Country Living: Christmas, really!

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, August 27, 2015

Family RoomWEB

Life in Our Foothills, September 2015
Written by Gillian Drummond
Photograph by Tim Lee

In early June I received my first Christmas catalogue! Does it get earlier every year or is it my imagination? I am one of those people who loves to get ready for Christmas in December. Growing up we never put up our tree until Christmas Eve. It made the whole Christmas experience very special. All the baking and cooking and present shopping and wrapping for a few weeks before, the excitement building and then the whole beautiful experience coming together on Christmas Eve.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

It is the same process that happens when designing and decorating a room or a house. Especially if everything gets installed at the same time and the homeowner comes home to see the finished product, similar to HGTV. However, if you are planning to redo a room in your house in time for Thanksgiving or Christmas now is the time to start. First you will need your design and the planning to put it together and then you will need to line up the craftsmen to do the physical work and then it takes time to order what furnishings you need. September is a good time to start.

I thought I would start you out with guidelines of the greatest mistakes that DIY’s make and how to avoid them.

First, not having a cohesive plan about what you are going to do to achieve the end results you dream about. So you really need to start with a floor plan. This will let you see on paper what your traffic flow is like, how the furniture achieves balance and proportion in the room and where what you have fits and what you need to get that is new.

Now you will need to interview and hire your  contractor, painter, carpenter or other craftsmen. This is where your biggest dollar wasting and stress making decorating mistakes are made. The right team of people will make the process come in with in your budget, as stress free as possible, and give you the end results you desire. The wrong people will be a nightmare that you will live with for years. Working with an interior designer all these worries are taken off your plate, they should have a stable of quality craftsmen who are vetted to fulfill your needs. They can manage the project for you, take care of all the details and bring it in on time with the desired end result.

Next, you need a color scheme. Are you starting from scratch or are you incorporating things you already love? Color shapes a home and touches our senses and emotions more than any other element. The color scheme for your room should fit into the comprehensive color scheme for your entire house otherwise your home may feel uncomfortable or chaotic without you knowing exactly why. Of course, you could stick to white or beige but then your house will appear bland and lifeless unless your room is designed to be white and beige and that can be the most difficult color scheme of all. Remember to test your wall color before you paint a whole room. Brilliant, bright and deep colors are very in at the moment. They can look fabulous when photographed for a magazine, however depending on the lighting in your room; it may be a very different story. Paint large swatches on all four walls and live with them for a few days. Remember to look at them all at different times of day as the light changes.

Do you need some new furniture? Remember that beauty comes hand in hand with comfort and practicality. No matter how much you like that trendy sofa, if it is not comfortable to sit in and enjoy a movie or a book for hours then it is not for you. No matter how good looking something is, if you cannot sit/ relax or walk on it, then pass it by. This brings us to the very trendy pieces so readily available today. Some of them

look so great on the page of a magazine or in a store window but when you get them home they make everything else you have look out of place or old and tired. Unless you are planning on throwing everything out and redecorating every few years then you need to only focus on trends that go with the things you already own and love or that feel like you.

The dream lifestyle purchase! We all have dreams of how we would love to live often fueled by books, movies and television shows or a fabulous hotel we stayed in or a friend’s house we visited. Is it a dream or is it a life style that we are really going to achieve? So think carefully before you buy that huge TV screen for your living room. Do you want it to look like a home theater room? A huge dining room table when you never entertain with sit down dinners. Wouldn’t your dining room be better repurposed for another use that better fits your lifestyle? I love dining rooms that double as libraries, they still have table that can be used for dinging with a few close friends but can be used all the time for reading and even television watching.

Buy quality. Did you ever buy a cheap chair or sofa so that you could buy something else within your budget at the same time, but the chair broke within a year or the sofa looked shabby very quickly? Or you spent your money on something impractical in white, like a rug or a sofa, only to spill red wine on it and have a guest drop a piece of chocolate and then sit on it. Have you ever heard the saying “Buy the best, only cry once.” This is what a client of mine said about what we did for her last year.

“First, my husband and I made a budget and listed what we thought were our immediate priorities. Then we called Drummond House, who is right here in the area, for a consultation. They took our list and prioritized it to fit the budget that we had. It never occurred to me that by hiring a professional interior decorator, I could save money! By hiring an interior decorator who (1) already knows the paint colors, (2) fabric samples and where to get them, (3) what companies have the best prices, (4) the best workers and their quality of workmanship, (5) and knowledge of appliances and furniture manufacturers, we benefit from her discount. They also believe in working with what you already have and simply making it better. Their advice alone has saved me from making more mistakes and finally moving forward.”

So Christmas is not that far away and September is the time to not only start thinking about the room you want redone but also about moving ahead and starting the project so that you will be ready and stress free come holiday time. 

Gillian Drummond has her design studio, Drummond House in Tryon, N.C. You can see her website at and reach her at or 828-859-9895.