2016 Holiday Gift Guide for the Home

home decor holiday gift guide christmas entertaining essentials

Not sure about what to gift the home decor lover, or perhaps the host/hostess or friend/family member with an affinity for "house stuff"?!  Well, I rounded up a few practical and pretty options that would make great gifts for the home decor enthusiast.  The best part about this holiday gift guide is that everything is UNDER $50.00!!!

z gallerie home decor holiday gift guide christmas dishes entertaining essentials

This set of white ceramic dessert plates offer up some witty and humorous sayings!  They are the perfect way to serve and eat dessert guilt-free. 😋

anthropologie home decor holiday gift guide christmas entertaining essentials cups

I've gifted these mugs to friends in years past.  Buy a set for your favorite couples!  They are great quality, and just the right size for a cup of coffee or tea.

crate and barrel cb2 glasses home decor holiday gift guide christmas entertaining essentials

Stemmed water goblets can add simple "sophistication" to your table setting without making things look too fancy!  They can be used for juice or wine too.  They are the perfect entertaining essential for a new (or existing) homeowner.  I may just have to pick up a set of these glass goblets for our own home. 😊

cast iron cb2 crate and barrel home decor holiday gift guide christmas entertaining essentials

Fondue anyone?!  This is perfect for the chocolate or cheese lover!

anthropologie stoneware serveware dishes home decor holiday gift guide christmas entertaining essentials

This beautiful platter can stand alone, but it would also come in handy to serve appetizers, small pastries, or other finger foods.

serveware cheese stem board dwell studio home decor holiday gift guide christmas entertaining essentials

This marble board offers modern striking style for the minimalist in your life!  It would make the perfect backdrop for a fruit and cheese platter... or use it as a base to serve cocktails in some pretty glasses!  It also comes in this hexagon style.

pottery barn home decor holiday gift guide christmas

I love to snuggle under a warm and cozy blanket pretty much year-round.  Anyone else?!  Throws are an easy way to infuse texture, color, or pattern into a space.  These throws are currently on sale for only $27.00, so grab a few or gift one to yourself! 😍

buffalo checkered pattern home decor holiday gift guide christmas

Last but not least, these plaid sherpa throws are one of my favorite "gift" items of the season.  These super soft throws are currently on sale for $48.00!  The best part about making this purchase is that Pottery Barn is donating 50% of the purchase price to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.  'Tis the season for helping others in any way you can!

budget home decor holiday gift guide christmas entertaining essentials

My Heartfelt Thanks & A Pre-Holiday Glimpse

Up until last year, I never put up any Christmas decor until AFTER Thanksgiving.  Well, due to time conflicts again this year, I decided to get a very small jump start on decking the halls last weekend.

CAD INTERIORS holiday home Christmas decorating

CAD INTERIORS holiday home Christmas decorating

I'm slowly making headway on the holiday decorating.  The tree, which we buy fresh every year, will cap off our holiday home.  Can't wait for my kids to trim the tree! 😍 Join me the first week of December to see our home all decked out for the holidays, where I'm joining a lineup of other talented design bloggers for a holiday home tour!

In the meantime, I wanted to say THANK YOU to those of you who read and support my little corner of the blogosphere.  This blog is a non-profit commitment 😊 that, unfortunately, has taken a back seat to other priorities as of late.  BUT when I receive such kind e-mails from readers who I didn't even know were out there (thank you!), it helps validate the reason that I continue to share our home and my passion for interior design with all of you.  I have a lot to be thankful and appreciative for - among which includes all of YOU who visit CAD INTERIORS.

Have a joyous Thanksgiving!

Three Distinct Kitchen Island Concepts

While planning our kitchen renovation, one thing I was certain about was that I wanted the island to have a more furniture-like appearance within our open concept great room.

CAD INTERIORS kitchen renovation remodel kitchen interior design tips

To achieve that, the island countertop was aligned to the "base" of the island, and the side profiles extended and paneled to give it a more finished appearance.

CAD INTERIORS kitchen remodel renovation interior design table legs enclosed hardwood custom cabinets

I am currently working on another kitchen remodel - one that involves replacing the client's existing peninsula with an island.  As part of the design process, I had presented different options in terms of the island's "base" design - specifically whether to have "legs or no legs".  If you happen to be planning a kitchen remodel that includes an island, here's a look at three distinct design concepts that can be considered:

NO LEGS (Floating Countertop)

The countertop is extended and "hangs over" to provide leg room for seating...

interior kitchen design tips
Designed by Avrea Wagner

interior kitchen design tips
Austin Bean Design Studio

Decorative corbels or brackets are often used in "legless" island base designs to provide a more finished appearance.  In the project I am working on, the island will be designed without legs to accommodate "wraparound" seating!


kitchen interior design tips kitchen

Leg posts are added to meet the "end" of the countertop.  This is a good option if you don't want to completely close off the base of the island, but would like to extend the table surface well beyond the support provided by the cabinetry.


