18 December 2008

Deck the Walls with Lighted Menorahs, or What I’ve Been Doing While You’ve Been Decorating for Christmas!

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This past month I’ve watched with awe as blogger after blogger after blogger posted the most gorgeous pictures of their homes all dressed up in their Christmas finery!  It’s amazing and inspiring to watch the effort, care and love that is put into holiday decorating.  The hard work really pays off – the pictures posted on the design blogosphere have been beautiful!!    A few Cote de Texas readers have emailed me wondering will I be decorating for Christmas.   The quick and easy answer is no.    As many of you know, we are Jewish and we celebrate Hanukkah at home, not Christmas.  But, do Jewish people even decorate for Hanukkah?    No, not really,  although people like Martha Stewart  have tried to create that image.  Families with young children might put up festive blue and white lights, but usually Hanukkah is a very low key affair.   In fact, I know of only one family that decorates their house for Hanukkah.  While glorious Christmas decorations can make a design-obsessed Jewish girl a little envious - make no mistake, it is a badge of honor and extreme ethnic pride to not decorate.    

 

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A beautiful antique menorah – the centerpiece of Hanukkah.

 

This month I started wondering, why do people decorate their houses for Christmas but not Hanukkah?  One reason may be that Christmas is the holiest day of the year for Christians.  Yet, Santa Claus is a very important part of the holiday.  Many decorations are either Nativity Scenes or Santa-related.  Hanukkah, by comparison, is really a very minor holiday marked without much fanfare.  You don’t go the temple for Hanukkah, in fact, it is not even mentioned in the bible!   It was only in this century that Hanukkah become commercialized and is now referred to as the Jewish Christmas.   For the children, gift giving, one present a night for eight nights, is the highlight of the holiday.   In this way, the two holidays are alike.  But gift giving is not the only way that Hanukkah and Christmas are similar.   Hanukkah is a time to get together with your family, say the prayers and light the Menorah, eat some delicious food like the traditional latkes, or potato pancakes, and just have a good time.  Both holidays are the same in the most important way – celebrating with family.    But decorating the home for the holidays remains a major difference between the two December celebrations.  Drive at night through a neighborhood and the streets are ablaze with colored, twinkling lights, red and white candy canes, and faux reindeer made of wood.    The one dark house on the street will probably be lived in by the Jewish family!   I think I have finally solved the riddle of why there are Christmas decorations!   This way Santa knows which house to go to and which house to leave for Hanukkah Harry!

Note:  to read my blog from last year on the history of Hanukkah and antique Judaica, go here.

 

   image    Southern Accents got into the Hanukkah decorating act this year.   As you can see – it is a very low-key event, design-wise.  A few blue glasses and viola – Hanukkah decorations!

 

So, for moi, while others are getting their houses ready for Christmas, I am also busy tidying up my house for my big entertaining event of the year - Hanukkah.   My sister Cathy loves to entertain and does so beautifully and with great ease, but I dread such events.  I worry about every detail, and fret over each dirty window and unorganized closet – as if my guests will be dining in one!    Cathy takes care of most of the entertaining responsibilities in our family, thank God, and her daughter-in-law, my niece Allison, is swiftly proving herself quite capable in following her lead.   That leaves me with just two major family holiday entertaining events:  the Hanukkah dinner party and Father’s Day Brunch.   Quit laughing!    To me the menu is always secondary to the flowers and place settings and Ben likes to say that each event costs him a fortune because he knows I’ll be doing more “dreckorating” than cooking!   And sure enough, I’ve been finding myself making changes around the house getting ready for the main event this Sunday – the first night of Hanukkah.    So, while I can’t show you the most fabulous Christmas tree in the world, I can show you the latest furniture changes I’ve made.

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At a temple with a gorgeous marble floor, a rabbi lights the Hanukkah candles.

 

We underwent a small kitchen remodeling this past month, and that has really spurned me on to take a critical look at the adjoining rooms.   Being a major nester, I’m always picking up accessories for this or that room.  After a while, it gets a little crowded and needs some culling, just like the deer population.  My family room has lately been bulging at the seams and was in great need of  a sharpshooter to come rid it of the overgrowth.  Rather than call on Sarah Palin to do the dirty deed, I did it myself.  It’s always hard for me to banish loved objects to that great wasteland that is my garage, but this year, with the kitchen all fresh and clean, it’s been somewhat easier.

My family room has seen many different designs during the past 15 years.  I’ll spare you the earlier the versions such as the English inspired room with bamboo and wicker and red paisley and toile everywhere ala Lynn Von Kersting.    A few years ago, after a home tour in West University of a most beautiful house, I banished all the reds and khakis and went white with black and gold accents.  Last year I added trendy zebra pillows and the suzani to update the look.  The blue and white porcelains have been, and will remain, a constant.

 

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This was how it’s been looking this year – filled to the gills.   It’s just too much and trust me – I had already done a lot of culling at this point!  More deleting still needs to be done.

 

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This is how the right side of the family room looked before today.  The suzani covers an antique wine tasting table that was once my breakfast room table.  Again, this is just too piled up with books and globes.  For years Ben and I have been collecting the antique maps and engravings of Israel and the Middle East that are hanging 0n the wall,  but they are going to go on vacation for a while.  The suzani is going to where all trends die – EBay!   Enough with suzanis for the next decade! Even Michael Smith who started the suzani craze has moved away from them – just as Target has discovered them.

