Saturday, January 05, 2008


So here we are on Christmas Eve. I wanted to show you my husband's parents' house, which is close to where we live. We went to dinner with them (and their friends and their friends' families) for Christmas Eve, then came back to their house for dessert. It was a lovely way to end the night.

This is their house, all decked out for Christmas. Look closely and you'll notice that they have a train track erected around the tree in front. This is just for Christmas. My father in-law loves trains. He has passed that love down to a few of his grandchildren, including my sons. The Christmas train ("Santa's Fe") runs along on the track when the decorations go up. Although it was a freezing night, my sons chose to stay out here and watch the train for as long as possible (with their daddy and grandfather.)

Here's a closer view of one train admirer, as well as the track and train.

Admirer #2. Did I mention it was a freezing night? I was too much of a wimp to stay outside for long. My husband snapped all of these pictures.

My father in-law has trains on the inside of his house as well. We didn't take a picture that night, but inside his office in the house he has built train track that runs along the perimeter of the room, suspended from the ceiling. There's even a tunnel that's a part of the scene, too. Some day I'll have to go back and snap that for you. For now, I can show you a shot of the tree that was running (where else?) under the Christmas tree. My boys were in heaven. In fact, we stayed over here until about 11 p.m. The boys are 5 and 3 years old. But as long as the trains were moving, eyes were wide open!

Let's move on from the trains to house decor. This is the dining room. A few years ago my in-laws redecorated their house, almost the entire first floor and a guest bathroom upstairs. I don't have any "before" photos. But you can probably tell that the change was beautifully done.

The area rug in this room that you see above inspired the hand painted border. Just beautiful!

More hand painting was done on the banister in the foyer. If I had my druthers, I would love to have this done on the banister that is in the upstairs of my own home. It is so, so pretty.

The same artist who painted the banner and banister also painted these lovely blooms in the foyer, which travel up the stairway. I know these pictures are nice, but you really should see them in person!

This is a picture of the living room. That's me sitting over there beyond the tree in the family room. Not one of my better poses, but you know, it's not about me. It's about this gorgeous house!

Aah, Christmastime. I told my mother in-law that I was ready to check in for the night. She did a wonderful job with her decorations. This was the first Christmas that she and my father in-law spent here, post decorating project. For the last few years they have traveled down to Charlotte to be with my sister in-law and her family. I think they both enjoyed seeing their "new" home filled with all of their old Christmas treasures. By the way, that's me again in the plaid pants. I am speaking to my son, who is standing in front of my mother in-law (far left) and her friend.
Voila! The kitchen. The most dramatic change here was that everything was gutted and the footprint of the entire room was changed. Picture dark, hanging cabinetry, small preparation space & eating area, and you get the idea. It turned out great.

This view gives you a better idea of how the kitchen now flows into the family room. There used to be a little half wall between the rooms.

That's all the photos I have from our time at my in-law's. Now we are home, and milk & cookies are waiting for Santa. We all opened our Christmas Eve gift, which was new jammies for everyone.

One more shot of the tree. Now that it's down, I miss it.

On Christmas, my husband and I each gave each other ornaments. This was a surprise to both of us. The Chicago marquee is from me to him:

And this beauty is from him to me:

I mentioned that I made pancakes Christmas morning. What I didn't mention was that I tried making them with pancake molds that I had purchased at Williams-Sonoma. I had a really hard time doing this! In my first attempt I was using them wrong, they were upside down on the griddle. The second attempt wasn't much better. By this time my sons were getting very hungry. Then it occurred to me that we still cut up all of their food for them before they begin the shapes probably would have been lost on them anyway. Oh well, A for effort and all that. If you want a set of pancake molds, let me know and they are yours.

Next post: post Christmas!


lisagh said...

It's like a fairy tale! Everything and I mean everything is so beautiful. I can't get over that carpet in the dining room - WOW! Seeing all this makes me miss Christmas already. Thanks for sharing.

homedaisy said...

gorgeous. all of it. what a treat to spend the holiday at a place so delightful - down to every detail! so is this lisa's mom? you all have such similar taste. i love it :)

Meg said...

Thank you Lisagh and Homedaisy. I'll be sure to pass the compliments on up to my mother in-law. She worked very hard and I must say, waited a long time, to get this project done just the way she wanted. She and my father in-law are so happy with the results.

