A Christmas Story

SITTING AREA A red and ivory geometric throw, custom lobster pillow and clear seeded lamp with red tassel ornament all say holiday without going over the top. Items available at Simpler Pleasures in Chatham. The driftwood tree with lights is sold at Pentimento in Chatham.

SITTING AREA
A red and ivory geometric throw, custom lobster pillow and clear seeded lamp with red tassel ornament all say holiday without going over the top. Items available at Simpler Pleasures in Chatham. The driftwood tree with lights is sold at Pentimento in Chatham.

Heather McGrath, owner of Simpler Pleasures, says holiday decorating doesn’t have to be time-consuming or difficult. Here, she offers some tips and ideas for stress-free entertaining.

Styled by Heather McGrath | Photography by Betty Wiley | Text by Lisa Leigh Connors

“We help clients add value to things they already have,” says Heather McGrath, owner of Simpler Pleasures. While sitting in her Main Street shop, which she has owned for 32 years, McGrath points to red polka-dot fabric used to make a pillow with white pom-poms. The pillow could be repurposed other times of the year—in the summer, for instance, she says, just by changing the color scheme to red, white and blue. Around the holidays, place it on a white chair for a fresh and winter white look.

ENTRYWAY Red boots by Joules from Chatham Clothing Bar make a statement on the front steps of the home, designed by Polhemus, Savery and DaSilva. The Hampton Wreath, made from burlap and manila roping from The Festive Home, creates a warm and inviting entrance.

ENTRYWAY
Red boots by Joules from Chatham Clothing Bar make a statement on the front steps of the home, designed by Polhemus, Savery and DaSilva. The Hampton Wreath, made from burlap and manila roping from The Festive Home, creates a warm and inviting entrance.

“Homeowners today have such big, modern spaces,” says McGrath. “They still want to make it personal, but they want it to be a little simpler.” McGrath says she helps her clients take their simple and practical summer house and add elements of color or holiday touches to make it feel more like Christmas. It also helps to identify the color story you want to tell early on and use items you might already have.

McGrath suggests adding slipcovers, throw pillows, table runners, placemats and napkins and tablecloths for a simple yet effective transformation. Even placing red and green apples in a silver bowl in a few different places can make it feel like a November or December setting.

You might even find inspiration in your own backyard. For a rustic theme, McGrath advises gathering pine cones and greens, or shells and other favorite elements from the outdoors. Another easy way to change up a room: take a lamp with a clear base (sold at Simpler Pleasures) that holds a variety of accessories. For instance, in the summer, place shells in the base of the lamp for a summery appearance; in the winter, change it up with cranberries, pine cones or colorful Christmas balls.

Sometimes the things you can’t see also make a difference. Add scents by steeping some tea with a hint of cinnamon on the stove or use a diffuser to spread aromas throughout your home. Let’s not forget music. Play a mix of holiday music from many different genres to set the tone and atmosphere. Most importantly, McGrath says, shop and decorate with local items. From ornaments and coasters to pillows and blankets, Cape Cod-inspired décor will make your holiday home more special and meaningful.


TABLE SETTING

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A triple-mounted menu with ribbon from M. Smith and Company adds a personal touch and ties together the colors of the table settings. Ceramic ruffle plates bring playfulness to the tabletop, while whimsical silk organza sheer napkins, paired here with teal Balinese cotton napkins, create the perfect overlay. Frosted wine glasses and copper and silver votives with tea lights add a touch of elegance. All from Simpler Pleasures.


SEASIDE-INSPIRED DECOR

 

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Starfish illuminated tree designed by artist Maralyn Menghini for The Chatham Home.

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Driftwood tree with lights from Pentimento.

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Custom wine bottle bag—which makes a great holiday hostess gift—clear glass ice bucket and footed decanter with mixer, Passata Bella Cucina (perfect for Bloody Marys), all available at Simpler Pleasures.


BAKING

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A tiered dessert display with interchangeable ribbons and red-and-white polka dot platter can also be used throughout the year at Valentine’s Day or Fourth of July.

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Mixing and serving bowls are an easy way to introduce color to your holiday setting. Teak kitchen utensils are not only functional, but bring an organic feel to your spread.

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A red-and-white polka dot kettle on the stove is both traditional yet playful. Holiday kitchen towels, with a sprinkle of seaside inspiration, are a simple way to update your décor.


TRIMMING THE TREE

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Shark ornament designed by Jerry Evans of Chatham Wind and Time.

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“Welcome to Chatham” shark ornament designed by Jerry Evans of Chatham Wind and Time.

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Chatham Bandstand ornament from Ben Franklin.

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