                                                                                    

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Today – this is how it looks.  I took away the extra side chairs next to the big white chairs and rearranged the shelves somewhat.   I pushed the sofa back towards the windows to make more room – I don’t know why it was so far away from the windows to being with.   Without the two side chairs and with the sofa pushed back, it immediately looks so much bigger and cleaner. 

 

 

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The right side today– much cleaner and less cluttered, though it definitely is not minimalist.  I can’t really live without some degree of clutter.  The wine tasting table looks so much better with the bulky suzani gone.  The lamp was changed out for the lighted lantern that once hung on the wall behind the sofa.  The big bowl of pictures moved here from the coffee table.  The prints were replaced with an antique mirror that was in my old kitchen.  The globes are on the shelves now, but Ben’s been hinting that he bought me another one for Hanukkah, oy!

 

 

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And looking down from the stairs.   Now, the big issue is the coffee table.  We bought this table for our anniversary when we moved here – it’s an old Irish dining room table cut down by the crazy Irishman with a shop in Montrose.   My sister bought one too, as did a number of my clients.  I love the table and all, but I would like something more refined now – maybe a black chinoiserie tea table?    I tried an extra wine tasting table of mine there that is pretty low and I thought it looked great, but Ben insisted it was too high for him to see the TV over it.   Trust me, it wasn’t.   One rather nasty fight happened over this coffee table – for some reason he’s particularly attached to it while I’m so over it.  He uses it as an ottoman, so I think I might get a large rectangular slipcovered ottoman as a compromise.  Maybe something like Suzanne Rheinstein’s famous race tract ottoman like this: 

 

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I love her ottoman – so it’s a possibility.  If fact, I love this room!  The chairs are to die for, the fabrics are subtle and beautiful – it’s one of my favorites of Rheinstein’s interiors.

 

 

 

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I really like this ottoman too with its long skirt that Jane Moore designed for her daughter, the owner of Wisteria. I suppose I’ll let Ben pick which one he likes best.  Maybe. 

 

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The other change downstairs, beside the kitchen, is the foyer.  I went years and years with no center table, but I always knew I would put one there.  As soon as I had an extra table, I moved it to the entry hall.     I finally had a stage for my vintage birdcage.   Here it was with the two Mary McDonald inspired blue and white pots and my lilac transferware and way too many chairs, books and just too, too much.  The transferware moved up to the guest bedroom.

 

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The guest room with the moved transferware.   The lilac color looks so much better here with the seafoam green. 

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Look what interior designer Jackye Lanham did with her lilac transferware!  I love, love, love this!  Lanham likes to decorate with plates – something that I can completely relate to!

 

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Before:  This tablescape is one of my favorite of the bunch.  I think the hydrangea is gorgeous here with all the blue and white and I added one piece of blue opaline from my collection for color pop.  But there isn’t always a hydrangea like this available – and it died, plus Ben brought home a white orchid to replace it.  And there was this urn that needed a landing spot…..

 

 

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Today’s changes:   the birdcage moved on to greener pastures.  The white urn now takes center stage and the large white orchid that Ben bought takes the place of the blue hydrangea.  I like the hydrangea better than the orchid, so I’ll switch that back when possible.  But what do you think – should I put the birdcage back (ugh, no!)  and move the white urn somewhere else?  What do you think – I’m conflicted.   I wish I had a large blue hydrangea to take the picture with the urn to show you the true look.  

 

So, these are my decorating changes before the big Hanukkah party Sunday night.   The living room and dining room passed muster, for now.   Next blog– the kitchen!    I'll show you the befores and afters.  We didn’t do a big remodeling, just some updating here and there, so don’t expect a lot!!  And then, after the Hanukkah party – I’ll show you my table settings.   And don’t worry, I won’t bore you with any recipes!

 

One last note on holiday decorating.    When I casually mentioned on another blog feeling a little left out design-wise during December, my dear friend Valorie Hart aka Visual Vamp wrote the most gorgeous piece on decorating a Jewish house for the holidays.  Please be sure to stop by and read Visual Vamp’s article here for some great ideas which I would love to incorporate in my Hanukkah celebrations.   And here is what has to be the cutest Christmas tree of this year :  Visual Vamp’s -  A Breakfast at Tiffany’s Christmas in New Orleans!

 

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Visual Vamp’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s Christmas in New Orleans.  And yes, those are real Tiffany boxes she bought on EBay. 

 

 

And now, for something completely different:  Would you like to be the next Eddie Ross?

 

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Who wouldn’t?  Cote de Texas recently received an email from HGTV – and no, they weren’t looking for any of my brilliant design advice! – they are looking for the next Eddie Ross.  If you think you might be interested in submitting a video application for next season’s Design Star – please go here.   If you do win – you get to star in your own TV series on HGTV!   Good luck to those who do apply!

