Sunday, December 18, 2011

1994 Christmas, sort of.....

Since it's that time of year (Christmas), I felt maybe I should post something that relates to the holiday. Since I'm Jewish, this will be on a story published about a job I did for some clients of mine who actually celebrated the holiday both in its true spirit and all its glitz, many, many, many, many years ago.
This was an article in Traditional Home Magazine, and since it was sold in 1994, I accept that the style is a little (hah!) dated. But the story is a good one, so I am going to mine it for all it's worth.
You gots to use what you can in blog land.

The gentleman of the house was from Scotland and wanted a touch of plaid in every room. Being one to oblige, I smothered him. There was plaid on the walls, there was plaid on the floor, there was plaid thrown over the backs of the furniture. If anything stayed still long enough, I covered it in plaid. He loved it (as least that's what he told me), and his wife Peggy was a real good sport. 
National magazines shoot their stories a year in advance, but it can sometimes take a little extra time to get the photo orders, so by the time the photo shoot order had come through it was the middle of January. Try to find a Christmas tree in the middle of January. Did I mention that this was a story on Christmas we had to shoot in the middle of January???????
We had to find a place that not only had a tree left over, but the other stuff we would need, like garlands and bows, etc. Actually, we just didn't need a left over tree, but one that would look O.K. in a picture. OY! OY! OY!!!!!
We found a place around an hour from me up on the north shore of Massachusetts. I went up there with the Traditional Home regional editor, Estelle Bond Guarelnick, to choose what we needed and cart it back to the shoot location. Now, if you know about real Christmas trees, you know what happens to them after they have been hanging around for a few weeks. THEY SHED!!!!!
So we gingerly strapped the thing to the roof of Estelle's car (she had me drive, I still remember this day clearly) and we went barreling back down Route 95 with it waving jauntily in the breeze. Since I didn't know that much about decorating a house to the nines in Christmas Cheer, I had to call in the big guns.
I had a good friend who was also a designer who just happened to be another Traditional Home Magazine favorite. You might know him. Gary McBournie. He came to my rescue. He LOVES Christmas decorating. We met him at the house with all our greenery and sparkle, and he went to town.
Not only was he kind enough to help, but he brought his plaid sweater vest so he could work as a prop also!!!
Here he is pretending to be at a party at their house.

Every one's laughing 'cuz it's not even Christmas. That's Peggy and Jim, the home owners and happy couple. That's June sitting down, she was my right hand and best friend. She ran my office and went to the movies with me when we had a slow day. Notice how I said  "WAS" my best friend. The @#$& retired on me, just 'cuz she's 13 years older than I am. I still allow her to visit me in Florida, because I am a gracious and loving woman, not one to hold a grudge. 'course, if she hadn't LEFT me, I wouldn't have retired either, and then I wouldn't be writing this blog, and you guys would be missing out!!!
Here's a picture of the Christmas Tree!!!!!!!!

Notice how sparse it is??????
The photographer's assistant knocked it over TWICE!!!!!!!!!
Then we had to redo the decorations and ribbon, AND vacuum up all the needles off the dark carpet. What an idiot. I can understand knocking it over once, I mean, I'm pretty klutzy, but TWICE?????
This tree was cut down over a month ago, it was FRAGILE!!!!!
Look!!! More plaid!!! The rug was custom made to match a traditional plaid called Hunting McLeod that I also covered the chair in. I thought I was very clever. To get a good price on the rug, we had to order a lot of it, so we put it in the living room, dining room and lower and upper halls as well as on the stairs.
Here's the living room, remember, this was 1994.......

For the last picture I will show you the kitchen, it's amazing how my taste has changed in the last 17 (yikes) years. Wait a minute, the only thing I really am not so happy about is the wood carving detail on the plate rack at the end of the island. So the look is a little dated for today, but I guess I still like it.

I like the look of the wreath hanging from the drapery pole. It's a nice way to add some visual warm to a long expanse of window in the winter.
I still like lamp shade hanging lights over kitchen islands, it brings a nice touch of softness to the hard surfaces.
And I still LOVE cabbage roses, always have, always will.

