Simple Christmas Tour - New House

2015 Christmas House Tour - Classy Glam Living

I should thank the eager Christmas enthusiasts in our neighbourhood that started decking their exteriors in early November.  It got our little man all hyped up and on repeat...  "When are we putting up our Christmas decorations?  Mommy I'll help you!"  "Do we have (exterior) lights like those?"  And when he was told no, we don't, "Aw~~...  can we get them?"  Well, you know the drill...

Don't get me wrong.  Christmas is my favourite time of the year - who doesn't love all the sparkly festival decorations?  I love decorating for Christmas, with Christmas tunes playing in the background on the radio.  It's also a good opportunity to refresh decor around the house.  

With all the hussle and bustle leading up to the Holidays, I opted to keep our Christmas decor simple.

So with little man's help, while he also managed to flip through a Lego catalogue and announced his Christmas wishlist, we put up the Christmas tree.  That was several weekends ago!  After playing around with placements and such, I think I'm happy with our Christmas decor this year.  

Welcome to our new house (not so new anymore)!  This is our entryway console table, on which I placed two IKEA faux sheepskin to mimic fluffy snow for the grazing brass reindeers.  I like how the whiteness of the sheepskin tones down all the gold accents on the table.  

2015 Christmas Entryway New House | Classy Glam Living | IKEA faux sheepskin
2015 Christmas Entryway Vintage Brass Accents | Classy Glam Living

Coming in through the hallway, I kept the garland on the staircase simple this year.  I used to wrap these faux garlands around the banister, but I noticed how the metal parts would scratch the railings at our old house.  This time around, I just used floral wires to gather the garland at the swivels.

2015 Christmas Hallway | Classy glam Living | Stockings on Railing

We've placed our Christmas tree at the entrance of the sitting area, so that we can enjoy its twinkling lights from most of the ground floor.  And those are real presents underneath the tree!  Wrapping up fake presents is not for me.

2015 Christmas Tree New House | Classy glam Living

I've started to hoard a good supply of LED stringlights* this Christmas.  I've put them anywhere and everywhere I can!  Here in our sitting area, I placed a strand of the LED lights into the container of extra ornaments.  The lights add even more twinkling effect to the beaded cone tree and the mercury glass tabletop finials.

2015 Christmas Living Room | LED stringlights ornaments | Classy Glam Living
2015 Christmas Coffeetable Decor | Classy Glam Living

For everyday Christmas decor on the dining table, I added two pots of faux greeneries with some berries on either side of the candelebras.  I pulled apart 2 twigs of faux branch arrangements and fanned out the smaller branches into the mercury glass lanterns.  

2015 Christmas Simple Dining Room | Classy Glam Living

The Mr. commented that setting the table makes it more festive, but I'll save that for when my family comes over for Christmas dinner =)

2015 Christmas Dining Room Console Table | Classy Glam Living
2015 Christmas Dining Table Decor | Candelebra DIY faux greeneries | Classy Glam Living

The console table is another spot for me to use those beloved LED stringlights, which I wrapped around tiny Christmas trees placed in the birdcages.  Those are the same birdcages we used in the Spring Tablescape decor back in old house.

2015 Christmas Console Table Decor | Classy Glam Living

Aside from string lights, I've also added some gold accessories to our Christmas collection.  This gold resin deer from Target...

2015 Christmas Console Table Decor | Classy Glam Living

... and this pair of gold antlers were part of my recent haul.

2015 Christmas Console Table Decor | Ornaments in glass display box gold antlers | Classy Glam Living

Don't forget to deck the bar cart!  Check out my post on styling the bar cart for the Holidays!

2015 Christmas Bar Cart Decor Styling | Classy Glam Living

I always love how decorators load up their rooms with Christmas decor, but I can never achieve their same look without everything looking messy and myself being overwhelmed.  I'm never one to dump Christmas all over the house.  Now that we're in a smaller house, I definitely don't want Christmas overload to happen.  I see that's the way it'll be for Christmases hereafter.  (Not to mention, it'll be much easier to clean up!)

I'll save my oohs and aahs as I indulge in other Christmas enthusiasts' instagram feeds #xmasdecor #christmasdecorations.  But for our home, I'll leave it livable and manageable.

I'm also happy (and relieved) to announce that, as of this morning, I'm done with my Christmas shopping!!  Woo hoo!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

2015 Christmas Tree | Classy Glam Living

* Affiliated link

Top Hardware Picks for Our Dressing Room

Top Hardware Picks for Dressing Room | Classy Glam Living

Have you been following along the progress of our dressing room/ walk-in closet?  It's on Instagram, and the Mr. has been making great progress.  