107 comments:

  1. What a treat to get to see your home, Joni.
    It is, as I suspected, beautiful. I happen to love both of your center table arrangements, although I am a lover of all hydrangeas.
    Suzanne Rheinstein is a favorite of mine. I often visit Hollyhock for inspiration. Here ottoman is so lovely with it's little skirt. Feminine without being fussy.
    Happy Hannukah my dear! Wish you were closer so we could share my mom's brisket and latkes this Sunday. They are to die for!!!

    xo
    Brooke

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  2. Oh Joni, this post was so much fun!!!! I love any peek we get into your home. The Hanukkah info was an extra delight. As you know I have a new interest in the Jewish faith. Thank you for all the lessons you have given me. I think I am ready for my potato pancakes now!!!

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  3. Happy Hanukkah. A wonderful post and thank you for sharing your home with us. First, I am always curious about the lavender transferware. Was it originally blue but faded. Secondly, why is HGTV not contacting you for YOUR incredible talent?????

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  4. Hi Joni! Oh, I'm so glad you're showing your home! It's beautiful! And thanks for explaining Hanukkh! I see you may be a dishaholic too! That lavender transferware is so lovely! I have the pinkish/raspberry transferware on my dining room walls. Love this stuff! Keep showing your home - I love it! lol
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia;)

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  5. Happy Hanukkah to you, Ben, and Elizabeth! :) The floor in that temple is so beautiful.

    I love the lantern that you put on the wine table in the den. I can't wait to see your kithcen!

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  6. Thanks for a peak at your little changes. I LOVE the big white urn and the first ottoman. Fabulous. Thanks too for the insight into Hanukkah. Let's just hope that Commercialism doesn't hijack it the same as it did Christmas. Happy Hanukkah!

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  7. At last - I've been HOPING you'd do a Hanukah post! Your home is absolutely beautiful - thanks for sharing and happy holidays! xoxo

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  8. Hi Joni, Thanks for explaining Hanukkah. It was so interesting. I love that you're showing your home. It is truly beautiful. Happy Holidays!! Can't wait to hear about your party..hugs ~lynne~

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  9. Now that it is no longer politically correct (spare me) to mention Christmas, everyone can now decorate for the "Winter Holiday" without regard to religion, culture, or ethnicity. Just use red and green and say "Happy Winter Holiday". LOL

    Loved seeing your home but I am afraid I am an "uncluttered decorator". You have so many beautiful pieces but I think some of them get lost because there is just too much to take in. Sort of like visual or sensory overload.

    One or two beautiful items on that lovely hall table would be just enough, with the orchid perhaps on the other table near the stairs.

    Thanks for sharing your home.
    J

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  10. Oh my gosh Joni! I love the "racetrack" ottoman, love the new "clean" look of your wine tasting table and also all your whites on your foyer table. If you decide to "ditch" any of the stuff on the foyer table, let me know!

    Beautiful post, beautiful home!

    Judy

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  11. Joni, your lovely home is truly a breath of fresh air -- even before your culling. I would love to see the hydrangea with the urn as hydrangea are my favorites too. I have seven hydrangea plants in my small back yard. My father's side of my family is Jewish - mostly deceased now. But when I was younger we celebrated Christmas but would also visit our Jewish relatives. I always felt relief going to their quiet and beautifully subdued homes in Dallas after the mayhem at our house with all of my mother's relatives. Thanks for sharing Hanukkah with us. It brought back special memories for me. Now I cannot wait to see that kitchen. We are in the planning stages of a kitchen remodel next year. I'm concerned it will take an eternity since my DIY husband who loves making cabinetry wants to do it all himself. At least I plan on experiencing every good, new restaurant in town until it is finished. Happy Hanukkah and continue the tour please!

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  12. Joni, clearly I am not paying attention because last year I didn't even notice that you didn't decorate for Christmas. I guess I was too busy filling my new house with Christmas junk, er, decorations.

    To be honest, I adore this holiday as an excuse to go decor-mad, but this year, I am just not feeling it. With the economy in limbo and jobs being cut, I have suddenly realized I was spending way too much money. The last couple of months I've been really reflecting on the Meaning of Life. For me, decorating is part of the Meaning of Life, but I've realized that it isn't everything. This year, I am spending more time being thankful and cherishing the things I have and less time taking out my credit card. It feels great. : )

    Anyway, Happy Hannukah to you and I hope you have an amazing celebration. I think it is a perfect excuse to rejuvenate the house. It looks great!!

    P.S. Can I come raid your garage some time? You have so many beautiful things in your house - I can't imagine what gems you've stashed in the garage. I think that would make an excellent decorating show concept - raid the garages of master decorators like you!

    Great post! xo Terri

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  13. How wonderful. Happy Hanukkah! I am jealous of your culling ability. Once I love something I never get tired of it. So sometimes my living room starts to look like a store display and I HAVE to edit..but it is painful. Your home is so beautiful in all its befores and afters.

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  14. Joni, your house is just stunning! I've told you that before, but each time I see a picture of it, I fall in love with it all over again! It's perfection. Truly. You've done an amazing job! :-)

    I loved the picture of the antique menorah. It's gorgeous! And I loved the picture of the rabbi in the temple, reading the Scriptures in his prayer stole. I have a small sterling silver Menorah from Israel that my sister brought me to wear. It's very special to me.

