A WHIMSICAL WONDERLAND HOME TOUR
When the cold winter weather rolls around and it’s time for holiday decorating, Marguerite Harrison was ready for some whimsical holiday decorating. There’s no trying to come up with the year’s theme while rushing around from bustling store to bustling store, and she’s never short on holiday decor inspiration. In fact, all Harrison—who works in the design industry—has to do come the third week of November is head to her basement. Her storage space she’s fondly dubbed the “resource room” is brimming with accessories and interesting pieces she can swap out to suit the new season.
Her taste has evolved over the years and she’s updated her style, but revisiting her impressive collection in her resource room is still her first stop when the holidays approach. She can mix and match what she has on hand in hundreds of ways for whimsical holiday decorating—and she says that’s one of her favourite things to do, especially when the calendar calls for Christmas and wintery items.
EMBRACING THE SEASON
Harrison welcomes the holidays with open arms, right from the front door. Wicker and wood add texture, while snow globes, reindeer and whimsical nutcrackers set the scene inside.
NO SPACE UNTOUCHED
This winter wonderland wouldn’t be fully decked out if every space didn’t have a touch of holiday whimsy—even the homeowner’s walk-in closet gets the full Christmas treatment with a few decorations and some greenery.
While colours and themes are tweaked each year, there are traditions she holds onto. “Even though my approach to holiday decorating is different from one Christmas to the next, I always include fresh evergreen and natural elements,” she says. “I begin the season by visiting garden centres to pick up various types of greenery, holly, paper-whites, pine cones and whatever else inspires me. That gets me into a wintery, festive mood,” Harrison says, adding she takes great pleasure in placing her finds in urns and vessels.
Paired with and displayed among the greenery, as well as in other unexpected places, are treasured ornaments Harrison has collected over the years, including those that have been gifted to her. Her much-adored vintage ornaments from her childhood rest in a decorative bowl—an easy accent that’s both beautiful and meaningful. “It’s actually hard to say what my favourite ornament is because so many of them hold very special memories,” she says. “I’d have to say my most treasured is a very delicate red bell from my childhood tree, which was always a large scotch pine. The bell’s finish is worn in areas, but that just adds to its charm.”
There’s more to her holiday decor than a finely crafted tree and cherished ornaments. Harrison does up every room in her 1,500-square-foot townhouse. Lots of pastel-hued baubles hang on a tabletop tree in her kitchen. “My tree is always laden with ornaments. I like that layered look,” she says. There are other wee trees covered in pretty twinkle lights throughout, as well as cake pedestals and dishes filled with silver bells. There’s even a nod to the festive season in her walk-in closet. “Pillows, throws and burning red taper candles in candlesticks are a must for me to set the mood for the holidays.”
Even though pastels are not traditionally associated with Christmastime, Harrison’s groupings of warm candles, sparkly jewels, loads of greenery, piles of throws and Santa slipped into pretty vignettes makes this home feel jolly and bright while creating a whimsical holiday decorating.
Harrison’s cozy guest room, in a steely greys and blues, gets its own holiday treatment with sweet white birdhouses, a star on the wall and piles of jingle bells for more shimmery silver.
TRUE TO STYLE
Some find decorating a townhome more challenging than dressing a larger home, but not Harrison. After downsizing from a bigger property. She’s now close to Lake Ontario— she’s always gravitated to nautical, cottage charm, which provides a lovely and unexpected backdrop for holiday decorating.
For a whimsical holiday decorating style the homeowner pairs cottage-style accessories, such as wood trays and boxes, with holiday-specific accents to create the perfect balance between her personal style and the season.
Her townhouse is average and unassuming from the outside, but the moment you step inside you find yourself in a super-luxe abode. Harrison generally keeps her walls painted in neutral shades, and her white wood furniture and white upholstered chairs affords her the ability to throw in any colour scheme or new pieces with ease. This definitely comes in handy when she heads downstairs to the resource room to find the next look she fancies. “I actually joke that I need several homes to fit everything I love. But my townhome is very sweet and quaint,” she says. It’s turned out to be the perfect space to try a variety of different styles and accessories—especially over the holidays. “I love what Christmas brings. It’s my favourite time of the year.” BH&L