By the way, you are right, Homedaisy. This is Lisa's mom.

suburban prep said...

So festive. So stunning. It must have felt so comfortable there for the holidays.

Libby said...

Oh it's just darling! The banister is such a lovely touch. And someday I would love to see the elevated train.

Lisagh's right, this post makes me miss Christmas already.

Rosemary said...

Love the trains, amazing!!
The house is beautiful, especially that kitchen. Wow!!
I have never heard of pancake molds. Interesting.
Thanks so much for sharing your Christmas with us.

kristen said...

This really is beautiful. Your in-laws live in a lovely home and I don't blame you, I wouldn't want to leave either!

As for the pancake molds. If anyone does know how to use them, please tell. I had the same experience as you Meg. I just could not make them work--no matter what. Mine were also from WS. Sigh. I don't even know where I've stashed them. I had an idea that maybe I could use them as cookie cutters?

Happy new year! And welcome back. Thanks for the lovely home tour!

Jenny said...

Hi. I am just new to your blog. The hand painting in your in-laws place is amazing!!
I love your pink mixer too. Very jealous.

Jenny said...

PS: my Dad is a railway modeller too. I have grown up with railways built in all sorts of places.

Dana said...

I love the artwork on the walls! I've done some in our home, but I'd love to be able to do something like that!
Hubby wouldn't appreciate that though LOL!! As for the Pancake molds, my daughter would probably love those!
She is 11, and makes pancakes at least once a week. She makes them for the family, and neighbors too LOL!

Thanks for sharing the pics!


restyled home said...

Hi Meg!
Wow! You certainly are a talented bunch!
Thanks for your comments on my blog. I really appreciate it...

As for the paint colour on my cabinets, it started out being Farrow and Ball's "Blue-Gray" which once on, looked exactly like Restoration Hardware's Silver Sage, and since I wanted blue, that was scratched. I eneded up with a Benjamin Moore colour (of which I'll have to search for) that I then added a tiny bit of black to so it would be more grey, soooo if you want the actual colour, send me your address, and I'll paint some of the colour onto an index card and you can have it scanned at your paint store and then mixed. Just leave me a comment if you want this, or better yet, email me with your address. In the meantime, I'll try to find the colour name.
Phew...long comment! Sorry!!


suburban prep said...

I hope that you were able to go to the Botanic Gardens in Glencoe to see the train exhibit for the holidays.

Meg said...

Suburban Prep - funny enough, we were just there on Saturday!

christy said...

It all looks so pretty!

Cottage Contessa said...

What an absolutely stunningly gorgeous home your in-laws have! It should be in a magazine!
Amanda (aka Cottage Contessa)

hqm said...

WOW!!! That stairway is just breathe taking and don't get me started on the kithchen. I keep looking at the pictures over and over again...their home looks like a magazine spread!

Meg said...

hello - well guess what, it actually was in a magazine spread! So Cottage Contessa and Heather, you are right on!

Deb said...

Your Christmas sounds wonderful! Beautiful pictures of an absolutely beautiful home!!

Danielle said...

Those molds are very tricky. I couldn't do it the first year, but now I have it down.

You have to really spray them, and then make sure they heat up for a little bit. Once they are hot and your pour the pancake batter in, let it sit a while. Now when you do lift it up, you want to use a mini spatula or something to push the pancake through a bit. Then flip. It takes some practice. You'll get it.

Or you can make the round ones and just buy a cute Santa shaped syrup jar. That's festive too. :)

Merci-Notes said...

Hi Meg,
Their home is sooo gorgeous! Still evry time I go there I am mesmerized by the beauty she has given her home. I think al ot of it comes from the love that she and your Father-In-Law give out to all! JUST Like YOUR HOME MEG!!!!
I love all of your photos with the new camera! I love those photos frames that are digital and scan through automatically.
The trains are the BEST!!! What memories for your boys and all of their cousins (the Grandchildren!!!)
I have exciting news at my post earlier this week.

Susie Q said...

Your in law's home is truly magical!
Just gorgeous.
It is like stepping into a fairytale!
One that has become a sweet reality!

I know you had a wonderful Christmas!