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Home Tour: 2018 Christmas Edition

At HomeHannah DrakeComment

Welcome back to Chateaux Drake, my friends! Grab your holiday beverage of choice (I recommend eggnog, hot cocoa, or mulled wine), cozy on up, and enjoy our Home Tour: 2018 Christmas Edition. Maybe I shouldn’t say this because it’ll jinx it, but if all goes according to plan, this will be our last Christmas in our first home, so while things might look kind of similar to last year, they’ll likely be pretty different in 2019!

Like last year, we’ve only decorated our downstairs. My family has never been one to decorate every room in the house, instead sticking to the main shared spaces, like the living room, dining room, and kitchen. Although, I think when we were younger, my parents let us have little trees on our bedside table. Who knows, I could be making that up. What about you, do you decorate the bedrooms as well? I’ve been seeing lots of home Instagrammers who have added garlands to their beds and little trees to their bedside tables, which I quite like, but isn’t happening for us this year.

My two favourite places for Christmas decor in the States are Target and Michaels. Both places have some really great stuff at reasonable prices and I’ve snagged a bunch of it on sale after Christmas. Because I had so much Christmas decor before I moved, I haven’t had the need to buy a ton of stuff in the UK which means I don’t really have a go-to spot yet. However, I’ve picked up a few things at stores like IKEA, Tiger, TK Maxx, and HEMA, as well as at our grocery store, Sainsbury’s. I feel like my Christmas tastes are in a constant battle of the red, white and green combo with knit textures and fair aisle designs versus the simple and elegant white and gold with metallic tones and lots of deer. Luckily, the two work fairly well together.

This year, our Christmas decor starts outside! I mentioned that we made three wreaths to hang up this year, something we wanted to do last year but never got around to. We hung the biggest one on the front door on December 3rd. (It was previously hanging on our kitchen door that opens to the living room. The plan was to put it up on the 1st, but we forgot and weren’t home much that weekend.) Here’s hoping it will last the whole month on our door and not get stolen.

Luke made the wreath itself by twisting together some flexible twigs we collected in the park one weekend in November. Because it’s so big, he secured it with twin in three spots around the wreath, but it’s pretty sturdy on its own. We added the fresh pine, tying each piece to the wreath, tucked in some fresh holly, and filled it out with these pine cone ornaments we got from the craft store. They already had a string attached, so we just cut it and tied it around the wreath. I made a bow from IKEA ribbon to add to the top and Luke suggested we hang it from the ribbon as well, but it’s also on a hook in case the ribbon comes unglued. In total, it cost £2 for 6 pine cones and 95p for the whole roll of ribbon, so not a bad deal at all!

Home Tour: 2018 Christmas Edition The Dining Room

Last year I talked about how we had just started using our dining room thanks to finally putting some curtains up. (I also mentioned I wanted some lace curtains to hang on the bottom windows, but we never got them.) We’ve used the room a bit more this year, thanks to being able to entertain more frequently and no longer having a table in the kitchen.

I decided to put our Willow Tree Nativity set in the same spot as last year, this time on a bed of fresh pine and pine cones left over from our wreath forages. My mom got us the Willow Tree Prayer Angel last year for Christmas, along with a candle stick to serve as her stand. I would love to add the Three Wise Men, more shepherds, and more animals to our set in the future. Willow Tree is definitely an investment, but I think they’re gorgeous figures and they remind me of my favourite Christmas book, The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey.

For the sideboard under the front window, we got a mini tree from IKEA this year. It fit nicely into a pot we had for one of our bigger plants before it outgrew it. I added a short string of copper lights and made a bow out of some old Christmas ribbon I got from Target a few years ago.

The sideboard is also a great place to display our small Santa collection. My mom has the most amazing collection of Santas, adding a new one every year. She has wood Santas, metal Santas, paper mache Santas. She has rustic Santas, classic Santas, skinny Santas, even a bobblehead Santa. She’s got a drunk Santa, a pope Santa, a skiing Santa, an American Santa, a flying Santa. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! I’ve always loved her Santa collection and it was my favourite thing to set up when we got our Christmas decor out. Last year, while she was visiting us in the autumn, she bought us our first Santa from a Christmas shop in Stratford-Upon-Avon. I found this year’s Santa at TK Maxx a couple of weeks ago. The tradition at my mom’s house is that Santa brings the Santa every year and places the new one among the others on Christmas Eve. We’ll definitely take on that tradition in a couple of years—or maybe even next year—but I just couldn’t bear not having any Santas out last year or only one this year. Forgive me, Mom!

