We hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! We had a great holiday so far. We are still carrying on our festivities with continued relaxing, napping, snacking, reading, and of course, watching movies and playing games. That’s just how we spend the days between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
2019 was a big year for us, for sure! We bought a little house in the country back in June. We’ve been working feverishly throughout the last 6 months, trying our best to put our own touches on it. We love the old characteristics and don’t want to change them, so most of our touches have been cosmetic as of yet.
We decided to save the big stuff for this coming spring – complete kitchen and both bathrooms will be renovated. A laundry room will be installed. The drive way will be relocated to the other side of the house. Grading needs to be done, followed by a new deck and porch, and finally, landscaping.
But for now, we are focusing on getting the most out of our escape from the city. You see, we still live in an apartment in Toronto, and only use our house on the weekends for now. We don’t plan to move to the house permanently for a few more years.
So – Christmas! I had big expectations and goals for our first Christmas at the house this year, but with the amount of work that goes into completing a face lift on the interior of a house, there wasn’t really much time left. We did manage to decorate two large trees and two smaller trees. (I’ll get to that in a second)
We also managed to completely decorate the dining room, foyer, and living room. Oh, and this is the first year I’ve ever lived in a home with a banister, so that was fun too!
The first tree that I decorated was the foyer tree. This tree was in the living room first, but we decided to move it to the foyer and purchase a larger tree for the living room.
The foyer tree has been decorated with the vintage ornaments that we’ve been collecting over the years. Some of the them are actually vintage, while some others look vintage, but are actually new. If you look closely, you can tell which ornaments are really old.
I was so happy to find the tree topper at Retro Festive. (You can order online!) I have been rather fond of trees without a topper for the past few years, but a vintage tree is not vintage at all without a tacky, mulit-coloured tree topper!
The next tree I decorated was the living room tree. This was the new tree that we bought this year. It’s quite large, in fact, I think it looks bigger in person. Since this was the main tree, and we were celebrating Christmas in our country home, I wanted the tree to look like a country tree.
It’s been decorated with a burlap garland, and dozens of burlap flowers and bow picks. I added the mini metal stars, and dug into my ornament stash for ornaments that were white and/or beige. Then, I added about a million red berry picks. This tree didn’t need a topper, so even though I had a bow topper, I set it aside.
Oh, I forgot to mention that we placed presents under both trees. That might seem excessive, but the foyer tree has presents that are meant to stay at the house. Let me explain. We bought McKenna a lot of things for her bedroom here – like a desk lamp, a cork board, make up organizers, a chair for her desk, pictures for her walls, etc.
We wrapped them all and placed them under the foyer tree. When we first bought the house, the interior was practically covered in floral wallpaper. We removed all of it in every room on both floors, but she begged for hers to be left alone.
We compromised and I left one wall in her bedroom with the original wallpaper. The other walls were painted an antique white with pure white trim. We installed old fashioned lace curtains and bought her a wooden white bed with white furniture. The presents under the foyer tree have the look and feel of old and vintage-y to match her bedroom aesthetic. (Her words, not mine!)
The next tree is our family tree. We do one like this pretty much every year. All of the ornaments are special and have meaning. There’s baby ornaments, family ornaments, personalized ornaments, and a few ornaments we have picked up in our travels.
The fourth and final tree this year is a new addition. We did re-use an existing tree, but a few months ago, John.e was able to find a bunch of cat ornaments by Rae Dunn. He texted me a picture and of course, I had to have them. So, the cats have their own tree this year – complete with presents just for them and their stockings.
The upstairs landing and banister were new to me. It’s not decorated as much as I would like, but we just didn’t have much time to do what we wanted. It’s minimal, but we love it nonetheless! It’s a great place to sit and read!
In our Toronto apartment, our dining room and living room are just one big room. At the house, the kitchen, dining room, and living room are all separate rooms. I have not included any photos of the kitchen, because even though it’s fully functional, we have not completed any renovations in there. Hopefully next year’s post will include the kitchen.
The dining room though, was a different story. The only thing we did in there was to remove the wallpaper and add fresh paint. We wanted to keep everything just the way it was. The tall glass cabinet was moved into the dining room from the living room to make space for the Christmas tree, but I made use of it by filling it with things that were either my mom’s or things that my dad has given me over the years.
The centerpiece for the table was hard to settle on. I tried a few things, but settled on the wooden crate that John.e made for me. I filled it with evergreen branches and a bunch of candles. I added a few berry picks and that was it.
Much like the dining room, the living room was already just the way we wanted it. We painstakingly peeled off the wallpaper and the wall borders. We removed some of the wood trim above the windows too.
All we had to do in the living room was a bit of plastering, some good priming and a few coats of paint. We plan to leave it just as it is, except I need to get rid of that yellow wall, ASAP!
I was sure that a mustard yellow accent wall would be perfect, but once it was applied and it had dried, I hated it. As soon as the Christmas stuff is packed away, that wall will be re-painted.
Because we still have a fully furnished apartment in Toronto, the new house needed furniture as well, so we basically had to buy everything that we already had! This coffee table was one of those things. Every year I put a lot of thought into coffee table decor and I’m quite pleased with this one.
As for new additions this year, we did add the gingerbread house to our Lego village. We’ve been adding a Lego village piece for the past four or five years. Of course, we had to keep the village inside this cabinet to keep it safely away from the fur babies!
After many years of admiring nutcrackers, this was the year I decided to start collecting them. It really started last year when I was at Hobby Lobby and saw a mountain of nutcrackers in a gorgeous display. I found these on Amazon and couldn’t resist. We kept them in the second glass cabinet to keep them away from the kitties, but I placed them on this table just to get a clearer image.
Alright, so let’s talk about food! I completed two Christmas baking countdowns this year. The first was the 12 Bundt Cakes of Christmas, which I really enjoyed. And then I did another 24 Cookies of Christmas series, which was much less stressful than last year. I had planned it much better!
Many of the cookies you see in that picture above were very freezer friendly, so that’s exactly what I did. On Christmas Eve, I packaged up the cookies and 11 very full bags were delivered to our neighbours. It was a great way to introduce ourselves and break the ice.
For Christmas dinner, every year it’s the same thing – turkey/tofurkey, mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, gravy, etc. But this year, I was determined to have Cold Plates. It’s a very traditional Newfoundland meal and I promise I will write up a post about it very soon, but for now, here’s a picture of our table setting and then the meal itself.
In terms of new Christmas items this year – besides the trees and ornaments – there wasn’t very much. Mostly because we didn’t have much shopping time with spending every weekend at the house. But, I did make time to find this ornament, which I think every new home owner should!
And my ex wife, Tanya, sent us this cute snowshoe ornament for our tree. I placed it on the vintage tree, because snowshoeing is an activity that reminds me of the past and I did so much of it when I was a kid.
Lastly, what is Christmas Eve without a few shameless selfies?? We managed to get a few in this year, despite the fact that we couldn’t get the lighting just right. Ha! Every year we have matching pajamas, and John.e always designs the t-shirt. We didn’t get a good picture of the shirt, but you can see a little of it at least!
All in all, this was a great Christmas at our new house. We enjoyed the shut in and the quiet. It would have been wonderful if we had more snow, but there’s always next year!
We hope you had a very Merry Christmas and that your New Year is filled with joy and happiness, prosperity and health. Lord Byron’s Kitchen will return to regularly scheduled recipe posts early in January. Stay tuned! XOXO