Christmas House Tour 2015

I guess a lot of you are wondering whether or not I’ve ever got a peanut stuck up my nose.

I haven’t.  And since I don’t have children I’ve never had to take one to the doctor with a peanut stuck up their nose.  I’m not sure what it is about kids and sticking things up their noses but I can say that once they grow up, boys still like to stick things where they don’t necessarily belong.  This was proven once again when I was cleaning up to start Christmas decorating and found 14 foil easter egg wrappers smashed between the arm of the couch and the couch cushion.

The fella.

More than 2 years on the lam and I’m still finding weird things he stuck in weird places.

I should have known something was off with him when he told me in no uncertain terms that pizza toppings should be underneath the cheese.  And he was serious.

The thing about decorating the house for Christmas is for some reason I feel like I need to clean the house up first.  Clean, tidy, reorganize a bit and THEN I can start dragging the Christmas crap out to make the mess of all messes.  The sparkle-twig mess.  Once the Christmas decorating is done, I do it all over again, cleaning, tidying and vacuuming up enough sparkle and twigs to choke the Abominable Snowmonster.

Today I’m just going to take you through a casual tour of my perfectly propped and presented house at Christmas.  My house does not look like it does in these photos anymore.  There’s currently a mess of gingerbread making stuff in the kitchen (for an upcoming post), the wine is gone and there’s a smashed tree ornament in the front hall under the tree.

But for the most part this is what my house looks like at Christmas. Just a little more lived in.  Because I’m living in it and all.

Welcome to my home.


The bedroom high boy.


Guess what  These are original pine floors from 1840.

Guess what again?  I’m probably going to spend my time off at Christmas sanding all of the floors in my house down to raw wood.



Ernie, is unlikely to help me with the floor sanding task.  Apparently.

BRAND new white Rough Linen duvet cover.  This is the article that pushed me over the edge in terms of wanting to sand down my floors to raw, unfinished wood.




The living room.  The DIY snowglobes on an antique silver tray light up the room at night.



The cozy spot. Excellent for reading, snacking or general nesting.



Those cute toast coasters.




Big, HUGE, puffy garland is back in style, but i still like my sparse stuff.  Plus it takes up way less room in small spaces.



Every single thing you see her was either used or discount.

This entire area cost a total of $150. Including dresser, stocking, lamp, and gold foo dogs.

Decorating doesn’t always require a lot of money.  Sometimes just some patience waiting for the right thing at the right price.



That white nutcracker however was $742.  Just kidding.  Like $10 or something.



The front hall is where the live tree goes every year. This year I went for a skinny, very, very sparse tree because I wanted it to look as natural as possible. It has holes in it and is kind of sickly looking.

I love it.



I’ve been collecting (and breaking) ornaments for years now.



The entire tree is decorated with them.


Some have even come from readers who weren’t as in love with antique ornaments as I am or whose house didn’t suit having them on their tree.



Antique timber wood bench.  Discount store fawn.

My old custom made field boots for horseback riding.  Sadly they were custom made for someone else so they were always a little bit big on me.



If there’s one thing I could leave up all year long it would be this tree.




Downton Abbey meets Duck Dynasty on the dining room table.




This gold tree is the second thing I’d leave out all year long.



Paperwhites.  You love the smell of them or you hate the smell of them.

I love the smell.

My niece things they smell like own vomit.



Christmas doesn’t necessarily have to completely sparkle and shine.  But a little bit is good even if it’s just wine glasses.




I still love my kitchen.



Which is a good thing since I spend most of my time in this room.

Those curtains you see under the counter are Rough Linen. In the winter I put them up and in the summer I take them down.



Yeah, I bought those two oranges with the leaves just for the photo.

You should too.  Even if you aren’t taking a photo of your kitchen, a couple of oranges with leaves have as much homey, Christmas impact as any doo dad accessory (provided you set them right beside two supercool Christmassy doo dads)



Several photos later and I still love my kitchen.



This truck was a Christmas present for myself a couple of years ago.

You know how sometimes you know you like something but have no idea how much you really love it until you get it home?  And for 2 years straight you say I’m so HAPPY I bought that!  This truck is one of those things.



Yup. It’s Christmas.

