A little rustic, a little resplendent, this sophisticated holiday home in Connecticut blends casual elements of farmhouse decor with touches of the glamorous look.
Kim Jacovich and her three sisters had decades’ worth of fond memories of celebrating the holidays in their childhood home in Waterbury, Connecticut. When their mother was widowed and planned to sell the home, Kim stepped in and purchased the 1916 Colonial. Several years later, after their mother’s passing, Kim decided to carry on the holiday tradition for her own children, siblings and their spouses, and her nieces and nephews, creating a beacon of welcome for family members to gather, relax and make new memories.
The home, in a neighborhood dubbed White City for its snow-hued, single-family homes built in the early to mid-1900s by Scovill Manufacturing (which furnished its employees with houses in exchange for lower wages), needed a variety of updates. In addition to taking down a wall between the living room and dining room to open the space, Kim and her husband, Paul, replaced the dated wall-to-wall carpeting in the hall, living room and dining room with hand-scraped wide-plank Saratoga hickory flooring, and premium vinyl tile in the kitchen and bathrooms. They also repainted extensively, sticking mainly with neutrals like white and alabaster to lighten up the small space and make it appear larger. ABOVE The Christmas tree is always generously decorated, thanks to a collection of ornaments Kim amassed during road trips with her husband and children over the years. The tree skirt was her first attempt at a chunky knit throw. “I hadn’t made one before, so there are some dropped stitches,” she says. “I lined the bucket of the tree with it. I like that it gives it a softer look.”
In keeping with the home’s historic charm, they installed a subdued toile wallpaper in the living room and a bolder hunt- style pattern in the kitchen. “I love wallpaper,” Kim says. “It’s timeless. And if we end up getting tired of it, we’re not afraid to take it down and start again.”
The neutral theme, which extends to Kim’s furniture and many of her rugs and accessories, serves as the ideal backdrop for her diverse collection of holiday decor. Each year, Kim surveys her items and decides what to reuse and when to make additions. “I love decorating on a budget,” she says. “I bring out certain sentimental things every year and then remix the rest with smaller purchases.” Her favorite sources for new, budget holiday purchases include Joann Fabric and Craft Stores, Michaels, and Hobby Lobby.
The effect is homey and welcoming, with a distinct nod to a not-too- distant past. Kim says, “I always try to make sure everything feels comfortable and easy, and not cluttered. For this year, I wanted the feeling of an English cottage Christmas— simple, homemade, cozy, authentic.”
“I love decorating on a budget. I bring out certain sentimental things every year and then remix the rest with smaller purchases.”
“I wanted the feeling of an English cottage Christmas— simple, homemade, cozy, authentic.”
“I always try to make sure everything feels comfortable and easy, and not cluttered.”
LEFT In order to ensure that every guest has a place to sit while opening gifts, Kim switched out the traditional coffee table for a linen-look, nailhead-trim bench and added several small stools, including a fuzzy, flokati-inspired version. The crate on the bench serves multiple purposes throughout the year; during the holidays, it showcases several decorations, including a Santa statue given to Kim by her son.
ABOVE The walnut dresser with crystal knobs, which has been in Kim’s husband’s family for generations, dates to the 1920s. On top, she arranged painted metal deer and a sleigh that have been in her collection for 25 years. On the wall above, a reproduction mining crate displays more garland and a small grapevine wreath.
ABOVE In one corner of the living room, a painted rocking horse and turned-wood table lamp form a country counterpoint to the geometric vase. The sign leaning against the wall is actually a window salvaged from a 1920s Colonial; Kim added the stickers. OPPOSITE “I love the tufted look,” says Kim of these gray curved-back chairs. The drop-leaf table was originally earmarked for the kitchen, but it was too large for the space. She uses it here to spotlight a three-tiered wooden tray bedecked with several of her holiday favorites, including the tiny rocking horse on top. The piano stool is a vintage piece salvaged from her sister’s nearby fixer-upper.
LEFT Kim’s parents’ memory remains very much alive in the home, including in this corner, where books from her mother’s schoolgirl years have been wrapped with twine to form a mini stage for faux greenery and berries as well as a sweet ceramic bird that was given to Kim by a friend.
ABOVE A cloche houses a gold- banded candle topped with faux greenery and holly berries. To keep it from looking overly styled, Kim allowed the greenery to trail out from under the glass. The handmade ceramic tag makes appearances throughout the house during the holidays.
For the dining room, Kim painted a reproduction Duncan Phyfe table from a local antiques store white. She contrasted it with deep brown ladder-back chairs and a candelabra chandelier. Over the windows, she hung a white yarn wreath and a string of yarn balls with a burlap swag. “The burlap gives the white decorations a little more dimension,” she says.
A single ornament tied with a ribbon makes a simple yet chic chair decoration.
ABOVE “In a small home, storage is limited,” Kim says. “But I have baskets and trays I want to display.” She mounted this tray on the wall and often displays different items inside it. For the holidays, she chose a frosted artificial garland with pinecones and a gracefully draped bow of white-and-silver ribbon.
LEFT Cloches are one of Kim’s favorite elements for showcasing little holiday vignettes. This rope-topped version houses an icy beaded wreath and a mini burlap- wrapped conifer.
ABOVE Every year, as a little welcome gift for each guest, Kim buys ornaments and ties them to the dining chairs with pretty ribbon. “It’s nice to see them incorporate the ornaments into their own homes later,” she says.
LEFT Kim’s holiday tablescape is a woodsy twist on the Christmas village. First, she placed a frosted artificial garland along the length of the table in a sinuous shape. Then, she filled in with bottle- brush trees, antiqued bronze bells, votive candles in clear glass holders, and brass taper candleholders that have been in her family for many years. The centerpiece is composed of a metal stand, glittery twig wreath and oversize three-wick candle.
Bottle- brush trees come in all different heights.