First Christmas in My First Fixer Upper

December 6, 2015

coastal glam christmas decor

As another year comes to a close, many of us tend to get a bit reflective. In holiday fashion,  I would like to reflect with you on how far we have come with our very first fixer upper. In conjunction with and,  I am giving you a holiday home tour with “before” pictures so you can appreciate just how much we have accomplished in 10 months. Not to mention, we accomplished all of this on a relatively meager budget.

living room christmas-14

Looking at the current state of our living room, with it’s light and airy vibes, you may not believe me when I say it used to be dark and dingy (and infested with lady bugs). When we moved into our 1980’s ranch home in February of 2015, this is how the living room looked…


After some paint, decor, new light fixtures, a fireplace makeover  and removing the popcorn ceilings,  this is what our living room looks like.

coastal glam christmas decor

As you will notice, I am not a “red and green” type of girl when it comes to holiday decor. While I think it looks lovely in many other homes, I  think it distracts from my aesthetic. So I prefer to play off of my year- round decor….using neutrals with pops of coastal turquoise.

living room christmas vertical-33

Because the room is so light and airy, I like to add warmth to the space with fur textiles. Then, I like to add pops of Christmas glam with metallics.

rustic glam christmas decor

I love the juxtaposition of earthy, rustic elements against shiny, glam accents like mercury glass and sequins. I refer to my Christmas style as “rustic glam”. It is particularly ideal for me, because I get to leave it up the entire winter. Unlike traditional Christmas decor that must be put away once January rolls around, “rustic glam” holiday decor is so vague you would not really classify it as only being suitable for the month of December.

neutral christmas decor

living room -74

Here is another before and after comparison of my living room…





living room christmas-4

Let’s head on to the dining room. Here is my dining room when we first moved into our fixer upper.


And here it is now..

dining room-58


We painted the dining room in a light gray, replaced the light fixture and covered the texture ceiling with beadboard planks.

rustic christmas decor

Don’t judge my “tablescape” and assume we are alcoholics. You see, we don’t celebrate Christmas in a traditional fashion. No formal dinner…no formal gift exchange. On Christmas eve, our close family gathers and we throw a cocktail party of sorts.

In lieu of gifts, we all bring a nice bottle of wine or whiskey to exchange.(Ok..we do kind of sound like alcoholics)

dining room-70

We wouldn’t want to distract from precious time with family by slaving away over an elaborate meal. So, we serve heavy hor d’oeuvres.


dining room Christmas-18

And of course we listen to the classic holiday tunes. We especially enjoy  The Rat Pack, Perry Como and the Vince Guraldi Trio’s takes on Christmas music.

Let’s move on to the kitchen.

Here is what it looked like when we moved in.


And here is the kitchen after painting the walls and cabinets, new appliances, subway tile backsplash and building a pantry door. We also took the existing cabinets up to the ceiling.

white and grey transitional kitchen

Eventually I would like to replace the flooring and countertops, but budget has halted out efforts.

rustic glam modern

Continuing with the rustic glam theme of my holiday decor, I added a “glam” wreath around my rustic taxidermy.

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And because it was too risky allowing my two year old access to my antique, glass ornaments, I displayed them in a safe place on the counter.


Instead of the usual fresh florals I keep in my vase, I thought pine sprigs were more suitable for the winter months.

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I am especially pleased with this cute, owl print I got for just $5 at a local shop.

And check out this antique mirror I converted into a chalkboard ….

rustic modern christmas

Before I send you out the door, I want to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

Now I am going to cozy by the fire.

rustic glam christmas decor living room


Special thanks to Country Living and Hometalk for hosting this event. Be sure to check out all of the other amazing tours included in this blog hop.

home for christmas


More about Designing Vibes

    1. What a bright and beautiful home you have…the transformation you have given it is amazing! And your Christmas decor is stunning! Love it all.

    1. I am blown away by this transformation! Your home is absolutely gorgeous! A few highlights I loved: layering the rugs in the living room made it look so cozy in the large vaulted space. The brick surrounding your oven in the kitchen is dreamy and the chandelier in your dining room really makes a classy statement. I am your newest follower. So happy I found you on the #homeforChristmas blog hop!


    1. Girl, your house is amazing! I can’t believe how much you transformed it in such a short amount of time! Just beautiful! Happy holidays!

      1. Thank you so much, Karen!!! I really appreciate your positive feedback. Dont even get me started on your home… it is gorgeous!!!

    1. Erika, this is amazing. I’ve seen your room all over the place lately and it looks so magical dressed up for the holidays. You and I are like soul sisters! We moved into this dark and dingy 80s home in February and the lines are similar to yours. I’m so glad you started blogging so we can connect. Beautiful work!

    1. Your home is stunning! I love that you are not the usual red and green decor. It is so creative, fresh and fun in how you decorate. I also love how it has a fancy feel to it. Your dining room ceiling is gorgeous! I have been thinking of doing something similar in my dining room and love how yours turned out!

      1. Thank you so much, Emily. I love the results of my dining room ceilings. Although, be warned, it was a bit of a process.

    1. Love what you have done to your home!! Your Christmas Decor is just amazing! Beautiful

    1. Your home is gorgeous and the transformation is amazing. Love how you have it decorated for the holidays – I love more of a neutral theme myself. Beautiful Cathy

    1. Oh goodness what an amazing transformation! I LOVE it and I’m so glad you shared before pics so we could appreciate all the hard work you’ve put into making it so lovely! And your DINING ROOM! I AM IN LOVE! That pic should grace the cover of a magazine!

    1. You have done a fabulous job on your home Erica! I am amazed at how much you have done in a year. I wish you a wonderful Christmas in your home:). Have a wonderful week and take care, Tara

    1. Erica you home is TO DIE FOR and how on earth do you have so many delicate things with kids around? How old are they? Love you home, the changes you’ve made are amazing and I love how you have converted the brick in your home and painted it white. Absolutely in love the antelope (I think that’s what it is) head and the gold leaf wreath around it. Stunning and your furniture. Just so you know you now have a new blog stalker 😛 haha. Love it. Thanks for allowing us into your amazing home. Feel SO inspired right now 🙂 x

      1. Maria, thank you so much for the sweet feeback. It really means so much to me. I have 1 boy who is about to be 2 and another on the way. I think once the second one comes, I am going to be in trouble with all of my decor. haha Much Love!

    1. Your home is gorgeous!! All of your choices were spot on. I really love it. Major improvement! I think my favorite part is your gorgeous kitchen and your fireplace. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I love all you have done to your home in such a short amount of time! What an amazing transformation. Your holiday decorating is also so beautiful.

    1. Erica, I cannot believe you did so much and made this house into a home in a year. And the real miracle is that you also have a toddler and a little baby. T his is incredible. I can only imagine what you’ll do when they are old enough to go to school. Stunning home.

    1. This looks sooo great!!! What a difference! I loved seeing your home tour in the holiday homes blog hop.. but seeing the before photos is AMAZING! I was so excited to see the huge amount of link ups for this hop! There is so much eye candy!! 🙂 Pinned!!

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