Linking to: Mod Vintage Life
Linking to:  Wow Us Wednesdays - Savvy Southern Style
Linking to:  2805
Linking to:  At the picket fence's Linky Party 4/1 - 4th


Amy Chalmers said...

I loved reading this post!! I hope you post all of your Trad Home articles with behind the scenes commentary. So fun!! I was LMAO at lots of the stuff you everyone at the party and why they were laughing...I think the owner looks like Leona Helmsley on a good day. At first I thought you cut and pasted her into the shot. I do remember Gary well and love his style too. I think the house looks great, I love plaid on plaid and I cannot say it looks that dated. Totally English (or Scottish) country. You are such a great decorator, I think lots of these things were ahead of the curve, like the lampshade pendant lighting. Anyway, super post!!

Sandy said...

Well, I love this, red and plaid...what's not to like! It's cosy and very Christmasy. I've never been in the current style anyways whether it's my home or my fashions. If I like it, I like it regardless of whether it's the "in" thing or not.

Karen said...

OH yes! Remember this house well (have the magazine) . . .I adore plaid! Because I wanted to put plaid flooring in my kitchen (I know - I'm the only one on the entire planet that actually likes kitchen carpet - I have six dogs, believe me, they slip and slide on hard surfaces!) I referred to these pictures. PLEASE keep sharing your past (and of course present) projects Besty - we all enjoy AND learn!

JoAnn said...

You are a "hoot" no more than a "hoot" a "hoot, hoot".....Love yur blog.....don't ever stop writing make my day...besides YOU are talented.....I can't wait each day for the next post to come out....YOU GO GIRL!

Anonymous said...

I keep a file of pictures and ideas. This one is still in my file and I still love it. I think that you are a super decorator. I agree. It is not that dated.

Karen said...

A good design is timeless - no? So your design does not look dated. And I have to wonder how on earth you knock a tree over once, let alone twice . . . I'd have to have that person take a long, long lunch break:)

Anonymous said...

You know - I actually remember that article! I remember thinking how warm and cozy that home felt - and I still think so today. Yes I have been following your decorating adventures (from afar) for a long time. I love the warmth you always put into your designs. And ... I am surprised you had any needles on the tree at all after a highway ride!!

Kathleen said...

Dated, schmated. Gorgeous then, gorgeous now. Love it!

Anonymous said...

How could you not like this? It's a dream. I think we could all use a warm, cozy mood right about now. I find it refreshing actually. The stark white look is getting old. The news is bleak enough for me. Let's return to color and comfort.


Anonymous said...

I still have the pages from this article in my Christmas file and every year when I weed out some, this one always stays. Inside and out it's a happy house. Some rooms are just timeless.

cathy@my1929charmer said...

Soon as I seen plaid I had to stop over, wow what a great post. I could see myself in warm cozy room filled with this mood. I love plaid. Stopping over from WOW.

Olive said...

Still beautiful. The plaid draped all over the place is about eight kinds of wonderful.


Ok, so what's not to like of your fabulous plaid! Your post is amazing, I just love everything you have posted and your fallen tree looks lovely and the room looks terrific, I knew I'd love it, so I just came from WOW! Wishing you the merriest of Christmas.

Lynne (lynnesgiftsfromtheheart) said...

Oh my goodness, it is fabulous! The home is truly lovely, so warm and inviting... I think I've found my next love "plaid". Happy Holidays hugs ~lynne~

Sarah said...

Betty, I'm a fan of plaid and live by the motto,"It isn't just for Christmas." Thanks for sharing this lovely home and fun story. ~ Sarah

Anonymous said...

I don't know...I still really like this look and think it is still lovely! Good quality design just never seems to go out of style or it all comes back around, you know??? Funny story! :)

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

I love some plaid, too, but they really liked it. Thanks for sharing this story at Wow.

The Vintage Chateau said...

Oh gosh, I remember this article as I LOVE plaid.I probably have it saved in my file somewhere. Thanks for sharing all of the behind the scenes stories!
Happy Hanukkah!

