Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Exclamation Points of Christmas

[Dee Hardie's living room; House Beautiful 1983]

"I can't possibly imagine Christmas without a tree.
They are our constant Christmas glow,
our exclamation points throughout the house.
And we usually have three."
Dee Hardie

On my last post I showed you Dee Hardie's exterior entrance to her kitchen, every bit as charming now as it was 30 years ago. Today I'm showing you her living room in that same article in House Beautiful magazine. I put two magazine pages together to show her living room so it looks slightly skewed--but it gives you an idea of her style. (Remember, these pages were torn out of the magazine 30 years ago and are slightly worn.) Dee said that while many of her neighbors still had safe Williamsburg inspired living rooms, she lost her heart to one that reached much further back than 1983.

She was inspired by a photograph of Edith Wharton's living room in New York City, with it's garden of cabbage roses. After Dee's mother-in-law's furniture came down to her and her husband, she set her heart and mind on clothing it all in English chintz, Rosa Mundi the pattern. Can you get an idea of yellow and white stripes and rose and mauve cabbage roses in the picture above? I love it as much today as I did when I saw it in 1983.

And there is one of her three Christmas trees, the exclamation points, in her house. I'll show you the tree in her kitchen next week. This one is a little bit ladylike and classy, like the living room it sits in. Somehow I must have cropped out the green parrot that was the tree topper, a touch of whimsey on the tree. 

We don't have a Christmas tree in our living room. I did show you my bedroom tree on December 1, and Sunday I'll show you the tree in our family room that will have gone from having the pumpkins underneath it sported in our blog anniversary post on November 1 to a more Christmasy scene, and we'll hopefully buy a green tree this week if we don't get snowbound. But here is a Christmas tree that is a new one we put up this year, in my dressing room.

Now that tree is an exclamation point!

Why a tree in my dressing room? Simple. For years I've had two boxes of old Shiny Brite olive green ornaments that just did not go with our Christmas trees. This year with new green paint in my dressing room and bathroom was the chance I'd been waiting for to buy a tree for the green ornaments, so I chose a skinny champagne colored tree from Hobby Lobby.

And then I got a notice from eBay that my watch on Italian fish ornaments had turned up a match at last. I hoped to find some Italian fish to add to our main Christmas tree as we put it in the kitchen and I wanted Italian fish to go with the Italian fish pottery that I collect for the kitchen. What I got in the watch was not little fishes but these:

Ornaments with glitter fish "scales."

 They didn't look too fishy to me so I added these to my dressing room tree. There are pink ones, silver ones and a couple of pale blue.

I've played a little game when I've read Architectural Digest magazine over the years. The houses are so far beyond my pocketbook and frankly, if I had the money, the rooms themselves are not ones I'd be comfortable in. So as I read the magazine I ask myself, "If you could choose one house from this issue as a gift, free and clear, but you had to live in it for five years without changing a thing, which one would it be?" Do you know that in decades of playing this game, there was only one house that I could have survived living five years in without changing a thing?

Dee and Tom Hardie's Thornhill Farm, on the other hand, is one that would be no trouble at all to accept and live in for five years without changing a thing.

Is there a house that you've felt that way about? Even though you might like to add your own touch to some of the rooms, is there one that would definitely not be a hardship to live in unchanged for five years in order for it to be your own forever? Is there one that you could walk in with your pillow and your clothing and be at home?

Only four more days until the Tis the Season Blog Tour begins!


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. a sad day when house beautiful closed its doors. i loved that magazine.
    i'm loving these christmas treats of seeing your own home and of those you love! like little gifts i can re~visit as much as i want to! XOXO thank you! ♥

  3. I loooove your dressing room tree!

  4. Yes! Exclamation points, exactly!! It's the trees, real, fake, flocked or green, trimmed to perfection, standing tall, fat or thin, each one a lighthouse in the decked room it's in!

    Re: the ideal house...if it had a dressing room like yours, then, yes, I would be able to walk in with 'my pillow and my clothing'...and a comfy chaise, and a coffee station, and my laptop, (seems more like a little bedroom!), and hibernate there for a few days, blogging away, by the light of that star of a tree!

    Both trees by you and Dee are exclamation point pretty!


  5. Ohh, I love your tree-so fun! :)

  6. I adore your dressing room tree! I love unexpected holiday decorations. I like the thought of Christmas tree's as exclamation points throughout the home. One of the things I like so much about Christmas tree's are the tiny lights that I put on them. Dee Hardie seems like a wonderful mentor to have!
    Patty at Home and Lifestyle Design

  7. An exclamation point - how perfect! Love the tree in your dressing room - what a glamorous touch! I read Architectural Digest regularly, and you know that I will now be playing your game!

  8. Dewena - What a perfect post today! Love the dressing room tree- how cool is that!!!! Dee Hardie's Crhsitmas is beautiful all the way around! I do miss that magazine -it was really beautiful-xo Diana

  9. Hi Dewena, No, I've never met a house I could call "home"....what I love does not exist in this world, I'm sure of it.
    Anyway, I adore your dressing room tree (who has a dressing room these days?!?!?!?)...tall and narrow, fitting in the tall and narrow space without crowding it. I noticed that the tree chosen for my mother's nursing home living room had a tall and narrow tree. Delightful because the residents could have a tree without losing the spaces they need for their wheelchairs!
    Looking forward to the big look-see of the tour next week :)

  10. Your dressing room tree is just beautiful! what a great idea! I love everything about your home and your blog!
    Have a wonderful weekend....

  11. this is such a pretty tree and what a great idea to put it up there in the dressing room! :)

  12. What a perfect tree for your dressing room! It is definitely an explanation point (I love that quote). Your ornaments look so pretty. Dee's home is wonderful. I've missed some posts. I'll have to go back and see them. laurie

  13. so pretty! You have a dressing room?!?! I want one!! :-)

  14. Dewena, I love that skinny tree. So cute right where it is. I love each old fashion ornament I own. some are over 50 years old, cause they were given to me . xoxo,Susie

  15. A beautiful tree for the dressing room!

  16. Wow! That tree IS an exclamation point! I love it!


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