It didn’t take long for designer Kendall Ansell and her client to realize they were a perfect match to team up for the Kids Help Phone Homes for the Holidays tour last year in Vancouver. “We’re both obsessed with Christmas,” laughs Ansell. The annual tour pairs designers with homeowners who are game to have their spaces transformed into winter wonderlands for the weekend, and allow ticket holders to experience a little holiday spirit, too, as they visit the homes. And Ansell wanted those guests to be wowed. “We wanted it to be over the top,” she says.

kensell 2(Photo by Janis Nicolay)

Working with the homeowner’s existing home colour palette of cool greys and soft neutrals, Ansell opted for a silver and pale pink decor theme throughout. A flocked tree felt like a perfect fit, and it’s Ansell’s favourite moment in the room. “It’s filled with little animals—dancing ballerinas, stuffed pigs, some owls, a few hot pink balls,” she says. “It’s a theme that carries through the home—there are a lot of features, and little hints of gold everywhere.”

kensell 1“We knew our wreath would be made of sprayed gold ferns, so we wanted to fit with that in the mantel arrangement,” says Ansell. She brought in touches of gold in the stockings, and the boughs on the mantel (designed by Studio Full Bloom) have a light and feathery feel. (Photo by Janis Nicolay)

While Ansell worked with partners like Kerrisdale Lumber and Hunters Garden Centre to bring in a lot of the holiday decor, many of the pieces came from the client herself. “What I loved is that they’re all pieces that have been acquired over the years,” she says. “Every piece there has a story—that’s what makes a home really feel like Christmas.”

This year’s Kids Help Phone Homes for the Holidays Tour takes place November 30 and December 1. Find tickets at

kendall 4The place-setting cards were from Kerrisdale Lumber, as were the decorations, the crowned birds. “It’s so funny. We don’t do a lot of traditional design until it comes time for Christmas,” says Ansell. “Everyone reverts back to a childhood state—birds and animals!” (Photo by Janis Nicolay)kendall 3The powder room naturally fit into Ansell's holiday decor scheme with its graphic wallpaper. She went with a simple, spray-painted gold arrangement so as not to compete with the feature wall. (Photo by Janis Nicolay)kendall 5In the master bedroom, a frosted wreath complements the room's cool grey colour palette. (Photo by Janis Nicolay)