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Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Setting the Table with Kristen Buscemi

As a full-time speech pathologist, mother of two, and interior designer, Kristen has had the opportunity to collaborate with an exciting range of clients. In addition, she recently launched the Maple House Collection, which was created to provide thoughtful, sustainable, collected, functional, and beautiful home décor, ethically made & hand-crafted by the world’s finest artisans.

Tell us about yourself and why you started Maple House Buffalo

Maple House Buffalo first took root after our growing family moved into a historic 1902 farmhouse in Buffalo. We began renovating it and I decided to start a professional Instagram account to share our projects. As our home evolved, so too did my affinity for interior design. I became fascinated with the psychology behind functional beautiful design, and I love to share my design projects, tips, and tricks with my social media community of fellow interior design enthusiasts.

How can I create a beautiful, styled holiday dinner table?

When creating your tablescape, start with a centerpiece. It can be as simple or elaborate as you’d like. I always like to ground my table with a floral arrangement as the centerpiece and a runner underneath. Next add candles at various heights. Using taper candles as well as those with seasonal scents creates a warm, welcoming feel. I also love to incorporate a DIY project such as seasonal elements or personalized name cards on napkin rings or at each place setting. Use natural elements such as twine, cinnamon sticks, dried orange slices, or even pinecones to elevate the look and make it feel special. If you have holiday dinnerware, don’t feel like you need to reserve it for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Use it throughout the season to get you into the holiday spirit.

How do you narrow your focus when decorating for the holidays?

First, choose a few colors to work with and stay consistent with your palette throughout your entire home. This creates a cohesive look that feels calm and intentional. I also like to pick a few areas where I create special vignettes. While fully decorated rooms are beautiful, you don’t have to go crazy. Selecting a few key areas such as your dining room table, sideboard, mantle, and entryway to put decorations on can be a great place to start.

What trends are you embracing this holiday season?

While trends are great to follow and use for inspiration, try to choose elements that are true to what you love. This year, I see a resurgence of color as people move beyond neutrals and embrace pops of color to complement the season. I also see a lot more people mixing old and new together. There used to be sort of a stigma that came with thrifting, but now people see the value in giving pieces a second life. It’s not only good for your budget and the environment, but many times these items are much more valuable and well-made compared to what you buy today.


Creating Holiday Warmth with Amber Valvano

Amber is a Doctor of Pharmacy who manages a retail pharmacy, helps run a Real Estate Investment business, and is a wife and a mother of three young children.

Tell us about yourself and why you started The Valvano Homestead?

For as long as I can remember, my dream was to buy a piece of land and build a white farmhouse on it to raise my family in. In 2018, we bought 13 acres of property, and I connected with a group of women who were all building similar house plans at the time, and our community developed. We shared design and new build ideas and truly become friends. During this time, I discovered my love for interior design, DIY, and became passionate about helping others turn their houses into homes.

How can we create holiday warmth in our homes this holiday season?

This time of year, I love adding warmth through extra lighting such as candles, twinkle lights, Christmas lights, and even a fire in the fireplace. Texture is another great way to add warmth to a space. I love using faux fur throws and velvet pillow covers to give a space that cozy vibe. I'm a huge believer that your family heirloom holiday décor pieces and ornaments should be displayed if you love them and they make you happy. Last year I even used an Afghan my great-grandmother crocheted as a tree skirt and it made me smile every time I looked at that tree.

What are some of your favorite styling tips for the holidays?

If you have children, don't be afraid to add kid-friendly pieces in. We have a train around our tree, and I love to leave our favorite Christmas story book out on our ottoman tray throughout the holiday season. It makes for a beautiful coffee table book, but is also something that my kids can grab and read at any time. Adding framed art or family pictures from Christmases past is great for a coffee table or kitchen countertop. I also always add greenery. Faux or real garland, cedar or pine stems and picks are a great way to add color, texture, and warmth to your space.

What trends are you embracing this holiday season?

I'm not really one to follow the trends, because I think the only person's opinion about your home that matters is your own. However, I do think we will continue to see neutral décor and natural elements. Pinecones, burlap, dried oranges, soft creams, and earthy tones are all calming and peaceful, which is what many are looking for during the holidays. I also think we are going to see more vintage and family inspiration shine through – think the vintage glass ornaments/bulbs, painted ceramic lit trees, heirloom Santas, and traditional greens, reds, silvers, and golds. These give nostalgic feelings for many, as well as memories of Christmases past. Lastly, metallics are certainly here to stay! They are elegant and beautiful and give a modern or a traditional feel. When decorating for the holidays this year, be sure you go with what you truly love. It does not need to be trendy to be beautiful!

  • Garlands are a great way to add texture to a space. Add velvet bows and vintage looking bells for an extra touch!

  • Faux florals, mini trees, and candles styled on a decorative tray or cutting board are a great way to decorate a kitchen island for the holidays. Add cedar wreaths and ribbon to kitchen chairs for an extra winter touch.

  • Using a variety of lighting (candle, twinkle lights, tree lights, firelight) helps bring warmth to your living room.

  • Create a feeling of home with cherished family heirlooms, books, and photos when styling an ottoman tray or sofa table.

  • Adding traditional Christmas red and green bedding to a neutral bedroom can be a fun way to make it feel warm and inviting.


Styling Your Space with Yeri Castillo

As a sonographer by day, Yeri spends her time caring for patients, but her true love is being home with family, entertaining her little ones, and keeping busy rearranging, organizing, and working on home projects.

Tell us about yourself and why you started

My passion for home design began many years ago when I would rearrange my childhood bedroom every six months, but I didn’t fully put it into use until purchasing our first home two years ago. That is when came to life! I began to share our DIYs, my thrifted finds, and how I styled different spaces in our home!

What are some favorite tips when decorating for the holidays?

Focus on one room at a time, whether it’s the space you first see when you walk in your home or the space you spend the most time in. In my case, that’s our dining room. Start by figuring out what color palette you want to work with. Then, think of what reminds you of the holidays and incorporate those. Some examples I include in my dining room centerpiece are bells, greenery, candles, and trees. Remember you don’t have to go out and spend a lot. Try working with pieces you already have or even experiment with thrifting items like candle holders, which I like to include in my tablescape. Have fun and make magic!

What trends are you embracing this holiday season?

Earthy neutral and organic. That’s what comes to mind when I think about what is trending this holiday season. It’s about bringing nature indoors.

Where do you find inspiration?

Most of my inspiration comes from secondhand pieces. I love to find ways to bring them back to life. I think of how I can make them work in my home and build styling from there.

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