Christmas House Tour ~ the downstairs

Our Second Empire brick home was built in 1867. We bought the house in 1994 and moved in, after extensive restoration and while still renovating, in 1996. We love celebrating Christmas in this lovely old home. DH decks the porches with evergreen roping and white lights. He also strings many of the redbud trees in the front yard with white lights.

front of the house

home sweet home

The front door, decorated with paper snowflakes, opens into the front hall. We always hang our Christmas stockings on the staircase. The oak and walnut parquet floor is original to the house. All the original woodwork in the house, including the staircase, is made of walnut.


To the left, as you enter, is the living room, where you will find our “family tree.” This 9′ tree sits on a box DH made to raise it to 11′, just below the 12′ ceiling. The tree is decorated with popcorn and cranberry strings (made fresh each year), red bead garlands in two sizes, and all our family ornaments. Tinsel covers the entire tree. The blue stained glass angel, made for me by our friend Gary, hangs in the window year round.

living room tree

Our nativity sits on the antique box grand piano, in the living room.


The fireplace mantel is decorated with framed Christmas cards that tell the story of Christ’s birth.

Mantle Pictures #1

Mantle Pictures #2

From the living room, we move to the dining room, decorated with a snow theme, in white, silver and a bit of cobalt blue. The tree in this room is the “Snow Tree.”


The windowsills are very deep. These vases from Wal-Mart make great “hurricanes” for the candles. Batting and shredded plastic snow line the sill and are topped with silver ornaments and silver beads. The lights are on the redbud tree outside the dining room window.

dining room windowsills

From the front door, to the right as you enter the house, is the library and through the library, the room that serves as our home office. The library has two trees, one being the “Nativity Tree” and the other the “Three Kings Tree.” The Nativity Tree is decorated with nativity related ornaments and a ribbon on which Luke 2:1-20 is inscribed with gold fabric paint.

Nativity tree

The Three Kings tree sits in a corner of the library across from the Nativity Tree. Three Wise men statues sit among the branches. The tree is decorated with gold stars and gold ornaments.

Three Kings Tree

The “Three Kings’ Tree” sits next to our TV cabinet, which was added to the room as a buffet in the 1920’s. The windows have been replaced with stained glass made by our dear friend Gary. You can read more about the “buffet” by clicking on the picture to view it on my flickr site.

TV cabinet

The next room is used as a home office and a music room. The tree in this room has old fashioned German style ornaments, gold and silver bead garlands, and bubble lights.

tree on green dresser

Vintage postcards from DH’s family decorate the bubble light tree, as well.

bubble light tree

Many of the postcards have messages and postage stamps on the back. I used photo corners to mount the postcards so they wouldn’t be marred in any way.

bubble light tree

Framed pictures from Christmas past, many of which were used in our Christmas cards over the years, sit on the piano.

kids' Christmas pics

Part of my Christmas china collection is displayed on these shelves, over the piano, all year. The small tree in this picture, which sits on top the CD player, displays a collection of small vintage ornaments given to me by my mother-in-law.

Christmas plates

This door is the front door taken from the house DH grew up in, the same home his father was born in and lived his life in, the house DH’s grandfather built. Each year, we use tempera (poster) paint to put a wreath on this door. DD enjoys adding the holly berries with her finger. We also paint birthday cakes on this window as the year rolls around. The door leads to the addition.

adding the berries

From the office, we can step down into the addition. To the left are our children’s baby pictures. Each year, I wrap the photos and have the opportunity to remind my children they are the best gifts I have ever received. Click here for directions for wrapping framed photos.

baby pics

Across the hall from the baby pictures is the grandbaby tree, new this year with the birth of our first grandchildren, twin girls. Pictures, cards we have received, baby items, and baby ribbons decorate the tree.

Grand-babies Tree

And to the right of the grandbaby tree is this deer. The deer sits on a piece of tabletop glass, supported by wooden blocks. Between the counter and the glass is a string of white lights. They shine through the batting that covers the glass, making a pretty display, especially at night when overhead lights are turned down.

addition hall

At the end of the hall is the guest room. This tree is decorated with Victorian ornaments.

guest room tree

I love Putz houses, vintage or new. I have a few tucked into the branches of the Victorian Tree.

