VISIONS OF SUGAR PLUMBS

There are couples who meet in university, locking eyes over a shared sonnet, bonding when they crack a difficult equation or connecting when they show up in identical concert tees. Not David and Vanessa Lindsay. “For us, it was Christmas,” says Vanessa. “We both loved it so much that we started decking out our dorm rooms for the holidays as soon as Halloween was over!”

While some things have changed since their school days—they’re now married, owners of a 1920s-built semi in downtown Toronto and parents to baby Charlotte—their November 1st holiday launch remains the same. “We spend the entire evening decorating, listening to carols, sipping wine and nibbling on charcuterie. It’s festive, fun and we really put effort into it” says Vanessa cheerfully.

When Vanessa and David bought their house four years ago, it needed some of that effort. While they adored its character and original details like the dreamy stained-glass windows that flank the living room fireplace, they craved a more contemporary feel. Plus, the space hadn’t been updated in over 50 years, so they were confident in their decision to gut it, while being careful to salvage whatever original mouldings and gumwood trim they could. All were brightened with fresh coats of paint that David jokingly refers to as, “50 shades of white.”

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Photography: Alex Lukey | Styling: Morgan Lindsay | PAINT, Benjamin Moore; WRAPPING PAPER, Minted; PENDANT LIGHT, Rejuvenation; TABLE, PLANT, Ikea; CHAIRS, PLANTER, HomeSense.

The soft wrapping paper palette also inspired the holiday dining table. The pink corduroy chairs are on point year-round and lend themselves perfectly to the home’s holiday palette.

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Photography: Alex Lukey | Styling: Morgan Lindsay | PLATES, GLASSES, H&M Home; FLATWARE, CB2.

“My Christmas dining table is all about layering, and my sister-in-law helped me pull it off,” says Vanessa. “We mixed new dishes and flatware with my grandparents’ candlesticks and DIY ornament place settings.” The settings feel special, while eschewing formality.

That reinvigorated backdrop became a holiday influencer. “I never like to impose colours that don’t complement the décor,” says Vanessa. “Green and red are great but wouldn’t go with our light aesthetic, so in came plum, pale pink and gold plum.” The sidestepping of classic hues still incorporates traditional meaning. “I have so many treasured tree ornaments that I inherited from my grandparents and one of my favourites is a dove that’s gold.”

The metallic accent sparkles beyond the tree, repeating throughout the space for decorative continuity. It’s also a link between Christmases past and present: This is a home where heirloom brass candlesticks share the tabletop with brand-new gold-tone flatware.

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Photography: Alex Lukey | Styling: Morgan Lindsay

Vanessa’s floral secret? “Stick to tones that match your décor but mix in different elements.” Here the DIY arrangement of full-blown roses, berries, thistles and greens cultivates a professional florist vibe at a fraction of the cost.

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Photography: Alex Lukey | Styling: Morgan Lindsay | CABINETRY, Ikea; HARDWARE, Lowe’s; APPLIANCES, Caplan’s.

A window wreath suspended by a pink ribbon, fresh paper whites and an arrangement of dried winter berries ensure that the kitchen got the home’s holiday memo. “We spend a lot of time in the kitchen over the holidays so it’s important that it feels as festive as the rest of the house,” says Vanessa.

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Photography: Alex Lukey | Styling: Morgan Lindsay

The perfect accompaniment to tree trimming and easy entertaining, a charcuterie board is one of Vanessa’s holiday traditions. Adding sprigs of fresh rosemary is a genius way to reflect the holiday greens throughout the space.

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Photography: Alex Lukey | Styling: Morgan Lindsay | WREATH, HomeSense; BAR CART, West Elm; DECANTER, Tiffany & Co.

Scale is everything and Vanessa masters it with her placement of the wreath above the dining room’s bar cart. “It’s not too high up, and I let the panelling act as its frame.” An all-green arrangement references the tree and garland in the living room and acts as an organic counterpoint to the cut-glass Tiffany decanter.

Vanessa tempers the glitz with fresh flowers and natural greenery. “We always have a real tree that I complement with simple pine-bough wreaths hung in every room on the main floor,” she says. The mantel also sports some greenery, but less ornaments than the year before. “A few boxes of decorations remained unpacked because we had our arms full with Charlotte, so the mantel garland isn’t as embellished as it would normally be.”

Not that anyone will notice when they welcome David’s family to a traditional turkey dinner. Vanessa’s family is on the East Coast but they’ll be here in spirit, thanks not only to her inherited ornaments, but also her grandfather’s stuffing, a crowd-pleaser she makes according to his handwritten recipe. “It has a secret ingredient I can gift: St-Hubert barbecue sauce!” It’s a fitting condiment that bridges the gap between the couple’s old student days of takeout food and new Christmas traditions as a young family.

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Photography: Alex Lukey | Styling: Morgan Lindsay

David and Lindsay enjoying baby Charlotte’s first Christmas. Look closely at the tree—the heirloom dove ornament at the front is one of Vanessa’s favourites and was the inspiration for her holiday colour scheme.

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Photography: Alex Lukey | Styling: Morgan Lindsay | DISH, H&M Home.

A golden shell dish proves that Christmas colours needn’t be prescriptive. It has an airy, year-round feel yet is a playful complement to the gift wrapping and ribbons.

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Photography: Alex Lukey | Styling: Morgan Lindsay | GIFT WRAP, Minted.

“I saw this floral wrapping paper online and it set the tone for the holidays,” says Vanessa. “I love the plum tones and it was my jumping-off point. I picked up bits of its colour throughout the living and dining rooms—it was like it was made for our house.” It also gave Vanessa some artistic license. “I wrapped some boxes entirely, used the paper as a runner on others, mixed in pink striped paper, and left some boxes just plain and dressed up with a satin ribbon.”

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Photography: Alex Lukey | Styling: Morgan Lindsay | SOFA, EQ3; TABLE, RUG, West Elm.

Awash in tantalizing tonal colours, glittering touches, and real greenery, the living room feels both contemporary and Christmassy. “Just add sparkle!” says Vanessa. “The twinkly lights and gold touches are my holiday secret to making any palette look festive.” The vintage armchair and interplay of fresh greenery have a nice layered effect and create a dynamic foil to the contemporary furnishings.

 

Source: Styleathome