This year has gone by so fast that I’m having a hard time getting into the holiday spirit. Where did the time go? Just the other day we were planning our summer vacations and now we’re supposed to decorate our tree?!!? Christmas has always been a magical time for me but this year feels somewhat different. Maybe it’s because we’ve been busier than ever at home and at work. Also, we decided to forgo the madness of traveling to Europe to visit my family so we’ll have a low key Christmas just the three of us, without grandmas and grandpas around. It is not going to be the same but we’ll have plenty of FaceTime and rest.
Whatever the reasons for my lack of holiday cheer, I went looking for it in one of my favorite designer’s home – Matthew Patrick Smyth’s.
Holiday decorating is everywhere these days, with tips and tricks and fun DIYs that the entire family can enjoy so I was pleased to find interior designer Matthew Patrick Smyth’s holiday home all dressed up for the holidays. And I loved his no stress, no fuss approach about it too.
“It’s not a contest. It’s about having fun,” he says. “You can walk into a room and immediately see who felt tortured by their holiday decorating and who had fun. If you’re amusing yourself and you’re at ease, you put your guests at ease.” (M. P. Smyth for Traditional Home)
His country house is a 1790 Colonial in Litchfield County, Connecticut that he purchased and redecorated a decade ago. Filled with antiques and era-appropriate furnishings, the home feels cozy and warm, collected and layered. One of my favorite spaces is his library/ home office with an inviting French mattress and clean lined built-in bookshelves. When it comes to preparing his home for the season, Mr. Smyth relies on skills perfected a long time ago (before becoming an A-list designer, he was once in charge of weekly refreshing the Holiday displays of Baccarat).
“I always set aside the second weekend of December for decorating—and do the decorating myself with no people hovering around,” he says. “I start Friday night and finish by Saturday night.” (M.P. Smyth for Traditional Home)
“Occasionally I’ll be at a flea market and I’ll buy an ornament that reminds me of the Christmas tree from my childhood. We lost our ornaments in a fire when I was in fifth grade. It’s nice to bring back those memories and find new keepsakes.” (M.P. Smyth for Traditional Home)
“I also work with a great florist on my wreaths. As an interior designer, I rely on people who do things well, who bring something to the table that I wouldn’t have thought of.” (M.P. Smyth for Traditional Home)
“What I love most about the Christmas season is my Friday night drive to the country,” he says, “seeing all the houses aglow, seeing what people do to celebrate the holidays. If someone has 800 ornaments lit up on the front yard, so be it. If it brings out the child in them, how nice is that?” (M.P. Smyth for Traditional Home)
Hard to argue with that, right? Wishing you all productive weeks ahead!
P.S: For the original story and more tips from the designer himself, check here.