CAD INTERIORS kitchen remodel furniture island molding paneling interior design tips

kitchen interior design tips paneling enclosed

The "leg" area of the island is completely recessed and hidden under the countertop.  This option helps make the island look more like a stand-alone piece of furniture.


My ONE Tablescape Tip

Ready or not, the holiday season is upon us - which means more reason to celebrate and entertain!  If you happen to be playing host/hostess during the holidays, or just feel like having people over in general, I have ONE "rule of thumb" that I like to impart to friends/family who ask me about creating tablescapes:

budget holiday decorating and design tips table settings arrangements centerpieces

If you are planning a meal that encourages conversation, I highly recommend keeping the table decor arrangement below eye level.  It is so much easier to talk to someone across the table when you can see them, right?!  Here are some examples of "low centerpiece" tablescapes that I've created in years past:

pine cones berry picks holidays white votive candles garland budget decorating design tips table setting arrangement

CAD INTERIORS Thanksgiving Christmas table arrangement setting budget decorating design tips pine cones berries candles picks
Note: Above photos were taken pre-blog, hence the upside-down wine glasses!  No staged styling here. :)

A few years ago, in our previous home, I streamed a pine cone garland and some berries on a regular burgundy tablecloth to adorn the dining table for the holidays.  Votive tea lights added some "sparkle" to the more rustic tablescape.  It was such a simple and inexpensive holiday tablescape, and one that I've re-used and tweaked over the years!

Christmas table arrangement setting traditional color scheme budget design and decorating tips lenox holiday dish collection

holiday table setting budget decorating design tips table arrangements lenox holiday dish collection red green gold

Last year, I reverted to the classic red and green Christmas color scheme - using our Lenox holiday dish collection as inspiration.  Gold chargers added some elegance to the casual and colorful tablescape.  The simple centerpiece was created using free pine cones I had collected on mountain trips over the years, with some holiday picks thrown in for color and texture.  I used an old non-holiday-specific runner to ground the table arrangement.

Generally speaking, while table settings with tall arrangements are definitely beautiful and interesting to look at, I find them to be more about form over function.  My tip would be to limit taller (and fuller) table centerpieces to more decorative purposes.  When it comes to actual dining, however, low is the way to go.  How many times do tall arrangements need to be moved out of the way so they don't impede across-the-table conversations?!

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The Shed & More {A Home Renovation Update}

It's been awhile since I've shared about projects happening around the house, so I thought I'd provide an update.  In a nutshell, we are finishing up a small project and gearing up for a major remodel.


home renovation remodel improvement
photo via MLS

You see that structure above?  We call it the "shed".  It is approximately 400 square feet of raw, unfinished space waiting to be converted.  It is attached to the main house, but is not currently accessible from the interior of our home. Right now, it can only be accessed through the doors in the photo above, as well as a back door that leads to the backyard.

While the shed has been convenient for our storage needs, we have always planned to convert it so that it is optimally utilized.  Well, after 3-1/2 years in our beloved fixer upper, we have come to that point!


As I mentioned, the shed is raw and unfinished.  But it does have plumbing lines and electricity.  The utilities will be brought up to code as required.  The walls have no sheetrock or drywall, and the floors are slab concrete (which I may work into the interior design).  The windows and doors need to be replaced.  Insulation is also required.


If economically feasible, it would be great to connect the shed to the interior access of the house.  We are tossing around the possibility of converting the space into our new master ensuite, which would take our house from a three bedroom to four bedroom.  But if that plan is too cost-prohibitive (or city requirements are too excessive), we discussed converting the structure into a guest house, office, rec/entertaining room, or a combination of the three (maintaining separate access to the structure).  Either way, we plan to add a bathroom since the plumbing is already there.


Aside from the shed conversion, we are also planning to redo the facade of the house (siding and front elevation), possibly add a portico-type cover above the courtyard, and renovate the bedroom/bathroom that is currently the "master".  We are enlisting the help of professionals and having architectural plans drawn up.

Of course, everything will come down to budget which has been established.  By tackling everything in one full swoop, we will hopefully be able to complete the construction phase of our home renovation!