Home For The Holidays

by | Jul 9, 2021 | Designing, How-To

Christmas is the time for traditions—for honoring old ones and creating new. It’s a time for decking the halls, welcoming friends, and creating memories. Last year Honest Abe Log Homes engaged stylist Lexie Nale, owner of At My Front Door in Charleston, South Carolina, to create a home for the holidays at its model in Crossville, Tennessee. We talked with Nale to get her insight and advice about decorating a log home for Christmas.

“Decorating a log home offers both challenges and opportunities,” Nale said, pointing out that the soaring ceilings, towering windows, wide-open living spaces, and imposing chimneys typical of many log homes require special decorating considerations, as they did with this home.

The great room is one and one half stories of logs capped by a Douglas fir heavy timber roof system. A two-story manufactured stone fireplace with a mantel and hearth cut from local quarry rock is the focal point of the 1,864-square-foot ground floor. Nale draped the mantle with evergreen and magnolia and placed nearby a towering pine tree festooned with a flowing red bow and clusters of gold and red ornaments.

“My concept for decorating a log home is to let the style of the house be your guide,” Nale said. “Remember, if you don’t have the number or size of ornaments you need, go for the bows and ribbons,” Nale added. “If you can’t find garland as thick as you would like, combine two or three together to give it fullness. You must always consider the scale of your room.”

Nale kept scale in mind when decorating the home’s three bedrooms, one downstairs and two on the 956-square-foot second floor. For the bedrooms, Nale chose small trees with delicate ornaments and tiny white lights—each as distinctly different as the room itself.  Some elements that can be incorporated into any style are pine branches, pine cones, wooden deer heads, birds, and a variety of Christmas decorations—some old and some new,” Nale said. “Fruit is nice, if not fresh then go with nice artificial pieces. I am thinking cranberries, pomegranates, and oranges. I also love using plaid ornaments with a mix of traditional Christmas colors.”

The stylist emphasized that it’s perfectly fine to deviate from greens and reds. “I sometimes use mineral colors and pastels,” she said. “Branches with ice and mercury glass ornaments create a different look, and with the correct selection of ribbons this can be stunning.”

The finish of the logs and floors greatly determines whether to use light colors or more intense colors, Nale observed. “For example, the naturally finished eastern white pine walls in this log home and the number of large windows created many reflective surfaces on the walls, flooring, and ceilings, so using rich, deep colors worked well,” she said.

Nale said that with darker wood she would use lighter colors, strategically placed lights, and perhaps add glitter or mirrors. “These are very reflective and help to lighten the area,” she said, adding, “In either case lots of ribbons can be your best source for creating a powerful impact in the most economical way.”

Greenery such as magnolia leaves, holly, cedar, pine, and other evergreens can be used throughout the home in large or small quantities. “Using fresh usually limits longevity, but it does have a wonderful aroma and cozy feeling,” Nale said. “Fill bowls and vases with beautiful ornaments and a touch of greenery. Use wreaths throughout the home—they are not just for the door! I particularly love using them in the kitchen and a special wreath for each bedroom with matching décor pieces like pillows or throws. ”

Nale hung several of her company’s custom-designed wreaths, adding hints of evergreen, holly, magnolia, pinecones, and berries inside and out. “Whatever decorating style you choose, remember to match your decorations with your front door wreath,” she said. “Your entrance is very important. It welcomes your guests and sets the tone for your home.” Nale said it’s never too soon to plan for holiday decorating. “Start early! It gives your brain time to define your theme,” she said. “Just remember the basics, and it will be beautiful.”