Scandinavian winter wonderlandPublished on December 5, 2014

  • Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • Creative framing and displays of art adds character in the entry

  • Creative framing and displays of art adds character in child's bedroom

  • Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • A vibrant work from Canadian artist Bobbie Burgers hangs above the fireplace

  • Photo by: Mark Holleron

Taking a classic century-old home in the Glebe and infusing the old-style character with contemporary décor can be a challenge. But not for these homeowners, who have carefully renovated the house over the last seven years to suit their casually chic style and meet the eclectic needs of a young family, while renewing their home's unique architectural features.

Respecting the personal style of the residents and the character of the home was an important aspect of decorating the space for the Homes for the Holidays tour. Virginia Vince, owner of Bloomfields Flowers, was the designated decorator and a close friend of the family, so she had an inside perspective on what would work. She opted for a look that expressed natural simplicity and beauty to reflect the family lifestyle and their home.


The primary focus of the professional festive decorating was the main floor, which incorporates a perfect blend of old and new. Large open rooms with connecting French doors showcase period features of high wood-coffered ceilings and decorative trim work.

As part of the first round of renovations, which included adding a much-needed mud room, all the old windows were replaced with custom replicas of the original divided-light window design. The huge cast-iron radiators with embossed detailing were removed to be cleaned and painted, and the hardwood floors and an oak staircase were refinished. Dark wood panelling was stripped from the walls to lighten and freshen things up.

The timeless décor is enhanced with vintage brass and crystal lighting fixtures, together with a combination of contemporary and antique furnishings. A neutral colour scheme of warm off-white walls and trim provides an ideal canvas for this year's festive touches.

"I knew an overly traditional or formal look wouldn't work and modern would be too harsh," says Virginia. "The plan was to create a natural, almost Scandinavian, winter-wonderland feel with lots of boughs, different kinds of berries, branches and floral touches."

While an atmosphere of eclectic chic reigns in the home, the fresh Christmas tree is decorated in a more traditional style with a green and red theme. It takes pride of place in the living room, which was bumped out to provide extra space with a new fireplace and additional windows. Trimming the tree was a collaborative effort using a treasured collection of family decorations and tree ornaments made by the three children.

To offset the natural look, Virginia introduced some lush and colourful elements with textured florals to complement individual rooms. "I wanted to accent the bold orange colours from the painting in the living room and create something fun and whimsical for the kitchen."

Currently, the kitchen has a country feel with whitewashed cabinetry and black granite counters. But it's next on the to-do list, as the owners plan to renovate the space in a clean-line design with no upper cabinets. Even though the owners fondly describe their home as far from perfect, the renovated rooms on the upper two levels are pretty close to perfection.


The wide oak staircase leads to a long, open stair landing on the second floor where the kids like to practise their gymnastics! This level was remodelled to provide two great bedrooms - one for two young boys and another for a nine-year-old girl - plus a guest room. A new bathroom, as well as a fabulous playroom with its own outdoor balcony, completes the children's happy place.

On the way up to the third floor, there is a surprise wall opening that overlooks the kitchen. It's a featured remnant from the removal of a second staircase that would have been used by domestic staff to access their bedrooms. Now this space is entirely devoted to the parent's private retreat. Their happy place includes a master bedroom with a cozy sitting area tucked into a wide bay window, walk-in closets and a dazzling bedroom-sized ensuite in white and grey marble.

With her friend's sense of style and eye for décor, Victoria remarks that it was the ideal house for her to decorate for the holidays. "There is such a warmth to the home. It defines their style as they shape the character of the home to fit their lives."


- Lay out a variety of wintergreens such as pine, cedar, eucalyptus and magnolia.

- Add pinecones and votive candles

- Use varying heights of votive holder with colourful candles tucked inside (votives refer to the candles themselves, not to the holders, so I rephrased slightly)

- Swag greens down each side

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