Victorian Tree

The Victorian tree is decorated with ivory beads. I like to loop the beads each time the garland attaches to the tree branches. This year, I used ivory ribbon to tie the loops to the tree, and the tree will be stored with the beads on it. I am hoping they will be just as nice looking next year when we retrieve the tree from attic storage. If so, it will save me a lot of decorating time!

Victorian Tree

Walking back into the addition hall, we can turn into the laundry room and through the laundry room into the downstairs bath. The small tree in the laundry room has a garden theme, is twined with ivy and red berries, and is lit with green lights. The ornaments are birds, butterflies, flowers, birdhouses, garden tools, etc. The linen cupboard holds tablecloths, dinner napkins (in the drawers), and bath linens. And, yes, we have green and red towels for the holiday season. πŸ˜€

towel cupboard

The door between the laundry room and the downstairs bath holds another one of Gary’s stained glass masterpieces. This was installed the day before our Christmas open house this year (2007). Beautiful! I am designing patterns for coordinating windows on each side of this door, just to give Gary something to do. πŸ˜‰

Gary's windows

The tree in the downstairs bath is twined with a garland of red and white roses and carnations tucked into the branches, and is decorated with ornaments that feature photographs of our garden and the flowers we raise each summer.

downstairs bath

Our tour continues by walking back through the home office and turning into the kitchen. Our kitchen was originally an enclosed back porch and, like all the original portion of the house, has a 12′ ceiling. It has a beautiful view of the back yard. There are two small trees in the kitchen. One sits on the corner of the counter. It has snowflake frames with pictures of our children and their families.

kitchen counter tree

The other kitchen tree sits on top the refrigerator and is decorated with icicle garlands, cookie cutters, and candy ornaments. This tree is topped with a three dimensional frosted glass star made for me by our friend Gary. The little tree you see hanging to the side of the photo is the ceiling fan pull.

frig tree

The windows are hung with a garland, lit with blue and white lights, and decorated with my collection of snowflake and icicle ornaments. The curtains were made for me by my friend Laurie and are cobalt blue (my favorite color) and printed with glittery silver snowflakes. The curtains hang from pegs which also display my pie plate collection.


snowflakes and icicles

From the ceiling of the kitchen, we hang large snowflakes on mirrored garlands. They add a magical touch to the snowflake theme of the kitchen.

hanging snowflakes in the kitchen

From the kitchen, we will walk back down the front hall to the front door and will climb the staircase to the upstairs. If you feel like climbing the 22 steps to the second floor, you will find the upstairs tour in the next post. πŸ™‚



  1. AH
    Posted January 1, 2008 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Just curious how you made your half Christmas trees – are they real? Neat idea for narrow spaces.

  2. Rhonda
    Posted January 1, 2008 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    The half trees are artificial trees that I bought that way, though I would assume it would be easy to make one by taking half the branches off a full tree. Not sure how that one would hang, though. These come with hangers on the back. I have a small one on the wall in the kitchen and the taller 5′ one in the upstairs hall. ~~Rhonda

  3. Mary P Carlin
    Posted February 15, 2008 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely gorgeous!!! Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. Rhonda
    Posted February 19, 2008 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Mary. I’m so glad you enjoyed the tour! πŸ™‚ ~~Rhonda

  5. Selma Mc Goram
    Posted March 27, 2008 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Hi Rhonda,

    I live in sunny Sydney, Australia, but OH how I adore the Christmas’ you have in your part of the world. I think I should have been born in the Northern Hemisphere!

    Your Christmas house is just so gorgeous, I am lost for words.

    I actually went onto your site to look at your Scrapbooking room & found the wonderful treasure of your Christmas House that you have shared with us all.

    Kind Regards,
    from ‘Down Under”

    Selma πŸ™‚

  6. Rhonda
    Posted March 27, 2008 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    Selma, so glad you enjoyed the Christmas house tour. πŸ™‚ You can see lots more pics at my flickr site.

    Click on COLLECTIONS for a quick trip to the Christmas pics.

    ~~Rhonda πŸ™‚

  7. Posted May 5, 2008 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    This is absolutely one of the most incredible blogs I have found yet…thank you for sharing your beautiful home!

