Decorating in an Historic Home

Holiday Decorating in an Historic Home

Designers from Better Homes and Gardens and Traditional Home magazines decorated Washington, D.C.'s Blair House for the holidays.

  • share
-The holidays are upon us and it's time to get decorating. We're here in Washington, D.C. where the staffs from Better Homes and Gardens and Traditional Home Magazine are hard at work decorating the President's Guest House. They have some beautiful ideas we're gonna show you. Let's head inside. Here in the lead dining room, the traditional dcor brings together a lot of items from various cultures around the world. It pulls together the color scheme with a sharp chartreuse, a rich olive, and jade blue green. Designers from Traditional Home Magazine picked up on all these colors with their holiday decorations and their table setting. The modern dining chairs that coordinate with the older Chippendale style mahogany table have seat upholstery embroidered in 1963 by the wives of the Cabinet members of the Kennedy administration. This one was embroidered by Lady Bird Johnson. Each room is filled with furnishing that blend interior design and decorations popular during the 18th and 19th century. Better Homes and Gardens' designers, Joe Boehm and Elaine Griffin, added their own festive touches to complement the front and rear drawing rooms for the holidays. -So, we did sort of a contemporary twist of what they might have had in the house at the time when they were living here. What we did was a wonderful evergreen wreath played up with a little sparkle, some pomegranates which would have been known in the house at that time, which sort of tied everything together, both rooms together, with a sort of coraly coppery goldy kind of metallic feel. -And that's something that people forget for Christmas, were also stuck and Christmas really means red and green. Christmas really means festive. And, you definitely always need that little shine. -Right. -But, I think people should take the main colors from colors in the room. -On the mantelpieces, what we did is in the front parlor, we use cylinders so giving everything a very architectural, very modern feel. -And contrast is really important. You want to bring in whatever it is that you don't have. This is a very traditional home. It's super stately. So, we wanted to bring in some clean lines and make it more contemporary so it didn't quite look so grandmotherly. -Right. -And so, but if you live in a very modern home, I think that reverse is true. -Yeah, I think such is. So, playing opposites against one another and playing texture against one another. So we've got a lot of mat and a lot of shimmer. The other thing we did was we placed our Christmas tree in the rear parlor. There's a beautiful bay window, you know, with this grand drapery treatment and we just loaded up this tree with these wonderful layers of these mercury glass copper coral colored ornaments, just surrounded by a tree of this sort of peachy coral poinsettias. Then on our mantel in the back, we did this wonderful glade of trees. There's this wonderful trees that are sort of repetitious but they're also done in this mercury glass pieces. So, you've got that sort of shimmer repeated again and again. -Elaine recommends for great deals on decorating supplies. -Our [unk] mercury glass on canisters are super cheap and they ship anywhere in the world. -So, it's important no matter how grand and fancy your house is, you want it to be livable, approachable and very comfortable. So, we brought on some touches that are fun, fresh, and modern that add life to what is a historic property. -The look created inside was used to inspire the courtyard space at Blair House. We're here with John Carloftis who designed the landscape for the courtyard. John, tell me a little bit about your plan. -When you think of Christmas and holidays, you think of the ornaments and unfortunately you can't put the ornaments out-- -Right. -if it's a little fragile so we went something a little-- we wanted to go with this beautiful sphere shape. -Uh-huh. -But we got something a little bit more substantial that we can reuse every year and can take the weather and then on the trees, we did a lightweight little wire, very easy to hang on the tree and they don't pull the tree down. -So, besides the shapes and the shimmer of the metallic, you also have lots of red and green mixed on. -We use southern magnolia and then winterberry and just kept on repeating that water. You need water, the sound of water, and you need movement. And these add that little bit-- when it's windy, it's gorgeous. This is the centerpiece of the garden [unk]. So, I wanted to give-- get a little bit of interest into this space and luckily, these beautiful stainless steel balls, they float. -The Blair House is all dressed for the holidays. I hope these beautiful ideas have inspired you to deck your own halls. For Better, I'm Lacey Howard.