Emily Henderson

I decked my halls: The Hendersons go Holiday

White Christmas, California style. Check out the feature on The Glitter Guide for even more info and pictures.

I done did it. I got this idea in my head on Thanksgiving that the Hendersons are grown up enough to throw a proper Christmas party, and party we will. And then I thought a proper one will probably take a lot of effort, time, and money for me to do it well so I may as style the hell out of it, shoot it, and make it one big old branding situation. I’m an opportunist like that. So on December 1st, I forced a few friends to come over for our first holiday party, but not before David Tsay came over and shot the hell out of it.

Here she is, transformed for the holidays:  

The goal: To make it feel totally festive and a little bit over the top without it looking nutso, junky, or creepy. The best way you can do that is to stick to a consistent color palette throughout your whole space, and keep the same decorating theme everywhere. I had a ton of hot pink ornaments left over from the Christmas special, so I knew I wanted to incorporate them. Meanwhile, navy is obviously my color du decade so I wanted to to work with that. Therefore, my palette became navy, hot pink, gold, and white. I know it’s predictable, but it just works so well and makes me so happy.  

For the tree, I grabbed ornaments that were different textures and sizes and colors, but again all within that palette. I think that over time we will probably have more that are sentimental to us that will be harder to mix in, but this is kinda our first Christmas so we are starting from scratch. (Cut to me in five years wondering if it’s bad parenting to take all the ugly colored markers or crayons away.)

 

You might be wondering where the TV is, and the answer is we don’t have a TV, we choose to read “books” and listen to “our stories” on the radio instead.

In opposite world. For the party, we moved the much beloved TV into the other room, and instead I put a huge stack of wrapped presents in the shape of a tree. It doesn’t entertain me nearly as much, yet somehow it makes me happier. I hand painted all the blue stripe/plaid and watercolor-y ones, and used gold contact paper on white paper on the other ones, and of course mixed in some solids and stripes. It would have been really inexpensive except for the fact that I did buy really expensive papers and ribbons, etc, to play with. But you could even do all white butcher paper with different colored bows (or all the same bows and make them super monochromatic.) You could wrap them all the same white and then paint on the boxes (which is what I did — don’t try and paint the paper and then wrap). I used acrylic paint or tempura paint from the craft store, but I think you could use any paint, just go for it. I didn’t tape any patterns off, but you definitely could.  

Oh, the mantel! The centerpiece and the focal point of the room! Not decorating your mantel is like going to work without your pants on; It doesn’t matter how nice of a shirt you have or how pretty your hair is, it kinda ruins everything … unless you work at an underwear factory and are wearing the underwear that they design and have really nice legs, in which case you’ll probably get a promotion.  


I decked my mantel out, but in a super easy way. For stockings i found these navy blue classic guys at Moskatels in downtown LA for $3.99 each. I love how classic they are but in an updated, less traditional color. They aren’t terribly high quality and I’m sure will only last if we don’t use them. Poor Brian is getting bubble wrap and empty boxes in his stockings since that is what we styled in them. But hell, he loves bubble wrap! I mean, the unexpected yet totally expected pop really gets you every time. For my mantel styling tips watch this video.

I brought in cotton for snow (again, it’s kind my thing this year) because I love how it keeps things so light and airy BUT still softens all the lines. And it’s WAY less messy than the pine needles that the Bear loves to eat and puke and then eat the puke, then puke.  I also like how the cotton creates a bed for all the pretty ornaments up there. At the last minute, we painted the inside of the non-functional fireplace navy blue to make it pop. It was white before, which I liked, but I actually love this. It’s “Loyal Blue” from Sherwin Williams, the same as my office. I threw some cotton in there (snow) and a brass deer head, naturally.

In the front window, I created a holiday tablescape that you can see from the street. I found this lucite console at the flea market recently for $100 with extremely straight modern lines, which I don’t find very often.  I got all the glass domes at Moskatels and other weird wholesale craft/party supply stores downtown (I would imagine Michaels has them) for $5 – $25, depending on the size. Then naturally I filled them with miniature trees.