I finished the sideboard with one of our “Christmas Buddies”, Gary Frick Jr., some antlers, and some pillar candles from IKEA surrounded by a garland I got from the dollar spot at Target. I also added the hanging mitten tree from Target to our games shelf. And I finally got some faux poinsettias from IKEA to fit in my J O Y mugs from Anthropologie! I’ve been wanting to do that for years!

On our table, I have the birch tealight holders that I got from Etsy for me and my sisters a few years ago, some holiday placemats that I snagged on offer at Target, and a festive salt and pepper shaker. I mentioned at Thanksgiving that we added some boards to our tabletop to expand our table, which makes four place mats and a centrepiece fit nicely, but it also means we have to have a tablecloth down as well to hide the fact that it’s just boards.

Home Tour: 2018 Christmas Edition The Living Room

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. The ultimate compliment I can receive on my house is that it’s warm and cozy. And that’s definitely the goal for my living room, not just at Christmastime (or in the autumn), but all year round! I love the addition of the Christmas tree with its twinkling lights and the fact that it means rearranging the room ever so slightly. The lamp by the couch and the pile of cozy blankets next to the tree just make it feel exactly that: warm and cozy!

We usually have a white tray on the bench, but I switched it out for the green tray that I previously used for our hot cocoa station to make it a little more festive. I also switched out the Hello Fall candle from Bath & Body Works for the Flannel candle from Bath & Body Works. (They seriously need to start shipping to the UK because I’m always so hesitant to burn them lest they run out!) I also added the little red truck and tree that I got for $3 from Target and a knitted bauble garland, also from Target.

We got our tree from IKEA again this year because they’re all the perfect size for our house and they’re all £25 and come with a £20 voucher to use in the new year. (We remembered to use our’s last year on the very last day it was valid!) Last year we picked up some mixed metallic baubles from IKEA to fill in the holes on our tree and after Christmas, we grabbed the shiny and matte copper baubles from Sainsbury’s in a post-Christmas sale. Like my mom does with the Santas every year, we also got an ornament every year, so I have a decent collection combined with some ornaments from my dad’s house as well. Luke and I have started doing it as well, so he now has two! We decided to only put up my generic ones rather than adding the ones that are obviously mine or from my younger years when I was really into Disney and turtles. We put our tree in a red bucket from IKEA, which is what Luke’s family would always do. I’ve only ever had a tree stand and a tree skirt, but I like this way too and it’s certainly easier than trying to screw all those bolts in evenly!

Our mantle is different than I’ve done in the past. While I’ve still used the same items (the trees, the birds: Percy Chadburn and Julian Hawthorne, the deer head silhouettes I made), I went for an asymmetrical look instead of my usual symmetry. I also wanted to make a garland with the rest of the greenery we had for our wreaths, but I ended up just laying it on the mantle with the eucalyptus from Thanksgiving and trying to hide the ends. Luke also found these pine cones under a tree at our work. When he first showed me one, it was completely closed and so heavy, but since we’ve brought them home, they’ve started to open up from the bottom. To balance out all the green, I added a Christmas Spice candle from Sainsbury’s that smells heavenly!

We hung Luke’s wreath with holly leaves, dried lemon and orange, and cinnamon sticks from the mirror. He made the wreath itself like the one on our front door, but because it’s smaller it’s just holding itself together. We dried the citrus in the oven at 75°C for about 4 hours (check on them every hour or so). The house smelled amazing while they were drying out!

I finished off the mantle with our stockings (I think from Target) and a little garland I made with some of the smaller gold baubles I got from the Target dollar spot years ago. I also replaced our melted and unlightable pillar candles in the fire place with some fresh ones I used for our Thanksgiving table just to clean it up a bit. Well, that and so we could light a “fire” in December.

My mom sent us two classic Christmas books last year, The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey and The Polar Express. I wasn’t quite sure where to put them, so for now they’re on top of a crate. She seriously came through for us last year thanks to Amazon. Those books bring back ALL the childhood memories. I remember reading Jonathan Toomey with my mom for so many years (okay, even still) and The Polar Express at my dad’s house growing up. And it’s completely okay to be a child again on Christmas, if you ask me!

This year, I also got some festive cushion covers from H&M Home to switch out for the holidays. (And I’m still looking for the ultimate cozy throw. I’m thinking faux fur. Or a gorgeous plaid. Okay, maybe both!)

Home Tour: 2018 Christmas Edition The Kitchen

I kept it simple in the kitchen. I’ve been seeing a lot of Instagrammers add little touches of Christmas to their kitchen counters, but we just have so little counter space that it’s all so precious! Hopefully in our next home we’ll have more surface space in the kitchen. It would certainly come in handy this time of year.