In Wednesday’s post I’m going to walk you through some of these photos and give you all the tips and tricks I have for decorating for Christmas or Hanukkah.  It’s the one season where everyone can be an expert decorator.  It’s very difficult to screw up Christmas decorating.  Because unlike with men, at Christmas you can almost stick anything anywhere and have it be O.K.


  1. maggie van sickle says:

    My little Grandson says pizza toppings first and then cheese. Maybe the fella had a point. Just sayin Karen and by the way love the simplicity of your decorating. Elegant and simple,
    my kind of stuff.

  2. Thera says:

    Beautiful! I love all of it! Can I move in please? Or at least visit?

    As for men I have a hubby, a 15 yr old male and a 17 yr old male, weird stuff is stuffed everywhere here, until I find it.
    Socks, wrappers, kleenex, dried shriveled baby carrots, you name it I have probably come across it in my house.
    Now in all fairness the 13 yr old female is a slob too, however, she leaves all her stuff all around but in obvious-middle-of-the-floor-hall-stairs-bathroom piles.

    I am a Virgo and they are slowly killing me, help please lol.

  3. Carol says:

    Two years isn’t bad on finding those Easter egg wrappers………….it took me almost 10 years to find a decorated Easter egg that was hidden in a wreath hanging on an inside door……….never even had an odor………found it when moving……….

  4. dede says:

    When my daughter was two, she piped up at the dinner table and said, “peas hurt”. It took three adults to hold her down while I went up her nose with a hemostat. It was so funny. Why do people put things where they don’t belong?
    I’m glad you owned up to your house being perfect only for the pix. I might get depressed if I thought it looked so beautiful all the time.
    Leave those floors alone and go on a beach holiday instead. What the hell.

  5. Karin says:

    Love the whole house, but those floors were the first thing to catch my eye! And, hate to say it, but Ernie doesn’t look like he’s likely to help you with anything at all – not the floor sanding, not the dishes or the laundry, nothing. I suppose it’s all about Ernie? I know that’s how my cat, Louise, feels about things. It’s all about Louise. Happy Holidays!

  6. Leisa says:

    Beautiful job! It looks very magical and inviting!!!

  7. Korrine Johnson says:

    Absolutely dreamy…

  8. laura says:

    Love your style. I wish you and thee fella were still together. Videos and posts were hilarious.

  9. Heather says:

    who drank the wine?

  10. marilyn says:

    i can’t believe it took you two years to find those easter egg wrappers!

  11. Rachel says:

    Do you know what Adam did with the Apple core after he was done eating it? Stashed it in a rose bush hoping God wouldn’t see it. He then went off to swing on a vine with one of his animal pals he hadn’t thought of a name yet because why rush when you’re immortal, right? Plus the Knowledge part hadn’t taken effect yet as compared to Eve so he had a little play time left. You know what Eve did with her core? Found a little spot to call her own and tried planting all the seeds to yield 4 more trees. You’ve made your own gorgeous beautiful Garden of a home for yourself just the way you like it, don’t let Fellas stash crap in it and go off to swing on vines.
    Love your kitchen walls by the way! ;)

  12. jainegayer says:

    I LOVE it!

  13. Su says:

    It’s lovely…. I still love the wall of art…

  14. Tigersmom says:

    I still love that gold tree. I have never found it’s equal, though I have looked.

    And you are right about paper whites. I love them and my husband thinks they are nasty.

  15. Leslie Zuroski says:

    Beautiful tour, tanks Karen! I don’t remember seeing the white credenza in the dining room before. Is it new? Is there a post about it? I’m so curious about that.

  16. Rose says:

    You are a magic maker!

  17. Rose says:

    Wow, your house looks amazing. Please keep us updated on the steps you take to redo your beautiful floors. Also, there is a big crack in your stump table. Was it always there or did it dry out. What finish did you put on it?

  18. magali says:

    I was already envious of your rolling pin wall and now you have made me love it even more! One day I will have a mini version of that :)

  19. Jody Boswell says:

    Some houses make you wish you could move right in. Yours is definitely one for me. You make my day and encourage my “I can do that” part of my brain. Thanks for being so great.

  20. Emie says:

    LOVELY! The front hallway tree is the best!!!

