An Elegant Vintage Home With Subtle Holiday Sparkle
Sometime around the first week of December, Vancouver designer Effie Genovese unearths her Christmas decorations from the antique French armoire in her living room. “I’m not one to put decorations in every room. I just add a few festive touches here and there,” Effie says. “For me, Christmas is about nostalgia. I like tradition, and doing things simply and a little bit old-school.”
It’s an aesthetic that goes beyond Effie’s approach to holiday decorating. Natural, more rustic elements like wood, metal and distressed leather are balanced with just the right amount of sparkle, thanks to chandeliers in the living and dining rooms, and antique silver pieces that are polished and displayed in time for holiday gatherings. Click through to see Effie’s signature holiday mix of vintage pieces — many of them a reminder of her time spent in France — and classic Christmas decor.
An Aubusson tapestry depicting an idyllic country scene is perfect for lending the entryway a pastoral feel. Effie discovered it at an antique market in Provence. “It’s a massive piece, and we needed a big wall to hang it on,” she says. “It’s truly a work of art, and I love that you can see it from the dining room.”
The living room’s checked sofa and antique French upholstered chair create an atmosphere of casual elegance. “I didn’t want the room to be overly formal, but I like that the chandelier adds a touch of glamor,” says Effie. Gold ornaments play up the painting’s gold frame, while the mod Carrara marble mantel complements the room’s grey trim.
Effie likes to arrange her antique brass candlesticks as a centerpiece in the dining room. Leaves expand the table to seat larger crowds, and Effie had the high- backed chairs upholstered in Ultrasuede to add modern comfort.
The kitchen island is kitted out with a wine fridge, cooktop, bar sink, storage and seating for four. “I like the main sink at the back counter so dirty dishes don’t pile up in the middle of the room,” Effie says. The herringbone-patterned backsplash provides a bold backdrop for dishes displayed on open shelves.
Cone-shaped pendant lights offer a modern moment in the breakfast area.
Bundled into a polished-silver champagne bucket, evergreen clippings and branches of berries look both rustic and refined. “I use a lot of greenery because I like the way it smells,” Effie says.
A simple glass lantern plays up the lofty peaked ceiling in the bright principal bedroom. A playful mix of patterns — checkered wool wall-to-wall carpet and ikat fabric for the window treatments — adds warmth to the neutral palette.
At a market in Nice, France, Effie discovered an original Claude Weisbuch lithograph that reminded her of her days working in an art gallery in Vancouver. She propped it on the window ledge in the principal ensuite, where she can admire it while soaking in the tub. A shelf below the window becomes a natural spot for a soap dish, while the modern vanity adds woodsy warmth.