Just to give you some background of our dressing room, its design is inspired by Carrie Bradshaw's huge walk-in closet in Sex and the City 2 (her side).  Similar to the dressing room in our previous house, we love the trims and moldings details of Carrie's, and the bottom section that's extended just a touch beyond the upper hanging units.  Not to mention, all those bottom drawers!!  One can never have enough drawers!

Carrie's closet in Sex and the City 2, image via  Marks & Frantz

Carrie's closet in Sex and the City 2, image via Marks & Frantz

This time around, we're not hacking any IKEA PAX wardrobes; it would entail too much customization and hacking to fit in our new closet space.  So, the Mr. is building our closet from scratch!  That also means we're free to add all those bottom drawers to suit our needs.  

Here is the most updated status of our custom-built closet by the Mr.:

DIY dressing room walk-in closet progress shot | Classy Glam Living
DIY dressing room walk-in closet progress shot | Classy Glam Living

While the Mr. goes about tackling the design and build of the closet, it's time I busy myself with looking at the little details to complement his huge undertaking.  One such is of course the gems for the closet - knobs and pulls.

The Mr. will be building shaker style doors and drawer fronts for our closet.  With this generic style, we would rely on the hardware to add a personal touch.  Instead of using only one kind of hardware, I would prefer separate styles of door handles and drawer knobs.  Not only is that less overwhelming visually, it also creates a layer of interest.  

Classic and timeless styles of hardware would suit us best.  Nothing too tacky - no rhinestones and no "crystal" knobs that are too diamond-looking.  

There're literally thousands of choices out there, but I'll know what I want when I see them.  And so, I went searching at my favourite hardware online sources:  Lee Valley, Ginger's, Anthropologie, and Etsy.

Drawer knobs

These brass knobs are timeless classics, and their subtle details add interest so that they're not just a blob of metal. 

All from Lee Valley.

All from Lee Valley.

Ever since going with glass knobs with our DIY refinished night tables, I've fallen in love with their versatility. They offer a touch of glam, and are a nice pairing with either intricate or sleek handles. 

1.-3. From Lee Vally, 4. From Gingers Bath. 

1.-3. From Lee Vally, 4. From Gingers Bath. 

Pull handles

The cabinet doors for the closet will be quite high, going from the ceiling to the top of the bottom drawers.  We would need pulls that are at least 6" in length to keep proportions in check, otherwise a tiny pull would get lost in the height of the door.  Anything 4" or less would not do!

The dressing room can handle the traditional look of these brass pulls, which I may not use for a contemporary kitchen.  While their designs are intricate, the handle parts are wide.  Aside from being ergonically friendly, they would also look proportional on a large cabinet door.

1. Lee Valley; 2. Anthropologie; 3. A Rose Rambling Etsy

1. Lee Valley; 2. Anthropologie; 3. A Rose Rambling Etsy

As much as I love classic style hardware, these contemporary pulls have understated details that don't render them too plain-Jane.

Both from Ginger's. 

Both from Ginger's. 

While there's no right or wrong way to pair cabinet door handles and drawer knobs, my preference would be to pair one with an ornate design with one of simple.  When in doubt, pairing both with simple designs would always be better than having both handles and knobs with too much detailing.

Pairing of Handles and Knobs | Classy Glam Living

Perhaps these are details so minute that nobody would notice.  So why put so much effort into mixing and matching of the knobs and pull handles?  Cabinet hardwares can make or break the design of a room.  Carefully chosen hardwares add your personal stamp to your space, and make using them on a daily basis a joy.  Make sure they're ergonomical and in a style that you love!

I'm glad I got this post out, because it sure did help me in narrowing down my choices.  I think I now know which ones I would go with.  Let me just run them by the Mr.!

Our Marble Alternative Kitchen Counterop Revealed!

Marble Alternative Kitchen Countertop New Superwhite Quartzite | Classy Glam Living

***UPDATE***:  SEE HOW OUR KITCHEN CURRENTLY LOOKS IN THIS POST!

OUR MOST RECENT KITCHEN UPDATE!

As of 3 months ago, we were still very optimistic about using marble as our kitchen countertop, and have decided we're going with statuario marble.  But... this wasn't the first time we again changed our minds...

I forgot how many times we've decided on marble, only to have doubts about it.  Time and time again, we would check out any evidence of etching during our meals at restaurants that use marble tabletops and we would be assured that marble isn't too bad afterall.  We would decide that we can live with some patina from usage.  Even our test of red wine on marble didn't deter us from going forward with the Statuario marble.  

However, while living at the rental, every spill and missed spot from cleaning would remind us of our roughness on countertops.  We wanted what we love, but we're not the best cleaners.  At the rate we go, the marble will be "patina'd" in no time.  

We were both probably waiting for the other to say no first!  