  8. Rhonda
    Posted May 6, 2008 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Dawn, thank you for your kind comment. I hope you’ll come back often. πŸ™‚ ~~Rhonda

  9. Cari
    Posted July 24, 2008 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    I love your home, I picked up a few new ideas for this coming year. I love the framed Christmas cards how beautiful they would look on a mantel. I also adore how you gift wrapped the photo frames.

  10. Diana
    Posted November 19, 2008 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    I just found this site and am amazed at the incredible amount of love and patience it takes to decorate a home of this size. I live in an old farmhouse and love fall and Christmas decorating, but nothing of this magnatude. I am originally from southern IL and wondering where you are? It’s ok if you’d rather not say, but was curious. I am in Missouri now and have been for 20 years, but always go “home” to southern IL for the holidays. Have 2 girls, one married with 3 children and a 12 year old at home. Keeps life interesting πŸ˜‰
    Love this house.

  11. Posted December 13, 2008 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    This is the most beautiful Christmas House I have seen …MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY – May your “spirit” shine bright for all to enjoy!

  12. Posted December 13, 2008 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    Your house and Christmas decor are absolutely breathtaking. What a treat to look at!


  13. ~~Rhonda
    Posted December 14, 2008 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Thank you, all, for your kind comments. I am so glad you enjoyed Christmas in our home. Merry Christmas to you and yours! ~~Rhonda

  14. Posted December 14, 2008 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Is that a photo of Donna Reed on your buffet? Anyone in your family related to her? (Being nosey – I love your home!)

  15. ~~Rhonda
    Posted December 14, 2008 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    Sher, yes it’s Donna Reed, but it’s on TV. We always play “It’s a Wonderful Life” on the TV when we have our annual open house. πŸ™‚ ~~Rhonda

  16. cesar miniao
    Posted July 22, 2009 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    your decors are very nice i love them

  17. Posted June 17, 2010 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Rhonda – your home and decorations are just beautiful. I love Christmas-time as well. Thank you for sharing these lovely photos.

    Diane (re the Wabash iris from flickr).

  18. Posted June 18, 2010 at 1:24 am | Permalink

    Thank you for taking the time to look them over, Diane. Glad you enjoyed the pictures! It’s June…and I’m already thinking about Christmas now and then… πŸ™‚ ~~Rhonda

  19. Ange
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Your home is lovely! You have decorated it beautifully. I love Christmas and your decorating has inspired me to do more this year.
    Thank You so much!


  20. Jeanette
    Posted November 7, 2010 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    I live in WI. and totally enjoyed your beautiful, festive Christmas decorations. I have a child overseas at school, coming home for Christmas and looking forward to coming home to a beautifully decorated home. I,ve been inspired to make it an exceptional Christmas homecoming for her just by looking at your photos. God bless you!

  21. Kara
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    wow, absolutely stunning pictures of your beautiful home and decorating. I live in Iowa so I know it’s great to have a white Christmas- its january-March that’s rough. I also have an older home and believe that homes built today do not nearly have as much character as older homes do- your pictures are just wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

  22. Posted November 19, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Wow!Your house is amazing!!!Your my new favorite blog.I have found soo many great recipes that I plan on trying!!!

  23. Posted November 26, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Hi Rhonda. About the postcards, my mom told me when she got sick she was allowed to look at the old postcards. When I asked her what ever happened to them she didn’t know. So happy they have found a wonderful use in your amazingly decorated home.

  24. Posted December 29, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Those plate rails one above the other – outstanding idea. It makes seasonal changeouts simple for those of us who don’t leave a thrift shop without at least one new dish.

  25. Sande
    Posted December 28, 2014 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    I just stumbled upon your wonderful blog via a post on Pinterest. Oh my…my jaw smacked quite hard onto the desk! Your home and Christmas decorations are to die for…I could move into today.
    I thought I was over the top with a tree in each room and hallway in my apartment but yours has me beat. I have 12 trees in my apartment which lucky for me is very large..this is not counting my collection of vintage and new bottle trees. I lost count on those. Like you my daughters and I always changed the theme of most of the trees each year except for the “Death Tree” in the bathroom (long story but it honors my Dad).

    I adore you Putz Houses and Christmas Shadow Boxes and can’t wait to start on some of those this week. I cherish my few antique Putz houses and wished I had more of those.

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful home with us.

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