I added the little candles we got from Sainbury’s last year to our window sill, along with the menu chalkboard that will forever have the four main food groups from Elf on it because it doesn’t wipe off. I also put up the two garlands I normally have on the mantle above our kitchen window along with a string of lights. I love seeing the glow from the living room when the overhead lights are off.

Over on the bar, I set up a hot cocoa station on a three tiered stand I got off eBay. Let me tell you, I’m OBSESSED! The last seven (or so) years I’ve done the same thing and kept it pretty standard with cocoa, mallows, and candy canes. This year I obviously went above and way beyond.

On the bottom tier, you’ll find some festive mugs I snagged from TK Maxx for £4 each, two different kinds of candy canes (but both peppermint flavour), Bailey’s, cinnamon sticks, jumbo marshmallows, and some caramels.

On the middle tier, we’ve got mini marshmallows, Amaretto (you gotta try it in your next cup of hot cocoa!), festive jelly beans, some chunks of chocolate, and the main event: hot cocoa mix.

DIY Hot Chocolate Station

On the top tier, you’ll find some festive paper straws, a little tin of peppermint hot cocoa, peppermint sticks, cayenne pepper (maybe that’s your thing!) and little mitten shakers that have cinnamon and nutmeg in them.

I got almost all of the jars from IKEA. The KORKEN jars are perfect! I got the 1 litre and the 0.5 litre, but the 1 litre proved to be too tall for the stand. I also got a pack of the mini KORKEN jars, a couple of the VARDAGEN jars that are 0.3 litres each. Tiger also had some great jars and the washed herbs and spices jars from Sainsbury’s were great too. Luke found the corked bottles for the liquor from Amazon. They came in a three pack in a couple of different size options. I also wrapped another string of copper lights around the bottom of each tier to make it twinkle a bit.

Home Tour: 2018 Christmas Edition

And to finish off the kitchen, I added our final Christmas Buddy, Melvin Crowley, and another Sainsbury’s candle to the bar! I also picked up some festive tea towels at TK Maxx that came with a Santa pot holder. We normally don’t have pot holders out and the tea towel on the oven is usually the most functional, but it’s Christmas and it’s time for festivity over functionality. (I’m mostly kidding about that.)

This post contains affiliate links, so I may make a commission off any purchase you make through the link. 

Thanksgiving Tablescape Inspiration

At HomeHannah DrakeComment

When I was asked to set the table as a kid, I was always happy to oblige. I have no idea why, but I just always loved setting the table, especially for special occasions. Sometimes my mom would help me make a table in a Word document and figure out how to print folding place cards on special paper. I remember downloading the Harry Potter font (you know, from the US printed books) for our Harry Potter feast celebrating the release of the final film. I remember one year using some of the smaller Santas from my mom’s collection as place card holders. For whatever reason, it’s always been such a joyous chore for me and I love getting creative with it.

Now that I’m old enough to be hosting my own dinner parties or holiday feasts, it’s even more fun! I love picking out items to use in our tablescapes or to otherwise entertain. Simply put, it just makes me happy.

So if you’re like me and love it, or if you dread setting the table but somehow find yourself tasked with the chore at every family gathering, this post is for you! I’ve combed the internet to gather up some of the best Thanksgiving table inspo for you!

First up, here’s my table from last year. I was inspired by the post below from Julia at Gal Meets Glam, but I put it off too late to find the right eucalyptus leaves. Our table is quite narrow, so it wasn’t feasible to make the centrepiece fuller by adding larger pumpkins or more candles. Still, I love the simplicity of it. I wanted a very clean look to it with the pumpkins and napkins adding an autumnal pop of colour against the muted green of the leaves. Even though the leaves weren’t flat like in Julia’s photo, they did the trick and we actually repurposed the longer stems in the photo booth backdrop at our wedding six months later!

My absolute favourite part of the whole table was the place cards. They came together exactly how I imagined. First, I scoured the internet for napkin folding tutorials until I found one that was clean and simple and would match my aesthetic. Around that, I designed the place cards. I measured and cut strips of paper and hand-lettered everyone’s name to the top. When everyone sat down, it just looked like a small piece of paper tucked inside the napkin. But soon they realised that actually there was more below the surface! (Like a happy iceberg!) Below the names (and low enough to be hidden under the napkin), Luke and I had written why we were thankful for their friendship. (Luke had written the notes for me and the three other gentlemen there. I had written the notes for Luke and the three other ladies there.) Some of our friends still have them on display in their dining room and that just touches my heart like you wouldn’t believe!

