How a DIYer Decorates for Christmas
Every December, this Phoenix, AZ, home overflows with crafty holiday decorating. HGTV Magazine takes you inside!
While other people are untangling their Christmas tree lights and shopping the heck out of Black Friday, Sarah Hubbell is gathering up pom-poms, glue sticks, and glitter. “I don’t feel festive until I’m buried under piles of crafts supplies,” says Sarah, a lifestyle and DIY blogger.
The 1,760-square-foot ranch-style home in Phoenix, AZ, that she shares with her husband, Ryan; son, Hudson; and newborn daughter, Olive, is dotted with Sarah’s self-styled projects — some big (a homemade sliding barn door), some small (pillow covers made from fabric napkins). When the Christmas season rolls around, her crafty nature kicks into overdrive. “Every year I do something different with new projects and colors,” she says. “Ryan jokes we need another shed just for ornaments.”
On tap for 2016? Felt-ball-garland trees strung on the wall, a snowy Advent calendar scene perched on the piano, customized paper ornaments for the tree, plus who knows what else. “My favorite crafts store is only 10 minutes away,” she says, “and it’s open till six on Christmas Eve!”
Almost all the gallery wall art in the living room is from minted.com. “Buying art online works great for me,” Sarah says. “I take screen grabs of what I like and map out on my computer how everything will look together.” Here, she stuck to vibrant shades that pick up colors found in the room, like on the vintage dresser (painted Bull’s Eye Red by Benjamin Moore) and the aqua of the tufted sectional from apt2b.com. Hudson is into globes right now, so Sarah reverse-stenciled one with a Joy to the World decal and chalkboard spray paint. The barn door (it’s the one she made!) is painted March Wind by Sherwin-Williams.
Sarah’s so obsessed with Christmas that she owns three artificial trees — two green and one white. “Its embarrassing,” she says. But this year the Hubbells went for the real deal: a 7-foot-tall spruce. “It smells so good, I don’t think we’ll go back,” she says. The tree-trimming takes place the day after Thanksgiving, with a different color scheme each year. For 2016 it’s pink and blue baubles, with DIY paper starburst ornaments that “look complicated but are actually really simple to make.”
“I grew up in Phoenix with a fireplace, so I really wanted one in this house, even though they’re rare around here,” says Sarah. “Hanging stockings on the piano just didn’t feel the same.” So during the home’s 2015 reno, she got an electric fireplace from Lowe’s, then had her contractor build and tile a surround with 8-inch-by-8-inch cement tiles from Granada Tile, which are used throughout the house. Pink-and-red-striped stockings hang from a thick slab of barnwood, and Sarah filled the wall space above with felt-ball garlands hung in tree
shapes from adhesive hooks.
Before the reno, the couple took a tour of a home in Phoenix that was filled with colorful tile. “After that, Ryan was totally on board,” says Sarah. “He even picked out this pattern.” With help from their contractor, they built the L-shaped storage bench, which is where Sarah stashes all her wrapping paper. She sewed nearly all the pillows — using a napkin set from Target as fabric for most of them — and at Christmastime she adds a few store-bought holiday-themed ones. The paper cone trees on the table were Hudson’s favorite craft this year.
Because the patterned tile rules this space, the Hubbells kept everything else pretty simple: white cabinets with black bin-style pulls from IKEA, open shelving made from 2-inch-thick slabs of barnwood and powder-coated cherry red stools from overstock.com. A custom island was beyond their budget, so Sarah found a dresser that already had casters on its legs at an antiques store in Phoenix, and attached a piece of IKEA butcher block to the top.
Four walls of dark wood paneling made this room “feel like a log cabin,” says Sarah. Rather than tear it off, she repainted the wood soft white (Swiss Coffee by Benjamin Moore). The layout of the room meant that the bed had to go in front of the window, so Sarah picked a low platform-style one from IKEA. The quilted cotton bedding is from Pottery Barn; the turquoise lamps and mid-century-style nightstands are from overstock.com.
After stripping off wallpaper elsewhere in the house, the Hubbells needed a break from dealing with it. So they stenciled this wall with navy paint (Wild Blueberry by Clark + Kensington) and a stencil from cuttingedgestencils.com. The marigold West Elm rug used to be in the dining room, but when Sarah saw how great it looked with navy, she moved it here and ordered a tufted headboard from hayneedle.com to match. The blue geometric block print bedding is from Serena & Lily.
Hudson’s adorable room started with 9-inch stripes on the walls painted March Wind by Sherwin-Williams. His dresser looks expensive, but it’s really two IKEA Rast dressers smooshed together. Sarah bought them unfinished, then stained the frames, painted the drawer fronts white, and added new knobs. She and Ryan “built” the bed by adding side rails to a Jenny Lind headboard and footboard found on Craigslist, and spray-painting it Luscious Green by Valspar. Hudson’s favorite spot is his teepee from Tip Top Teepee Shop on Etsy. “That’s where he puts his stuffed animals to bed,” says Sarah.
The Hubbells invite a houseful of family over for Christmas brunch, and everyone always ends up on the patio. “We’re lucky — we can eat outside in winter because the weather is so nice,” says Sarah. She decks out the space with silver lanterns, big pots of poinsettias and a help-yourself holiday bar. A 4-foot-tall framed chalkboard cleverly conceals the water heater. The table, chairs and interlocking wood tiles on the patio floor are from IKEA, and the aqua outdoor rug is from rugsusa.com.