    On a lighter note, there have been numerous members of my husband's law firm who are Jewish, and one of our friends has what she calls her Hannukah bush. She says she puts lots and lots of lights on her tree, and that it then becomes a symbol of the burning bush. ;-) She is like a child at heart, and I think she loves those Hannukah presents more than her children do!

    I'm tickled at you worrying about the inside of your closets, Joni. I know what you mean, but I am having 45 people for dinner tomorrow in a house that is far from perfect. In fact, it's a bit of a wreck right about now... we're getting there, but there is still some pickup to do downstairs and table setting, etc. I am so far behind I hope I will be ready, but I might have to pull an all nighter. LOL! I have friends coming over to help, and I sure hope we get it all done. But in the end, my motto is throw it all in the junk room, close the door, and remove the lightbulb just in case a stray person wanders in there. Works for me! ;-)

    XO,

    Sheila

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  15. Wonderful post Joni! Brought so much closer some Jewish traditions.
    Thank you.
    would it be correct to wish you happy Hanukha?
    Ewa

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  16. Happy Hanukkah. You may not have all the lights and sparkle, but that simple menorah means so very much more. The history, depth and tradition of your faith is amazing. Truly amazing.

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  17. Your home is georgous...just fabulouso!

    Happy Hanukkah!

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  18. The house looks gorgeous, and whilst I'm not Jewish, I have to confess to being so "over" Christmas decorations, that I don't do anything anymore. (Bah humbug, indeed.) So I love that tradition of yours! My one concession is pretty and sometimes red-themed flowers.

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  19. Hi Joni! Your house looks great! I loved reading your post. I feel the same way reading the other bloggers.

    I am having a Chanukah party next week. I guess we're in the same boat...like my friend says it's like admiring someone else's house but knowing you don't live there. I'm lusting over Christmas decor. Seems like it's getting prettier every year. So, even though we don't decorate, except for some felt stars that Leif's Mom made years ago, I'm getting the itch to start dipping wooden dreidels in glitter (like the Martha Stewart post)and putting them in glass jars. What the heck, right? Other than that, we just have Halloween! If we weren't Jewish it would be a Winter Wonderland in here! I love the post by visual vamp. I was cracking up! She really went all out and had some great ideas. The silvers, golds and pale blue. What do you think? I'm tired of those tired Chanukah paper plates and plastic tablecloths!

    Happy Chanukah! Have fun!

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  20. Happy Hanukkkah and congrats on your beautiful home! For what it's worth I vote for bringing back the birdcage:-) Hope your holidays are full of happiness, health and joy!

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  21. Joni, your changes are fantastic and your home is beautiful. I would happily curl up on that white sofa and enjoy a long chat and cuppa with you. I am a frenetic re-arranger and am always swapping everything! I wish I hadn't read your post this morning because all I want to do now is change everything around! But as I am still frantically shopping and decorating this just cannot be...but once next week is over, that is what I will be doing. Happy Hanukkah to you and your family, xv.

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  22. Joni - love your suzani-less table and the white urn. Isn't it funny how changing one thing in your house can start the 'domino effect'?!

    -Lana

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  23. Joni-
    You are my "Design Star" - please apply!
    Mazel tov
    pve

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  24. I must be so behind the times because I'm loving the suzani!!! The white urn is wonderful on the foyer table but to me those large blue and white jars are too much "weight" on the bottom half of the arrangement. HA... I think I've spent too much time with graphic designers.

    Your home is so lovely, so comfortable and the decor seems effortless, which is a testament to your talent. I agree you need to be the next design star.

    - Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife

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  25. I love your blog and read every post. I came across this in the New York Times today and thought of you. (Can't say it's good, but it sure is interesting!)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/18/garden/18gilded.html?ref=garden

    Diane

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  26. Joni- Your home is absolutely beautiful! I love your colors and design sense. You have a great eye. I think your edits are perfect, and that you will love the cleaner feel. As someone who loves antiques my design motto is "edit, edit, edit..." and yet it is sooooo hard to do, so my hat is off to you. Lovely post.
    Happy Hanukkah to you and your family.
    joan

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  27. Ah, I just adore your home. Seriously, if I were to stay in your guest room I'd never want to leave! I think the modifications you made were perfection.

    I'm the Christian half of an interfaith marriage, so I get the best of both worlds. My mother-in-law is making an early Hanukkah dinner this weekend and I can't wait for her latkes.

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  28. Love all the changes. Your living room does look larger and I like the lantern on the table. Once again you made me laugh w/the line about things needing some culling, like the deer population. Looking forward to seeing your kitchen. Happy Hanukkah! Michele

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  29. Happy Haukkah Joni. What a beautiful, heartfelt, informative post. I woke up in the middle of the night last night and could not get back to sleep so I made use of the time reading your lovely post. You have given all of us decorating buffs so much useful information this past year and I thank you. It has been a pleasure getting to know you.
    Hugs,
    Sue

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  30. Joni how fun to see your home...and the changes you have done. What about the kitchen? What did you do in there?

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  31. I love all of the photos you are showing from your home. What a treat. As much as I LOVE orchids, the hydrangeas or any vivid colored flower would really stand out next to that gorgeous urn. Strangely, enough, I have been looking for a birdcage ever since I saw another photo of yours with the cage. But, the urn is awesome, too.

