Western Living Magazine
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Winter whites paired with silver and gold transform a Vancouver home into a holiday delight.
Claire Nicola has a family tradition going on three decades now: on Christmas Eve, the doors open and friends and family pop in for food, carolling and time together. “We went away once for Christmas, and we didn’t like it,” says Nicola. “My mother started the tradition, and then it moved to my place. Everyone comes with their kids—it’s a real family time for us.”So when Nicola volunteered her home to be a part of the Kids Help Phone Homes for the Holidays tour last year, she was happy to go all-out with the decor—working with Take Me Home Décor store owner Alison McDonald and interior designer Patty Neilson of Patricia Neilson Design, who worked on the design of the home itself. McDonald and Neilson had a relatively blank slate to work with: Nicola had moved into the space in the last year, and her old decorations didn’t work in the new, “modern French” style.It was one spot in particular that served as a starting point for the whole home. “As soon as I saw the stone-cast mantel, I knew white would be beautiful,” explains McDonald, who brought her team from the store—Amy McDonald, Carey Fieldgate and Rosemary McLaren—to help out.White and silver make up the fairytale-like design scheme, which has more than a few hits of whimsy throughout. A silver stag statuette on the stairs sports a stole belonging to McDonald’s mom; on the stovetop, a silver cloche is perched beside a feather owl—a cheeky bit of fun implying that the bird might be the main course. Above the kitchen table, a chandelier became the perfect home for an upside-down wreath, dotted with ornaments and white doves.Under the Christmas tree, organza is layered with white lights, creating a glow from beneath the tree. “It’s a simple way of decorating,” says McDonald, “in lieu of having a tree skirt.” Much like the mantel that first caught her attention, the architecture of the home spoke to her as well: the gorgeous, oversized doors from the great room to the hallway were decorated like giant presents. The dining room is kept more sedate and elegant: Tom Dixon lights are lightly decorated with snowflake decorations, wired around the socket inside the shade.Outside, Neilson and Nicola had fun decorating the outdoor room in more traditional, natural accessories. The heated space is further warmed up with a faux fur throw from Pisolino, fur pillows, cedar swags across the fireplace and organic decorations crafted from tree branches.It’s a space meant to delight and surprise—from the vintage St. Nicholas perched by the hearth to the tiny deer prancing on the kitchen table; it’s one that translates the joy of the season into bright and light decorations, and is ready to host a party. Just as these homeowners like it.wl