A Reflection of 2021

As we move into the new year, it’s hard not to feel a little nostalgic. While 2021 was not without its challenges, it was also a year full of success, joy, and happiness. After months of canceled plans, I was able to head out traveling again, and I also got to help clients bring their interior design dreams to life through a series of renovation projects.

While it would be difficult to talk about every single highlight from 2021, I thought I’d celebrate the new year with a quick reflection on some of the projects we tackled this year! 

Bathroom Renovation.

Whenever I am tasked with redesigning a bathroom, I like to focus on who will be using the space before I kickstart the design process. This way, I’m able to incorporate the clients’ likes and interests into the room – whether that relates to the colors on the walls or furnishings such as a custom-made vanity. One of my favorite projects of the past year was the renovation of a small, modern bathroom designed for boys

Luckily, we didn’t have to carry out too much-complicated plumbing work for this project, as we kept the general layout the same as the original design. However, we did strip everything back as much as possible so that we had a blank canvas to work with. After completing all of the necessary installations, it was time to make the space look beautiful. To do this, we painted the walls in Benjamin Moore #860 in Apparition. 

Living Room Transformation. 

I love working on Living Room transformations, as they are one of the most important rooms in the house – the space where families often spend the most time together, whether they are watching TV or unwrapping Christmas presents on the big day. This year, I assisted in a range of Family room transformations, though this living room remodel was one of my absolute favorites – due to the fun upholstery work we carried out. 

For example, we upholstered older armchairs in a textured grey fabric from Kravet. Here, the use of textured fabric and decorative stud trimmings added extra texture and dimensions to the furniture. It also ensured that the armchairs were particularly eye-catching. We also used Kravet linen, in a similar shade, for the drapery. In this instance, we were trying to use the drapery to create an illusion – making the room seem much bigger than it actually was. We achieved this goal by hanging the curtains a little higher on the wall than is custom and ensuring that they reached all the way down to the floor. This made the ceilings seem much higher than they actually were! 

Sisal, Sisal and more Sisal!

Over the past year, I also fell in love with Sisal flooring. As we as a society become more and more eco-conscious, there’s an increased demand for eco-friendly home design and interiors – and Sisal flooring ticks all of these boxes. Sisal flooring is made from Sisal (no surprise there, right?), a plant that is typically native to Southern Mexico. When harvested, the tough fibers were originally used to construct ropes – but in recent years we have found more and more uses for them, including carpeting! Not only do they look great (especially for those that love eco-chic styles), they’re also highly durable and long-lasting. This means you won’t need to replace them in a hurry – whether you feature Sisal carpeting in your living room or as a stair runner.

A Trip to Palm Beach, Florida

I have always loved to travel. It’s a great way to escape from the chaos of everyday life, destress and simply live in the moment. However, I also find that my travels inform my work, as I’m constantly inspired by the world around me and the sites and cultures I soak in when abroad. For this reason, I absolutely adored my trip to Palm Beach. While I did visit a wide range of shops in Palm Beach, my biggest inspiration came from nature itself – and the vivid colors of the landscape around me. Everywhere I looked there was something new to observe – from bright, blue oceans to luscious green trees – and it truly took my breath away. I was also inspired by the way in which these colors found their way inside the buildings through clever interior design. This is something I hope to emulate moving forward!

So, there we have it! A (brief) look back at 2021 and all of the fun that came along with it. With the New Year just a few days away, I’d like to take this as an opportunity to wish you all a happy, healthy new year! 

3 Reasons Why You Should Visit Middleburg, VA

Middleburg, VA, sits rights at the foot of Virginia’s famous Blue Ridge Mountains. Surrounded by luscious countryside and breathtaking views, the town is known for its unique, historic charm that draws in thousands of visitors every year. 

With that in mind, here are just three reasons why you should visit Middleburg! 

The Town’s History.

As mentioned previously, Middleburg is often praised for its rare ‘historic charm.’ It’s a town that seems almost untouched by the chaos of the modern world, making it the perfect place to escape on vacation or for a family day out. 

The town was first established in 1787 by Levin Powell. Powell, a Lieutenant Colonel, and Virginia Statesman, purchased the land from Joseph Chinn. Prior to this, the land had been referred to as ‘Chinn’s Crossroads,’ with Powell renaming it ‘Middleburg’ due to its convenient, midway location between Alexandria and Winchester. 

In the following years, Middleburg became known as the ‘Nations Horse and Hunt Capital.’ Its also the location of Wexford, the holiday home of Jackie Kennedy Onassis and John F Kennedy. According to an article published in Middleburg Life, Jackie Kennedy’ loved to come here because she was a very private lady’, with the sprawling countryside estate giving her a chance to retreat from everyday life. 

The Architecture. 

In 2008, Middleburg was praised for its historic preservation efforts. In fact, there are currently 160 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Middleburg Historic District and the Methodist Episcopal Church. Visitors love exploring the town to discover hidden, historical gems – many of which are featured in this gallery of early pictures of the town. If you want to learn more about the history of Middleburg, you can also visit one of the town’s museums. 

If you’re a lover of architecture, you’ll also love the brightly colored storefronts in downtown Middleburg, which is home to a wide range of independent stores and boutiques. A trip to Middleburg also gives you the chance to support small businesses, giving them an opportunity to grow and flourish. 

The Christmas celebrations.

