Merry and Bright

A professional designer in Chatham shares tips and ideas on how to add sparkle to your home this season by using accent pieces from local shops.

Styled by Karin Lidbeck | Photography by John Bessler

As a photo stylist and designer working in the home décor publishing field her entire career, Karin Lidbeck has styled thousands of holiday features and projects for dozens of national magazines. Lidbeck’s prop closet is filled with two decades’ worth of décor collections. For years, her style was to cover every surface with boughs of greenery, holiday figures and collectibles. But when it came time to decorate her own newly remodeled home in Chatham, Lidbeck decided to change gears. She now prefers a simpler and cleaner look, and loves the less-is-more approach. On the following pages, Lidbeck shares holiday décor tips illustrated by photos of her own home—a place where her extended family has gathered for decades—that she styled and designed for the holiday season.


To decorate a Christmas tree, start by adding your ornaments deep in the center of the tree and work outward so you have layers of sparkle from the inner boughs to the outer boughs. To create a warm and cozy feeling, add layers to a couch, such as faux fur pillows, blankets and sheepskin throws from The Chatham Home and Bungalow, two of Lidbeck’s favorite local shops.

The real sparkle in this room is a treasured find: The glass, brass and Lucite coffee table from Bungalow in Chatham. Ombre candleholders from The Chatham Home add a regal elegance to the table—a perfect holiday accent.

The unique mantel made from a slab of raw wood called for something different than the usual holiday greenery. The wide expanse seemed perfect for little Christmas trees surrounded by twinkling lights, says stylist Karin Lidbeck. “I had seen similar trees in my travels and I sketched them out. My husband, Michael Brent, made the trees from scraps of wood, which I painted.” The painting of Newtown, Connecticut, above the mantel is also by Brent.


Lidbeck chose decorations that echoed the colors of her home. For the tree, she found beautiful vintage balls in shades of blue, green and silver at Scout Vintage Home and Garden store in Dennis. She mixed in a few of her homemade treasures, such as blue and green sequined ornaments, and added glass and metal icicles. And for the first time in her life, she bought an artificial tree. “After 30 years of cut-your-own and always searching for the not-so-perfectly shaped tree, I finally gave into the “buy one tree for the rest of your life philosophy!” says Lidbeck. The tree is a pre-lit Oregon Noble Fir with LED lights from


This antique cabinet belonged to Lidbeck’s grandmother in her home in France—a family conversation piece. “We gave it a new home,” says Lidbeck. “It’s a perfect holiday beverage stop, built into what was once a bedroom closet.” The dual barn doors, which add texture and a playful style to the room, can remain open for easy access to the rest of the house or closed off for privacy. The vintage cocktail glasses and barware are from Found Home in Chatham, as are the pillows. The blanket is available at The Chatham Home. Barn doors and hardware:


The holidays signal a time for baking and Lidbeck’s favorite cookies—raspberry thumbprint cookies—are a permanent fixture in the kitchen throughout the month of December. Chatham floral designer Greta Ribb’s wreaths of boxwood, seeded eucalyptus and pine cones make pretty silhouettes in the windows and add just enough holiday décor without being overwhelming. Lidbeck’s kitchen counter always features a large vase of seasonal flowers, such as paper whites—Lidbeck’s favorite. She buys the paper whites and transfers the bulbs from their garden containers to her own personal vessels. “I add cut greenery, pine cones and berries around the bulbs,” she says. “It’s an easy way to add some holiday bling.” Serving pieces and pitcher from The Chatham Home. Amaryllis and paperwhites can be ordered from The family’s 90-pound Boxer, Kongo, waits for a treat.


The dining table is set with stunning gold ombre hurricanes. Lidbeck created a centerpiece by using them both as candleholders and vases filled with the cut amaryllis. The portrait of Lidbeck, by Michael Brent, at the Chatham Bandstand 25 years ago, hangs on the wall. The ombre candleholders and vases are from The Chatham Home, and amaryllis from


Chatham floral designer Greta Ribb of the Floral Factory in Chatham created garland made with local greens and pine cones for the front door and several wreaths for inside the house. To avoid taking away the spotlight from the brass starfish door knocker from Tale of the Cod, Lidbeck opted for a few festive sprigs of greenery wired behind it. The hurricanes from The Chatham Home are perfect lanterns and add some sparkle.


Framed sketches from their travels in France hang above their treasured weathervane. For a festive entry, Lidbeck surrounded the galloping horse with snowy white feathered trees, assorted snowflakes and votives of candlelight, creating an inviting wintry holiday scene. Brass maritime lighting from


Bungalow, 1291 Main St., Chatham,

The Chatham Home, 443 Main St., Chatham, 508-945-5562,

Found Home, 726 Main St., Chatham,

Greta Ribb, The Floral Factory, 17 Field House Lane, Harwich, 508-360-3209

Scout Vintage Home & Garden, 776 Route 6A, Dennis, 508-385-4545,

Tale of the Cod, 450 Main St., Chatham, 508-945-0347,


Builder: Jim Gronski Construction, West Chatham, 717-870-6683