Babs said...

OMGosh!! You won't believe this but, I have those pages from that 1994 Traditional Home magagzine in a notebook of my favorite designs!! Those rooms are some of my all time favorites, since I adore tartan. The rooms may be dated to some, but to me they're classics. Thanks for a great post and I'm a new follower.

Honey at 2805 said...

I love the plaid, Betsy! And I love this post! I too have these magazine pages...see how much we all loved your work!

Thank you for sharing this beautiful post at Potpourri Friday! Have a very Merry Christmas and wonderful Holiday Season!

Heather Hadden said...

This is really gorgeous! I especially like the picture of a Christmas tree...It is an evidence that also the classical sorts of Christmas tree may look indeed interesting. All the best! :-)

Scribbler said...

I have just found your blog via Between Naps on the Porch. I have always liked your work, and so I have been reading all the way through both this blog and the bungalow site. I actually remember this article, because that time period was probably one of my favorites for the Traditional Home magazine. It's very possible that I still have this issue, pack rat that I am.

I never knew you were so funny -- maybe they should have let you write your articles for your work?

I am now following. Come see me sometime!


Decor To Adore said...

As a Scottish Gunn by marriage I am mad for plaid. Your darling post made me truly blissfully crazy! :)

I linked up an oldie but goodie to play along here:

Happy Tartan Day!

Sarah said...

Betsy, I either remember this post or the article. This is fabulous and I'm thrilled to see it again. Thank you for joining the Tartan Parade. ~ Sarah

Alison @ The Polohouse said...

Hi Betsey!
Of course I have these pages cut and saved and under plastic sleeves in my three ring binder of favorite rooms....and fast forward to now... when you are a guest on my blog!

How lucky am I?
Oh my heavens. A plaid-lover's dream come true. Honestly. Just too much for me to even handle!

Thanks so much for sharing the behind-the-scenes experience with us! Sounds like lots of fun and aggravation but so worth it all in the end?

Love it.

Salmagundi said...

What a great repost for Tartan Day. Good decorating never goes out of style. Sally

laney said... area quite simply the most fun...and i love you because you still love cabbage roses...blessings laney


Oh this room is not outdated at all! This gorgeous room is a classic and for ever! I love plaids and I'm not Scottish, or anything near, fact my dad's family was Jewish from Spain! I love your decor style and I would definetely hire you in a sec! I'm also going to follow you, hope you like to do the same. I can't wait to read your book and see more of your interior decor. Have a nice day.

Katie Mansfield said...

This was absolutely one of my favorite Christmas articles. I may still have it in one of my magazine binders. Now I don't need it anymore.
I love, love the behind the scenes story.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Betsy, I know I still have this article somwwhere, and I love it! This house is timeless. Plaid is timeless. Just ask Queen Victoria. Well, you really can't ask HER, but she would agree!!!

I saw a castle once that had plaid carpets, and I went wild over it. I have a little thing for plaid. Maybe that's because my mother dressed me in it all fall long as a kid. I don't know. Maybe it's because I have so much Scottish ancestry. Or maybe it's because I just LIKE it. Anyhow, when we moved to our current residence some 19 years ago, I did a plaid bathroom that we still love, and I also did plaid drapes in the library and slipcovered two plaid chairs. It's also the McLeod tartan, and as it turns out, my MIL has McLeods in her family! See, it was meant to be. But I have got to say that you knocked it out of the ballpark wtih this. I remember loving every room you showed AND the tree, and I still do. You got it, girl. You got the gift!



Susan (Between Naps On The said...

Betsy, you are so the way you write. I have to admit, I still LOVE all of those pictures and if you came to my home right now and decorated it that way, I'd be in heaven. I have ALL and I do mean ALL the old, old issues of Tradtional Home magazine and I used to drool over that picture of that room. I'm so obsessed with plaid! I'd love to do a room exactly like that red room from Trad. Home one day. Yep, I'm out of style and always will be, I'm afraid. :)

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