There’s nothing like Christmas in Middleburg – in fact, the entire town is decorated so beautifully that you can’t help but snap hundreds of photographs as you wander through the town. From houses to storefronts, everyone gets involved in making the festive season as magical as possible. 

So, if you’re looking for fun things to do in the holidays with your family, then you should definitely pop by for a visit. They host a wide range of festive events throughout December, such as a Christmas parade, tree lighting, shopping, and caroling. So, no matter what you are interested in, you’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy during this period.

If you’re looking to celebrate New Year’s Eve, there are also a wide range of celebrations and parties for you to join, such as the New Years’ Eve Party at Market Salamander.  

Have you visited Middleburg before? If so, I’d love to know what you got up to while you were there! 

Happy holidays everyone! 

Rocking Around The Christmas Tree | How To Choose The Perfect Christmas Tree For Your Home

According to a recent report from the American Christmas Tree Association, approximately 95 million households in the US choose to celebrate the festive season by decorating a Christmas tree. This accounts for around 77% of the population – which is hardly surprising when you consider that the tradition has been around for thousands of years. 

However, while you may have already selected your baubles and lights for this year’s festivities, it’s equally important that you choose the right tree. While similar in color and shape – there are actually a wide variety of Christmas trees for you to choose from – and this guide will help you find the perfect fit for your home! 

What different kinds of trees are available?

Across the world, there are hundreds upon hundreds of different ‘Christmas’ trees to choose from – often selected because they are evergreen and therefore able to stay in good condition no matter the weather. However, some of the most popular styles include: 

Fraser Fir Trees. 

Fraser Fir Trees are probably the most popular tree on this list – and for a good reason. They have bright, bold needles that retain their signature green hue and are available in a wide range of sizes. Furthermore, despite their appearance, their needles are actually relatively soft, meaning they’ll be perfect for households with children or pets who may want to get involved in the festivities. Finally, their branches are often spaced out fairly evenly, meaning they’re great for showing off your favorite Christmas ornaments. 

Birch Trees.

Birch trees are a slightly less popular choice for Christmas decor, meaning they are great for those who want to stand out from the crowd a little. Furthermore, they are said to be a symbol of ‘rebirth, new beginnings, and growth,’ meaning that they align perfectly with the true meaning of Christmas and the upcoming new year. 

Noble Fir Trees.

Noble Fir trees make the perfect Christmas tree due to their bright evergreen branches, which are particularly strong and great for hanging a wide range of decorations. This includes lights and other ‘heavy’ decorations instead of simple baubles. As with all fir trees, their evergreen status means that they are often associated with eternal love – meaning they’re a great way to bring the Christmas magic into your home. 

Blue Spruce Trees.

The state tree of Colorado, Blue Spruce Trees, are beloved since they are a little different from traditional Christmas trees. Their soft pines give off a slight silver/blue hue, which helps curate the perfect Christmas atmosphere in your home – appearing almost as though the tree is covered in a dusting of snow. 

Artificial Trees.

When it comes to decorating my home for Christmas, I often prefer to stick to the real deal regarding trees. Not only do they look great, but it’s also just a fun way to celebrate the festive season, especially if you cut down the tree yourself. However, there are also a lot of benefits to using artificial trees. To start off with, they don’t need to be replaced each year, which can save you a great deal of time and money. They are also much easier to care for, and you won’t be finding pine needles across your floor for months to come. 

Where should I buy my tree? 

Once you’ve decided on the kind of tree you’d like to buy, it’s time to actually go shopping (or chopping, depending on your preference). Thankfully, there are plenty of different places for you to go tree shopping. For example: 

  • You could visit a local farm. Local farms of Christmas Tree centers are (for obvious reasons) a great place to purchase your Christmas tree. For example, I always buy my trees from  Snickers Gap Tree Farm and I’m always blown away by how gorgeous their trees look. Furthermore, this gives you a chance to support small, local businesses after a tough year. 
  • You can buy trees directly from a vendor. If you don’t fancy venturing out into the open air to find your tree, you could always purchase them directly from a vendor. This way, your tree will already be cut-fresh on your behalf, saving you a great deal of time and energy in the long run. 
  • You can buy trees online. If you are going to purchase an artificial tree from your home, then you should be able to find them at most stores. However, you can often get your best deal shopping for these kinds of products online. 

How should I take care of my tree?

If you choose to decorate a ‘real’ tree, then you must know precisely how to care for it – especially if you want it to stand strong throughout the entire festive period. With that in mind, here are some top tips for keeping your tree happy, healthy, and thriving!

  • When selecting your tree, keep an eye out for ‘brown’ needles. While a few brown needles are okay, the greener your tree, the longer it will last. 
  • If possible, keep your tree out of the way of heat sources, such as your fireplace and radiators.
  • Ensure that your tree gets plenty of water; otherwise, it will dry out quickly. Ideally, you should water your tree once a day. 
  • Add a small cup of sugar to the water when caring for your tree. The sugar water acts as ‘food’ for your tree and can also help it to soak up the water much quicker. 

So, there you have it! By following this guide, you’ll be able to find (and care for) the perfect Christmas tree this festive season. Then, once the hard work is done, you get to start decorating it – which is truly the fun part. 

How are you decorating your tree this Christmas? Share some tips and tricks in the comments below – I’d love to hear them!

Kelley Astore Interiors

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Northern Virginia, Washington, DC,
and the Greater Washington Area


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