All I Want for Christmas


Victorian Homes - - Contents - By El­iz­a­beth T. Pardo

Trans­form your dec­o­rat­ing ideas into a co­he­sive Christmas color pal­ette.

Ev­ery Christmas, home­own­ers Sally and Dan Vol­ney open their home to friends and fam­ily.

While stylish­ness is im­por­tant, what’s even more im­por­tant to the Vol­neys is cre­at­ing a warm and invit­ing Christmas look for their guests.

For other home­own­ers, it may be over­whelm­ing to try and fill the house with the right kind of cheer­ful dé­cor. The Vol­neys had help—de­signer Dawn Hearn was there to take their great ideas and trans­form them into stun­ning dé­cor. Dawn and the Vol­neys have easy-to-fol­low tips to make sure your home is ready for the hol­i­days. Be­low are six sim­ple steps to cre­ate a warm home with an invit­ing Christmas feel.


The Vol­neys had amaz­ing ideas and were brave enough to step out­side the home for dec­o­rat­ing help. Not only did they en­list Dawn’s help, but even Dawn en­listed out­side help. “We worked with Michele Chris­ten­son of Pea­cock’s Plumage in Austin, Texas,” Dawn says. “Michele helped us with the fab­ri­ca­tion of the wreaths, man­tel swags, gar­lands and bows.”

Don’t be afraid to ask friends, fam­ily mem­bers and even am­a­teur dé­cor lovers for help. See­ing your home through the eyes of oth­ers will open your Christmas look up to fresh ideas.


While get­ting a fresh per­spec­tive on your Christmas dé­cor is im­por­tant, don’t feel like you’re ob­li­gated to gut your whole house for a makeover. If you adore your ev­ery­day color pal­ette, try in­te­grat­ing it into your Christmas dé­cor. It may be just one color, or it may be the color pal­ette from a par­tic­u­larly cheer­ful and invit­ing room. Ei­ther way, you can cre­ate a unique Christmas theme that in­cor­po­rates your home’s ev­ery­day look.

Look around and see what col­ors you’re al­ready us­ing. Whites and blues cre­ate bright, airy and invit­ing in­te­ri­ors, while reds and golds make any room feel warm. “The home­own­ers like reds and golds, and th­ese col­ors were used through­out the home in the fin­ishes and fur­nish­ings,” says Dawn. “We took di­rec­tion from the rugs, fab­rics, art and up­hol­stery in each area.”

Even if you only like an ac­cent color, try us­ing it as a theme through­out your Christmas home. A sin­gle uni­fy­ing color will tie ev­ery­thing to­gether and cre­ate a more co­he­sive look.


After us­ing your own color scheme as in­spi­ra­tion, make sure your hol­i­day dé­cor matches your own tastes. Show­case and main­tain your unique per­son­al­ity in the wreaths, gar­lands and or­na­ments. High­light your dif­fer­ent sides by show­cas­ing in­di­vid­ual pieces and in­te­grat­ing those pieces with your Christmas dé­cor.

Dawn made sure that all the dif­fer­ent sides of the Vol­neys were present in the dec­o­ra­tions. “We wanted each tree and room to be dif­fer­ent and in­ter­est­ing in its own way,” Dawn says. “For ex­am­ple, the tree in the study features more mas­cu­line de­tails, like antlers and pheas­ant feath­ers.”

Show off your own style in lit­tle ways—small touches in the Christmas tree and over the fire­place man­tel, or go big with a Vic­to­rian Christmas doll or an­other in­ter­est­ing col­lectible.


Be­sides re­ly­ing on your color pal­ette and your unique decorative items, bust out col­lec­tions of Christmas pieces you al­ready own. You can place or­na­ments in dif­fer­ent ar­eas be­sides your Christmas tree to cre­ate a warm, col­lected look. Dawn used the Vol­neys’ Christo­pher Radko or­na­ment col­lec­tion for the liv­ing room Christmas tree de­sign to help keep the space per­sonal and eye-catch­ing. For a cheer­ful look through­out the en­tire house, spread your col­lec­tions apart and add them to more than just the main Christmas tree.


In­te­grat­ing your color scheme and unique dé­cor pieces can cre­ate a co­he­sive look for your Christmas de­sign, but don’t for­get to try new and dif­fer­ent styles of dec­o­ra­tion. From the in­put of friends and fam­ily, see what kind of hol­i­day whimsy you can cre­ate in more than just the liv­ing room and din­ing room. Dawn helped the Vol­neys open up dif­fer­ent spa­ces in their house to the hol­i­day spirit. “The trees in the sec­ondary spa­ces like the back en­trance hall and break­fast room are more whim­si­cal in nature and let us play with some dif­fer­ent ma­te­ri­als,” Dawn says. For that whim­si­cal look, try not only dif­fer­ent ma­te­ri­als, but col­ors, tex­tures and light­ing.


While large flour­ishes in a house make the over­all ef­fect fes­tive, don’t for­get about the more sub­tle and smaller pieces. Dawn made sure ev­ery nook and cranny was burst­ing with warmth in the Vol­ney home. “We ad­dressed many ar­eas in the home be­yond just the trees,” Dawn says. “We made sure to dec­o­rate the chan­de­liers, some of the mir­rors and the stair­case with a won­der­ful, em­bel­lished gar­land.”

Don’t be afraid to ask friends, fam­ily mem­bers and even am­a­teur dé­cor lovers for help.

Look through­out your house and see if there are any ar­eas that would ben­e­fit from a small col­lec­tion of Christmas fig­urines or gar­lands, or layer your color-co­or­di­nated dé­cor with rib­bons and or­na­ments. Th­ese small changes cre­ate a unique look for your home dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son. “This lay­er­ing of beau­ti­ful el­e­ments gives your home a warm, col­lected look,” Dawn says.


So, you’ve lis­tened to the ad­vice of friends and fam­ily, in­te­grated your ev­ery­day color pal­ette, cre­ated whimsy and worked on the lit­tle nooks and cran­nies, and now it’s time to dec­o­rate for next year. You look through your col­lec­tions and col­ors and sud­denly you think, what now?

Christmas comes ev­ery year, so don’t be afraid to mix things up from year to year. If you loved your pal­ette one year, and weren’t so in love with it later, why not start fresh? “Each year, we do things a lit­tle dif­fer­ently,” Dawn says. “We might put all of the trees up or just se­lect ar­eas, de­pend­ing on what their plans are for that par­tic­u­lar hol­i­day sea­son.”


With your hints of whimsy and per­son­al­ity on dis­play, take time to ad­mire your Christmas hand­i­work, and then in­vite friends and fam­ily over to share your space.

Left, top. Or­na­men­ta­tion is not os­ten­ta­tion. Gar­lands and wreaths strate­gi­cally placed along stair­case ban­nis­ters cre­ate a bold and fun pop of color, while keep­ing a co­he­sive and tra­di­tional Christmas look. Left, bot­tom. Mix el­e­ments to cre­ate not only...

Mix and match in pro­por­tion to cre­ate depth. Large items like your Christmas tree present am­ple op­por­tu­nity to show­case col­lec­tions of brightly-col­ored or­na­ments, fancy fab­ric rib­bons and other small pieces.

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