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The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Through the Front Door: Holiday front doors that welcome you home

  • There is nothing so appealing as a well-painted front door that quietly says, “Welcome home.”
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  • No need to knock!
    There is nothing so appealing as a well-painted front door that quietly says, "Welcome home." As a child, I remember bursting through the front door to announce earth-shattering news to my Mom, guess what I got on my art project!! And I have been the Mom in the kitchen when that same excitement came bursting through the front door and one of my kids shared the best news that ever needed to be told! Front doors say a lot about who we are as neighbors and friends. This is the time of year that we all recognize the importance of the front door. We pay tribute to the comings and goings of life by dressing them up for the Christmas show! We drape them with garland and add sparkling lights to welcome carolers and the friendly postman arriving with Christmas packages from across the country.
    Whether you do something brilliantly creative or traditional, do something! One year, I wanted to do something different—something I had never seen before—I decided to cover the door in a wonderful tartan plaid fabric. When I described my vision to my husband, he just looked at me and finally said, "You do realize the door will need to come off?" Yes, I knew the front door would need to come off, this was one time when global warming worked to my advantage. That weekend we pulled the door from its hinges and wrapped it in fabric. While the doorknob and locking system did cause a bit of a dilemma, when it was finished, the door looked amazing! Even my husband had to admit that the idea was pretty darn divine!
    You can design a doorway that is every bit as special without dismantling your house, however. To make a doorway special for the holidays, consider the following:
    Without question, a Christmas wreath is a classic. If you do nothing else but attach a spectacular wreath to your front door, that is just fine and dandy!
    Repurposing items that say winter as well as "happy holidays" are the most ingenious elements. Take a stroll out to your garage where an old sled might be hanging from the wall, find a pair of skis or take those well-worn ice skates, even an old peddle car can become a vision. Any of these items would make an interesting addition to your front door design.
    Surround the door with garlands engorged with apples, ribbon, Christmas balls, pine cones, snowmen, poinsettias, berries, deliciously wrapped packages and, of course, twinkling lights-lots and lots of twinkling lights.
    Maybe you and your family are musically inclined. Tie up some laminated sheet music and add some brass instruments to greenery around the door.
    Page 2 of 3 - Place small Christmas trees in pots on the porch, and light them with a bazillion mini lights along with, perhaps, some old-school colored Christmas lights. Cover the soil with greenery, ribbon, and berries to polish off the look.
    Arrange fireplace wood in a wonderful large pot where summer flowers usually reside, tie a log or two with ribbon and spruce.
    Stack packages wrapped in wonderful foil paper, with bows and greenery on the front porch bench or swing. Make sure to put some bricks or rocks in the boxes before wrapping to keep the packages in place!
    In the past few years, lanterns have made a delightful addition to the front porch, especially when using battery-powered candles on timers. Finding lanterns has become a snap! Just make sure you purchase a pair that are large enough to be seen from the street. Repurpose these terrific purchases this summer for the 4th of July cook out. You will find occasion after occasion to use them, inside your home as well as out! I guarantee you! So put a pair of lanterns on your list!
    If you have front porch light sconces, don't forget to give them some Christmas enchantment. I create what I call a "lantern collar" and secure it with a bow. To make one, take fresh or faux garland and go around the light fixture, pinching it tight at the bottom of the fixture. Allow at least 12" to 15" for two tails of greenery, secure with a pipe cleaner and add a wonderful full bow! (For faux greenery, make sure to plump it so it looks convincingly real.)
    Once the holidays are over, retain your winter wonderland by leaving the greenery in pots and maybe the sled. Just remove anything that sings Christmas. In Colorado, where we used to live, it was perfectly acceptable to leave such winter additions in place until the end of February. I realize this is beautiful Kansas, but if Colorado can do it—I believe we may do it in Kansas as well! What do you think lovely people of Kansas…shall we?
    Enthrall those who pass by your home with the goal of having them exclaim out loud, "Oh my gosh, look at that house!" Create a front door so fabulous that it's impossible not to grin from ear to ear—so proud of how far and fabulous your imagination traveled—when you pull into your own driveway. People who don't even know you will think, "I bet I would like that family!" And when you are expecting guests, go outside and give the porch a good long spray of a holiday fragrance. This is the season for over thinking and startling friends and family with a bit of fantasy! The front door also sets the stage for the wonderment on the other side. Don't forget to graciously greet your family and friends at the door—your time with them is what this season of love is all about! Make your door say, "Welcome everyone! And peace and good will to all men!"
    Page 3 of 3 - Make bows like a pro
    Learning to make lush, beautiful bows comes in handy for seasonal designs year-round—and particularly at Christmas. It's tricky, but once you got it, you've got it! No more paying to have fabulous bows done. You will be able to create them on your own, you smarty pants! Please refer to the photos for additional help.
    Select a roll of ribbon of any width you desire; wired ribbon works best.
    Unroll several yards of ribbon, but do not cut it!
    This step determines the length of the tail, which is what hangs down from the actual bow when completed. Maybe you think 16" is perfect, pinch at that point and don't let go! Pinch as shown in the photo.
    Make a small loop as shown at the top of that 16" tail. Once you have pinched the loop, don't let go—this is where your fingers will be during the entire process! This loop will be the center of your bow!
    Keep pinching the center and start going back and forth, creating larger loops on either side of the center loop. The larger the loops, the bigger the bow. As you are going back and forth, you are pinching these tight to the center loop. The more loops, the denser the bow, making it full and lush as seen in the photo!
    Now it's time to secure everything using a pipe cleaner that blends with the ribbon. The loop you have been pinching for all your worth is where the pipe cleaner goes. Slide it through and then twist tightly on the back side of the bow so everything stays in place.
    It's now time to cut the second tail, shown in the photo. Either make the tail the exact same length as the first tail or a couple of inches longer so that when it hangs, it is a bit longer. Your call!
    Now, gorgeous, plump that beauty and pat yourself on the back. You are now a qualified professional bow maker! Smile, sweetie, smile!
    See you next week!
    Jan Colvin has been a professional interior designer for over 25 years (Allied ASID). She accredits her mother Pat Robinson and Lucille Chase for her intense interest and love for design.
    She has taught interior design at the college level and operated her private design business since 2001. Today she spends a majority of her time completing her new book which will be available in the first quarter of 2013. After many years in the traditional interior design profession, "I found that the educational aspect is far more satisfying for me personally."
    Jan welcomes questions, which will be answered in her columns. Send your questions to: jan@jcolvininteriors.com
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