    Anyway, Happy Hanukkah and thanks for the little explaination about traditions.

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  32. And my vote -no to the birdcage. While charming, it's just getting a little too.......target ala the suzani!

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  33. Ok three things: 1) Scott is Jewish - so we don't call our tree's Christmas Trees - they're Green Canvas. LOL! I just simply can't have a holiday where it's acceptable to hang shiney things from the branches of trees and not take part. There are no Santa's, no snowmen, no Christian symbols - just beautiful ornaments arranged (beautifully - I think) on two very large trees. 2) As you clear the clutter from your house - I'd love for you to keep me in mind! :) You can send a list of all things removed, and I'll pay frieght! 3) Of course your home is beautiful. I'm so jealous of the space that you have in your entry for that gorgeous table and all of those beautiful baskets filled with books. I have always loved that look - and when I was submitting for the show house library Scott said, what about Jodi's hall table? And I'm thinking, Jodi? Who the heck is Jodi? Then I realized he meant Joni. How cute though that he took an interest in trying to learn your name ... he makes a point to know my design icons! Eeek, a book. Sorry, no more - I'm gone!

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  34. I loved all your changes , I am a bit of a less is more gal...I was wondering how the foyer would look without the sofa table that is in the back ground. I think hgtv is hoping you will try out for design star. I know I am ! Thanks for your blog, I look forward to it each day! vickydarnell

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  35. Joni, where do I start on commenting on this incredible post?!?

    1) Happy Hannukah
    2) LOVE your house
    3) Inspired by your style
    4) Admire how you can tweak your own house and achieve such beautiful results. You make it look so very effortless.

    That audition sounds like such fun.

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  36. Oh, Joni, I wished you Merry Christmas & totally forgot you are Jewish! Anyway, I loved this post, everything you do I could stare at for hours. Love the changes to your LR, can't believe the Suzani is going bye-bye though, after hearing about them all this year. Love, love your center table & I like the idea of changing it around. The blue hydrangeas for spring and the white urn & other whites for a Winter look. As much "stuff" as you have, I'm sure you could change that thing out on a whim every week. You and I both like our "stuff", so hard to pare it down completely.

    I just adore your house completely, can't wait to see the changes in the kitchen.

    In the meantime, have a wonderful Hanukkah.

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  37. Happy Hannukah! My favorite posts are the ones which showcase the blogger's homes and yours is the best. Lots and lots of eye candy, so fun.

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  38. Nice post, Joni! Such pretty rooms. They look like you did your spring cleaning/decluttering early and I am so jealous. As soon as Christmas is over, I am usually so tired of all this extra "stuff" around the house that I can't wait to do exactly what you've done: put away, pare down, rearrange and lighten up. But hey, when do we get to see pics of that "small kitchen remodel"? Very intriguing. And so clever to leave us wanting more!
    Happy Hanukkah to you and yours.

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  39. "The one dark house on the street will probably be lived in by the Jewish family!"" –---

    And mine, the overworked mother of 3 who knew Christmas was coming but has a really bad trait of doing everything at the last minute…

    Thanks for sharing!!

    Happy Hannukah

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  40. Joni, Happy Hannukah. I've already mentioned my late husband who was Jewish and how we put up a Hanunukah Bush! I love the changes. Is there a spot on your patio/ or guestroom for the birdcage? The orchid I think deserves it's own central spot on another table. Lastly? How much do you want for the suzanni, I love it. I'm serious!

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  41. Joni
    Your house is beautiful, just like you!!!

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  42. Brightest blessings for your hearth and home in this celebration of Light and Love! I adore your fresh look (and yes -- I would be stealing items from your fabled garage LOL!) And I am another one that dreads entertaining and cooking -- and worries about each and every blasted detail. And folks manage to have a good time in spite of it all! LOL! NATURALLY we will be waiting (with bated breath) for a full report and photos of the festivities! And the food! (especially the food in my case! LOL!)

    Mazel Tov! and of course Shalom (did I spell those terms correctly?)

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

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  43. Marla in Columbus, OHDecember 19, 2008 at 12:00 PM

    Joni-

    Your house is gorgeous - you have been too humble to share with readers that you were featured in BHG earlier this year.

    I did want to comment on one non-design issue. I have always been of the understanding that for Christians Christmas is important but the Easter is the more "important" of the holidays. Perhaps another reader has made a similar comment, but I couldn't read through all of them.

    Happy Hanukkah!

    Marla

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  44. It's so funny, when I saw your guest room, I said to myself..."this reminds me of Jackie Lanham"...and then the next photo was about her!

    Beautiful post as always, Joni! And, do not clean out your closets for a party! That's what closets are for...hiding stuff before a dinner party!!!

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  45. Joni!
    I love your house, and love that it is ever changing, a work in progress! I am dying to se your new kitchen!!! I always think of you and Hanukkah this time of year. (By "always", I mean since getting to know you before last year's Hanukkah!) I kind of really like that Hanukkah is more low key and about friends and family.

    Your home is fantastically lovely and I wish you the best of Holidays and perhaps more importantly, a very prosperous, happy and healthy New Year!