  21. Ronda says:

    the whole house is gorgeous, but I’m especially entranced by the cake stands on the kitchen island, with their bird topped covers! Christie??

  22. Cheryl says:

    Hey, I know those tea towels. I wrapped my mother’s Christmas gifts in them.

    • Cheryl says:

      And I forgot the second thing I was going to say, which is that I would totally leave my tree up all year if I had room. I love all the tiny lights.

    • Karen says:

      Ha! I just bought them! They were on sale. Woo hoo! Sometimes all it takes is a tea towel to make things festive. :) ~ karen!

  23. Sandra Lea says:

    I love the sparse, skinny tree. They do look more natural and they show off all your ornaments much better than a full tree.

  24. Bols says:

    See, and I actually wanted a more sparse tree this year. But since every year I buy a tree of the smallest category (I like 5′ but it usually is 6.5′ or 6′) at Home Depot, the choice is limited. Either the trees are tightly wrapped in a mesh making it impossible to guess or the few non-meshed ones are as close to perfection as possible (in a year when I want a sparse one). So my tree is rather fluffy and so far, it only has lights on it.

    I have 3 strings of lights (clear incandescent ones) that I have been using on my Xmas trees for years. They go on the tree in the same order each year because the top string has the plug on one end only which makes it perfect for running the lights up the tip. Anyway, lights were put on the tree and I noticed that my tree is fashionably ombre. The lights on the top string were rather white, those on the middle string the usual warm white while the bottom string ones are getting a bit amber-y. As I said, I have them all for at least 10 years. Sitting on the couch, I noticed that there is gap in the lights near the top and I stood up to rearrange the lights a bit I noticed that 3 lights in sequence are dead. As I put up my hand to move the string a bit, the side of my hand accidentally touched one of the lit bulbs and it burned my hand. It was like when you accidentally touch a hot frying pan, I jerked my hand away before I could even realize what happened. By that time the bulbs on the top string shone so bright the living room was like a lunapark. I realized the top string is a goner and I left it on the tree for the rest of the evening and then it went into trash.

    On Friday night I hit the stores to find a replacement. And this was when I found out that the majority of Christmas lights were recalled due to a fire hazard and there are no lights to be had in the whole city except for some outdoors huge clunky ugly LED ones.

    • Karen says:

      As soon as I read that your lights were “ombre” I wanted to email you immediately to say take the lights down! Hopefully the stores will get more in before the end of the season. ~ karen!

  25. Jacquie says:

    If you put cheese over the toppings on pizza, they don’t fall off when you’re eating it so sounds crazy at first but actually makes sense. Not that I’m crediting the fella with that of course :-)

  26. Ruth says:

    Considering this is the first in 2 years you have cleaned your place, you did an excellent job. ;D

    I still love your rolling pin collection. :)

  27. Catherine says:

    Soooo pretty and welcoming. Love all your decorations and all the natural bits and bobs.

  28. Sherry in Alaska says:

    Beautiful. But I’ve told you before how much I admire your home. My envy, though, is reserved for those beautiful old floors. The patina is so rich and golden. Please consider how much work it’s gonna take to sand them down and how you have so many better things to do with all those grueling hours of hard labor. Preserve the floors! Maybe I should start a campaign? Save K B’s Floors! (I recently read a post where dried out, splintery Thonet chairs were saved by apply paste wax to harden them and seal splintery spots.) Just saying…. I don’t think raw floors are going to be an improvement.
    And that’s my two cents worth!
    Merry Christmas!

    • Karen says:

      Yes, they really are Sherry, lol. It’ll take some figuring out but it’ll be better. These floors are far too dark the finish is scratched off in most places. They were sanded and refinished 15 years ago, so it isn’t like it’s never been done before. It just seems to frighten people. :) ~ karen!

    • shirley says:

      I agree with Alaska. Leave the floors alone. The only thing worse than good is better.

  29. Marna says:

    Just wonderful! :)

  30. Julia (mumo3kids) says:

    Your sparse sickly bendy tree looks a little Dr Suess-ey to me (a good thing IMO)… Without a Grinch in sight!
    Lovely decs Karen, not a bum note anywhere… I’m definitely going to try to emulate the over cupboard door wreaths – the kitchen needs them. Are they on door hangers, or have you fashioned something yourself?
    I’d better get in that loft and start hauling..

