When it comes to classic design, no one does it better than Holly Holden. In 2013, Holly published The Pretty and Proper Living Room in which she shares “old-school secrets for timeless elegance and… the no-no’s to know.” I have been her biggest fan ever since! Holly is an interior designer who in 1989 founded her design firm on the premise that classic interior design transcends trends, and she has developed a loyal following over the years. She recently created Holly Holden on YouTube featuring weekly episodes and tutorials, and she has a PBS series – “You Are Cordially Invited” – which was nominated for a NATAS Emmy Award. In addition, Holly recently began Mummy’s Monday Manners, a fabulous new weekly email newsletter with etiquette tips and forbidden faux pas.
Holly and her husband live in a historic Federal house, Fox Hall, c. 1803, in Farmington, Connecticut. As you can imagine, it is decorated classically and beautifully each year for Christmas. I am delighted to welcome Holly today, as she takes us on a mini-tour of her home, decked for the holidays! Welcome, Holly!
Classic decorating for the holidays is about renewing cherished memories from seasons past, along with creating new memories with my precious family. Our Christmas tree at Fox Hall is the opposite of “picture perfect” (no matching ornaments or bows), and instead, is a medley of ornaments which are now four generations old. Ask me about any ornament, and there is a loving memory attached! I have a red sleigh in my dining room that makes it’s debut each year and reminds me of the Velveteen Rabbit… well loved, and far from pristine. But it is treasured because I remember the joy I had when my grandmother bought it for me an eternity ago.
My years living in Virginia have inspired me to embrace old-fashioned, colonial decorations using real fruit (apples, pineapples and lemons) mixed with greens from the garden (boxwood clippings, evergreen, and of course, holly!) to create topiaries, wreaths, and mantle decorations. I fill silver revere bowls, porringers and loving cups with either greens, my spiced pecans, fruit or cookies… the way my mummy did! I also place holly sprigs over paintings, and a piece or two in the snarling mouths of my childhood Chinese Foo dogs. Adding white, red or even pink roses into the evergreens is also very festive. Red ribbons adorn my porcelain foxes and horse sculptures, and I adore how anything silver glistens and reflects the sparkling lights from the tree, the flames in the fireplace and the flickering candles lit in the evening.
My beloved German angel orchestra greets guests in the front hall, and grows in size each year! It is placed underneath a sweet, delicate musical Christmas tree, which, when wound up, magically twirls and sings the enchanting song that my parents shared with me. Christmas is about family, love and peace on earth. My sincerest wishes to all of you for a holly-jolly holiday! ~Holly Holden
I can never get enough of Holly’s expertise! For ongoing inspiration, I recommend following her on Instagram along with Holly Holden on YouTube and Mummy’s Monday Manners. If you don’t already own her book, The Pretty and Proper Living Room, which I reviewed here, you will want to add it to your Christmas list immediately! To learn more about Holly via The Glam Pad, links to my past features are below… Enjoy!
- THE SECRET CODE OF OLD-SCHOOL INTERIOR DESIGN REVEALED
- CLASSIC DESIGN WITH HOLLY HOLDEN
- CLASSIC DESIGN ON INSTAGRAM WITH HOLLY HOLDEN
- FOUR MUNDANE CURRENT DESIGN TRENDS …AND HOW TO GET THEM RIGHT, BY HOLLY HOLDEN
- YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED