Thursday, December 6, 2018

Cozy Christmas home

I'm so excited to be joining this talented group of bloggers that Marty at A Stroll Thru Life has put together for the 2018 Christmas Home Tours! There have been so many gorgeous homes this week, and I'll have links to all of them at the bottom of this post. If you are coming over from Laura's beautiful home, I'm so happy to welcome you here! 

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First, for anyone new, a little background on our home. If you're not new, scroll on by:-)
We live in a newer house on property that has been in my family for five generations in the mountains of western North Carolina. 
This was my great grandfather's summer home away from the heat of Hypoluxo, Florida. Some of the original structures are still here and house lots of treasures from the past. When the original victorian farmhouse was torn down, my grandfather painstakingly bundled and stored all the doors, windows, trim, stair treads, tongue and groove boards, and more, which we have been slowly restoring and adding to our house.  Now when I refer to the "old house" you'll know what I'm talking about:-) Most of my furniture, art and accessories have also been passed down, and I have added to that with items from antique and thrift stores as well as our travels around the world. Every single thing means something, and that's what makes it *home* for me.

On to Christmas. I love Christmas and have fond memories of the most amazing Christmases here going between both sets of grandparents, and our home.  Snow, early country breakfasts in my grandparents' farmhouse, and lunch at my dad's parents are all romanticized in my head as I approach Christmas in my own house. Christmas is not about gifts at our house, but about savoring this season of beauty and hope that goes by much too fast.

This year, with a new rug and rescue sofa, I really had a different vision than years past. I knew I wanted to use things I already had for a vintage kind of American look, but also add a little bit of an English country feel. 

English country with Chinese ancestor prints? Well, of course. They were inherited from a southern relative with English heritage who lived in China after World War II. I draped cedar and white pine over top, and they are hanging on windows from the old house lined with sheet music. 

Of course I had to have my 1970s record player, and I dug up the little hemlock from the property and placed it in the old coffee can my grandfather had saved.

I had planned to put the orange pillows away, but just found that I really liked them here even though orange is not exactly a traditional Christmas color, it ended up working so nicely with the rug and Shiny Brite ornaments I used on the tree. 

I borrowed a few things from my mom, including this mosaic bowl, which I filled with old ornaments from her attic.

I stored my antique chaise at my parents' house so I could bring out the Nobilis Fir I bought from Grandin Road several years ago. I really love the old fashioned look of this tree. It reminds me so much of the trees from my childhood -- but without the fire hazard.

I placed my great grandmother's angel on top of the tree...

...and underneath, the beautiful doll my grandfather had sent to my mother by a sergeant in his unit from Paris during WWII. 

On the tree, I used only colored lights, instead of mixing clear and color like I usually do. My plan was to only use my great grandmother's beads and the vintage Shiny Brites, but I found the box of paper fans I made for my grandmother's tree in the 80s and wanted to add those, along with paper snowflakes I made from music, and bows. 

I used sequined fabric to drape my great grandmother's table between two inherited chairs and added a mosaic vase of freshly cut greenery and a box I bought in Germany. 

Everything is really inspired by this gorgeous vintage persian rug I found on ecarpetgallery last summer. It is my dream rug and the colors are so warm, rich and fabulous. 

I really wanted an authentically vintage feel this year, and I couldn't be happier with the look I achieved using what I had on hand. So much is inherited, thrifted or borrowed from my mother, and that really makes each thing special to me. 

Next up is the dining room, which I am loving even more this season with the dark gray wall.

I set my table with J & G Meakin Romantic England dinnerware, which you can see more of in this post.  

Mikasa Italian Countryside dinner plates as chargers, Wallace and Sons Louvre 1893 sterling silver flatware, Cristal D'Arques-Durand Longchamp glassware, and napkins from World Market last year. 

On the inherited buffet, I stacked more fruit ornaments and mixed in inherited brass and crystal. 

Again, all the details for the dining room are here

Next up is the music room, although it's really not a room but a walkthrough that also serves as an entry of sorts. 

As in the other rooms, I really wanted a warm, cozy well-lived in collected feel with a bit of an English vibe.

And I love how it turned out. I'm still loving these plaid drapes I made a few years ago and brought back this fall. 

Instead of opening the 1880 pump organ like I usually do, I decided to use it for the little putz-style house I made to replicate the old house my dad grew up in.

The art print, Child from the Campagna by German artist Guido Bach, is about 100 years old and was in the old house here. My grandmother hated it and had put it downstairs in her sewing room. I just love it so I rescued it from the basement, and she always has a spot somewhere. The photo is of my great grandmother in 1923.

I had to throw in this photo of my great grandmother and grandmother standing in the parlor of the old house because why wouldn't I? This is why I love surrounding myself with their things so much. It's a connection to my past.

The antique Harden settle was originally in the old house but had been sold some years ago. It was gifted back to me by a sweet neighbor on my birthday. I had done some research on the Harden Furniture Company after I got this and was saddened to find out they are going out of business. This is why I'm so passionate about buying antique, vintage, local and American made. This settle is in the same excellent condition it was in when it was made more than a hundred years ago. 

I've draped my grandmother's leopard coat across the arm, because I actually do wear it in cold weather. 

And here's proof -- with her shoes from the 1940s๐Ÿ˜Š

Next up is the kitchen...

I decided to recreate this fruit centerpiece I did a few years ago. I love the combination of green, orange and red for Christmas, and with a few sprigs of boxwood and white pine, it really has a holiday feel. 