I added these gold sequin ball ornaments to give it some bling, and some tea lights to bring light and reflection over there at night. I love that it still is consistent with the rest of the space, but it’s kinda quiet and peaceful, too. AND IT’S A MINIATURE FOREST! I‘m assuming there are very, very small little squirrels and polar bears up there, doing adorable things with their teeny, tiny little hands …

On the new coffee table — sorry you can’t see those amazing brass legs — I added a tray that corrals some candles and flowers, threw some more of those awesome gold ball ornaments, and then a brass tangle light under a dome. When we had the party, we just removed the ornaments, and there was plenty of space to put down drinks, etc. The painting in the back was what we used in the holiday special to write “on Dasher, on Dancer,” but this time it reads “Ho Ho Ho, Ho.” Get it? Oh, aren’t we very edgy …

And in case you are thinking to yourself, “Is that a mother loving macramé hanging cat bed in the corner?!” the answer is, “Yes, yes it is.”  I bought it as a hanging table, but Brian (who is slightly more obsessed with our cats than I am) put a pillow on it and Bear immediately claimed it. She loves it so much that we don’t have the heart to take it away from her and instead we are “those people.” Thank God I’m already married. The tour of the house on a first date ending with the Queen of Sheba over there on her $200 cat bed might turn him off faster than the high-waisted jeans (that he didn’t notice yet) that I was wearing. 

The rug is vintage Chinese deco from the flea market for $300. The coffee table is from the flea for $100, the sofa I purchased in Portland at The Good Mod (vintage), the Italian wood hand chair is from Roundtop Flea Market outside Austin, the blue and white pillow is Land’s End, gold pillow is West Elm, and other pillow I sewed myself. The art behind the cat bed is from Jen Gotch through my opensky store. The standing lamp I got in Portland recently, and brass trunk I’ve hoarded for a while.

But, what did we eat at that party you ask?

Only the most delicious food from HeirloomLA.

But first, the wreath. I’m going to do a proper post about it, but basically it was just floral foam wreath form (say that 15 times) that I soaked in water for a while and shoved ferns, peonies, garden roses, and other greenery in. I didn’t have an exact vision for it. I just knew I wanted it to have an organic flow and feel kinda wild. Again, I’ll post about that hopefully tomorrow or Saturday. It was WAYYY easier than I thought it would be, the trick is choosing the right flowers (aka, make them special, full, contrast in size and color, and when in doubt, choose peonies and garden roses). Again, more on that later.

Back to our delicious spread:

 

 

CROSTINI STATION: House-cured meats, cheeses, roasted veggies, seasonal fruits , marinated olives, pickled veggies, etc. And yes, that is on a vintage blue and white marble chess board, why not?
ARANCINI with saffron aioli. Sooo delicious.
GARDEN SALAD: homegrown greens and apples with a lemon vinaigrette
Shepherd’s PIE: Braised short rib, whipped yams, and cinnamon marshmallow
HOME GROWN PEPPERS STUFFED WITH RICOTTA + SHORT RIBS. These were insane.
SHRIMP CEVICHE TOSTADAS Uh huh. So good.
PANNA COTTA with apricot glaze and molasses dust.
It was all so delicious you have no idea. I was freaking out.
For the party the next day we had all of the above, PLUS, lettuce wraps that were pretty amazing.
LASAGNA CUPCAKES: various flavors included house made pasta with Sage Brown Butter Pumpkin with Smoked Mozzarella, Wild Boar Bologonese with Fresh Mozzarella, Confit Baby Artichoke with Fresh Mozzarella, Osso Buco with Saffron and Parmesan.  
Thank you so much, HEIRLOOMLA, you make me look VERY cool to my friends.
A huge thanks to Danielle Walch for my hair and makeup (you’ll see those pics tomorrow, with Brian, Bear and Mimi. Who is Mimi you ask? Yes, she’s the “Other Cat” as my friends call her). Danielle is a massive pro at making sometone look ten times prettier without making them look done up. You have no idea how difficult that is.
 
Everything was shot by David Tsay (who I’ve worked with for years, and blogged about HERE) and he did a pretty amazing job at making my house look like somewhere I really, really want to live in.  A total pro in every way.
Also this handsome man below (along with Beth and Kristen) helped a lot and deserves a huge shout out. His name is Orlando and he’s my other lover, except mainly we hug and talk about lampshades and the difference between Kilim and Persian style rugs.  

 

Happy Holidays, friends. From our very styled house to yours.

What do you think?