  31. Ardith says:

    You had me at the last photo, big time, Karen. All your Christmas decorating is festive, wonderful, lovely. That one wall is just so rustically impressive. I have wall envy now. I’ve never had wall envy before. I have no coping skills for it. Cheers, Ardith

  32. Deb says:

    I look forward to all of your posts however Christmas time house is my favorite, followed by summer front yard garden. I wish I could decorate 1/2 as well as you do!
    Happy Hoildays!

  33. Gillian says:

    LOVE your floors. They are A.M.A.Zing!! What will you do once you’ve sanded them down?

    The gold tree could totally be a year round holiday type tree. Think of the seasonal decorations and such you could put on it! …or leave it naked. It’s beautiful.

    • Karen says:

      I’m not sure yet Gillian. I’m working on that. I was going to leave them completely raw actually but instead of looking beautiful they just look unfinished, lol. It’s a struggle because pine (which my floors are) is VERY soft and pull a lot of orange when you put any coating of anything on them. Last night I experimented with beeswax/mineral oil hoping it wouldn’t pull the orange but it did. :( ~ karen!

      • Sylvia says:

        Hey. Have you tried a water based poly? Goes on milky, but dries clear. Best part, no orange!

        • Karen says:

          I’m going out to buy some of it today actually Sylvia to test it. The thing with pine though, is no matter what you put on it, even just water, it brings up all the natural colour of the wood which is yellow/orange. ~ karen!

        • Karin says:

          Would a light coat of whitewash counteract the orange? Just thinking out loud… I’m sure whatever you do will be amazing as always!

        • jacqueline says:

          My mom found pine under multiple layers of linoleum kitchen flooring in our 1920s house when I was a kid. Wanting a neutral/non-orange look for the refinished end-product, she did something akin to this:
          The floors still look beautiful today! If you go for a method like this, I think you actually can counteract the dreaded yellow/orange hue (which I’m not fond of, either, in flooring).
          :) Just grazing the surface of Google, but perhaps this will help!

      • Suzanne says:

        Have you tested tung oil? Pure, only. My go to finish for everything wood. Best about it, when you get a worn spot, just put a bit more on, no resanding. And non toxic! May not yellow out, brings out the red in pine.

  34. Grammy says:

    As usual, I love every bit of your house, and your Christmas decorating. Beautiful. But again I am reminded that with my husband (a set-in-his-ways old man who drops everything wherever he stops using it), an 8-month old puppy who thinks full speed ahead is the proper way to navigate life and that there is NOTHING that is not to be eaten (or, at the very least, sampled), and a six-year-old grandson who is here every day for several hours after school, I just can’t have nice things. Except the wine glasses — I have exactly the same wine glasses that you have! I’ll drink to that.

  35. Laurie says:

    LOVE your house. It’ so warm and inviting. It was obviously arranged by a creative clever mind. It makes me wish for a house. I live in a studio apartment so space is limited. My Christmas tree is a vintage 14″ beaded tree that’s been in my family for decades. Anyway thanks so much for posting all these photos!

  36. MissChrisSA says:

    All I can say is WOW!
    Really looks stunning and I love the pine foliage that hangs and drapes everywhere.
    I have been considering attacking the pine trees (in the middle of summer here!!) at our Country Club for some decor for our home.

    I am yet to do any Christmas decor – best get my “a” into gear fast!!!

  37. Kath says:

    Underneath the cheese?
    UNDERneath the cheese?
    Underneath the CHEESE?

    You know, this sort of…what shall we call it?…aberration?…is what’s known as a strong indicator.
    Congratulations. You dodged one bad bullet.

  38. Steph says:

    Love your house, so many treasures, fab Christmas decorations too, just beautiful.
    It’s 40deg C here today in Oz, so Christmas seems back to front, it’s all summer holidays, swimming & barbecues even though most people still have the traditional decorations & food.
    Pity the fella didn’t stuff $100 bills into the sofa & other weird places around the house, now that would be a nice surprise!!
    Thanks for sharing so generously with us.

