Home for the Holidays

Home for the Holidays. www.ChefShayna.com

This month, four years ago, is when my family and I were lucky enough to move into our home. We moved in the weekend after Halloween in 2014 after living with our in laws for several months while the painters painted and the finish carpenters finished carpentering. Alexandria was just a toddler and I was 2 months pregnant with Little Miss. I was overwhelmed but excited and definitely ready to make the house our home for the holidays.

Our first home, which was also a Wilson Home, served us well when our biggest concerns were how many yoga classes we could fit into one weekend or where we would store all of our wedding presents. But as we settled in and our family grew, the list of things that we wanted and needed from a home grew as well. As our house hunting adventure started, there were a few prerequisites that were non negotiable. I wanted the kids bedrooms to be near each other, ideally with a Jack and Jill bathroom in between - but far away from the master bedroom. We only had 1 child at the time but quickly realized how toys can consume a house, so I looked for a home with a 4th bedroom that could be a dedicated play room that helped keep toys organized, but that also could double as a guest room. As for the master bedroom; I wanted big - but not too big, plenty of closet space, and if possible - some separation between the bed from the master bathroom…… basically I didn’t want to be bothered when I was cuddled in bed on a cold winter morning and my hubby was getting up at whatever ungodly hour he likes to get up at to start his day. My husband was looking for other things; he wanted a pool, a good roof for solar, garage space, and above all a builder with a good reputation for building good quality homes.

To this day, I still can’t believe the sequence of highly unlikely events that lead us to finding our dream home. After months of searching we were getting ready to ‘settle’ and had decided to put an offer in on another home in our neighborhood. It wasn’t perfect and didn’t check many of the boxes, but I was ready to nest and tired of the ups and downs that come with buying a new home. Before finalizing the paperwork, however, we decided to take one more drive through our neighborhood and happened to see this tiny little ‘For Sale by Owner,’ sign half hidden behind a tree in front of a home at the end of a cul-de-sac…….. and the rest is history. We called the owner, who quickly became like a second set of parents to us. We visited them frequently for dinner during the escrow process and still have a picture we took with them framed in our house.

I feel so lucky to have found this home as it really does have everything that we wanted and much more than we needed. Something else that it had, which I didn’t even know I wanted, was a great layout for entertaining. So many homes these days have an open floor plan, which is great for facilitating time together, but when a guest walks into my home, the last thing I want them to see is the messy kitchen I just spent 2 hours cooking in. Our floor plan is a perfect compromise between a contemporary open floor plan and a more traditional layout that provides more separation between rooms. Put simply, I love that you can’t see my kitchen from my entry way or from the dining room. I do love, however, that while I am in the kitchen I can see my girls playing or watching tv in the living room or even playing in our backyard or pool.

I have always thought a formal dining room might be a thing of the past and wasn’t set on needing one in our new home but now I am thankful I have one. It is one place in the house that I can decorate with nicer things that don’t get ‘played’ with, and for my holiday display and know that it will not get messed up. It also sets the tone when you walk in our home.

Every holiday I will set the table and leave it set all month leading up to the big meal or event. For Thanksgiving this year I wanted to give the table a soft, romantic feel utilizing elements of nature. I used eucalyptus garland from Magnolia’s Hearth and Hand collection combined with succulents from Trader Joe’s, porcelain pumpkins from the dollar section of Target combined with the remaining white pumpkins leftover from Halloween. I set the table with the China that passed down from my parents (that I never seem to use) and gold flat ware from CB2. I found place markers that say, “I am thankful for” with a blank space for our guests to fill in their response.

Will you be entertaining this Holiday season? What is your favorite part? Did you see that I partnered with Wilson Homes to giveaway $200 to Whole Foods so you can stock up on groceries for Thanksgiving. Head to Instagram to enter to win.