    Cheers!!
    Katie

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  46. Around my house, when we have a design dilemma, we ask WWJD? What would Joni do? Connor's constantly pestering me with that query.

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  47. Joni- your home and all of your treasures are beautiful!
    I LOVE your coffee table and how you purchased it for your anniversary! I will be celebrating 18 wonderful years on Monday with my Irishman. You gave me a smile today to know a craze Irishman chopped this beautiful table down. It would have been beautiful as it was, but it does make a beautiful coffee table. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post!!! xoxo

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  48. Hi Joni Darling,
    Happy Hanukkah to you and Ben and your beautiful daughter.
    Your revamp is spot on and terrific.
    It's hard to self edit when one is a fellow a visual vamp ha ha.
    And thank you for my Hanukkah present of the very sweet mention.
    You know I love you!
    xo xo
    PS - You're the next Eddie Ross!!!!! Or make that you're the past, the present and the future FABULOUS JONI!!!! I'd watch YOUR TV show 24-7!
    PPS I didn't buy the Tiffany boxes on eBay. A very sweet bride gave them to me via the "For Free" listing on my local Craigslist.
    Once she upwrapped her wedding gifts she didn't have room to store the empty boxes. I sent her a photo of the tree to show her how grateful I was to have those baby blues!

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  49. No, no, don't let Ben pick! ha ha ha I have yet to meet a straight man who can pick out a better ottoman than a woman!
    Happy Holidays!
    xx
    Kara

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  50. Your guest room is still my very favorite. It is so warm and so inviting! All of it is just beautiful. I love the editing you did today. So important to constantly edit.

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  51. Great post, Joni. I love all of the decluttering that is going on.

    Actually, Easter is the holiest day of the year in the Christian religion. Christmas is definitely a much celebrated day, but if I am correct, its timing has more to do with the winter solstice and the traditional pagan celebrations that used to occur during this timeframe. Historically, scholars do not even think that Christ's true birth day was in December, they think it was in the month of September.

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  52. Your home is beautiful...as I knew it would be ...but the statment "banish them to the garage.." oh - you stuck a dagger into my heart. I have such a time with beautiful things (especially those that evoke sweet memories) and finding a place for them in my home. I just cannot pack them away as I feel I may never see them again ....so therefore I live in clutter....ahhh - but the memories..

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  53. Joni,

    I loved your current post and the changes in your home. I love the white urn and the orchid. I think use the hydrangeas in the spring & summer as a change.

    I always feel the need to clean & purge at the new year!

    Happy Hanukkah to you, Ben, and Elizabeth. I cannot wait to see your changes in the kitchen & your tablescapes.

    Your blog truly brings joy everytime it arrives in my inbox as an email. And laughter so many times as well!

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  54. Happy Hanukkah! I always love to see photos of your house! So lovely - its like a holiday everyday in your space!
    xxx-
    Gina

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  55. I love seeing photos of your home and work. Happy Hanukkah to you and your family. The other photos are great too. I am drawn to the lilac transferware display by Jackye Lanham, but also still gazing at the photos of the Houston townhouse you featured! How to decide which style to move toward?! My home is half decorated because with every new photo I see, inspiration to change strikes.

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  56. Happy Hanukkah to you and your family...
    I love your house both before and after- you should be on Design Star- can we write in a request for you to be on it??????

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  57. Oddly enough, even though we are Christian, we do not celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday purely because there is no Biblical authority to celebrate it as such.

    So it is a very dear family holiday, infused with much love and not a little tradition. My main tree is the "family scrapbook" tree with ornaments given me by my parents growing up as well as those received since the huz and I have been married. We gave the kids all their ornaments when they got married which is a tradition they plan to carry on.

    Living overseas so many years, we drew on the cultures we lived in adding to the memories and making for great "remember when" conversations and filling in the "new children" on what their spouses experienced growing up.

    Thanks for sharing!!

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  58. Hi Joni,
    what a lovely and cosy home you have!
    I love the 'sharpsooter' and 'deer population' comparison. And a certain degree of clutter is a must to make a home cosy. You are right.
    Some magazine homes look like you could do an OP on the floor. septical, too clean.
    But your home could be in any magazine!
    Thanks for sharing this personal insight!
    Happy holidays!!

    PS: here in Europe only a few houses have these light robes. It is not as crazy here as over in the US. It also consumes a lot of energy!

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  59. Dearest Joni - I laughted so when I read that Ben uses your coffee table as an ottoman, my Man-of-the-House does exactly the same. I do think it is code programmed into their male microchip, as I now see our 5 sons doing exactly the same in their homes!

    My Hannukah wish for you is that you enjoy the warm embrace of your beloved family & friends over the next week. I'll take this opportunity to also thank you for a wonderful of year of outstanding posts. What a joy visiting you across the Pacific divide is, I love your feisty & honest comments, please don't ever compromise them for the sake of the dreaded curse of political correctness!
    Millie ^_^

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  60. No decorating for christmas got done, alas. I did get better wrapping materials thanks to all the blogs, but your home looks terrific "uncluttered". And have you seen the NYT style section this week? OMG.

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  61. Thanks for the pictures of your beautiful home!
    Funny, in my neighborhood, the two houses which were decorated to the hilt for Christmas were the two with Jewish fathers. They always said it was becase they never got to decorate before they married. In my current neck of the woods, many people are from other lands and don't decorate. Lights, of whatever color, seem to be a largely American phenomenon.