We got everything from IKEA, except the mini pumpkins & greenery:

In Julia’s 2016 post Our Thanksgiving Table, she says, I didn’t go very far to find everything we needed for our table. It all started with a simple open weave table runner from Pottery Barn for our burl wood dining table. I knew I would be re-using our clear charger plates I bought last year as the base with our china, but I wanted an effortless and more neutral-tone center piece. So I took a handful of mixed pumpkins in white and orange and mixed them with unscented Santa Rosa candles in various heights and sizes. To bring a little green to the table, I added in fresh silver dollar eucalyptus leaves and weaved them through the candles and pumpkins.

WHITE RUSTIC

A POP OF ORANGE

BOUNTIFUL HARVEST

BOLD & GLAM

PUMPKIN PALOOZA

LIGHT AND AIRY

LUSH GREENS

DARK AMBIENCE

MAD ABOUT PLAID

GREEN IS A NEUTRAL

NATURE WALK

VIBRANT JEWEL TONES

MIXED TEXTURES

BUFFALO CHECKED

So if you’re taking over the table this Thanksgiving, I’d love to see what you do with it! Email or DM me your beautiful tablescapes!

Shop Everything You Need for a Stylish Thanksgiving Table:

PIN FOR LATER!

This post contains affiliate links, so I may make a commission off any purchase you make through the link.

Guest Post: 5 Ways to Decorate on a Budget

At HomeHannah DrakeComment

For the next four weeks, I'll be sharing guest posts from some of my favourite bloggers & photographers and people I'm lucky enough to call friends.

First up, my friend Anne from The Home Handcrafted! Anne moved to Denver around the time I moved from Colorado. We found each other through Instagram and have been following each other for about a year. In July, we met for coffee at one of the cool spots she's always hanging out at in Denver. It was like sitting down with an old friend! She's constantly inspiring me when it comes to cocktail creations, home decorations, exploring Colorado (I miss it!), honesty about mental health and self care, and finding the coolest spots in town. Check out her blog for all of the above and more! 


Making your house feel like home can be expensive AF. But it doesn't have to be. It's tempting to go over budget to finish certain projects to achieve a sense of "completeness." However, in the long run, repurposing or repairing what you already have, will keep your bank account happy and reinforce more intentional spending habits. By not rushing the decor process and buying the first thing you see, you're giving yourself time. Time to figure out your style and time to figure out what purchases are worth the investment. Frugal decor doesn't necessarily mean "cheap" either. It just means you're decorating your space in a way that is upcycled, vintage and totally unique. Below are five tips for frugal decor. And, ultimately, a more intentional living space.

SHOP SECOND-HAND

It's amazing what thrift and antique stores have hidden inside them. Be open to what you may find, but also expect to not find anything right away. Pro Tip: Check out thrift stores in neighborhoods different from your own. The chances of finding treasure increase when you get outside your comfort zone! Looking online is also a great option. Here are some of my favorite sites:

Everything But the House
AptDeco*
Chairish

*a little expensive, but great to peruse for inspiration

REPURPOSE 

Try using a bar cart as your nightstand or an old bookshelf as a plant shelf for your balcony or patio. Moving pieces around your space and giving them new purpose not only saves you money, but can also help to infuse new energy into a space.

REPAIR

This one is tough for me. I tend to think of repairs as something I need to do for items that I no longer need. In some cases, that's true. There's only so much repairing a piece can take. But if it's a small scratch or a lose nail, fix it instead of replacing it. Some things just feel good to DIY.

TAKE YOUR TIME

Decorating is a marathon. Not a sprint. Sometimes, a time crunch leads to impulse buys that don't inspire joy and therefore, wasted money. Start with essentials like a place to eat, sit and sleep. Everything else can wait. Make sure you understand your space and your needs before you rush out to buy anything. When you force yourself to wait and look for the perfect quality piece, you'll end up loving it for the long haul instead of feeling temporary gratification.

REFRESH

It's amazing what a fresh coat of paint or a new knob can accomplish. Brighten up the walls in your space with a neutral color and change out the fixtures on all of your cabinets. Throw a hat up on the wall and use a garment rack to make your wardrobe feel beautiful. Paint a piece of furniture you're not in love with (or get rid of it if you really hate it). Little improvements like this are often affordable and can hold you over until you can do a larger renovation.

P.S. Flowers are always a good idea. Hello instant refresh. 

You should follow Anne on Instagram, too.