Holiday Home Tour

Christmas is that one special time of year when it’s ok to just go nuts and let the holidays explode all over your walls. I never do any other type of seasonal decorating around the house; I never have the time or the desire to put up anything that’s only going to stick around a week or two. But at Christmas, I can transform any space I want into a magical realm. It takes a lot of time and effort but that’s ok, because I’ll leave up until February. Today I’d like to invite you all into my home to check out my holiday cheer.

I’m not going to lie, these photos are from last year. I did decorate the house this year, but the hope of getting everything tidied up and photographed before Christmas comes is a little too optimistic. So, even though this year’s decorations look a little different, I think you’ll get the idea. Shall we start?

EntryJust inside my front door is this little recessed nook. The first thing you might notice is that not all of my decorations are vintage. I like to use modern decorations (all of which I get after Christmas during the 90% off sales for pennies) to create some context for smaller vintage items and really set the tone in a big way. I use greenery boughs decorated with ornaments like this throughout the house  to create little vignettes. Since I have lots of vases and bowls sitting around, I like to fill them with beads and plain glass ornaments to give them a little festive umph.

Entry Wreath SideA little further inside the entryway is this floor standing planter. I built the wreath to match the other greenery. I like to work within curated color palettes in my house and, although there isn’t usually much red in the hallway normally, it looks killer with blue walls during the holidays.


Several years ago when I bought this planter I envisioned live plants flourishing in it, maybe even poinsettias at Christmas. But my entryway lacks light and is cold in the winter and everything I ever tried to put here died. I eventually created this glass garden with vintage stretched glass vases. Some feathers and sprigs of greenery put a cheery spin on it.

Entry Wreath DetailYou’ll also notice a lot of birds throughout the house. I really don’t know why except they kind of look cool. Feathers and natural leaves also help pump up the artificial greenery and give it some visual weight.

Entry Landing Overall AltThe bookshelf on the landing between the first and second floors is where I display a lot of my fun vintage Christmas finds.

Entry Landing Detail 5The bright colors tie in with the look of the greenery and the bookshelf lets me build a fun environment for all of the mischievous little elves and Christmas fauna.

Entry Landing Detail 4

Entry Landing Detail 2

This is also the perfect place for displaying vintage packaging without having to worry about its safety.

Entry Landing Detail 3Over the years I’ve accumulated a lot of miscellaneous old bulbs from lighting sets and I’ve never known what to do with them. Last year I just threw them in a bowl and was really surprised at how great they looked.

Entry Landing Swag

I used to put greenery over windows and doorways, but last year I decided to just hang it over mirrors. The reflection creates a greater sense of depth and gives small spaces some grandeur.

Entry Landing Candles

I have vintage candleholders all over my house. I never put candles in them; I like their forms. During the holidays they make great pedestals for old light bulbs and glass ornaments.

Entry Landing Enesco DeerAn army of Enesco reindeer salt and pepper shakers and candleholders greet visitors on their way up the stairs.

Entry Landing MountThere’s truly a special place for everything.

LR Overall

At the top of the stairs is my living room. Here lies my favorite part—my Christmas tree loaded with vintage Shiny Brites and antique glass ornaments and beads.

LR Tree AltI’ve never actually counted to see exactly how many ornaments there are, suffice it to say there are a lot. There are also dozens of strings of glass beads and aluminum foil garland.

LR Tree LitThe mountain of glittering glass also looks beautiful all lit up. I’ve never been quite satisfied with the selection of Christmas lights available—especially now with harsh laser-looking LED lights taking over. I like the vintage look of larger incandescent bulbs and I was lucky to find several strings of these gold flame tip lights on clearance in the garden section of Target. They’re actually patio lights, but they look amazing on the tree.

LR Orn Detail 2The ornaments on the tree range in age from the 1890s to the 1970s. A few were passed down from relatives but the majority of them were found here and there over the past 20 or so years I’ve been collecting them. Out of all of them, this hot pink moon and stars themed ornament by Shiny Brite is my favorite.

LR Alum TreeAcross the room is an example of one of my other great holiday collections: aluminum trees. I’ve managed to find about 20 of these in sizes ranging from two feet up to seven feet. Considering these were only made for a few years, it’s amazing how many shapes and styles there are. This is one of my favorites, a four-foot Evergleam with pom-pom or fountain style branches. The spaces below trees make a great spot for displaying vintage toys. It’s the one time of year they don’t look weird laying around a childless adult’s home.

LR Lamp CornerI like to group things like these little trees together to keep the place from feeling like random individual decorations are scattered around the house.

LR CredenzaThe credenza below my TV makes another great spot for showing off weird little personified Christmas characters.

LR Credenza Detail

LR DeerAgain, a density of things helps this assortment of nonsense look a little less nonsensical.

LR Credenza Detail 2I particularly like how everyday things, like my brass owl army, take on a festive feel when you surround them with seasonal things.

LR Chandelier

Some of my favorite ideas have come from having decorations I don’t know what to do with. Sometimes when I run out of space I just look around really hard for that one last spot that can hold an ornament. These little bottle brush wreaths found a home on my ceiling fixture.

LR Landing OverallAs we leave the living room, we discover this little scene at the foot of the stairs. The color story here is completely different, complementing the paint and furniture and skewing a bit more vintage glam.

LR Landing Lady HeadsBut then what could be more glam than these lovely ladies? A few extra baubles and they’re ready for the season.

LR Landing DetailI decorate all of the greenery after it has been hung up rather than gluing it all into place. This allows me to switch it up a little each year, maybe changing the color or adding new things that I find. Craft stores and department stores are great resources for picks and ornaments. After Christmas they often cost less than a quarter each.

LR Bathroom Wreath

Even the guest bathroom gets dressed up with a wreath for the season.

LR Santa BirdThis weird ornament is still one of my favorite things. It’s Santa riding a white bird. In fairness, it’s got to be more economical to feed one giant bird than eight reindeer. Right?

2nd Floor LndngOn the landing between the second and third floors lies this menagerie.

2nd Floor Lndng CloseThe design of this area is mostly a testament to the fact that you can find Christmas ornaments in literally any color you want, even chocolate brown. The staircase has really tall walls covered with antique photographs and portraits. The brown and white decorations have a very classic feel that fits the spirit of the space.

2nd Floor Lndng DetailAnd our tour is at an end. I hope you enjoyed it. Do you have any great ideas for displaying your vintage Christmas collections or decking out your space for the holidays? We’d love to see and hear about it. Feel free to send us your pics!

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  1. Posted December 11, 2013 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    The little aluminum tree – ahhh – that’s my favorite. I also love the candleholders with the ornaments – what a a minimalist and organic way to decorate. Not to say I don’t love all the birds, feathers and the way you put things together in the rest of your house. Very much a visual treat to scroll through this and immerse myself in sentimental memories. Merry Vintage Christmas!!

    • Austin
      Posted December 23, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      Laura, I try to do a little bit of everything, so I definitely think there’s ideas for everyone from the modest to grandiose. My soul has always been split between the simplicity of modern design, the sophistication of the late Victorian era and glamour of old Hollywood. So, I just let it all happen side-by-side and see where it lands 🙂

  2. cindy
    Posted December 11, 2013 at 6:18 pm | Permalink


    • Austin
      Posted December 23, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Permalink


  3. Susie
    Posted December 14, 2013 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    Wow, too many beautiful things to comment about. Breathtaking!

    • Austin
      Posted December 23, 2013 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Susie!

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