Dreaming of a Bright Christmas

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Of All The Holidays, Christmas Could Arguably Be Called The Most Sentimental.

 Dickens used the nostalgia and hope associated with the season in his novella “A Christmas Carol” as a means to encourage reconnection with the goodwill that comes so easily to us in our youth, and to illustrate the ever-present possibility for change when it’s needed. It’s a time for children – both actual and inner – and for establishing traditions, following them or bucking them, as needed.

The balancing act of holding on to what should be preserved while creating something new – while considering everyone involved, big and small – is one that’s familiar to Simon and Rachel Shingleton, and it’s a precept reflected not only in their lives, but in their décor choices as well … with a special emphasis that shines through in their home at Christmas.

“One of my lasting memories from childhood is going to the neighbor’s house to play, and not being allowed to sit on their beds,” says Rachel. “It blew my mind because my mom was open to things like me decorating my own room. I want [our home] to be kid-friendly, but I don’t feel I have to sacrifice my sense of style.”

One of the stars of the home’s structural makeover is the kitchen, where the removal of a wall and the original ceiling-mounted cabinets opened up a line of sight into the adjoining family room, and provided a way to maintain connection during meal prep or clean up, which fosters the kid-friendly utility so important to the Shingletons.

“I loved the plan,” says Rachel. “I remember thinking, I’m going to love being here, watching my son.”

In keeping with the home’s fun but stylish feel, the red “Eat” sign – a purchase from Norman’s Antique Garden during Rachel’s college years – mirrors the playful hue of the candy apple Tolix chairs, and the nook near the back door houses a specially commissioned and designed painting by artist Erin Cooper, who also happens to be Rachel’s web designer.

The addition of an island made for more practical use of floor space, and a bar provides extra surface area, with seating supplied by shiny black barstools from Overstock.com that parallel the sleek countertops.

The Shingletons share their home with their six-year-old son, Jude, and two Chihuahuas named Coco and Nickles. They bought the house six years ago, after it had undergone a serious remodel, which included a kitchen redesign, the addition of closet space and an upstairs playroom with dormer windows.

“When I saw this house, it was midway through the renovation,” Rachel says. “It was dark, everything was torn up, but I’d seen another house that the owner had remodeled, and I understood what it was going to look like when it was finished.”

That faith was well-rewarded; the final product is a fantastic blend of functionality and fun, with room for work and play, decorated with a comfortable style that reflects the family’s approach to life year round, but finds a particular chance to shine during Christmas.

 Like most families, the Shingletons have several commitments during the holidays, but Rachel says that home has increasingly become a focus during that time of the year.

“Our [extended] families are here, in Oklahoma, so we bounce around for Christmas, but it became important to my son to have Christmas morning at home. So for the past few years, we’ve worked at being here – in our pajamas, making breakfast – on Christmas morning.”

Simon works as a realtor and Rachel’s business – a line of home and tech accessories and paper goods that she designs and markets – is based in the home, and operated through her website pencilshavingsstudio.com, which also features her lifestyle blog.

“Land of Nod [furniture and accessory store] sponsored our Christmas décor, and I proposed the idea of a bright, cheerful, colorful Christmas,” says Rachel. Her vision for decking the family home’s halls is simply a holiday version of its everyday style: stylish without being stuffy.

“It’s similar to my fashion sense,” says Rachel. “I like wearing high heels, but I might pair them with jeans and a striped shirt.” The image of a classy, casual denim-and-crisp-shirt motif is one that becomes obvious when walking through the spacious but cozy residence. Various shades of blue, often paired with white, are always liberally sprinkled with color.

“I want our home to be cheerful and inviting, without being too formal. I want to be able to live in my house; I don’t want there to be any rooms that are untouchable.”

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Shelves from Ikea, repainted by Rachel, house both books and stylish accessories like the blue vase (a gift from Simon’s mother) and whimsical white seahorses from Z Gallerie. The framed print is Rachel’s design, available through pencilshavingstudio.com.

 

 

Lively patterns in the Ikea bedding paired with varying shades of soothing blue – from the navy Land of Nod bed to the sky-hued stripes on the walls (a painted labor of love that Rachel says will have to last her son until he moves out) – give Jude’s bedroom little-boy excitement without excess stimulus.

 

 

 Land of Nod sponsored the furnishing of the home office, which includes totes from their collection to fill the Ikea shelving. 

 

 

Pale yellow walls give the master bedroom a serene glow, accented with calmly colorful portraits in the form of colorful silhouettes designed by Rachel. A white linen Regency-style headboard from Williams-Sonoma Home paired with cheerful Pine Cone Hill bedding is the perfect mix for a stately slumber environment. Blue and white anchor throw pillows are from caitlinwilsontextiles.com

 

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