Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Decorating Progresses...

Well, I have to admit that we are a bit behind here at Darlington in our decorating. As I mentioned in an earlier posting we are having a cocktail party this year, on the 29th, so our primary focus has been on getting Darlington ready for the party, as opposed to having everything buttoned up by Christmas day. We succeeded in having the tree decorated by Christmas, but we’re still working on finishing up the rest of the decorating for the party.

Rich and Junior hanging the roping on the portico

Our goal this year has been to make the house festively “Holiday” rather than “Christmas”, since the party is taking place after Christmas and before the dawning of the New Year. Neither Boy nor I particularly care for houses decorated for Christmas so abundantly as to replicate a retail experience: themed rooms smothered in artificial garlands covered with baby’s breath, twinkling lights, teddy bears and miniature ballerinas. I don’t aspire to live in the Christmas Shoppe at Macy’s. What I do like are rooms that are, if anything, under-decorated. Real greens, vintage ornaments, candles, and not too much of them. And where the colors of the decorations, rather than imposing a relentless theme of red and green, complement the rooms in which they appear. That is what you’ll find at Darlington.

Polishing the brass andirons and fire tools

Since we won’t be finished with our decorations for several more days I thought that I would post some photos of our work in progress, ahead of the completed installation. These should provide context for when I post the final photos.

Setting up to decorate the pruned tree

Decorating the tree, thinning as we go to make room for more ornaments

Like many old houses the front door at Darlington is no longer used as the primary entry, having been supplanted many years ago by the less-formal side entry as the main source of entering and exiting the house. Several years ago we decided to set up the center hall at Darlington as a bar area during parties when the crowd is large enough to require the services of a professional bartender. We had our carpenter construct a bar for us that we place in front of the door during large parties. Dressed with linens it makes a delightful bar and aids in the circulation of guests between the adjoining rooms. When not in use we store it in one of our barns.

The bar and linens awaiting final set up

The new Dietz No. 80 Blizzard Cold Blast lanterns, ready to line the drive during the party


  1. So far so very good-I like the tree trimmed up neatly and in the urn on table-the patina of the old ornaments is really lovely-like the color palette that you have selected within a range. So hard to limited color for me-but you have edited beautifully without missing the festive atmosphere a tree lends. On to the 29th!

  2. Going along very well Mrs B sent me over to visit so I will enjoy reading your posts, and be sure to visit me when you are ready for art!

  3. What a great site -- found you through Mrs. Blandings. We, too, decorated with fresh greens on the mantle, poinsettias for color, a few pine cones and the tree! Too much "overdoneness" for me at Christmas. We have nice "things" -- why put them away one month of the year! (Alas, no Santa towels in the guest bath!)

    I'm adding you as a Friend of Linderhof -- you have great style!

  4. Hello Kerena and Martha,
    Welcome am pleased that Mrs. B recommended that you stop by, and appreciate your comments.

  5. I love the house, barn and grounds, you have decorated just beautifully and understated. But I want you to come to my house and arrange all the christmas balls into color catogories, that is so wonderful and over the top.

  6. Reggie - came across your blog via ADG. I was wondering, what is the official color of your dining room?

    Thank You,


  7. The driveway lanterns are wonderful.


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