Home innovation should solve real-life problems and make life better, focusing on the people, not simply the systems, inside. To demonstrate, we decided to build, furnish, and tech out our ideal house: the BHG Innovation Home. Check out these useful and accessible products and ideas.View Slideshow
Using a light touch, a small house gets seasonal flair without overpowering the senses.
Parked right on the street, the facade of this little house in Frederick, Maryland, features green wreaths in every window to show holiday cheer even when there's no front lawn for a waving Santa.
Putting a standard Christmas tree in the living room would have crowded the room almost to the point of being impassable. Two trees trimmed to almost bonsai style, however, kept plenty of fresh greenery and bright lights at eye level and the floor space open below. The pots are filled with sand to keep the trees stable, and the sand covered with fake snow and real moss.
A sash of green satin turns a simple chair into a festive place to sit. By using the same color throughout the house, every item of green adds to the sense of holiday style--even a pretty pillow that isn't of a holiday theme.
A couple of lamps with open glass bases offer another opportunity to use simple ball ornaments. All roughly the same size, the different surfaces--crackled shiny and smooth matte--add layers of visual interest. A few strands of glittering trim in different lengths draped over the edge of the lampshade mimic the look of icicles.
Even the standard-bearer poinsettia gets in the act. By choosing a white variety and including a few green leaves, the look stays consistent but nods to the traditional choice.
In the kitchen, the greens get warmed with a tower of orange fruit--a seasonal and suitable complement to the theme. Kara's large round terrarium is filled with faux snow and a hill of ornaments to create a wintry holiday scheme. Bowls of paperwhites and pedestals topped with greenery bring a touch of garden freshness to the room.
A touch of the twig motif from the living room comes to the tabletop on the hurricane lamp holders. To achieve the same look, buy inexpensive hurricanes at mass-market decorating stores. Wrap them in clear adhesive shelving paper, cut out tree shapes, and spray the exposed shapes with fake snow. After the spray dries, remove the rest of the wrap to leave the shimmery trees.
The big news in the bedroom is the full-size Christmas tree in the corner. Here, there's room to let it spread. Placing it in the corner where it shows through two windows makes the tree visible--if unexpected--from the street.
Another unexpected delight, the tree skirt is actually a vintage skirt with a Hawaiian theme. Kara bought it in a thrift store just because she liked the pattern. The black-and-white design is interesting without drawing attention when placed around the tree base.
In the den, a trio of wall vases is filled with more tree trimming--both evergreen boughs and twigs. Here, the lone pale red poinsettia finds a home on the ottoman. Here, too, the green-and-gold pillow continues the holiday color scheme, but the pattern isn't a holiday print.