Here is a compilation of our holiday home tours over the years. It’s awesome to look back and see how Susan’s styling has changed over the years. At how much our babies have grown (tear). And reminisce on the huge effort it takes to get the house ready for filming. Here they are in all their glory. Also, I’ll add a little background in the effort it took to get everything together.
Each year, the decorating starts off with the fireplace room. It’s the main room of the house and has both the front door and stairway upstairs. What is challenging is the room is off-centered. Susan often has Cath, Grandma, and me trying several different combinations of tree placements in order to get it right. This year we tried all four corners until we landed back to the original location. Then out of the blue, SQ got the idea to add two smaller trees on the side. I think it looks awesome.
We kind of try to have a “big reveal” each year. For 2022 the reveal was the kitchen. That was a ton of work to get that all set. Susan briefly went into the whole effort on the IG post but here are a few more details. The whole effort started because SQ wanted to feature these Arhaus chandeliers without swaging them because we had swaged lights in the two rooms that connected to this one. And I’ll admit, she was right even though I knew that not swaging them was going to lead to so much more work.
In order to string the electrical wire we needed to remove a ceiling panel. That was a chore in and of itself because they were actually inch thick knotty pine – the good stuff. But when I finished cutting out a rectangle and we found 1880’s floor joists, I knew the whole ceiling was coming down. Really, the exposed beams are awesome. I think they look great and when Susan saw them, her eyes just lit up. I love it when she gets like that. Her mind just races to figure out how best to show off this amazing, beautiful treasure that was buried for years. SQ dreamt up painting the subfloor (on the ceiling white so there was a good contrast between that and the wooden floor joist beams.) Then that led to painting the rest of the dining are in the kitchen white. Lastly, while Susan was in Australia, I painted harlequin squares on the floor that she said would add interest. Here’s the technique I used in case you’d like to paint these in your home.
The song is a Silent Night cover by Steelings. Very cool. We went back and forth on the song choice this year and ultimately went with this because it has a whimsical feel to it.
This year Susan faced the challenge of having to get over an artistic block. Nothing looked quite right and it was an effort to get started. Unfortunately I cannot help with new decorating ideas. She’s got to be the one to decide what looks good. So SQ went to her favorite sources for inspiration – store displays, Pinterest, reimagining spaces in our home. And then ultimately what did it for her was thinking back to those holiday moments from when she was a little girl, looking at pictures of her mom and grandmother using tinsel on her trees and boom, the whole thing came together! The feeling of an old fashioned Christmas Is always something Susan strives to create each year. We got the biggest tree that could fit in the room and SQ, Cath, the girls and Grandma showered the tree with tinsel for hours. It looked just amazing.
From there everything came together pretty smoothly. Our big reveal was an update to the kitchen again (only using paint) and a ton of new paint jobs throughout the house. We installed wood paneling on the far side of the kitchen to add texture and depth to the walls and then painted that and the floor a deep shade of blue. I’m a huge fan of the look and am always so impressed by SQ’s ability to add subtle changes to have a big impact. Huge thank you to my friends Joe and Brandon for coming over to help me get everything ready.
Lastly, here is 2020. (The girls have grown so much!) The story behind this is SQ had recently done a video house tour that was done on her phone the year before. While it was good, she knew that she’d like to do more to really show off the decorations and our holiday home. We had met Joel through a few family get-togethers (He’s Cath’s, husband’s, sister’s, friend’s husband) and knew he was super talented. We were lucky enough that he agreed to shoot our house and both SQ and I were blown away with the result. He truly captured everything we were hoping for and am so grateful for his work.
This year our big reveal was the concrete on the walls. Originally the concrete was supposed to be only on one wall but because it looked good, SQ asked to have the entire space done. I’ll say this, it was generally easy to do because it’s just slathering on the walls and doing your best to smooth it out while the concrete is still semi-wet. But my shoulders were sore for a week!
The song is Angels We Have Heard On High by Future of Forestry
Lastly, in 2021 we recorded our fireplace mantle for people to stream on their TVs. Cath and Dave suggested this since they don’t have a fireplace at their place but really enjoy playing wood burning fireplaces on their tv as a backdrop while hosting friends.
Our videographer is Joel Krogman. I cannot write enough about how much of a stud muffin this guy is. Truly a genuinely nice person. SQ and I always question if we’re “professional” enough for him since he’s worked on movie sets before and we never even have 100% of any room done before shooting starts. A lot of times, Joel is recording a room while Susan, Cath, Grandma, and I are rushing to stay one room ahead of him. But he’s always patient, reassuring, and even goes out of his way to help us set up. He’s just an absolutely awesome guy and if you’re in the Chicago or St. Louis area, I highly recommend reaching out to him for any videography help you need. Here are all his links:
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