Photos by Tracey Ayton
At photographer Tracey Ayton’s Boundary Bay beachfront home, there may not be decorations on the tree, or any Santa tchotchkes in sight. She definitely won’t be cozied up in pajamas doing a jigsaw by the fire (“I hate puzzles,” she laughs). But her gorgeous, nature-first space—decked out at every turn in lush, wintery greenery—offers plenty of holiday spirit nonetheless (even without a house full of family and friends, as is usual this time of year).
Cedar boughs and fresh wreaths pop against walls of snowy-white subway tiles or barn boards, taking the white-on-white design palette from “beach chic” to “winter wonderland” with the addition of these textural touches. “I like to bring outdoors in,” says Ayton, who incorporates her own foraged greenery in with garlands and wreaths sourced from West Coast Gardens and United Floral. You’ll find branches spilling out of vases, draped over the mantle, and piled on tabletops: at the Ayton household, it’s a green Christmas, and that’s the way she likes it.
Inside Photographer Tracey Ayton's Christmas-Ready Beachside Home
The golden string lights and iron candleholders may be the only pieces of décor here that weren’t sourced from the nature. (Well, the faux fur throws on the dining chairs weren’t either—but they still have that sourced-from-the-tundra vibe.)
The metal touches here—candleholders on the mantle and the dining table—counterbalance the lush natural textures, adding a sheen of glamour. A garland is transformed into a table centrepiece with the addition of a few potted mini-Fir trees and a selection of taper candles.
Of course Ayton’s dog Frankie has her own Instagram account: @frankie_fridays
Ayton collects vintage greeting cards, and displays them strategically around the house. “When people come over, I want them to have a little moment of discovery,” she says. She also likes to put out a shallow bowl with old, black-and-white photos of her family: an easy opportunity to walk down memory lane each year.
While Ayton’s husband Jay is the chef of the house (“I can’t cook!” she laughs), come Christmas, she’ll happily bake for hours. “I just love to have plates of goodies everywhere,” she says.
Steel chairs from CF Interiors surround a long rustic dining table made by Hand One Design. It took Ayton a while to find the right colour faux-fur throws—she didn’t want black or white—so when she found these cozy rugs at West Coast Gardens in the perfect shade of moody grey, she snapped them up. “The furs wound up hanging around all Christmas break,” she admits.
The tree has no ornaments, but the abundance of lights keeps the vibe more than festive. “If you’re not going to have decorations, just put a ton of lights,” Ayton says. Though in this photo, the tree top is bare, some years Ayton hangs a vintage star from the ceiling right over top. An oversized olive branch wreath hangs above the living room sofa, ordered from United Floral. Armchairs from Room and Board offer a cozy spot to lounge by the fire.