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  62. Joni, Great post and your home is LOVELY! I obviously am a little late here! Here's my take on the hall table with the white orchid and urn...I think the bird cage has to come back. I like how you can see through it. The urn, feels too bulky..Sorry!!.. How far away is the center table from the other table/mirror by the stair case? It looks beautiful, but how's about 2 of the GORGEOUS side chairs there with a little table in between, some lighting for a little resting spot for your guests??? Just a thought...

    Love your home though!! I am sure your guests will appreciate all you did to make it special for them.

    Have fun tomorrow eve!

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  63. Joni, your house is looking prettier than ever and you have baited me majorly for the upcoming kitchen post! That orchid on your hall table is majestic. Hope that you, Ben and Eli"S"abeth have a wonderful Hannukah celebration with your family! XO

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  64. Love the new look of the family room... and even tho hydrangea's are my very favorite too... I love the look of the white orchid with the white urn... a white winter look awaiting the arrival of the spring hydrangea... ok... that was corny... but I cant wait to see the kitchen.

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  65. Joni, now I want to see your kitchen and the rest of your house! I'm hooked!!

    I love your arrangements and furniture placement. What a treat!!

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  66. Oh, your home looks gorgeous! Love all of the changes you made. (I'm still very hung up on toile though!) And, I still haven't figured out how to make myself "edit" a room. I may be like Ben - I get very attachd to things. I did go back and read your last year's post, and I learned so much! Thank you for sharing all of it with us -- your home and those gorgeous religous artifacts and traditions. laurie

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  67. Joni, it's always fun to get a glimpse into your lovely home, which is wonderful inspiration for the rest of us, regardless of what holiday we celebrate.

    I love the pared down changes. I had a much more cluttered style before we moved. Is pared down the new trend, or do we all just need a break from clutter from time to time? I don't know, but I love all your changes. One day, you need to do a post on your garage stash. :-)

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  68. Happy Hanukkah, Joni! That antique menorah is wonderful. This time of year is so special with all the celebrations of light in the darkest time of the year is so moving and beautiful to me on so many levels.

    I love getting peeks into your gorgeous home. I could spend all day there. If you're irish table needs a new home, I would be more than happy to take it in. I'll take perfect care of it and love it beyond reason. ;)

    xo Isa

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  69. Joni, I hope your Hanukkah party goes well on Sunday! Just checking in to say "Break a Leg" with your entertaining. :-) I know you will because everything you do is perfection. Can't WAIT to see your party befores and afters!

    And if you want to share recipes, it would NEVER bore me. I'd love to see them. I'm sure they are all delicious.

    XO,

    Sheila :-)

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  70. I actually like your coffee table, but understand getting over something. I like your editing on the wine table and foyer! Anxious to see your kitchen!

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  71. Your home is gorgeous! What caught my eye in your pictures....were all your books! I LOVE books, buying books....and have many as well. Always a challenge where to put them. Sometimes I just have to put some away! Can't wait to see the kitchen. ~Cheryl

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  72. Dear Joni...here I am, late to the party! I enjoyed this post so very much. Anytime I get to see your home is a wonderful time.

    Our son in law's dad was Jewish and his mother Christian. Steve has brought so much knowledge to our family and insight into how these holidays were celebrated, in his family, while he was growing up.

    Happy Hanukkah!

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  73. Hi Joni - I know this is my second comment but I was wondering about your interior doors. I know that you said you had them painted black and I was thinking that I would like to do something similar. Any pictures or suggestions you may have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

    Sarah

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  74. Your home really is beautiful, Joni, and I love seeing the various ways you've rearranged things. I'm afraid I just like looking at everything I have all the time, so I don't do that myself, but I'm now feeling more inspired to do so, if I can find storage space for the unused things!

    I wish you and your family a very happy Chanukah. We're just about to light the candles ourselves this evening.

    Wendy

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  75. Come to my house! Come to my house! Joni, your home is beautiful! I don't know that I have ever seen bookcases arranged so beautifully. What's your trick? I need your formula!

    (HGTV--oh, yes. You'd be SO good!)

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  76. Your home make-over looks great! And thanks so much for the sweet comments you left on my blog...I'm sure I'll be back after a short break...It's harder to stay away than I thought!

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  77. As always, your home is beautiful Joni! That Southern Accents image is so stunning! Today I have a holiday profile on Southern Accents' own Karen Carroll.
    Best,
    Ronda
    xoxo

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  78. Joni, Happy Chanukkah on this cold Monday morning! I hope that is appropriate to say. laurie

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  79. Joni - the house looks great - I love shifting and moving. I liked every rendition - before and after. Great fun to see your inspiration interspersed throughout. Hope you party was a huge success.

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  80. Your new hall table is perfect. Perhaps you can bring back the birdcage in the spring! Gorgeous home Joni.

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  81. Joni, great stuff! Lovely!
    Please do post about your kitchen soon...I've been waiting!!!!!!!!!!!

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  82. Happy Hanukka, Joni! What a fabulous post! I learned so much!
    I have wonderful Jewish friends and this is so good to know. Your home is just gorgeous,btw!