What we chose in the end

We wanted a polished countertop with a white background to match our light grey cabinets.  We looked into Caesarstone's Pure White (we didn't want specks like the Blizzard) but it was just a tad cheaper than Statuario Marble.  We're old fashioned, and don't feel like we're getting the bang for the buck if we're paying that much for manmade "stone".  We then narrowed down to natural stone, and we all know that there aren't a lot of choices of natural stone with a white background!

We could choose from Statuario marble, or a whiter piece of carrara marble that wouldn't be as expensive.  As luck would have it, the stone expert introduced us to the NEW Superwhite quartzite.  The slab we saw was absolutely gorgeous; a white background with grey veining, plus crystalization within the slab that we love.  It's different from Superwhite, which tends to be more grey.  Sadly, the whole block was already sold out.  Well, all's not lost, at least we found a marble alternative that we love.  Patience now...  

And then we got the call from the stone warehouse that a new block of New Superwhite arrived!  It's not as white as the slab we previously saw, but it has more crystallization in the slab.  

NEW SUPERWHITE QUARTZITE | Classy Glam Living
The slab is quartzite, tiny crystals are visible, making the slab sparkly.

The slab is quartzite, tiny crystals are visible, making the slab sparkly.

We're sold!  We get the white background that we wanted, without the pain and fuss of maintenance as with marble.  Nothing beats the beautiful veining of Statuario marble, but the crystals formed in the slabs of New Superwhite quartzite are just as mesmerizing and beautiful.  Not to mention, it's a stronger material compared to the softness of marble.

From ordering the slabs to fabrication, I would say it was a pretty easy and smooth process.  We're so glad we didn't go with the builder's expensive stock upgrades with limited choices!

Here are some photos of the installed countertop:

NEW SUPERWHITE quartzite kitchen counter | New house kitchen | Classy Glam Living
NEW SUPERWHITE quartzite kitchen counter | New house kitchen | Classy Glam Living
NEW SUPERWHITE quartzite kitchen counter | New house kitchen | Classy Glam Living
NEW SUPERWHITE quartzite kitchen counter | New house kitchen | Classy Glam Living
NEW SUPERWHITE quartzite kitchen counter | New house kitchen | Classy Glam Living

The crystallization inside the slabs are difficult to pick up in photos, and the countertop is sparkly in person.  The veins in the stone are actually formed by dark crystals.

NEW SUPERWHITE quartzite kitchen counter | New house kitchen | Classy Glam Living
Zoomed in of the grey veining from the red portion in the photo above, showing dark crystals in veins.

Zoomed in of the grey veining from the red portion in the photo above, showing dark crystals in veins.

More tiny crystals visible at the ogee edge.

More tiny crystals visible at the ogee edge.

I'm sure you're interested in the price points of these different marbles and alternatives.  Based on the size of our kitchen and quotes that we got:

Price Comparison of Marble & Alternatives | from highest to lowest price points | Classy Glam Living

We absolutely love our new countertop, as much as we would had it been made of statuario marble, if not more.  It's a great alternative to Statuario marble, at a cheaper price and less maintenance hassle.  Not that we would care any less with this New Superwhite quartzite, but It would save us from unnecessary heart attacks if we spill anything on it!

The kitchen is slowly taking shape, and we've finally had the appliances panels installed! We had been going back and forth on using silver or gold hardware, until we saw these pulls at Gingers. 

Panel-ready undercounter fridge and freezer | New house kitchen | Classy Glam Living

So now I guess it's decided we're going with gold. These are actually bronzy-gold, and they go nicely with our bronze Kohler Karbon faucet! Pure fluke on our part! 

New Superwhite Quartzite kitchen counter | Classy Glam Living

Bit by bit our kitchen will take shape and become our dream kitchen that's functional and outfitted in our style.  Here's our view from the living room, as mentioned in our kitchen and living room design boards.

NEW SUPERWHITE quartzite kitchen counter | New house kitchen | Classy Glam Living

Our next to-do's for the kitchen are:

  • Change out cabinet knobs and pulls
  • Install mirror backsplash  
  • Build more drawers in lower cabinets
  • Replace solid doors with glass doors at uppers above the fridge (see kitchen trends post)
  • Install mirror backs + glass shelves for those upper cabinets
  • Install LED rope lighting for under the upper cabinet  
  • Install valence

I hope we've shown you a marble alternative that you can consider if you're having trouble deciding on a marble countertop like we did.  Here's how we use our kitchen:

  • As per the Mr., I have butter fingers, that means a higher chance of spillage  :-(
  • We're rough on the counters, being efficient cooks sometimes means that banging stuff on the counters may be inevitable
  • We may not clean up right after we cook
  • We're not the best cleaners, ie. best if stains on the countertops can be somewhat camouflaged

Do you have butter fingers like me?  Do you love marble enough to live with its patina?