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Joyful & Triumphant

Joyful & Triumphant

Small spaces are no match for Melissa Parks’ big ideas when it comes to decking the halls of her 900-square-foot home.

Lived-In Style

For me, the highlight of the holiday season is cramming 35+ people into our cozy home for some hot cocoa after trekking through our neighborhood singing Christmas carols. Coats and boots and hats get piled up in our tiny home’s even tinier foyer, and the mood is cheery and warm.

Although we’ve had to sit out large gatherings over the past few years, I still get to tackle my favorite part of it all, which always came before anyone even walked through the door. What I truly love is the challenge of eking out pockets of space to display my beloved holiday treasures in a way that really sets the mood without making our 900-square-foot home feel cluttered. I like to think that the literal lack of real estate has propelled my creativity, and I have been delighted by the results. Here are some of ways I’ve tapped unexpected spaces to make the holidays feel festive and bright.

Old piano with vintage bottle brush Christmas trees and brass deer vignette.

SET THE SCENE. What to do when you don’t have a fireplace mantel? The piano or even the TV cabinet can make a perfect surface to create the holiday vignette of your dreams. Here I faithfully follow my more-is-more approach to allow a herd of gigantic deer to wander amidst a forest of a bottle brush trees, happily linger under twinkle light stars, and celebrate the nativity with their other brass forest fauna friends.

Vintage brass deer with ornate mirror backdrop and vintage pear garland.

PRIDE OF PLACE. I move all the items that sit year-round on my china cabinet to make room for this giant brass deer and his friends. To further gild the already gold antique mirrors and vintage glass beads, I spritzed a plastic red-and-green garland with gold paint and layered it into the jubilant scene.

Kitchen counter decorated for Christmas with green McCoy pottery.

RENEW THE VIEW. I spend a great deal of time looking out that window during any season, so it’s a perfect spot for holiday merriment and glittery beauty to bring some joy into the routine of doing dishes. Using the window as a frame, my favorite vintage gum wrapper garland counterbalances the “gilty” pleasures of my brass deer and “Joy” stencil.

Office desk with vintage Christmas accessories.

DAYDREAM BELIEVER. My work space is a haven for beautiful things that help my creative process, and why shouldn’t that include a little Christmas bling? A desk is perfect place to go up, not out, with trinkets and treasures. I chose to layer my levels and add a simple theme of Christmas trees to dot the surfaces and adorn the walls. Now I can dream of sugar plum fairies even while I’m drafting emails.

Antique dresser with vintage mirror and ornate gold garland with ornaments. Landscape gallery wall.

ALL DRESSERED UP. We’re used to the idea of festooning our public spaces, but having even one magical moment in the master bedroom means you literally wake up to the cheer and delight of the season. Glittering garland, vintage beads and antique ornaments along the mirror take up no space whatsoever and gives the already pretty space a little gaudy Victorian glam.

Clawfoot tub spray painted gold filled with turquoise and gold wrapped gifts. White beaded board wall and floral wallpaper.

BATHING BEAUTIES. To free up floor space for last year’s Caroling party, I realized I needed to move all the gifts out from under the tree. As it happened, the color palette of our parcels complimented our bathroom scheme perfectly—and the tub had lots of room! I loved seeing the gifts peek out from their clawfoot holder, imagining that Santa had found the worst hiding place ever to stash our gifts.

Old wooden bench with wrapped packages and birdcage filled with ornaments. Wicker shopping cart and star decorations on porch.

WELCOME NOTES. A bright vintage star leads the way to this enclosed porch that’s festooned with just enough glitter and gifts to get you excited to step inside and see more.

Melissa Parks in dining room serving holiday treats.
ABOVE: Melissa Parks doesn’t stick to any red-and-green conventions, opting instead for whatever feels festive for the family. Polka dots and creamy green ceramics, for example, make everyday breakfast feel like a sneak visit into Mrs. Claus’s kitchen.

PHOTOS Bob Coscarelli
WORDS Melissa Parks