    I am going back now to read this post again and to look at all the wonderful pictures! Wishing you and your family the best!

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  83. Just wanted to stop by and wish you a very Happy Hanukkah! I enjoy your blog so much!

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  84. Joni, your house looks fantastic (but then I think it always has) with what you did to rearrange and edit before your big dinner party! And I say leave the white urn.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post- thanks for sharing it with us. Wishing you and yours a very Happy Hanukkah!

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  85. Great family room Joni - love all the dog stuff and it looks like you still need more bookcases!!!

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  86. I really enjoyed this post, Joni, and learned so much from it. I always wondered if the scenes in shelter mags of houses decorated over-the-top for Hanukkah were the way things really are done.

    Your house looks beautiful, as always.

    Enjoy the time with your family! -Julia :-)

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  87. Gorgeousness....simply beautiful!!
    Happy holidays! Love so many of your rooms, very inspiring....always excited to peek inside!
    xoxo
    Tracy Porter

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  88. Well Joni...I adore all the changes but then, I loved your home before as well. It is so well done and so filled with delcious treasures...oh my. I stay green with envy of your home. I so enjoy seeing each bit and bob.

    I wanted to drop by and wish you a most joyous Hanukkah...many blessings to you and to your family.

    Love,
    Sue

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  89. Hi,
    Congratulations....Your posting is very interesting...Keep writing.. Welcome to my blog...
    Wishing you "A Merry X'Mas and A Happy New Year''

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  90. Joni, your home is magnificent, guess we all knew it would be whether it's before OR after!
    Thanks for sharing it with us and enjoy the holiday season!

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  91. Hello, Joni~ I didn't take "notes" as I read along, as I was just too absorbed in what I was reading! I could "read" you everyday~~~ (in fact, just marked this on my FAVS!). I was most interested in some of the Jewish traditions you referred to, especially as I have a wonderful new neighbor who is celebrating Hanukka "w/ you", & I wanted to do something "nice" & "NOT wrong" to welcome her arrival at this particular time of year! ~~~ Your home? Wellll, it's "the stuff dreams are made of"!!! ~ Didn't see ANYTHING I DIDN'T adore, but can understand YOU wanting a change now n' then (we all need to "approach our pretties" in varying ways, so we can appreciate them even more when we "bring them back", IMHO)... Foyer is stunning~~~ suggest you do what SPEAKS to you, as I'm sure you have probably always had the smarts to do~~~ and we KNOW change is as easy as a snap of the fingers (or in my case, just sneaking out of bed & not waking DH & dawg, just so I can "try something" that's been in my head all day!). I don't blog but I'm sure glad YOU do!!! As Ahhhhnold sez, "I willlll be baaaack" Thank you sooo much~ I had a ball!!! Warmly, Linda (in AZ)

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  92. LOVE LOVE LOVE! ANY opportunity to peek inside your home Joni and I'M THERE! I love both the before and afters! All that blue&white china, seagrass, white slip covers and wicker! I adore it all. You have so much style and grace Mz Webb. I had no idea you were Jewish! I wish you and your family health, happiness and prosperity for the festive season and new year. I look forward to some amazing inspirational posts from Cote de Texas in 2009!

    Anna xox.

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  93. Joni, Happy Hanukkah. Thank you for sharing yourself and exquisite design style throughout the year. It's been fun getting to know you.

    (And I'll be waiting for that post about your garage stash). LOL

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  94. Joni, we are totally in suspense, just waiting and waiting to see your table! In the mean time and in between time, Happy Hanukkah!

    XO,

    Sheila... who has managed to wrangle invitations for Christmas Eve, Christmas lunch, AND Christmas dinner! But it's payback time this coming Sunday when I once again have a crowd coming. I used to think it was S-M-A-R-T to host back to back parties, but my aged (and aching) feet have other ideas! ;-)

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  95. Happy Hanukkah! I love the table as it is now, but agree about the hydrangea. You need some alternating heights and color. Whatever you finally decide I'm sure will be fab! It's been such a pleasure to keep up with you and your blog this year Joni. Thank you for educating us all with the amazing interiors you share, and for the constant support and your comments that always make me laugh. Here's to 2009!

    xo, Cassandra

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  96. I'm so thrilled each time you invite us into your home to take a look around. Gorgeous home and I had to smile about your commend on editing. I also have the same issue with having too much stuff out and needing to edit. You did a fantastic job.

    Happy Hanukkah!

    Hugs,
    Karen O.

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  97. Joni,
    I love your home, it is warm and inviting. My FR is very similar to yours and I have had a time getting it "just right". I like how you put your sofa in front of the beautiful windows...I have been transfixed on making the fireplace the focal and it really diminishes the size of the room...I will try your way!
    Your inner beauty shines through the wonderful touches you display.
    Blessings to you and yours.
    Renae

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  98. It's after midnight in my neck o' the woods, but when I read your husband's brilliant use of the word "dreckorating," I laughed out loud! I hope I didn't wake up my sleeping children. This post is wonderful and your home is absolutely stunning! We are the lone "dark house" on our street (actually pretty much in the entire neighborhood) and take pride in that badge of honor as well. That was beautifully said.

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