tammy laughs. Vin­tage glass balls in gold and pink gleam be­tween fes­toons of white felt pom-pom gar­land.

BE­LOW Birch can­dles, small trees and a time­less sea­sonal sign adorn the man­tel. “My style is not re­ally farm­house, so when I look for sig­nage, I look for ex­am­ples that are more clean-look­ing or are dif­fer­ent in some way, like this 3D sign,” Tammy says. Mer­cury-glass lights and sil­ver beaded gar­land com­plete the man­tel vi­gnette.

ABOVE “This is the room we live in, so it’s a lit­tle bit more re­laxed,” Tammy says of the fam­ily room. A man­tel she and Michael made hangs over a vin­tage fire­place sur­round, while mod­ern ta­bles serve in front of a leather sofa. Tammy loves to mix high and low, vin­tage and mod­ern. “That’s what makes it uniquely mine,” she says.

RIGHT Ruf­fled linen table­cloths bring el­e­gance and flair to a sim­ple farm ta­ble in the din­ing room. The stun­ning ar­moire is one of two pur­chased at auc­tion af­ter decades of search­ing for the right piece.

ABOVE Snowy glass trees fill a mer­cury- glass bowl from one of Tammy’s fa­vored on­line sources, Love­feast­ “I love to col­lect trees—they’re the eas­i­est things to find at Christ­mas,” she says.

RIGHT The gor­geous sil­ver-plate gob­lets on the ta­ble were pur­chased at an es­tate auc­tion. The vin­tage Lenox water gob­lets were an ac­ci­den­tal find when Tammy saw them in the back­ground of a photo of iron­stone her hus­band, Michael, sent from an an­tiques shop. The stun­ning Li­mo­ges china be­longed to her great-grand­mother. “Ev­ery­thing in my house has a story,” she laughs.

ABOVE A large hutch pro­vides am­ple stor­age and dis­play space in the kitchen. Tammy pur­chased the piece 37 years ago. “It was yel­low pine—not my thing— so I painted it in Paris Grey from An­nie Sloan Chalk Paint,” she ex­plains.

LEFT When she was a buyer in her twen­ties, Tammy got these signed and dated An­nalee hand­painted felt dolls. The poseable fig­urines were ex­pen­sive at the time but are now widely avail­able. “They’re not re­ally my style any­more,” Tammy says. “But, my kids ex­pect to see them, so I still put them out ev­ery year.”

ABOVE A di­men­sional du­vet cover matches the el­e­gance of the high bed­stead in the master bed­room. A side ta­ble that Tammy painted in white and gold—“it was al­most black with a crack­led fin­ish,” she says— sup­ports a flocked tree in­side a bas­ket.

ABOVE Vin­tage mir­rors fill the wall next to the bed. “I love the look of floor-to-ceil­ing mir­rors, and this was just the per­fect spot to do that,” Tammy says.

RIGHT On the other side of the bed, a wood vase sup­ports a spray of fra­grant ever­green fo­liage. The tiny green tree is a vin­tage piece.

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