But seriously, did anyone *not* notice the orange acorn squash in the back? ๐Ÿ˜„

Of course we have to have treats when the children get home from school. 

They also enjoy a hot chocolate station where they can be creative with toppings.

I always put greenery on top of the cabinets and so enjoy the warm lights.

I mixed pieces of my grandmother's Chinese tea set with a dollar store plate from about 10 years ago.

I love the opportunity to bring things out seasonally that I don't see the rest of the year -- like the red transferware. I never tire of any of it that way. 

I put the yule log my dad made in the window. I love having the candles lit right at dusk. There is something about looking out into the trees through the candle light that makes me feel so safe and protected inside. 

The Afghan runner is from ecarpetgallery's eBay site, and I have several because I like the patterns and they're super affordable.

Oh how I love having these shelves. They are so much fun to change up every season, and Christmas is just the best.

I have a mix of J & G Meakin Romantic England and Johnson Brothers Old Britain Castles

Also thrown in the mix are my grandmother's vintage Holt Howard candy Cane and spaghetti angel candle holders.

The Chinese tea pot and Indian tiffin lunch boxes round out the international representation.

In case you're not a regular, we made the wormy chestnut counters with wood off one of the houses here, and the screen door leading to the mud/laundry room was on the old house. 

My grandfather's basket is filled with greenery from the property. 

I do love getting up early every morning and enjoying a first cup of coffee before everyone else gets up.  

It's so cozy and warm this time of year, and I love starting my day right here.

That is it for this part of the tour.  I'll be sharing the master bedroom and porches next week so you don't want to miss that. 
I'm so happy you were here for a visit, and I hope you're inspired by something you've seen, but mostly inspired to take an idea and do something unique that makes your home tell your story. My goal in our home is simply to create a feeling of warmth and coziness that welcomes my family and gives them each a sense of safety and grounding. I also want them to take care of the things they have and to appreciate things that are passed down as much as I do. And so far it seems to be working๐Ÿ˜‰

Since I showed y'all the doll my grandfather sent from France, I wanted to share this card he wrote to my grandmother during WWII, because his message is as applicable today as it was then.

May this bring to you my sweet wife and baby a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year. 
May another Xmas bring peace and victory to everyone.
To the sweetest wife and baby in the world. 
Sent with all my love. 
From your sweetheart and soldier boy, 
Red & Daddy

May this Christmas bring peace and victory to everyone...

You can see the master bedroom HERE:

Next up on the tour is Jennifer at Decorating Delirium, so hop on over to see her beautiful home! 

Monday, Dec. 3  

   A Stroll Thru Life,  Cuckoo4Design,  Nesting With Grace, Southern HospitalityLife On Virginia Street  Pink Peppermint Design 

Tuesday, Dec. 4

 Setting For Four, ZDesign At Home, Inspiration For Moms, House By Hoff  
Starfish Cottage  

Wednesday, Dec. 5

 Hymns & Verses,  Our Southern Home,  Seeking Lavender Lane, Thrifty &Chic,
 Remodelando La Casa,  Simple Stylings 

Thursday, Dec. 6

Clean & Scentsible, Haneens Haven, LifeLoveLarson,11Magnolia Lane, Monica Wants It,
 Rain On A Tin Roof  

Friday, Dec. 7

  Decor To AdoreFar Above Rubies, Decorating Delirium, Dimples & Tangles,
  Our FifthHouse,  Follow The Yellow Brick Home, Duke Manor Farm 

I'll be joining:
Inspire Me Tuesday
Wow us Wednesdays
Metamorphosis Monday


  1. I love all the beautiful pictures of your rooms decked for the holidays, but I got tears in my eyes when I read your grandfather's Christmas note from WWII. Absolutely sweet and so full of love.

    1. Thank you so much! It was such a wonderful thing for my mom to find, and of course now that he is gone one, it's even more special to remember him that way.

  • Marty@A Stroll Thru LifeDecember 7, 2018 at 6:46 AM

    Anita, I am always so inspired by your love of family and how you cherish all your wonderful heirlooms and recall such sweet memories of the past. Your home truly tells a story of love and family and that is what Christmas is all about. Thanks so much for joining the tours again this year. I love seeing your home.

    1. Thank you so very much Marty, and thank you for including me on these tours, and for all your hard work!!

  • Your home is truly unique and unsurpassed. It is richly decorated yet homey. Elegant yet cozy. The styling of your Christmas decor is unmatched. I could go on and on with superlatives... Are there a lot of calories in this amount of eye candy? Lovely, lovely home. Congratulations and thanks for the tour.

    1. Thank you so much for those kind words Beverley!!

  • Anita, Far Above Rubies is the perfect name for your house! I just love everything you have done, it makes me feel warm and cozy.....having moved from an 18th century farm house in CT (we lived there 25 years)to coastal SC, I really miss the oldness of that house...You just made me feel hugged...I love your colors and richness of your history! Thank you for sharing...You are my favorite decorating blog...Genie Steger!

    1. That is such a sweet compliment -- thanks so much Genie, and I'm so glad you enjoyed the tour:-)

  • While I do not decorate with as much color in my home as you, I love seeing it in yours. I am especially taken with your rugs. They are absolutely a base for whatever you choose to do. Your photos are also my favorites - so professionally done. I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of your holiday decor.

    1. Thanks so much Pat! I do love those rugs, and all said rugs are probably the only thing I actually spend money on. And I do love working on photography as well, so thank you for that encouragement:-)

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