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. Alexandra says:

    I am reading this 6 months after the fact but I just wanted to say that I love your house! So lovely and homey! I also love your framed artwork!

  2. Robin says:

    OK…I am in LoVe with Ernie, the cozy spot chair, which I’d never get to use because either of my two gorgeous loveable fluff-ball Siberian kitties would be on it, your kitchen floor, the kitchen island and the white truck ( I have a red one very similar!) Sending warm wishes for a happy, glittery Holiday season to you from Victoria, BC!

  3. Leslie says:

    Wow Karen. I just love your house. You just have that knack for making everything look so nice and put together. I love the wood, the clean everything. Your table is lovely. I love wood and antique. Oooh and that kitchen. I too have a custom made pair of field boots that were made for someone else LOL. Someone ordered them and never picked them up. Lucky for me they fit well. Maybe that is where I know you from?? Horse stuff? You always looked so familiar to me.

    Always love your blogs. Never stop!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Leslie. Gotta love the custom made for someone else field boots, lol. I did get a custom made pair of chocolate brown suede chaps which I wish I could wear to the grocery store. Or pretty much anywhere. You probably know me from television by the way. I spent half my life hosting shows on CFMT (OMNI), HGTV, W Network etc. ~ karen!

  4. Anne says:

    Oh man, it looks wonderful. Makes me wanna plunk down on that sectional drink wine and laugh about inappropriate stories (too much?). It feels so truly welcoming – friendly, without being uptight. And your kitchen continues to dazzle, just grand.
    I love the floors now and I bet they will look even better when you are done. I have a 1930’s wee arts and crafts house and hope to do my oak floors someday with a similar rich tone.
    Truly lovely.

  5. Cussot says:

    I love the circle of glittery branches around the paperwhites to hold the stems straight – what a great idea!

  6. Diane says:

    Karen, Do you remember where you got the toast coasters? I’ve got a cute “toast rack?” that begging to set free from its cabinet more often.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Diane. I go them as a Christmas present but if you go back a few posts to my stocking stuffer ideas I’ve linked to where you can buy them on Amazon. ~ karen!

  7. Kate says:

    Stunning and inspiring–your Christmas tour is a favourite!

    The vintage tree ornaments in particular spark my interest… I’ve got my eyes on a few Kijiji treasures like these. Any advice for buying vintage ornaments? I want to invest in meaningful pieces but if I can get the right price for them that always helps…

    Also loving the garlands on your mirror and Margaret’s frame, are they real?

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Kate! I actually only ever buy my ornaments from garage sales! Once I bought a HUGE box of them from an antique show but the whole box was only $10. Great colours though. One piece of advice is even though they’re way more available around Christmas time if you buy them during the holidays you’ll also be paying top price. Keep your eyes open at flea markets and that sort of thing and do a bit of research. The Germans were the first makers of glass ornaments and those are often the most valuable. ~ karen! (p.s. my garlands are fake but I love them because they’re so realistic)

  8. Victoria says:

    It ALL looks BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!
    A tip if you are going to sand the floors down.. Unfinished floors get really dirty, really easily, I’m sure you already know that..! If you want the light color, typical Swedish pine wood floors, you have to cold clean them with såpa, many many times to build up a stain resistant beautiful light floor. It’s a liquid soap Swedes have been using for generations. Important that water is cold otherwise floors can turn green.. I think you can buy it online. Grumme is a good brand. Good Luck!!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks so much Victoria. I was looking into that a month or so ago but couldn’t find the information again! Now to find Grumme såpa in Canada, lol! ~ karen

  9. sera says:

    Honestly, there is just too much to comment on. It’s a christmas wonderland!!!
    I hate the smell of paperwhites but I love the way you decorated them with the shiny twigs! Love it!

  10. kelli says:

    Your house makes me cry, it’s so lovely, and even moreso at Christmas time! As an offshoot to TAODS you really should start your own decorating consulting service, you’d absolutely make a killing!

  11. ktr says:

    You may inspire me yet to search for my Christmas decorations. We moved and I can’t remember where I put them. Although, with a 4 year old boy running (literally running most of the time) around the house and recently throwing balls at the undecorated Christmas tree, I’m not sure putting any decorations out is a good idea!

  12. Sally says:

    Halfway through your post, I stood up, walked into my storage room, and dragged out my Christmas bins; THANK YOU! Just the inspiration I needed and it didn’t even take the whole post!

