Family Christmas Hearth


It’s Christmas Eve Eve, as my mother likes to call it, and we are doing everything we can to prepare our home to host a few friends and plenty of magic. When you live in 1,400 square feet, cozy is easy. But how do you achieve that kind of warm atmosphere on a larger scale? It’s in the accessories, says Bernadette Schaeffler.

Her boutique in the Dallas Design District is my favorite spot to get inspired for the holidays. Thanks to Schaeffler’s German heritage, she gives her Christmas decor a fun, cultural spin that exudes elegance.


Courtesy of The Hollywood Heights Neighborhood Association and Liz Simmons

Photos: Courtesy of The Hollywood Heights Neighborhood Association and Liz Simmons

It’s easy to sell a home during the holidays. The potential buyer base at this time of year is generally serious and ready to seal a deal quickly. It doesn’t have to be tricky to get your home on the market. Just keep it simple.

Jump for a list of tips!




Every Christmas, my mother hauls out a box of vintage beaded balls made by my grandmother. Each of them is hung from the ceiling with clear fishing line, which gives the impression of several gilt and sparkling orbs floating in our formal living room. Each Christmas I looked forward to that ritual, and when I saw that Dallas artist Peyton Hayslip was creating an altogether more polished and stylish version of these beaded beauties, I was absolutely intrigued.

As it turns out, remembering those 1970s-era beaded ornaments is what inspired Hayslip to create her line of ornaments and tabletop decor.

“My beaded creations began in the mid-90s when my children were small. My mother and I were reminiscing about the little foam and sequin ornaments she’d made when I was a baby, and we both had an ‘AH-HA!’ moment,” Hayslip said. “What if those old-fashioned ornaments could be pumped up? What if they weren’t just made with sequins? What if they were made using my great grandmother’s vintage costume jewelry, and maybe some glass beads for sparkle? I set to work, and loved the results.”

We do, too! Jump for more!


Fav xmas lights 12 2013The 1% like it bright! This article in the Wall Street Journal a couple weeks ago tickled me: it was like a eureka — people spent thousands of dollars on holiday lights, like $15,000 and upwards, to decorate for the holidays. And further eureka:

More Americans are forgoing the difficult and sometimes risky endeavor of installing their own holiday lights, asking professionals to take their place on the ladder. National chain Christmas Decor, which has 40,000 clients across the U.S., says it has seen sales increase 11% every year for the past four years.

This shift means that holiday displays can get even more extravagant and elaborate. Many installers say they have worked on décor that cost as much as $80,000. Prices are typically based on the number of lights and the size of job.

Elaborate lights 11024px-Dyker_Heights_lites_2010_jehAnd as we know after a drive down Armstrong Parkway, or on Deloach in Preston Hollow where the late Harold Simmons and his wife, Annette, charmed drivers with an elaborate, animated holiday display: holiday lights are now more complicated, with way more gimmicks, colors and choices. LED lights use less electricity, but they look different, whiter, than standard “candle-light” lights. Thus

Vance Brand, a Christmas-light specialist in Salt Lake City who works with 1,500 clients in Utah and Colorado, offers his customers 10 shades of white LED Christmas lights. With schematics planned out using computer models, the bulbs dance and twinkle, often to coordinated music. Mr. Brand, who says his business has grown 22% a year since 2008, installs and takes down the lights after the season is over. He says he has even rappelled over a cliff to hang strands on one precariously situated holiday enthusiast’s home.

You know that if you waited to put up your holiday lights the day after Thanksgiving, you were too late in North Texas. Everyone knows that in August, when the mercury hits 112 degrees, that is your cue to start thinking about some hot Christmas lights. This is when you schedule your installation, otherwise it’s too late. Sure, you can do them yourself you DIYer you, but if you haven’t cleaned out the lighting department at Loew’s prior to Thanksgiving, it’s too late.

Oh and no matter how many strands and boxes you buy, thinking, this should cover that tree, you will not have enough lights and when you go back for more, they will be out.

That is the cardinal rule of holiday lighting.

Years ago, I gave the ladder to the professionals. I simplified my lights to cover one large Live Oak tree, and that is it. I get away cheap: $1500. (My husband swears he will use this against me if we ever divorce.) My friends in Highland Park say the more elaborate lights require a cash outlay (or credit card) of $30,000 and up — some of those lawns you ohh and ahh over run upwards of $75,000.

4b189c10415a5Plus they must be installed correctly. Nothing irritates professional landscape lighting landscapers more than the “pop-up” shops that emerge come October & November, who send out un-trained teams of (sometimes) guest workers who overload home circuits, which could potentially start fires.

“The best thing to do is have a professional company install exterior plugs dedicated to the Christmas lights,” said Johnny Moore of Unique Electric.

There is a company in Birmingham that sells clients the lights to decorate exterior structures with lights.  They obtain the products, fit them, install the lights, garlands, bows and wreaths and maintain them for the homeowner during the Christmas season. After the holidays, they take everything down, pack and store them for homeowners in a warehouse.

That is what I call heaven.

I know companies, even individuals, like Lights of Christmas, Inc. exist in Dallas. Now I am ready for the next step: someone to maintain my interior decorations. That 8 foot tall pre-lit tree, bannister and fireplace garland, all of it is cumbersome! If a company wants to bring my stuff over all pre-decorated from a nice big storage unit well, then, I guess that will save me building a walk-in closet for the Christmas tree!

Seriously: how much did you spend on holiday lights this year? And is $60,000 too much??? Is $1500?





These stockings were hung by the chimney with the utmost care, considering that this Old Preston Hollow living room was decked out by Chambers Interiors. Headed by interior designer Margaret Chambers, this firm works hard to infuse clients’ homes with tasteful and timeless design.

When a design client asked Chambers Interiors to decorate her home for the holidays, Allen Keith says they knew the traditional red color scheme wouldn’t wash with the client’s furniture. Likewise, Keith says they used a lot of copper and ivory, creating warmth and sparkle while keeping the decor inviting. The ribbons on the tree and stockings, along with the evergreen garland on the mantle, blend seamlessly with the upholstery and paint.

It definitely says “Christmas,” without saying “CHRISTMAS!!!!”

Have an amazing holiday design you want to share with the world? Send us your snaps to [email protected]