Halloween & Thanksgiving Never Looked So Good

I love fall and the design trends for the fall holidays – even though we’ve only had a tiny taste of it so far in Houston. We postponed my next-door neighbor’s National Night Out event because of a storm but were lucky to have a beautiful day, albeit a tad warm, the following Saturday. Jon and I stopped by and visited with friends from the former ‘hood, some realtor friends with whom I collaborate and even a few clients. We took a cute photo in the pumpkin patch and I brought home the above beauties!  I can’t wait to scatter them around my home and patio!

Pamela & Jon at the Pumpkin Patch

Speaking of pumpkins, I enjoy fall decorating that can last from the early harvest season through Halloween and all the way into Thanksgiving. I usually start by adding fall leaves in my topiary in the courtyard. I found some painted metal leaves at the Chappell Hill Scarecrow Festival a few years ago. I also place a fall leaf wreath on my front door and put a pair of matching pumpkins on top of the stone pillars at the entry.

To up the spookiness-level, I add some jack-o-lantern luminarias and place black velvet ravens with white pumpkins on my dining room table. I have some fun Halloween candy-themed decorations that get distributed around the house and the PHD studio.

Also, I have a Japanese rice bucket sitting on a chest near my front door and that gets filled to the brim with Halloween candy. We can always count on our little neighbors to stop by. Jon and I usually dress up and go to a party or two as well. We really enjoy Halloween. Our resident black cat Bartholomew, shown below, is another great addition to our seasonal décor!

Bartholomew the Cat

Once the big night is past, I remove the Halloween items and get deeper into fall with items such as gourds, mini-pumpkins, garlands of leaves, berries and pinecones. I have these fabulous brown sequin squirrels that I bought at Z Gallerie that add a little glam. Tossing in a few, simple white votive candles gives everything a soft glow.

In other areas of the house, I use fairly everyday items but add an autumnal twist. I have a pair of majolica candlesticks in shades of brown and gold. I place those on the coffee table in the living room. I flank the mantel with a pair of blackened bronze urns. I fill them each with pheasant feathers. It’s a very natural look but it’s also sumptuous because I use a huge bundle of feathers in each.

Image Courtesy: Real Homes

Something I mentioned in a recent Real Homes article as another favorite of mine is how I like to feature some of my favorite tableware pieces. I enjoy entertaining and, thus, have a large collection of serveware, stemware, barware, flatware and many other china, crystal and porcelain treasures. I’ve been accused of having a genetic deficiency for over-collecting these items! My mother loves them too as did my aunts and both grandmothers. I guess this passion was inevitable.

Part of the reason for this pasttime is because I love to visit historic spots and shop the town square to browse antique stores. Once I filled my first apartment with the appropriate amount of furniture, I no longer had room for large antiques. So, I started looking for interesting smaller items such as butter dishes, knife rests, salt cellars and the like.

I pick up seasonal dishes, plates and trays to use in my decorating. I have about 10 small plates and trays with fall motifs, so these get a spot either on the dining room table or to serve as small dishes for nuts or candies around the house.

When I was growing up on the East Coast, I remember a harbinger of fall was a large bowl of nuts with a nutcracker on everyone’s coffee table. As children, my brothers and I thought it was great fun to crack nuts. I remember having contests about who could crack open a Brazil nut – no easy feat, especially when you are only six or seven years old. I think my grandfather usually helped us with those.

I still love to buy fresh, unshelled nuts and sit them on a table in my living room each fall. I don’t see people do this often in the South. Did any of you grow up cracking nuts as a fall diversion?

autumnal leaves for fall decor trends

Photo Courtesy: William Sonoma

Of course, fall always meant colorful leaves. I love brisk, cool fall air and seeing the leaves change color. While we have to wait quite a while for our leaves to turn, I still delight in seeing it each year. I am also fortunate that the world’s largest furniture market is in High Point, NC each fall. I love going to market and part of the appeal is getting to be in North Carolina this time of year.

I’m happy that there are some very pretty faux fall leaves available these days. I have several garlands of leaves and berries that look quite real. I weave those around my mantel and fireplace. Here’s a nice bundle from Williams Sonoma.

I used to buy paper cheese leaves from Williams Sonoma too. They made your cheese board look so fall-like. However, when I looked them up, I couldn’t find them there.  However, good old Amazon has some colorful choices as shown below.

Photo Courtesy: Harvest Imports & Amazon

I haven’t tried these but they look pretty in the images and they show some good ideas like using one under small bites on an appetizer plate or to decorate each place setting. You could also add a tag or perhaps use a brown marker to write names and use these as place cards as well. I think I’ll buy a few sets!

Wow, writing all this down has gotten my design juices flowing. Anyone want to join me in decorating for fall?

Until next time, find your own autumnal inspiration, or call us and we’ll help you discover it.

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