  13. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Well kid..ya did good as usual…My favorite is the real tree with vintage ornaments (though it may be a bit sparse darling) is the type of tree I love because you can show so many ornaments on it…You never disappoint my old eyes when it comes to Christmas…As for Ernie doing any type of physical labor…she is much too beautiful for that sort of thing…I wouldn’t expect much from Cleo either…she is a queen you know….Thanks for sharing your beautiful home again…I’m also sure a lot of shop owners are going to be curious as to why so many women are wondering around look for pig’s heads to hang on their walls this Christmas…

  14. Mindy says:

    I laughed out loud at the pizza comment.
    I cried out loud when I saw the wall cubby devoid of vintage ornaments.
    How do I get people to send them to ME? ;)

    • Karen says:

      Ha! O.K., well one set I had to pick up if that makes a difference. AND my niece (Bikram Yoga) emailed me this morning and told me to put vintage ornaments in my “wood thing with nooks” immediately. So … If you check out my Instagram tomorrow they will be right there waiting for both of you. ~ karen!

  15. Jan in Waterdown says:

    If you EVER get tired of that gold tree, gimme a call, cuz I know you have limited storage space and I will be verrry happy to help you out. Failing that, please leave it to me in your will . . . ‘K?
    And, jumping on the sparse tree bandwagon, I bought a faux sparse one from Ikea a few years ago, so I can totally relate to how much you like yours. It looks so real. Just love it!

  16. Pam B says:

    Hiya Karen!!! If the trees up make you happy and give you joy—leave them up. Anytime. All the time. Until they no longer bring a smile to your face. It’s your home and your life. Live it fully. Blessed be, hugs!!!

  17. theresa says:

    ok its wonderful – you have something in every room! I have my outside lights up -which for us is an accomplishment – usually my kids are hanging off the roof in the dark and bitter cold using very unchristmasy language a day or so before Christmas eve. So there’s hope that we will get our decorating done and have fun doing it – I will refer all grumps to this article!

  18. Olga says:

    I love your house. However I would like to know if you going to be posting Christmas menu anytime soon. I know you supposed to live alone now, and we should feel sorry for you lol but I really miss your weekly menue, and if really would like to add some new recipes to my christmas menu as well. Sorry, I’m typing in the doctors office, so in have no time to check the grammar. I would have more time if it was my gym appointment lol.

    • Karen says:

      ha!!!!! I’ll let you know what I’m having for Christmas (Eve) dinner here at my house as soon as I’ve figured it out! I will have an easy but really cute dessert idea in the next week or so. It came to me last week and I can’t wait to do it! ~ karen

      • olga says:

        I just noticed that I have a tween brother to your Nutcracker. I and hope you figure it out before our Christmas Eve dinner, specially since we having few of your fellow Canadians at our house as well. You don’t want to disappoint them!

  19. Chris says:

    I love your scraggly tree, I like the holes, the better to put ornaments into. I actually prune a 9′ tree to make holes, so as to have room for even more ornaments. Children and husband cannot bear to watch I cut so much out. I have piles and piles of fir scraps for swags and arrangements. Of course when I’m done putting on about 1600 lights and all the ornaments they approve. You’ve inspired me to make skinny garland it looks so elegant. Your white tree is the only white tree I’ve ever seen that I like, I’d leave it up all year.

    As to the floors, you might investigate a product called Rubio Monocoat, same stuff used in many European airports and museums, non toxic, which is how I learned about it.
    Merry Christmas and Joy to you.

    • Karen says:

      Funny thing Chris. Someone else mentioned they got help from a flooring refinishing store in Minnesota. I emailed them today and they said that’s what they recommend and use. I’m going to look into it to see if I can use it to cut the orange a bit. Where I’m a bit wary is I don’t want whitewashed looking floors, I just want to cut the orange. But you’re recommendation #3 for the stuff so it must have its advantages! ~ karen

      • Chris says:

        Hey Karen,
        Check out this site and call them, he is very generous with advice. Note on the website on left side he has done extensive testing with many products, if he doesn’t know what to recommend no one does. . If I still lived in Illinois I would use them without a doubt.


      • ktr says:

        What is the name of the store in Minnesota? We need to refinish our hardwood floors and live in Minnesota.

  20. Liz says:

    can’t wait for the floor sanding post! I need it

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