  39. Sandi says:

    Your gold tree is gorgeous. Your house looks wonderful. The plank floors look great as is.
    Your niece is right, paper whites do smell like vomit. I covet everything but the paper whites. You may keep those.

  40. Ellen says:

    Should the fella show up…..offer him a piece of toast….haha!!

  41. Kathleen says:

    Absolutely beautiful. I need to get a move on… I am so far behind that it will be Easter before I am ready for Christmas!

  42. Paula says:

    I love your highboy dresser, in fact; I am secretly (not so much anymore) coveting all of your possessions. :)
    Beautiful home and decorating job.

  43. Tracie Berry says:

    Ahhh…I love absolutely everything about this year’s Christmas decorating. It would take too long to comment on all my favorites…but I’m still kind of freaked out about that pig’s head. How long does it take you to finish everything? I am such a slow ass…

  44. Kat says:

    Your house is stunning but I wish I hadn’t seen all those photos as I found myself dissecting every nook and cranny in your house. I finally had to give my head a shake when I was actually trying to see what was in your fridge, before that I was trying to see if you had dirt in those cracks between the floor boards in your bedroom. They are beautiful floor boards by the way. I stopped now and went back to the top so I could just enjoy your beautiful house tour. Thanks for sharing and can’t wait till Wednesday.

  45. Robin says:

    I love love love your house!!! And I had to laugh about the finding the wrappers from the ex. That will be my son in twenty five years. When he was 3 or so, I would find stock piles of shriveled up baby carrots behind the couch, the dresser, the shelf……

    Merry Christmas – can’t wait for the detailed decorating instructions – I need inspiration/help!

  46. Sylvia says:

    Beautiful…I LOVE YOUR HOUSE…especially those plank floors.

  47. Tiredoldwoman says:

    I love your house especially the soft green dresser and the old truck !
    You’ve mentioned ‘ the fella’ a lot recently – has the autumn and now the run up to Christmas made you think about the good times and wish things had been better ? It does it to me every year !

    • Karen says:

      Hell no, lol! No, I just don’t refrain from mentioning him. I couldn’t! He was a huge part of my life regardless of how things turned out. But I totally get that the holidays are really, really hard for most people to push past the melancholy. ~ karen!

  48. Cynthia Jones says:

    You are hereby given Official Permission to leave that gold tree out all year. So want that discount fawn. I remember last year spending hours on the net after seeing another furry fawn of yours. I never did get one.

    I love your old truck. I have never seen a cream or white one.

    I cant decide whether to do my car up this year. Usually I squash a stuffed reindeer on the bonnet and shove a stuffed santa in the middle of the wiper blades and use red ribbon as reins. It makes everyone smile as I drive around.

    I also squash a white rabbit face-first against the grill at Easter time. I think it’s hilarious.

    I’m with the fella on topping belonging under the cheese. It’s a ‘holding in place” thing. Though anyone who has the audacity to shove their wrappers down the couch has no right to be spruking the rules about anything to anyone.

    PS See how I did not put capitals on his name. I’m still pissed with him. He ain’t getting no special treatment from me.

    Now I really want to share a picture of my table tableaux. I have a gold glass tree under my glass dome and a tiny celluloid antique fawn. You’d love it.

  49. Rosemary says:

    Love the gold tree (well I love it all but it’s the tree I’m writing about right now). Sans the glass balls it doesn’t look all that Christmassy and could stay up all year round.

    • Ann Brookens says:

      Exactly! Decorate it with snowflakes or hearts or Easter eggs or flowers or fall leaves or…or even nothing at all!

      • Ron Jones says:

        To say your taste ran to the eclectic would be an understatement of the most extreme kind. Think your whole effort is terrific. Candy wrappings shoved down between the cushions certainly seems a bit juvenile, but was it enough to forgo the comfort of a partner beside you when the winter storm is rattling your windows and the wind is screaming around the corners outdoors?
        No one as yet had mentioned the chair beside the highboy or your wonderfull hall mirror.
        Under your DIY for making snow globes you suggested putting boobies in them might not be considered Christmassy enough. I would suggest placing mistletoe above them in the globe. That would certainly add to my Christmas spirit, but then I’m male. Of course you are say you.

  50. Bronwyn says:

    Those floorboards….!

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