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All Is Bright: A Festive Holiday Home

  • Miki Duisterhof

    A Sparkling Display

    Every year at holiday time, Anne and Jonathan Carr's Connecticut home becomes a backdrop for a seasonal display that sparkles with sophistication while feeling totally down to earth. A mother of three children, ages 5 to 10, Anne says her decorating strategy is rooted in modern design, not fussy details. She likes to make a couple of big statements relying on a palette that harmonizes with each room. "I used to do a lot more when the kids were younger," she says, "but I think you can get a festive look with a few easy touches and also save your sanity." Decorating is more than a pastime for Anne who, with partner Connie Dirvin, created the online home design shopping guide Both her effortless style and her new business sprang from a need to save time and simplify her life. "When you have kids there are only so many days for shopping and decorating," says Anne.

  • Miki Duisterhof

    The Main Event

    Anne trims the tree with mirrored garlands and ornaments that play off the contemporary cool of the living area's graphic fabrics. She attaches balls to an oversize boxwood wreath and places shimmering reindeer—the kids glued glitter onto forms—on the coffee table. The striking color scheme reflects Anne's fearless sensibilities. "I'm a color person," she says, "but for anyone who's afraid of bold hues, try bright accessories such as lamps or pillows first."

  • Miki Duisterhof

    Sweet Idea

    Anne sets the scene by filling apothecary jars with treats. She and the kids make candy trees from Styrofoam forms and gumdrops.

  • Miki Duisterhof

    Room to Play

    Even when the family room isn't dressed up for the holidays, the big cushy sofas, a study nook with desks, and a TV make it a magnet for the kids—Henry, Charlotte, and Melanie (pictured with Anne)—and their friends. Anne chose the color scheme because she loves red and was inspired by the idea of primary-school hues. "The stripes caught my eye when I was shopping," she says. "I usually find a fabric I love and then build the room around it." The bright, happy space lends itself to Anne's vision of a child's ultimate fantasy: being inside a candy store.

  • Miki Duisterhof

    Floral Flourish

    A swag of fuzzy pom-poms and vases of amaryllis on the mantel add to the jolly atmosphere.

  • Miki Duisterhof

    Small Pleasures

    "Every year my kids put a mishmash of balls and wood ornaments on these quirky little artificial trees," Anne says.

  • Miki Duisterhof

    Turn the Tables

    Anne gives the dining area a little bling by dangling snowflakes and a mirrored disco ball from the chandelier. The hanging lamp, made of low-voltage lightbulbs adorned with feather wings by designer Ingo Maurer, was an impulse purchase. "When I first saw the fixture I thought maybe it was too daring," she says, "but my approach to decorating has always been to just go with my instinct."

    White Christmas

    The benches and marble and Lucite table are kid friendly—they can easily be wiped clean with a sponge.

  • Miki Duisterhof

    Enlightened Dining

    You don't need much to create a brilliant table—colorful plates, gleaming glass, and candlelight.

  • Miki Duisterhof

    Feather Your Nest

    An arrangement of feather, gold, and silver trees makes a fun tabletop vignette.

    Anne's Easy Holiday Tips

    —Fill a glass pedestal bowl with clear glass balls—Anne likes aqua—and add shimmer by cutting up mirror garlands and arranging them inside.

    —For a simple, natural look, arrange greens and pomegranates on the mantel.

    —Rosemary topiary trees never go out of style—on a table or in the kitchen.

    —Spray white lacquer on pinecones for a snowy, shiny look.

  • Miki Duisterhof

    Get the Look

    Make your home sparkle with some of Anne's key holiday decor items.

    Visions of Sugarplums

    Lime-green drop ornaments, Seasons of Cannon Falls, $6 each, visit for stores.

  • Miki Duisterhof

    Disco Fever

    Mirror ball, eParty Unlimited, $14,

  • Miki Duisterhof

    O Christmas Trees

    Cream bottle brush trees, Cody Foster & Co., four for $75, 800-595-5907.

  • Courtesy of Jamali Garden Supply

    String Along

    Round mirror garland, Jamali Garden Supplies, $7,

  • Miki Duisterhof

    Doe, a Deer

    Glitter deer, KD Vintage, two for $36,

  • Miki Duisterhof

    Let It Snow

    Silver snowflake ornaments, Seasons of Cannon Falls, $4 each, for stores.

  • Miki Duisterhof

    Pretty Enough to Eat Off

    Red Velvet appetizer plates, Rosanna Inc., four for $30,

  • Miki Duisterhof

    Anne's Favorite Gifts to Give

    Antiqued gold contemporary Soleil Mirror, $125,

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    Bright merino wool and cotton knit blankets, Ducduc, $148,

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    Robin's egg Munjoy mod tumblers, Angela Adams, four for $32,

  • Miki Duisterhof


    Mercury glass tea light candleholders, two for $26,

    Originally published in the December 2007 issue of Family Circle magazine.

    This piece was accurate at publication time, but all prices, offerings, and styles are subject to change.