Draped to Delight
Cottages and Bungalows|December-January 2021
How a homeowner uses timeless and classic decorating traditions to ll her home with life and celebration during the Christmas season.
LAUREN HOFER

When homeowner and blogger Nichol Naranjo decorates for the holidays each year, she always comes back to the same theme. “Timeless, classic and more traditional holiday decor tends to make me the happiest,” she says. For inspiration, she’ll often draw from the set design of holiday movies and shows that she admires. “Sometimes I even take notes on my phone,” she says.

It doesn’t hurt that her existing decor is already an impeccable combination of whites, natural woods and nautical touches that create a perfect base for a classic holiday setting. “Someone once described my style as maritime French and I really like that description,” Nichol says, “I lean towards collected, rustic, European and traditional touches.”

THE BONES

The home itself is a 2006 builder-grade home located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “We thought we would flip it in three to five years, but then the economy crashed,” Nichol says. Fourteen years later, the entire Naranjo family (Nichol, her husband Dominic, their three daughters and two dogs) has made the most of staying put by making the four-bedroom and two-and-a-half-bath home a dreamy haven for friends and family to gather through all seasons. “My main goal for the holidays is to create a warm, welcoming, celebratory and classic feel,” Nichol says.

NATURAL ELEMENTS

One of the most striking elements of Nichol’s holiday decor is her extensive use of garland and greenery. “Hanging greens throughout takes each space to the next level for me,” Nichol says, “It was the way people decorated and celebrated long ago, and I’ve always wanted my home to reflect the way people decorated, even in the 1800s.” Nichol uses the imagery from classic works of literature like Little Women and A Christmas Carol as inspiration. She drapes garland, both faux and real, in nearly every room, transforming windows, mantels, hallways, chandeliers and even open shelves into bright and fresh holiday focal points. Some garland is even laced with citrus fruits, a sweet nod to the family’s last name, “Naranjo,” which is Spanish for orange tree.

A 25-year-old Norland pine adds life to the master bedroom next to a whimsical, vintage hanging swing that Nichol found at a thrift store. In the dining room, natural wood branches replace traditional curtain rods, while a massive sliding barn door separates the space from the living room. Built from two slabs of raw wood, the piece acts as a grounding element in the space. “I want people to feel like they can kick off their shoes and curl up on our sofa,” Nichol says, “we also feel it’s very important to bring nature into your home for the same reason, and that’s why you see wood throughout.”

FOR THE LOVE OF THE SEA

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